Perceived Value vs Real Value

I was talking to the Ginger String of beans know to some as Steven Wylie aka @w10strength after firing some weight about this morning and we had an interesting discussion around the talk that people have around personal training.

One of the common issues that more cerebral trainers or you might even say nieve trainers come across.  Whilst they are trying to provide clients actual real value and real outcomes, they assume that people are rational beings who will make a rational decision based on evidence and experience.  All you have to do is take one look at the internet and Instagram to figure out this is not the case.

People are emotional basket cases who make snap decisions based off feels and if there is one industry where this is taken advantage of its fitness.  You could be one of the best trainers in the world providing progress to every client who darkens your door and provide continual results and provide great value for money and you will be busy.  Anyone who is competent will be busy in areas where results are important.

However, you might struggle to make the real money because you aren’t tugging at the heartstrings.  I am not stupid enough to become furlong at this fact, it’s human nature and it isn’t going away.

If you look at gyms around towns in the UK you will see the busy and growing gyms are the likes of Pure gym or The Gym group where it’s ONLY 14.99 per month and there is 24/7 access to the gym and all the equipment you need.  On the face of it this seems like an unbelievable deal and a steal and that’s how it works volume.  They are selling a commodity at a low enough price which has enough perceived utility to do a good volume in sales.

In reality, the value it gives to its customers is terrible.  The gym is always busy as fuck, no one gives a shit about it.  The staff aren’t getting paid and the members pay 15 quid a month why would they give a shit.  The equipment is shit because it makes no sense to spend money on equipment that no one will respect.

If you actually want to do something with yourself these gyms are a fucking terrible spend of money.  For some people who need access to a gym at silly times or who just want to come in and blast through a quick workout where performance isn’t really that much of an issue they might provide some value but on the whole, they provide a hell of a lot of perceived value.

If you look at another business model the smaller independent gyms where class sizes are limited, there is coaching and feedback provided as standard and the gym is attached or owned by someone who is invested in the gym and it’s members then you have a different proposition.  If you are actually interested in making progress or moving forward then here you are going to start to get value.

If you are actually concerned in making a difference you will be given input on warming up, exercise selection, technique, maybe nutrition as standard and you will be held to account and helped both by other members and coaches.

Yet by necessity, these gyms cannot provide this service cheaply because they have a constrained supply this dives up the price per unit.  A higher barrier to entry makes this a harder sell.   People just see the numbers more than they see the value.  £60-100 per month comes across as a much bigger hurdle than £15-25 per month.

If you were to actually sit and think however the value added by a smaller gym with a good coach and a good set up FAR out weights that provided by the cheaper or more mass market gyms.  A gym IS NOT A UTILITY it’s not a car or a spoon.  It takes skill, time and experience to be able to produce good outcomes in fitness and performance.  It’s a service.  It’s more like paying for a lawyer, plumber or a doctor.

Unless you are going to become obsessive with fitness or lifting and are willing to spend near enough a decade to learn how to do it right you’re never going to be able to get the results you want on your own.  If you are a seasoned bodybuilder or fitness fanatic then gyms are utilities because you know the input needed get the output you want, so price and location are probably more important.

However, if you don’t have that knowledge or you don’t have that experience you are fucking mental if you join a 24/7 globbo gym or a more expensive globbo gym for more money.

There is a reason these gyms can exist because most people don’t fucking use them.  I can’t remember the stats but it’s along the lines of 20% of your members will use the gym on a regular basis and 80% will use it a few times at the start and then stop coming.  This is their buissness model the 80% are known as your ghost members the people who keep the lights on.

What do you think would happen if 6000 people actually used the 10,000 sqft gym they are a member of?  You wouldn’t be able to move in the place as there would be people everywhere.

If you are a member of a successful group gym say a CrossFit box with 150-200 people in a 1000-15000 sq foot space you will know the pain.  You will have to book weeks in advance to use the space because it will be mobbed.  That’s 7.5-10 members per square feet the larger gyms operates at 1.66 members per square foot.  With the nature of overheads (rent, start-up cost, rates etc) a larger commercial gym will need 1000s of members to be viable.  These gyms CAN NOT WORK IF THEY ARE USED.

Any trainer or person who is genuinely concerned with getting results or making a difference to people would not open a large scale commercial gym. Large-scale gyms are there to make a maximal profit and top-line revenues selling a utility to people who need a service.

But people are people, the people who genuinely want change or want progress will fork out for the service and get value and will normally be much happier with what they are getting.

The people who get pulled along through emotional flights of fancy will still be the same out of shape annoyed person they have always be but will have a £15-25 per month direct debit coming out of their account they are too fucking lazy to cancel.

The choice as they say is yours.



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