We’ve consolidated our videos, guides, webinars and more into the AFS Business Learning Center. Browse the resources, and use the concierge service if you need help with any topic.

Josh Leve, AFS Founder & CEO and Ingrid Own discuss how to maximize the experience of your members and build community based on "open space" in your studio.  

Equipment, Fitness Accessories, Video, Strategy Articles, Operations, Finance, Quick Answers

Technology and fitness are joined at the hip - the best gyms are known for having the best gear. After a while, however, there is only so much gear that a gym can buy! There is another way that you can use technology to differentiate yourself from competition in the fitness world, and it is actually much less expensive than investing in new machines every quarter.

Savvy gym and studio owners are now investing in mobile apps that are geared towards fitness - a high ROI activity that provides a great deal of value to patrons who do not have the money for a personal trainer or the organizational skills to keep up with their own stats.

Blog, Retention, Software & Technology

How do people typically find your fitness studio? Through word-of-mouth? Driving by? What about your website?

If you don’t have a website (no, a Facebook page won’t cut it) or if your site isn’t bringing visitors into your studio, there’s work to be done. There are over 1.17 billion monthly searches on Google. Here are the seven things your site must have to ensure you’re showing up for these searches.

Blog, Business Start-up, Website, Software & Technology, Marketing

Whether you have a tiny usable training area or more space than you know what to do with, our team can help you design and lay out a functional training space. We work diligently to plan a space that is not just operational but optimally designed for your specific goals.

Here are the steps we’ll take when designing your training space.

Blog, Design, Equipment, Fitness Accessories, Operations

I've been lucky enough at AFS to meet and speak with some of the best studio owners in the country (and some outside the U.S.).  During these encounters I always come away learning more about our ever-changing, diverse, yet incredibly rewarding industry.  

This couldn't be more true than my recent meeting with Brent Gallagher at the IDEA Show back in June.  Brent's professionalism and drive have been evident in the success of his business venture Avenu Fitness & Lifestyle in Houston, Texas. 

Blog, Video, Operations, Human Resources

In their ground-breaking 2016 study, Marketing Best Practices Research Report, the Association of Fitness Studios (AFS) asked respondents which cycling certification(s) they held.  As you can see from the chart below, Schwinn is #1 by a nice margin, Spinning is #2 and then there’s a big drop off to several others.

While this is great news for Schwinn and its certified instructors, it begs the question, “How can I leverage my Schwinn certification – and its #1-in-the-industry positioning - to enhance my career?”  As a famous author once said, “Let me count the ways.”

Blog, Certification, Equipment

Throughout my many years managing big-box health clubs and consulting with other fitness studios, the issue of how to effectively handle cancellations was always top of mind with my training teams.  

How many times has this happen to you... You get up at 5am, throw on some clothes, and get to the studio or health club just in time for your 6am client. You might arrive a few minutes early and get the chance to check your email when, low and behold, at 5:40am there's an email from your 6am client stating they had to cancel. Great way to start of the day, huh?

Blog, Operations, Client Resources, cancellations, Training, small group training

When I was the Fitness Director of a small health and fitness facility, I dreaded the inevitable times we had to send out the “price increase” letters *insert head thumping on desk here*. It’s never pleasant to tell members you’re going to take more of their hard earned money.

Working in a neighborhood club allowed me many advantages a large scale fitness center simply could not; I was on a first name basis with most of the members, I knew what was going on their lives, heck, I even helped a member name her first child! I was IN with these people!

Blog, Operations, Finance, pricing

The healthcare crisis is a complicated issue with many layers. The big takeaways? Today, fewer than 50% of companies offer medical insurance for their employees.

Many insurance premiums have escalated to difficult-to-afford levels. And to top it all off, insurance coverage sometimes barely functions and acts more like a subsidy than a comprehensive plan. So what the heck does this have to do with you as a studio owner in fitness?

Blog, Client Resources, Operations

Do you ever feel like there’s a competitor around every corner? Budding entrepreneurs often hesitate to follow their business dreams because they believe their target market is already so saturated that there simply is no more room to absorb any new entrants.

