The opening of the new box is well on the way. Equipment is being ordered, schedules are being tested and people are inquiring about working for me.
One very popular instructor contacted me about working for me. She looked at the standards and felt she could not complete half of the physical requirements. She suggested that personality and charisma should have a higher status for my staff. The following is my response. It outline the basic philisophical differenct between what we do and what everyone else does.
Please keep in mind that I very much like and respect her and hope she come along to our way of thinking since we will not compromise our standards.
Interesting comments. I really need to clarify my position on training.
My observations of "group exercise" is that it is almost entirely driven by charismatic instructors (80% personality, 20% content) and it lacks quality content. The focus is on personality and beats per minute and resembles country line dancing resulting in a common theme of easy adaptation to the programming and therefore limited results. Another issue is how few men participate in the group classes. I was recalled for 7 months. I observed that all the women who were doing the typical aerobics, (Step, body sculpt and yoga) nothing changed for them. They were having fun dancing around to the same sorority music after 7 seven months with no visible results. (Asses the same size with no appreciable change in "body tone.")
It leads me to some conclusions:
1. Most fitness consumers are not really interested in results (Why would they be a part of programs that fail miserably?)
2. The typical fitness consumer does not value their fitness (Why would they accept lack of results? The entitlement attitude that they should get everything included in their membership for $40 per month when dinner and drinks is $200 for an evening)
3. Generally consumers who are uneducated are willing to accept inferior products (Does this need comment?)
So, do I pander to fads? Do I hire people because they are popular? Absolutely not. In fact, the more popular the would-be instructors are, the less likely I would be interested in working with them. When I started Boot Camp, people would say: It is too hard. I don't like his music. They do too many squats. Squats are bad for your knees, etc and so forth. I decided to lead and provide people with a results-oriented option. You have some buy-in because you have copied elements and brought them to Liberty without being compensated for it.
The key difference is leadership. What we do is harder than any other class around. We added CrossFit to the mix because it is unparalleled in results. Not because it is popular and not because it was in Vogue magazine and I hope it never is, but because it gets results. We provide people leadership in fitness. Most of the training we do is retro back to the days when people moved there bodies in functional ways and got tired doing it. College teams do stadium runs because they know it gets their players in shape enough to prepare their season.
Let me define the Hyperfit USA Customer:
1. People who are results driven. Period, end of story.
2. People who can recognize the value of their fitness and health.
3. People who can tell the difference between a part-time and professional instructor.
4. People who can value the above points and pay a premium price for exceptional instruction.
How big is this market? I don't care. We have created a market of serious people who want serious results who expend real efforts. It did not exist in Ann Arbor until we started over four years ago. The market is now growing and everyone is calling what they do as Boot Camp or Elite Fitness or High Intensity Training and it resembles body building supersets or station-based interval training. I wish I had not called my class Boot Camp. It causes so much confusion in the mind of the customer. When I hear "I do Boot Camp at..." it make me cringe that people would lump me into that group.
People pay premium prices for premium service. It costs a lot to travel and seek the best training available. Our customers understand that they have the option to go to the Washtenaw County Rec Center for less then $150 per year. You will also note that the instructors who teach there also teach at all the fitness clubs in the area. What we provide is expert training in areas that they need and cannot get on their own or from a selectorized machine or the young kid in the personal trainer polo shirt.
This leads me to the "Charismatic Instructor." If the consumer is educated, then charisma is not so much a concern. They come for the coaching and expertise. You can't be a piece of wood but by no means to you need to be Billy Blanks. The ideal shift is now 70% content and 30% personality) How is this achieved? Training, training and training. The instructors must constantly achieve perfect execution of all exercise and be able to communicate those skills to the clients. The instructors must have a real commitment to excellence and constant study. Showing the customer a glimpses of what they can become and supporting them at every step of the way is really what matters. It also matters that you have something good to teach.
The main issue with charismatic instructors is that they are lacking in content and variety. Their programming is limited based on their format. Our format is that there is no format. Everything is variable to the point of randomness. The idea of a popularity contest is exactly what I want to breed out of my staff. It would be nearly impossible to have a purely content driven class but it is not impossible. We are going to get as close as humanly possible.
Let's face it, if "traditional" group exercise worked, then the military would adopt it and use it to train their people to prepare them for the greatest contest know to man: War.
I reissue a challenge: If you can show me fitter people, show us. We will train with them.
Are you still interested in working for me? :)