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  • New Gym ideas

    Hello all! This is my first post on looking forward to interacting on this forum!

    I started following the Barbell Medicine content last year and freaking love it, modern pain science + research/science in general + training/lifting weights + general awesomeness, I can't praise it enough.

    Anyways, I've been a physical therapist since 2013 and for most of that time in outpatient "ortho"/general PT/vestibular therapy (dizziness/vertigo) mostly in Monterey, CA, and have always incorporated training into my sessions. Rarely would my patients be laying on the mat for the 30 minute session, rather we would be doing deadlifts, squats/sit to stands, presses, push-ups, rows, etc. It has been awesome TBH and I wanted to continue with that when we moved to Wilmington, NC in June 2019.

    So, I opened a gym (/PT clinic) lol sort of what I heard Alan Thrall say in an interview (I just wanted to open a gym). We opened our doors in Oct 2019 and we have been slowly growing. Our services include physical and vestibular therapy, personal training, small group training, group "classes" (still basically just group personal training), solo/open 24/7 gym, and we have an app with exercise programs that members can follow. The group classes are basically a resistance training circuit/conditioning. I'm always looking for ideas in terms of outreach, so here I am! This is what I've done/doing so far:
    • Content (social media/blog) exercise videos, short write-ups, short audio/video on various topics (like behavior, pain, etc.), this year also trying to lose about 20# so I have been chronicling that journey (which is interesting for sure!)
    • FB/google Ads (I do this thru a marketing company)
    • Networking (joined several biz networking groups/going to events)
    • Offering referral bonus for members and non-members (this hasn't really picked up as much, so I need to do better here with the referrals/affinity marketing)
    • Offer a free group class on Saturday mornings
    • Workshop end of the month "How To Exercise With Back Pain"
    • Offer a discount on membership to the businesses right next to us
    Things I'm trying to get in the works:
    • Reaching out to medical providers -> MD's for PT service and fitness, PT's/Chiros for post rehab fitness, RD/nutrition peeps for collaboration on the exercise side
    • Reaching out to different clubs/teams -> Roller Derby Girls (offering a discount on both gym and PT services), reaching out to the tennis peeps, there could be potential with all the other various clubs/teams of different levels
    • Going door to door to the local residences around me
    • Doing a "Couch to WILMA Dash 5k" program for a local 5k in May
    • Instead of "6 week transformation/bootcamp challenge", I'm offering an "8 week intro to strength training", potential customers may be drawn to the low commitment of the 8 weeks, but I'm also not promoting the sort of idea that you work out for 6 weeks and you're good that I feel like the former type of offering may give off.
    Sales-wise I keep it simple, asking clients: are you lifting weights and doing conditioning? if not, why not? what sort of issues are they having (this may suggest potential PT assessment)? how can I help? -> do they need a program/just a need a cool place to workout/like working out with other people/yada yada yada? would you like to workout with us? (the asking for money part lol)

    I think that is enough of an info dump. If money were no object I'd still be doing this as getting people working out from where ever they started is enjoyable to me, but since money is necessary and I'd like to make a living doing this thing, I'm always game to hear feedback, ideas, or whatever! So Barbell Medicine forum peeps -> what do?
    Physical therapist/trainer/owner at Beach Barbell (PT clinic/gym) in Wilmington, NC since Oct 2019.

  • #2
    my 2c on

    Instead of "6 week transformation/bootcamp challenge", I'm offering an "8 week intro to strength training", potential customers may be drawn to the low commitment of the 8 weeks, but I'm also not promoting the sort of idea that you work out for 6 weeks and you're good that I feel like the former type of offering may give off.
    When we were dating, my wife and I worked out together at the apartment complex gym a few times and I came to the conclusion that she had no idea what it meant to actually push hard when exercising. Particularly in cardio.

    Fast forward a couple years, and shortly after we got married she went to one of those "boot camps," and from that she learned what it is to actually push herself. Additionally, the "camp" had a social aspect to it (common to most group exercise) that she really benefited from.

    If you get someone who is totally unfamiliar with strenuous exercise to get through the commitment of a "6 week bootcamp" it can totally change their outlook on exercise, so don't dismiss that off hand.
    Forum topics and other links I've found useful

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Serack View Post
      my 2c on



      When we were dating, my wife and I worked out together at the apartment complex gym a few times and I came to the conclusion that she had no idea what it meant to actually push hard when exercising. Particularly in cardio.

      Fast forward a couple years, and shortly after we got married she went to one of those "boot camps," and from that she learned what it is to actually push herself. Additionally, the "camp" had a social aspect to it (common to most group exercise) that she really benefited from.

