Brenda Kashuba, owner of 4EverFit Personal Training Studio in Saratoga, CA, discusses her success in attracting & retaining clients. Brenda established her studio in 2001 with a fitness philosophy dedicated to providing a private, personal training experience rather than a fitness club environment. Her studio currently has around 100 clients and a training staff of 12 members. Her client-base is predominantly from the Baby-Boomer generation with about two-thirds being female.
Helix: According to IHRSA, the fitness industry has been performing well of late. How has your club’s business & membership held up during the difficult economic times we’ve had over the past several years?
We actually have seen an increase in business every year throughout the economic down turn. We’re located in a fairly affluent area and I think that’s helped – we really haven’t seen too much of an effect on us.
Helix: Given the success you’ve experienced, what have you found distinguishes your club in the market? In other words, what have you found to be particularly effective in attracting & retaining members?
The thing that really sets us apart and the reason why we’re doing well is that we provide a more private environment than the clubs offer. We’ve found that people will drive out of their way to do training at our studio because it lacks the intimidation factor that they feel at the clubs.
Clients that are out-of-shape, overweight, and middle aged often have no idea where to even begin, and they can be very intimidated by club environments. The thing that sets us apart from our competition is the privacy we provide along with an overall atmosphere that is very focused on the individual client and their specific goals.
Helix: Do you offer specific programs – for example, gender-focused or age-focused – that you’ve found appeal to your clients?
We pretty much train any type of client, so we have programs that hit on them all and we’ve made sure to have all these listed on our website. So when clients find something like Pre-Natal listed, I’m sure they feel like this is one of our specialties when in reality we specialize in everything – you tell me what you need and we’re going to provide that for you.
So while we may describe a range of programs on our website, what we actually provide to each client is personal training that is individually designed to meet their goals.
Helix: How important is club infrastructure & facilities – things like physical amenities and the type & variety of equipment?
That’s a funny thing. In reality what we want to do with most clients is functional training – I’d say they’re only on the strengthening machines for a quarter of the time, and the rest of the time the trainers are having them move with their natural path of motion with gravity and their body weight providing the resistance.
Helix: How about your cardio equipment?
As far as the cardio equipment is concerned, which is a different issue than the strength machines, most of the time we don’t integrate the cardio equipment into a client’s personal training program.
We do, however, have the cardio equipment there for clients to use because we believe it’s important and we want them to get cardio. So even though the client’s training generally doesn’t employ cardio, we teach them the machines and how to maximize their cardio through intervals and things like that. With the Helix, however, we’re seeing some of this change since the trainers are starting to integrate the Helix as a part of the client’s program.
We’ve only had the Helix for a couple of months, so that’s an interesting development because we don’t normally put clients on a cardio machine during their session,. But I’m seeing the trainers starting to use the Helix because of the muscle groups it incorporates, and because it can get the heart rate up quickly in intervals between their sets, so in that regard it has become a useful tool.
I’ve also seen the Helix being used in particular by our more athletic and sports oriented clients and interestingly enough, I’ve noticed the trainers themselves using the Helix in their own workouts.
Helix: Why should a potential client opt to pay a club rather than do it on their own?
There’s a different answer for clubs and personal training. With a regular club, I’d say the answer is that you’ll have access to a much wider range of machines than you would at home.
With personal training, you’re hiring someone with an education in what you really need to be doing who designs a program for you and spots you through it. If you were on your own you really wouldn’t be sure about what you should do or how to do it properly. Also, you wouldn’t see the same results because you wouldn’t have the motivation & accountability provided by a personal trainer.
Helix: Thanks so much for your time & insights.