Serve More Clients with Push Active

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Push Active provides personal trainers, studios, and fitness centers with a powerful and effective software solution to serve more clients, better.

Push Active helps solve the problems most trainers face in helping their clients maintain a regular exercise routine: scheduling and logistical challenges, limited motivation and accountability, the impact of injuries and lack of focus.

Push Active is a software platform that provides personal trainers and coaches with tools to design world class fitness programs, an infrastructure that holds clients accountable to their commitments, and a built-in feedback system that helps prevent over or under-training.

Push Active provides a platform that helps trainers set goals for their clients that are aligned with their unique psychological profile that are specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable and timely.

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Serious Movement

How to best position yourself in the personal training market given four key trends shaping the industry

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The personal training industry is in a state of dynamic shift.  Although the industry is expected to grow over 25% in the next decade (from approximately 237k trainers to 310k)[1] we have seen a decrease in the average salary of personal trainers in the last ten years (35k to 31k)[2].  We have also seen an increase in the amount of money spent in personal training (Approx $7.5B in 2010 to $9Bin 2013), however, there are more trainers flooding the market, who have fewer credentials and demand less money.  In a recent New York Times article, the author attributes the economic downturn to driving people in other professions to personal training[3].  As a result, this has pushed many credentialed and educated trainers to work for or open their own studios. In the last few years, we’ve also seen a push towards making personal training affordable to the masses as well as increased adoption of technology to improve exercise effectiveness.  The changes described above have culminated in four trends we see emerging in the personal training market.

Technology will Help Trainers Improve Outcomes

Innovation in health and fitness technology is growing.  The amount of investment and enthusiasm for fitness software and wearable technology has increased significantly over the last five years (investment in digital health and fitness topped 1.5B in 2012)[4], with products like Nike’s Fuel Band pushing mainstream adoption.  The average client of a personal trainer spends $2,500 per year on session visits[5], and many are now including wearable technology in their annual budget. However once the purchase is made, many clients are unsure of how to make the best use of the device and the data it provides.

With the correct software, personal trainers and coaches will be an integral part of interpreting this data, to help drive their clients’ health and performance.  As low cost tablet computers become a reality, trainers will also transition from the clipboard to a tablet allowing them to receive real time information on how their clients are performing thus, improving their ability to manage more clients effectively.  

The Move to Studios

Personal Training Studios have also seen a growth in market share.  Many of the highly credentialed trainers are being pushed out of the “big box” fitness centers and are starting their own studios.  Personal training studios are expected to grow over 125% in the next decade, from 8k studios to over 19k studios[6].  This does not include Crossfit, which has a growth rate of over 1500% in the last five years[7].  The average studio has 4 trainers which means that around 80k of the expected 300k trainers will eventually work in a studio environment.

With the loss of the most credentialed trainers, big box fitness centers are then faced with the decision to drop or not include personal training all together (Ex: Planet Fitness), focus on large group training with lower cost trainers to drive profitability or create a premium performance training experience for members ($100 plus per session) to retain the best trainers.  Planet Fitness focuses on doing a number of things really well; clean, well-managed facilities that focus on low cost memberships with higher end equipment.  This minimalist theme may be the approach of most big box facilities in the next five years.  The other potential emerging trend is that big box fitness centers start (or purchase) their own studios (Ex: Equinox is already beginning this movement with the purchase of high end studios like Soul Cycle and Pure Yoga and low cost fitness centers like Blink).

Personalized Large Group Training

Large group training will also become more prominent.  The growth rate of large group training has increased from 2% of all personal training in 2010 to over 5% in 2013[8]. There will likely be an increase in spin/yoga/cross-fit blended facilities as the market expands towards traditionally “non-customers” of personal training.  The key to success in the new personal training market will be providing the member or client with a comprehensive fitness plan and an explanation of how these different disciplines can work together to produce positive outcomes. More trainers will use digital planning sources to help plan and track the activities their clients are performing so they can better assess progress. This will also drive more growth in functional screen-based certifications to make sure individuals, especially those in Crossfit style classes, are performing the proper exercises with the correct progressions to reduce injury and ensure success.

