Dave Thomas Owner The Business of Lifting Weights
by Dave Thomas
Owner, Performance360 & The Business of Lifting Weights

Possessing the self awareness to know the difference between “Me” versus “We” when running your gym is the difference between treading water at 150 to 200 members, or, moving away from the limelight, placing your community underneath it, and watching your gym grow in its glow by the hundreds.

Your gym business is healthiest when the theme is positive experiences for the community within it, not acting as a display case for your awesomeness. We talk about this all the time on our podcast, and I think it’s one of the biggest contributors that holds back otherwise capable gyms and gym owners.

The Fear of Irrelevance.

Most noticeable symptoms usually include too much, “Me” and not enough, “We.” The fitness industry can be a really distracting place amongst professionals, with many so focused on jockeying for back pats and to hear how great they from meaningless strangers peers on the internet, that they often neglect that which matters most.

Their tribe.

When you are “me” focused, your loudness of doing you drowns out the conversation of what ultimately converts and retains, and that’s the connection between your customers and prospects to your place of business, its community, and the culture within it.

Here’s a quick litmus test for you to run.

  • Do you say “our” gym or “my” gym in casual conversation to people.
  • When addressing your staff, do you say, “I’d like us all to,” or do you say, “I want you all to.”
  • Do you schedule around your staff availability? Or, do you force them to adjust to yours?
  • Do you collaborate with your team? Or, do you simply direct?
  • Is your social media dominated by “look at me,” or “look at us.”
  • Do you see fitness and training through your lens only? Or are you able to relate to members who don’t share your views and goals?
  • When do you train? In class with your members? Or, visibly off to the sidelines following something completely different of what you ask your members?

The last point is one I would like to touch on for all group fitness gym owners. Training alongside your members is an opportunity to develop meaningful trust and rapport, not to mention I would hope that your product is effective enough for it to be worthy of your use. Your members and athletes can see if you’re always off doing your own thing, and sooner or later, they are going to see you as a spectator in the community, not a participant. They may be in awe of you, they may make you feel great for your accomplishment, but somewhere in the back of their heads, they see you as an outsider. With outsiders, there is never true trust. Without trust, there is no loyalty.

No culture can achieve optimum health with their leader off to the sides.

If your actions do not line up with your words, you will one day make yourself an outsider to your own community, and that includes owners.

Here’s some easy truth serum for whether or not you are “Me” or “We.” What is your social media like? Is it dominated by your own personal fitness highlight reel? Or, is it reflective of your community and the progress your tribe is making?

I can promise that you no one cares about your latest squat video where you went up five pounds.

What has one of your athletes done? Who at your gym has killed their game over the past few months and deserves a shout out? Your five pound PR will not expand your authoritative position at the gym as a strong athlete. All of your members already know that, and non-members aren’t motivated to take any action beyond hitting the like button.  

To breed loyalty and long term membership, move away from “look at me” and towards “look at us.” Create positive value for people and share that with the world.

That is what converts and retains.