Whipping business sense into shape

When Cabel McElderry was trying to establish himself as a local personal trainer a decade ago, he faced an uphill struggle.

When Cabel McElderry was trying to establish himself as a local personal trainer a decade ago, he faced an uphill struggle.

“Here in Red Deer there was no market for personal training,” remembers McElderry, who is now an owner of One-to-1 Fitness. “There were a couple of people who called themselves trainers, but nobody really thought of personal training as a serious profession.”

The situation has improved, with a growing number of people assuming responsibility for their health and fitness.

But it’s still a tough industry to break into.

The certification process that personal trainers undergo may give them the knowledge and tools they need to help clients. But it doesn’t really teach them how to run a successful business, said McElderry.

“To my knowledge, there is next to nothing — if anything — in Canada,” he said of business education programs for existing and aspiring personal trainers.

McElderry hopes to change this, beginning next weekend in Calgary. He’s joined forces with Andrea Thatcher, president of Bodysense Wellness and an instructor and examiner for certification body Can-Fit-Pro; and Fred Sarkari, a human behavior expert and bestselling author who has conducted workshops for the likes of Microsoft, Coca-Cola and Home Depot.

The trio will share their expertise on a variety of topics that could help personal trainers surpass the hurdle of building a successful business.

Entitled The Business Building Weekend for Fitness Professionals, the Sept. 12 and 13 seminar will cover such topics as connecting with clients and developing relationships, building a referral base, marketing, and creating a business plan.

“With me it’s the how-to marketing side,” said McElderry.

Participants will receive credits toward maintaining their professional designations, said McElderry. And the organizers’ hope is that the seminar content will be incorporated into Can-Fit-Pro’s certification training.

“We’re already tentatively planning an Edmonton conference in February of 2010.”

To register, visit www.cabelmcelderry.com, with a discount available by entering the coupon code “last chance.”

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com