Virtual/In Person Training Hybrid

In addition, the increase in new tele-technology (skype, etc), digital customer relationship and coaching management software will allow trainers to work more effectively with clients remotely.  According to IRHSA an estimated 30% of health club members would like a trainer but have never used one.  This can be attributed to three reasons: 1) Members don’t have the time for regularly scheduled appointments 2) It’s too expensive or 3) They want the expertise of a coach but don’t need someone “holding their hand”.  This accounts for an estimated $18B in lost personal training revenue per year (calculated by charging $99 per month for one in-person session and remote training the other weeks).  These traditional “non-customers” are underserved and a virtual training model with occasional in person check-in is a natural fit.  Some studios have been using this model for years but have lacked a platform to manage clients and analyze large amounts of data to provide insight into their performance at a macro (all trainers and clients) and micro (individual client) perspective.  Trainers and coaches, who use a virtual model to scale their business, can serve 50% more clients, and realize a income lift of about 18k per year.

How to be Disruptive and Win

Audience: Focus on traditionally non-customers in the personal training market.  They include busy working professionals, who are male leaning between the ages of 28 and 50 (women constitute over 70% of the personal training market), who have an income between 80k-100k.  They are apparently healthy and want a lower cost, customized program that provides accountability and motivation.  Studios and trainers can benefit from focusing on those who are disenchanted with traditional group exercise classes in big box fitness facilities or the intensity and culture of Crossfit. This audience wants the individual attention and fitness expertise but limited in person sessions (once per month or quarter) combined with highly focused large group training throughout the week.

Talent: There are two types of personal trainers that would be successful with this model. These should be hired in a 1:5 ratio.

– Highly credentialed, experienced trainers and who are strong salespeople (20% of staff)

– Coaches and instructors that are less experienced but have a combination of an effective coaching style, enthusiasm and good credentials 80% of staff).

This type of staff will provide your clients with a high level of expertise at the top, creating plans, and handling initial consults, combined with quality coaching and accountability on a daily or weekly basis. This model will allow your business to scale and grow with lower cost of service.  The market rate for highly credentialed and experienced trainers is between $55k-$80k and for trainers and coaches with less experience between $30k-$35k.

Summary:

In order to succeed in the new personal training market, provide a more holistic experience for the client by leveraging digital information to improve management and engagement both inside and outside your facility. Market rates for large group training facilities are around $149 per month and individual sessions are about $70 per session. Therefore there is an opportunity for a new hybrid business model of unlimited classes with a high level of customization and accountability for $199 per month.

Focusing on personalizing training in mixed disciplines (large group and individual training sessions) for new customers who would not traditionally engage in personal training is a good bet for success in the next five years. Leveraging technology to facilitate better management and improved outcomes will lead to great efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Welcome to Push Active

Over the last 18 years I’ve spent much of my career as a trainer and strength coach which is why I am so passionate about building great software for trainers.  In 2013, I created Push Active to help fellow coaches and trainers save time and improve their quality of life.

The Early Years

In 1995, I had my first experience as a strength coach working as an assistant at Ohio State University.  At that time we didn’t have fancy software and apps to help us understand performance let alone an iPad to facilitate our record keeping.  I had a video camera (that weighed about 10 lbs.) to film our runners and football players and would have to painstakingly chart each change in movement with dots on a screen to measure and analyze gait.  Today there are a number of applications that do this for you (dartfish for example) but I remember it taking hours just to assess one athlete’s performance and that did not include writing summary reports or comparing and contrasting athletes on a team. Today, it would take me all of about 30 minutes. Needless to say, technology has come a long way in helping us track and analyze the performance of competitive athletes and everyday exercisers alike.

Long Hours, Limited Compensation and Credibility

In 2000, I shifted gears to focus on the everyday athlete, busy working professionals who wanted to get back to the activities they loved.  This audience ranged from the 55 year old CEO who hadn’t laced up his shoes in 20 years and wanted to run his first 5k to the stay at home mom who worked out sporadically but wanted to get back into the shape she was in playing tennis in college. The problem was, I found myself working 50-60 hours per week but only getting compensated for 30 hours of “in-session” work.  I would spend one hour training the client and an additional 15-30 minutes managing their workouts and engaging with them.  Over a decade, I trained at several fitness centers and studios and realized there was no system and no universal process for managing a client. Based on my experiences, I identified four main flaws in how clients were managed:

– No universal, consistent system for measuring or tracking progress

– Lack of timely updates and progression of workouts

– Limited Client Management

– Lack of client engagement outside of a session

In 2009, I started my own business and began using spreadsheets to track progress and help manage my clients with the goal of minimizing my time spent outside of in-person sessions. Noticing my new process, many colleagues began asking me about the tools and resources I used and I was happy to share. However, the problem was it was still tedious and more of a time investment given salary compensation (it shaved about 10 hours a week of my previous management time but probably added 5 hours per week to some trainers’ schedule who were not accustomed to tracking data or process).

