Why You Should Look into Individual Design

individual design

The typical microgym revenue model looks like this:

Group Class subscription (majority %) + Personal Training (little, if any %) + Retail (little, if any %)

In short, you’re a one-trick pony who is finally realizing that we need more than just one revenue stream if we want this business to evolve into what we know it’s capable of becoming. In order to do this, I need you to do what you frequently instruct your clients to do: Get out of your comfort zone.

For the vast majority of microgym owners, the group fitness model will continue to be their staple offering. However, we need to support it with other income generating opportunities and where I see the greatest amount of white space lies within individual program design.

What is Individual Program Design?

Individual Program Design (ID) is a service offering in which a client receives their training program from their trainer and performs the programming independently. This service has been widely popularized and the proof of concept published by organizations like OPEX. Their entire business model actually revolves around training facilities that specialize and prioritize ID, without any group training services.

By creating an efficient coaching vehicle like ID, Coaches are able to provide their clients programming specifically tailored to that individual’s goals and schedule. Trainers are able to facilitate workouts without ever having to be present during the session, unlike the less efficient counterpart that is personal training.

Why Wouldn’t I Just Sell More Personal Training?

Well, for starters if you were selling a ton of personal training right now, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article. My experience working with hundreds of gym owners has confirmed the opposite – that most are highly inexperienced when it comes to developing personal training as a viable revenue stream.

However, I have empathy to their situation. PT is very expensive – at least it should be – and it’s obviously limited to the number of hours in the day, your corresponding trainers and clients linking up on coinciding schedules, etc. ID allows for the almost infinite scalability of your time. Instead of spending six hours in six different PT sessions, you can spend two hours on a Sunday on your couch and write out all those programs while you pet your dog.

Scalability is the name of the game my friends, and the tools we use for ID allow that to exists.

How do Clients Communicate with Their Trainer?

Previously, this type of communication was serviced via text messages, random emails and sloppy Excel sheets. Today, this process has been made far more efficient allowing for a trainer to create programs for multiple clients for multiple weeks in a couple hours – this time hack is known in the ID community as Fitbot.

Fitbot allows for trainers to create robust training programs for any scenario, equipped with an entire catalog of prebuilt videos demonstrating exercises, a built-in messaging platform and easy-as-hell video uploading capabilities so you can have Sally record her Snatch session for your review.

What Should I Charge for an Additional Service like ID?

That part is ultimately up to you as the business owner once you factor in service costs. However, at my facility Urban MVMNT, we charge an additional $100 per month in addition to their current membership. This places our average ID client at $290 per month for use of our facility and their ID. You don’t have to possess an MBA to see how this service can certainly be valuable.

How Do I Market this Service Since None of my Members Have Ever Heard of It?

That’s the great part. They are already know it exists, just not at your facility yet.

If they have a favorite CrossFit Games athlete they follow on social media, then they know individual programming exists. If they have ever found frustration with a particular skill or exercise, they have scoured YouTube and Google for the best programming suggestions to remedy their performance issue.

The fact is this, your members are already searching for the magic sauce, the perfect combination of exercises that will lead them to their version of the fitness promised-land. Now it’s your job to let them know you and your amazing crew of Coaches are offering the magic sauce in addition to their membership.

Here’s my three step approach to marketing ID in your facility:

  1. Sell it or give it away. If you have zero ID being sold and your closing percentage is low, then you may have to give it away for free at first. Find two to three members of your gym that represent your typical avatar of a client. Invite them into your office for a chat and let them know of your new service offering, how it works and that in an effort to spread the good word you’re going to offer it to them for free for six weeks. All you ask in return is that they document their journey.
  2. Storytell. Here’s where you have to wear your marketing hat and develop a strong content strategy. Have your guinea pig clients use a trendy hashtag and require them to document their new training journey on social media. Ensure they are comfortable with you filming their independent training sessions and engage in a little Q&A with them to help explain the benefits of ID. No fancy equipment needed. Just a smartphone camera and quality content. Distribute the content across all mediums and watch the buzz that’s created.
  3. Document the results. The concept behind ID is programming that is specifically designed for you is going to get you results faster than the group template. Any Coach worth a shit knows this to be true. But as the saying goes, “In God we trust, but everyone else… bring data”. You need to be able to demonstrate that the clients did get stronger, faster and fitter – because remember, that’s the whole damn point.

Stuart Brauer is a 15-year student of strength and conditioning, and he was fortunate to find CrossFit in 2006. Since then he's dedicated his life to building a fitness business simply based on the pursuit of excellence. From humble beginnings making three figures and running park workouts to owning a million dollar gym, he's now ventured into business consulting for gym owners looking to chase their dream. You can find his content on Facebook and Instagram @wtfgymtalk.