However, savvy small business owners can make it in a crowded field, even one filled with a couple of big players. The key to your business' success doesn’t hinge on finding a completely empty field, but how you define your company and its place in the market.

Blog, Marketing, Retention, Operations, Business Start-up

As a trainer, you wear many different hats during a typical work week. In turn, you are pulled in many different directions among family, friends and clients. 

If you are focusing on too many topics at once you cannot be in the moment, which can lead to a lack of client retention.

Blog, Retention, Operations

Wearable technology is one of the fastest growing spaces in the world. The appeal of wearable technology is part motivation, with goal setting, challenges and social recognition and part insight, with clients looking to obtain more information about their overall physical health. In this article, we will talk about meaningful insight.

As a fitness business operator or personal trainer incorporating wearable technology will not only further increase your members’ lifetime value, but educate them on what makes a workout effective (meaning your clients know what the numbers actually mean when they purchase wearable technology). 

Blog, Fitness Accessories, Revenue producing programs, Equipment

Fitness has never been bigger. In fact, it's the world's biggest sport with 61% of people who exercise regularly doing gym-type activities, according to the Global Consumer Fitness Survey 2013. But retention remains the industry's biggest problem.

And where previous acquisition of new members could fill the gap, new levels of competition and industry segmentation have made gaining and retaining members harder than ever.

Blog, Retention, Operations

If you’ve noticed the fitness trend toward indoor cycling, you’re not alone.  According to fitness and sports experts and the organizations that track such data*, “Stationary Cycling” was the 10th-most popular activity in America in a 2015 survey of all activities in which Americans participated.

Of course, if you’re reading these words you already know the health and fitness benefits of indoor cycling, but it’s also nice to know that you’re among the millions who have selected this vigorous, fun, and uplifting fitness regiment.

Blog, Equipment

We’re at the tail end of another summer.  How did you do?  Did revenue increase or at least stay stable?  Cancellations up or down?  If you’re like many of us in the fitness industry, June, July, and August can be brutal months. 

The unfortunate part is that instead of planning and preparing for this slow down, many trainers and studio owners are too busy working “in” the business and suffer the consequences such as decreased revenue, less sessions serviced, and lack of profitability. 

Blog, Marketing, summer, referral

Over 10 years ago, I took the hardest yet most gratifying step of my career: Getting out of debt.

At just 26, my wife and I accumulated over $220,000 in personal and business debt. My future outlook was bleak to say the least since we just opened Avenu, had a handful of clients and rent was due soon.

Blog, Finance

The list of personal trainers in Orlando is immense. How could I stand out from the crowd and create a fitness brand that is unique among a sea of others? When I started my business in 2014, I was determined to set it apart in every way possible way.

I have always had a passion for art and, in fact, my first job was as an assistant production manager at Walt Disney Animation where I contributed to films like Lilo and Stitch and Beauty and the Beast.

Blog, Marketing, Website

Reading the news can be dangerous, indeed, especially if runaway or otherwise poorly driven vehicles end up “parking” in your studio.  In recent weeks, several such incidents occurred in precisely that way.

The Little Gym in Roxbury, NJ, was the “victim” of a 78-year-old woman who crashed her car through the front window of the fitness center. Police said the woman mistook the gas pedal for the brake. 

Blog, Insurance, Operations, Finance

Harvard Business Review blogger John Coleman writes that great leadership starts “incommunity,” that great leaders act “not in isolation but with community,” and the “most inspiring leadership is that done for community” (“Leadership is Not a Solitary Task,” 2/5/14 blogs.hbr.org).

As a fitness studio owner you not only have the opportunity to create a community for your members, but to create a community for your staff. 

Marketing, Retention, Operations, Human Resources, Strategy Articles, word of mouth, community

Fitness is an industry with constant churn in terms of people coming into the mix to workout and those who fall out of fitness – for a variety of reasons.  Even with more and more research showing the health and wellness benefits of fitness, many people who would benefit from it, simply don’t start. 

As businesses this leaves us with the pool of people who are actually willing to make it into a gym/fitness studio/etc. The good news?  Once they start, it’s easier to get them back if they fall out. 

Blog, Marketing