Gym business models: liberal x guided

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 16, 2015 7:03 AM GMT
    I have been to gyms in Brazil and Canada. The main difference I noticed is the business model for gyms in both countries:

    - Liberal: very popular in North America and probably the rest of the world. It does exist in Brazil but with a smaller market share. You pay a fee to use the equipment in your gym. If you want a training routine, you should research it online or hire a personal trainer. If you need someone to explain the proper way to execute an exercise you must rely on a gym buddy or hire a personal trainer. The liberal model always produces lower gym fees than the guided model.

    - Guided: the most popular model in Brazil, most likely because HR is cheaper there. You pay a fee not only to use the equipment in your gym, but also to pay the salaries of the instructors whose main function is to create training routines for members, to give them initial instructions on how to perform the movements and to look after members who aren't able (or willing) to use proper form. The guided model implies higher gym fees.

    At my current stage I prefer the liberal model because I don't need to pay for something I'm not going to use. In Brazil, even when I hired a personal trainer I was still paying the fee that was used to pay the instructors I didn't need any longer. I was effectively subsidizing everybody else's instructors.

    When I came to Canada I was more than happy with the low fees enabled by the liberal model which in turn allowed me to invest in a personal trainer. But I only have to look at what other members are doing to notice the shortcomings of this business model: people doing bizarre exercises in the hope of better gains, terrible form, dangerous executions. Incompetence runs unbridled.

    Experienced gym rats don't need the guided model, but let's face it: most people don't fall in this category. They go to a gym, they have a vague idea of what to do, how to execute exercises in proper form, the importance of diet and so on. They are left to their own devices. The liberal model is beneficial to a few and detrimental to many.

    Should people be free to do such mistakes? Should we subsidize someone's benefit that might not benefit ourselves? The discussion of gym business models can have political underpinnings.

    What would you suggest to make the liberal model more friendly to beginners? Would you be willing to pay a higher fee for the shared benefit?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 16, 2015 7:34 AM GMT
    bachian said... Should people be free to do such mistakes? ...
    Did you learn what you know without making mistakes? I know I didn't.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 16, 2015 7:59 AM GMT
    ^

    "Experience is an excellent teacher but her fees are very high"
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 16, 2015 4:48 PM GMT
    I think the "liberty" model works for me! icon_razz.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 16, 2015 7:47 PM GMT
    Given how much knowledge in weight lifting/bodybuilding is word of mouth, picked up off random web sites, etc. and not scientifically researched or proven I'd rather do the work of figuring it out for myself. I can easily imagine some eager beaver trainer who's full of all sorts of bullshit ideas, both with weight lifting and nutrition.

    As the old saying goes, "This ain't rocket science." Or, to use another one, "Opinions are like butt holes; everyone's got one."
  • adanac

    Posts: 7

    May 17, 2015 2:06 AM GMT
    People should always have choices. Those who want a trainer should hire one and those who don't shouldn't have one forced upon them, in my opinion.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 17, 2015 3:02 AM GMT
    bachian said^

    "Experience is an excellent teacher but her fees are very high"
    Experience isn't nearly as expensive as college. icon_razz.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 17, 2015 3:10 AM GMT
    adanacPeople should always have choices. Those who want a trainer should hire one and those who don't shouldn't have one forced upon them, in my opinion.


    You don't have freedom of choice if you don't have knowledge in the first place. Many people on this forum didn't even know there was such a thing as a sports dietitian. They're seemingly unaware that diet is 70% of your results... and then they send me silly emails asking "what's your training routine?" as if it all came down to training routines.

    You can have a liberal gym that's not negligent with beginners. You can even make more money because this reduces turnover as people who see results are more likely to stay. Some gyms here in Canada have this in-between model in which they offer this guided model as an opt-in.
  • adanac

    Posts: 7

    May 17, 2015 7:57 PM GMT
    Okay. So then better to educate people and let them decide for themselves rather than force something upon them. icon_smile.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 17, 2015 8:38 PM GMT
    ^

    It turns out being "forced" is bad only to an informed minority of gym rats. It's more expensive than just paying to use the gym but cheaper than having your own personal trainer and dietitian. It's more cost effective to the ignorant majority who could benefit from the shared costs of instructors and dietitians with fellow members.
  • adanac

    Posts: 7

    May 18, 2015 5:07 PM GMT
    Good point. That makes sense. I just don't believe that people who are not interested in something should be made interested. Those who have drive should be rewarded and those who don't, well, don't expect much. I feel that we're living in a world where people have to be babied into things. No one can make decisions on their own anymore and assume responsibility for their actions.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 19, 2015 8:48 AM GMT
    @bachian, thank you for starting this topic. Great insights.

    I'd like to hear about your and everyone's experiences at a "liberal" gym when someone had been hurt. Which party was liable for injuries then?


  • Goodluckyman

    Posts: 104

    Jul 02, 2015 7:08 PM GMT
    Looking at cost, liberal is better but may be they should have the first 3 weeks guided just to provide them with bascs.

    This is of interest to me because I would like to venture into gym business. Affordable but results oriented.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 02, 2015 11:52 PM GMT
    Goodluckyman saidLooking at cost, liberal is better but may be they should have the first 3 weeks guided just to provide them with bascs.

    This is of interest to me because I would like to venture into gym business. Affordable but results oriented.

    In theory that sounds like a great idea. Even as an experienced gym rat and former personal trainer, I'd love to join a gym that provides guidance for the first few weeks...for no other reason than to learn new techniques from the trainers. No matter how good we think we are, there's always something new to learn.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 03, 2015 10:16 PM GMT
    Goodluckyman saidLooking at cost, liberal is better but may be they should have the first 3 weeks guided just to provide them with bascs.

    This is of interest to me because I would like to venture into gym business. Affordable but results oriented.


    The best argument is simply profit.

    Gyms worldwide have a turnover issue. People who don't see results are more likely to leave. If you make them stay, that's profit for you. The big question mark is how do you help your members without the HR costs of the guided model.

    I once saw a confessional video of a gym owner. He said "I'm a gym rat but the members who make my gym economically viable aren't gym rats. You have to cater to those guys somehow if you want to survive."
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 02, 2015 6:20 PM GMT
    Well, here's the thing:

    Even cheap membership gyms typically offer a one hour "assessment," typically to guide members into personal training sessions, the real cash cows of the gym industry (aside from members who rarely train but keep paying because it's cheap, i.e. the "Planet Fitness" model).

    There are also always trainers around, often floor trainers, who should be advising members when they see improper form, but don't, because most members (seriously) resent unsolicited advice (from trainers or other members).

    Ideally, I believe in a "semi-guided" model - cheap gyms should offer two assessments including a thorough tutorial on form and equipment use with a few dashes of gym etiquette lessons thrown in, and the floor trainers should offer advice regardless.

    THAT I wouldn't mind subsidizing a little with a slightly higher membership fee.