The Beginning of a Movement

In 2013, Push Active was created as a robust software platform focused on trainer efficiency and client engagement.  At it’s core it solves many of the problems I discussed above at a time where the industry is in need of a an innovative, holistic product.  Here’s a brief breakdown of how our software can help streamline your client management and potentially create an entirely new model for your business.

– Ability to create and share workouts for clients: Most of us have used other software applications but most of them are either so fancy they are impractical in a real-world setting or provide a clunky client experience.  We have made workout creation and the client interface simple and intuitive while also being backed by sophisticated science and technology.

– Ability to Track Progress: Most trainers spend hours creating progress reports (if we create them at all).  We automated this process so now you (and your client) can view progress in a timely manner and discuss how to best manage their training program for improved compliance and results.

– Improve Client Management:  Most of us have a drawer that we store our clients’ files in and we have to scramble through papers, word documents or spreadsheets to review plan information before a session.  With Push Active, all that changes.  You can access all of your client information via your dashboard: adherence over time, injury alerts, messages, high level progress, workout schedule – all in one place for your convenience.

– Increased Client Engagement:  Industry research shows that about 70% of workouts scheduled outside of a session are not completed.  This is a real frustration for our profession.  We spend time creating great workouts and motivating our clients during a session only to see them fail outside of our hand holding.  With Push Active, we created an internal messaging and alert system that helps you engage in a more meaningful way with your clients.  You are notified by email and inside our app when clients complete a workout.  You’ll know how challenging the workouts are and if/when the client needs more support. According to IHRSA, trainers who engage with a client once per week have a 50% higher retention rate than those that don’t. 

– Scale Your Business: Trainers who use our software can handle, on average, about 30 more sessions per month.  That’s about 18k per year in additional earning potential.  If you want to learn more about how to scale your business, feel free to connect with me any time at andrewhooge@pushactive.com

We also want to understand your needs as a trainer so we can build the best product possible.  Feel free to use the feedback button on our website or simply email us at support@pushactive.com to let us know what you are thinking.

Learn more about our journey to creating Push Active and how our software will change the way you run your business and improve client outcomes.

 —
Best Regards,
Andrew Hooge, CSCS
Chief Executive Officer

Why Push Active…Why Now

A Time of Change

Over the last couple years, there have been a number of changes in the industry that have made it an opportune time for innovation:

– Commoditization of Personal Trainers: Our industry is growing.  In 2023 there are expected to be over 300,000 trainers in the U.S, 30% growth over the next 10 years. Part of which can be attributed to more demand from individuals who understand the value of personal training in improving their health and fitness.  The other contributing factor is that outside of a few reputable organizations, it’s easy to get certified as a trainer.  As more trainers flood the market, costs are driven down.  For fitness centers, studios and independent trainers who are highly credentialed and experienced, we know we must become more profitable (the average fitness center has about 8% net margins for personal training) if we want to survive as a profession.

Our hope is to provide a software solution for credible trainers to engage clients more effectively and facilitate improved outcomes and client satisfaction. The efficiencies gained in using a more streamlined system, can allow highly credentialed coaches and trainers to serve more clients, with better outcomes.  

– Wearable Technology and Consumer Apps: A number of recent publications have commented on how technology is going to make our profession obsolete.  Nike’s Fuelband, FitBit, My Fitness Pal are all examples of technology that your clients may be integrating into their lives…heck you may even be recommending them to help track progress and stay motivated.  However these devices have limited data interpretation and an educated trainer is needed to see trends and translate this information into client workout prescription. Unfortunately, there is no way for trainers (outside of logging into a clients’ personal device account) to view this data and make recommendations accordingly.

Part of our goal is to integrate these apps and technology into our software so you can use it to help you clients achieve their goals. 

– Tablet PC (iPad): Three years ago the price of an iPad was $600.  By the end of this year, Google is expecting to release a tablet for $99. The decreasing cost of the tablet pc is making it possible for trainers to turn their old paper files into mobile record keeping.  No more recording information on a piece of paper only to take it back to the office and add it to your spreadsheet.

With Push Active, we created a mobile solution for the current generation of trainers that want to better understand how their clients are progressing, which ultimately helps us in the long term by improving client retention and satisfaction.

Best Regards,
Andrew Hooge, CSCS
Chief Executive Officer

Are Your Clients Working Out?

Help Your Clients get the Most Out of Push Active

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Many of you have experienced the efficiency gains in building and sharing workouts using Push Active, not to mention the ability to manage all of your clients’ communication and progress in one location.  We have heard that many of you have also been seeing the benefits your clients are experiencing with increased adherence to their plan, more access to your expertise and improved health and fitness outcomes.