      If you get someone who is totally unfamiliar with strenuous exercise to get through the commitment of a "6 week bootcamp" it can totally change their outlook on exercise, so don't dismiss that off hand.
      Thank you for the reply and I appreciate your feedback! I do understand what you mean about learning and experiencing what is a higher effort level (like RPE 9 or 10).

      It is probably just my own personal bias/dislike of what may potentially be perceived by the "bootcamp" idea (drill instructor, Biggest loser, yada yada). Something that I may need to get over in order to actually help more people/get people in the door. The other concern I might have is the people turned off from "bootcamp" who then decide not to exercise at all as I'd like the exercise to appear as "low-threat" as possible.

      Some other stuff I'm going to be working on:
      • Getting a bunch of professional photos of older ladies lifting the compound moves (my idea to promote non-intimidating people lifting).
      • Fitness fundraiser, I've got some clients who work for/with non-profits and a way I can help them by running a group class to raise money.
      • Workshops, probably 2x/week, "How To Begin Resistance Training", "Basic Nutrition", "How To Exercise With __ Pain", and I'm tossing around the idea of starting a chronic pain support group.
      Again, thank you for the feedback and any future feedback in advance.
      Physical therapist/trainer/owner at Beach Barbell (PT clinic/gym) in Wilmington, NC since Oct 2019.

      Comment


      • #4
        I think it's quite possible that "Boot Camp" might not fit into the model of the brand you are trying to cultivate, I was just trying to point out the positive influences I've seen from such a program, as maybe you can find different approaches to achieve similar results. Small business owners like you amaze me, as it's something on the risk/reward spectrum that I'm personally averse to. Bravo, I wish you the best!

        The Dr's have said that one of the primary indicators on if an individual is going to stick to an exercise program (and just about any other life change) is accountability, and having a positive social aspect to exercise, and or a charismatic leader for a group exercise environment is a valuable way to accomplish that. The culture/brand you seem to be striving to cultivate seems to also be great for this.

        As it may speak strongly to the clientele you appear to be trying to build a base with, I highly recommend you read BBM's own
        Leah Lutz
        Moderator
        Leah Lutz's fascinating testimonial.

        https://www.barbellmedicine.com/blog...rep-at-a-time/
        Forum topics and other links I've found useful

        Comment


      • #5
        As a woman in my 60s, I think seniors in general are an untapped market for gyms like yours. Since Wilmington is on the coast, you probably have a higher than average number of retirees in the area. I would do some freebie classes in the local senior centers and local retirement communities or even 55+ housing areas.

        I would give seniors information on 1) protein recommendations for older adults (after finding out in Austin's sarcopenia lecture that seniors may need double what a young guy needs to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, I've been telling people my age and older and every one of them is surprised.) 2) what muscle protein synthesis is and why it is important to their health span. 3) the recommendations for strength training and why continuing to improve via greater volume or greater weight is necessary to counteract muscle loss. 4) the consequences of just keeping on with what they are doing if they are not meeting their protein needs or increasing their strength. (ie a lot of people believe if they keep doing what they are doing in terms of taking a walk around the block, etc. that it will be enough to maintain their current level of strength.) It motivates a lot of older adults to connect the fact that an inability to get on and off the toilet w/o help is a major reason people end up in assisted living. That is basically a squat.

        Another population that can be underserved is women looking to become pregnant and wanting to be in good shape for the baby, women who are pregnant, women who have had a C-secion, women who are post-partum, and women who have diastatis recti, etc. The fact that both of you are PTs will be comforting both to seniors and to women wanting to lift safely before, during, and after pregnancy.

        Also, since Wilmington is at the coast, I would try to tap into people coming to local beaches who might be looking for a gym they could come to while at the beach. I usually look if we're going to be on vacation to see if there is anywhere I can work out. So you might want to connect with the rental realtors at the beaches.

        I think your idea of getting older women photographed is important if it is part of an overall photo scheme that shows many different kinds of people lifting: Men and women, variety of ages, variety of sizes, variety of ethnicities. When people look at your website, they will want to know if they fit in. Photos of older women may let older women know that they will fit in, but maybe not overweight men and women, KWIM?

        Best of luck!
        Naturegirl
        Member
        Last edited by Naturegirl; 01-26-2020, 04:23 AM.

        Comment


        • #6
          One more thing regarding seniors. Some may not be concerned about their physical capabilities, but may be concerned about cognitive decline, soif you give a class, be sure to include the research on the role of exercise in the prevention of, or slowing down of, cognitive decline.
          Naturegirl
          Member
          Last edited by Naturegirl; 01-26-2020, 11:34 PM.

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