At 12:01 am on December 26th three things are universally guaranteed to happen.
Hot Cross Buns appear in supermarkets, you comprehend the phenomenal amount of calories you have consumed in the last 24 hours and social media is suddenly crammed full with fitness deals.
Given that I'm all for the hot cross buns and that I too hit the Christmas roast harder than Homer Simpson at an all you can eat buffet, let's skip straight to my favourite part - The Fitness Deal Silly Season.
Type 1 - The McHappy Meal.
They look good at the time, the packaging is cute and for a little while you really enjoy it. But not long after that you start feeling unsatisfied, realise you still need something else and decide that the free toy wasn't that awesome after all.
These are probably my fav. They are plastered all over Instagram and all look exactly the same. Cue the skinny girl doing a heap of mountain climbers, jumping lunges and half depth squats. These McHappy's come in 4, 8 and 12 week meal deals and will have you in your dream body in less time than it took you to demolish the pudding only a few short days ago.
And just like McDonalds these follow a very strict standard operating procedure - have your clients do a metric shit-ton of cardio, ensure they don't eat anywhere near enough calories to sustain themselves and 'tada' - weight loss. The scales say I'm lighter therefore I'm healthier....right???
2. The 'Buy in Bulk & Save'
Don't buy 1 for the price of 1 when you can buy 12 for the price of 10. I know you've all seen these - sign up now and don't pay till Feb, sign up today for no joining fee, first month free...you get the picture. Cool if you're buying dishwashing tablets, not so much with the fitness..
This is the other great lie in the fitness industry. Here's how it works:
Step 1 - Get people to sign up for 12 months with a sweetener at the front end, January is the perfect time when everyone is busy making deals with themselves about how hard they are going to hit 2017.
Step 2 - Price it low enough so that a) members don't value it enough to use it after two months and b) they don't care enough to argue about cancelling it, they just keep paying.
Step 3 - Get in quick - there's 'No Joining Fee' for this week only. Seriously, WTF is the deal with joining fees. Imagine going to a restaurant and being told it's $99 to see a menu and then you can order. Welcome to Target, it's $50 for a privilege of coming in and being a customer....are you serious. (For the record we have never charged a joining fee, not because it's a promotion but because it's the right thing to do!)
Imagine if you actually paid a fair and reasonable price for training and being coached. All of a sudden you actually value it so you turn up and use your membership. And the coaches understand that they have to earn the right to keep you as a member every day - so they work hard to make sure you see the value. Now we are cooking!
3. The Real Deal.
They don't do the flashy January deals, there isn't the flashy rows of machines and the reception probably ins't that glossy. The mirrors are non-existent and all the equipment looks like it actually gets used - all the time. It can be a little daunting.
The coaches tend to be a little tougher around the edges, they will actually call you out if you slacken off and don't show up, they will be brutally honest with you - usually when you least want them to but most need them to. The coaches also walk the walk - and not in the 'have you seen my latest selfie on Insta' kinda way, but in the put yourself out there and compete, train hard, risk, fail, succeed, get sweaty and struggle kinda way. They study - all the time, read journals, attend seminars, test drive programs, seek out knowledge.
The last sign that it's the real deal - their members have moved passed being a number or a client, they are part of a community. A diverse, supportive, crazy community.
Ease up 'Broseph'...
But hey Coach - isn't it a good thing that at least people are having a crack? How about you stop raining on peoples parade and go lift something. It's true - I'm all for people getting off the couch and getting their fitness on. What I'm not cool with is a fitness industry that is selling them a pile of BS to ensure that the revolving door of clients kicks off every January. Nothing wrong with a 8 or 12 week program but make sure that you actually learn something (so you can keep going), that you are actually getting healthier (not just lighter) and that whoever is driving the program actually has an interest in your progress after the three easy payments have all happened.
In November this year we made the tough decision to close the doors to new members for two months. From a business point of view that seems crazy - but for us as coaches it was the right thing to do for our members (and our coaches). Jamming 50 people into a class sounds good for the finance dept. but means the coaches are getting slammed and the members aren't getting the attention they deserve. So we took a break to build our coaching crew and class capacity before opening the doors again (which we will be very soon). It's simply quality over quantity.
TL:DR - Cut to the chase
So after all that here's the short version.
1. Don't treat your health and fitness like a Happy meal - don't be distracted by the shiny toy or special deal. Look beyond that and see if what you are getting will educate you, challenge you and deliver long after the 'newness' has worn off.
2. Jan 1st is just another day. If you're ready to start today, start today, if it's the third Wednesday in Feb and you're ready then go for it. Don't wait for Monday, or next week or next month. Get up and get going.
3. Invest in you. Not just financially but in terms of time, commitment, priority. You currently inhabit the only 'vehicle' you will own for an entire lifetime. It has to not only serve you for your entire life, but others will rely on it too - your work mates, your partner, your kids, your parents, your friends. Invest in you - it doesn't just save your life, it will give you the best one possible.
See you soon.