With your busy schedule and multiple demands on your time, it may be hard bridge the topic of offering a new service to your clients.  Attached you will find a brochure we have created to help facilitate the conversation.  Our hope is that this brochure makes it easier for you to:

– Clearly communicate the value of your service to your clients
– Explains how they can get started
– Walks them through how to access their workouts

Share this brochure with your clients and invite them to engage with Push Active.

Client promotional collateral

Andrew Hooge, CSCS
Co-Founder and CEO
Push Active

Create and Share Workouts Faster

Product Update: 10/3/2013

This week, we released a number of features to help you create workouts more quickly.  Some of the most requested features were:

  • The ability to create reusable workout sections
  • Delete plans, copy and move workouts more easily
  • The ability to build a plan, then assign it to a client

These features are now available and we are excited for you to take them for a test drive.

We added many other subtle improvements in this release, but I want to expand a bit more about the features that deliver the most efficiency gains:

– Create a section template that you can insert into any workout.   If you want to reuse the same series of dynamic warm-up exercises (for example) for multiple workouts and clients, create a Section Template. We anticipate this feature to become a “go to” resource in your toolbox.

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– Copy multiple days.  You can now select days to copy to, using your entire plan calendar

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– New Workout Planner.  We streamlined our planner so you can more easily plan and view your clients’ workouts.

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Delete Plans: Trainers now have the ability to delete plans.

Assign a Client to a Plan: You can now create a plan first, then assign it to a client when it’s ready. 

We are very excited about these enhancements to Push Active and look forward to sharing more new features in the coming weeks. Please let us know if you have any questions.  We welcome your feedback, as you are key to helping us create a great product that makes managing your business easier.

Our mission is to help trainers do more of what they love while improving client outcomes and enhancing the credibility of our profession.

Creating a Corrective Exercise Strategy

Making the Most of our Functional Assessment Engine

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Value of a Functional Assessment

Functional assessments have been performed by physical therapists for over 40 years but it has not been until recently that personal trainers and strength coaches have taken advantage of them.  The value of assessing these core “exercises” is to reveal imbalances in the body that may need to be addressed with corrective work to help prepare for physical activity and improve performance in activities of daily living.

Most of the assessments take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour to perform.  To save you time we’ve created a list of commonly used functional screens and you can choose as many or as few as you like (although we recommend at least three to provide a more accurate assessment).  The only assessment  that is required is the  ”squat” as it arguably provides the best evaluation of functional ability.

 How to Create a Functional Assessment with Push Active

To create a functional assessment, use our simple form in your clients dashboard (You must add a client before you are able to create a functional assessment).  Once you’re on the assessment landing page, you will see exercises that you may have used in the past. Have your client perform the overhead squat and at least two additional assessments, to generate an aggregate score.

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Each assessment is scored either on a scale of 0 to 3 or as a simple pass or fail.  A 0 indicates severe limitations (for example extreme valgus or varus stress on the knee or excessive flexion at the trunk for the overhead squat exercise) and a 3 indicates no deficiency at all.  We don’t specify right or left side for our screen as we assume the lowest score for the assessment. That being said, we do offer a free text field beside each assessment for notes and we recommend if you see a significant difference between the two sides that you indicate that there.   For some assessments (like impingement) you will only check the if there is pain, and in that case, you may want to refer the client to a physician or physical therapist.

We aren’t going to get into great detail on how to score all the exercises. There are a number of different screens available and we provide you with the autonomy to make the best scoring choices based upon your knowledge and opinion.  If you do have questions or suggestions for additional assessments please feel free to provide us with feedback as we are constantly looking for new ways to improve your experience and your clients outcomes.

Push Active’s Exercise Recommendation Engine

Now that you have a record of your member’s functional screen you are able to  review it and reassess anytime.  This is where your job ends and the heavy lifting with our algorithm begins. Our algorithim filters the level of recommendation for each exercise (green=recommended, yellow=prescribe with caution, and red=not recommended) based on the functional screen of the client.  For example if you choose a challenging and functionally difficult movement like a barbell squat and your client has a lower overall score for a hip dominant assessment, the exercise will be coded in red, whereas if they had a high score for hip mobility, the exercise would be coded green.

If you’re creating a new training plan and you prescribe exercises that our system recognizes as a poor fit for that client, our system will indicate that by flagging the exercise  in red. The software  will also recommend other exercises that might be a better choice for the client.  Another advantage of our exercise filter is when you create a template and use it with multiple clients (saving hours of your time), the exercise filter will customize to the new client, indicating what exercises may need adjustment.  Regardless of our suggestions, it is up to your expertise and experience with the client to make the final decision on what exercises you prescribe. We consider this one of the great benefits of  Push Active,  we strive to help you be more efficient and improve outcomes but we understand each client is different and you are ultimately in full control of your fucntional asssessments, workout design and client prescriptions.

