A lot of jargon is thrown around in the world of fitness. Walk into any gym at any given moment in any part of the world and you will hear a conversation about too much muscle one day going through some magical, Narnia-like metamorphic journey to fat. Well, if muscle cells can somehow break the laws of everything humankind has discovered about biology, then be careful because your fingers could just as likely turn into a pack of hungry wolverines at some point.
Many popular fitness terms are riddled in conversations like the one mentioned above. Probably the most popular (i.e. overused) is the term "tone." This will absolutely, positively be included in the first or second sentence of any gym goer when they are speaking of their fitness goals. Bio-mechanically speaking, tone, when referring to muscle, can mean one of two things:
1. Muscle tone is the state of elasticity/contractility of the muscle itself.
2. Muscle tonus is slight, constant contraction of muscles.
So, unless the client/member is looking to maximize their movement efficiency while being hit by a stun gun, increasing muscle "tone" might not be the best option. Realistically, it is a harmless misuse of the word, but humorous to joke about nonetheless.
On the other hand, there are some very basic terms that every gym owner should be using and considering on a daily basis in order to make sure they are running an efficient and profitable club.
Sales- Obviously, the sales are what drive the club forward. If no one is buying your product (memberships) you are not making money. Sales can be broken down into two very important groups. Gross Sales are how much is actually billed to the client or member. Net Sales are the actual profit of the gross sale that the club receives after all deductions are made. For example, the gross sale of a personal training session may be $60. The net sale may only be $30 to the club once the personal trainer is paid out.
EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) – This is the most hassle free way to collect membership dues at a gym. Simply by getting a members credit card number or bank/routing number, monies are collected each month via auto billing so that you and your staff don’t have to feel like bookies tracking down unpaid gambling debts. Also, keeping track of the clubs Recurring Revenue (collection of gross sales of monthly payments) based on the Number of Existing Members is as easy as clicking on the "Reports" icon in your auto billing system. With this in mind, you can also easily keep track of average monthly and total New Member Sales to ensure the positive growth of your club. Furthermore, using gym management software like this will allow you to keep a database of prospective member information.Following up with unsure walk-ins is key to keeping a high member Conversion Rate.
With an efficient system in place, member Retention/Attrition can be addressed. Knowing the ratio of members who stay once their memberships are up versus the ones that sprint out the door at the first chance they get will let you know if you are keeping your members happy or not. Along with retention, the longer the Membership Length, the more recurring revenue they give you, the more gross/net sales you make in the long run.
A fair and even generous Commission program will identify sub-par employees and keep motivated employees from showing up at your house with torches and pitchforks demanding more money. Also, keeping a competitive percentage on your Personal Training Sales will keep good trainers in your gym and out of the competitors club.
Keeping these terms in mind, along with the normal Liabilities that go along with any professional service business, will ensure consistency in membership, high quality in training staff, and positive growth in the club itself.
By: Mike Hedlesky, MS, CSC, CF-L1, USAW.
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Over to you…
What are other gym business terms that every gym owner and operator must know and account for?