For more detail on our Functional Assessment feature you can watch a demo or feel free to connect with us.

Best Regards,
Andrew Hooge, CSCS
Chief Executive Officer
Push Active

The Science Behind Our Scoring System

How Push Active Uses Points to Define Workload

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About a decade ago I started asking myself “what is the easiest way to express the amount of ‘work’ completed in a specific exercise or workout that would make sense to the majority of my clients”? In other words how do I translate watts and joules into something meaningful to the general public?  Using points instead of scientific jargon made the most sense.  Most of my clients did not care that they produced 10,000 watts on the bike or 50,000 joules of work during a strength training workout.  That said it was important for me to understand and analyze how much total “work” they were completing as well as segmenting the volume and intensity of that work.

Why was this important to me?  If I knew how much “work” was being performed in a given session, and how “dense” the workout was, I could better plan and adjust my programs to help my clients improve their fitness.  However, the reality was I lacked the resources to quickly measure the impact of adding more challenging exercises to my clients program.

Scoring Objectives

The objective of our scoring system is to provide an easy way for coaches to understand and analyze the level of workout challenge they are providing to their clients.  By “scoring” workouts and substituting ‘workload’ for ‘points’, clients can better understand their progress in relation to previous workouts or phases in their training program.  By scoring each workout it also enables you to differentiate between workload and adherence to prescribed exercises in a workout.  For example, a client may only complete 50% of their workout because they are short on time but if they completed the exercises that require the most “work”, they would have a have performed over 50% of the overall point value of the workout.  In this scenario, a client could potentially have 50% adherence to their training plan but achieved 80% of the points.  This allows a coach to better communicate with the client on key aspects of their compliance to the prescribed training program. A golfer, for example, may be completing the bulk of the ‘work’ but they are skipping critical restoration or flexibility activities that assist in injury prevention.

Typical Methods for Measuring “Work” in Endurance Activities

The traditional method to measure workload for endurance activities involves complicated formulas and devices to determine watts (power) and joules (work).  A less sophisticated method is to use standard MET conversions for varying activities. This, however, only highlights one facet of a person’s fitness and doesn’t help one interpret the total workload or stress applied to the body.

Typical Methods for Measuring “Work” in Strength Exercises

For strength training, most coaches use a simplistic formula of multiplying sets x repetitions x load.  This doesn’t take into account the displacement or functional difficulty of the movement.  It assumes someone squatting 100 lbs. for 10 sets of 10 repetitions is the same “work” as someone performing a barbell shrug with 100 lbs. for 10 sets of 10 repetitions.  They both produce 10,000 lbs. of “work” but the barbell squat is over four times more functionally difficult and requires 2.5 times the displacement (as measured with a sophisticated accelerometer).  In short, the barbell squat requires significantly more work than the shrug.

How Push Active Measures “Work”

Here’s a quick look at how we took a bunch of complicated data and turned it into something simple and easy to understand.
Step 1: Spend Years Collecting Organizing and Analyzing Data

Step 2: Algorithm Driven Simplification to Convert “Work” into “Points”

To comprehend the difference in “work” for both endurance and strength activities, we need to first determine the displacement and functional difficulty for the exercise.  Second, we need to measure how the speed of the movement can create more or less work.  And third, we need to account for the person’s mass (weight) and calculate the percentage of mass lifted during an exercise.  For example, in the context of running, 100% of the person’s mass is being moved at a specific pace.  However, what if we don’t have the pace or speed and could instead use RPE? At Push Active, we created an algorithm, using standard formulas and then normalized the data across various endurance exercises to estimate the “work” performed using RPE or “zones” as opposed to speed.

To calculate total work for strength exercises, we need to account for the height and weight of the individual, the general displacement of the exercise and load lifted.  When updating this information in Push Active ,  is important to enter the client’s height and weight in the “profile” section so we “work” or what we call “points” can be calculated accurately.

We’re in Beta

If you have further questions or would like more information regarding our scoring system, feel free to drop me a line.  Understand there will be nuances and our algorithm is frequently being improved as we are still in beta.  We are focused on developing the best tool to allow you and your clients to better understand their progress and improve outcomes

Best Regards,

Andrew Hooge, CSCS
Chief Executive Officer

Push Active

andrewhooge@pushactive.com