Why do so many Australian Health Clubs want to be the Orange Fish?


With a plethora of coffee shops and cafes in any given city it is always amazing that some upstarts with a whacky concept comes along and enters a market that ostensibly looks fully catered for.

These whacky individualists then open a Nuevo grungy coffee shop asking patrons to sit on milk crates on the street and serve a brand of coffee no one has heard of before and make a stack of dollars and go from strength to strength every month in popularity and prosperity.

Why is it in the insane world of IT that someone skilled in writing code dares to offer the online community an app that challenges the dominance of Apple, Microsoft or Facebook?

The answer, I believe, is that they want to be “blue fish”. They want to stand out in the crowd, they want to be known for innovation, creativity and being a little different. They wear that badge of “difference” with honour.

It is interesting to look at how a company like Starbucks started out with a clever and different idea and then the “ordinariness” of their chain of sameness brought their undoing here in Australia.

This leads me to ponder on the fitness industry and ask why so many owners and managers just want to “fit in” to an expected norm and not be excited about training their own team members.

The age-old chestnut we hear all the time is: “Oh I can’t do that in my gym because no one else is doing it.” Or “We have to wait until an instructor walks through our doors already trained in that program before we can put it on our timetable.”

This is an orange fish response, that is, take the course of action with the least amount of challenges. Blend in, don’t make any statements, steady as she goes, don’t rock the boat.

If that was a successful business motto, then you can bet your cotton socks that someone like Richard Branson would never have risen to become one of the world’s greatest business entrepreneurs and status quo challengers.

Taking on board a select group of people that you have interviewed and you believe have that attitude of gratitude to be on your team and providing them with training, mentorship and ongoing support can mean you will have a fitness business that is a “blue fish” operation.

Your club will stand out because you want to stand out. Because you want people to walk in your club’s doors and say, “hey this looks and feels different”. And most importantly the new member walks up to you and says: “Wow your instructors are amazing. What are you feeding them? They are so helpful, innovative and friendly.”

Clubs around Australia who have a BTS Club Trainer walking the talk are part of that “blue fish” movement. I have seen so many awesome new instructors who have been trained “in house” by Club Trainers who coach to the needs of their clubs and the individuals in front of them.

The new instructors fully embrace the club culture; they respect the mentor that has given of their time and expertise to help them on their fitness journey. They are also fully engaged with the members of the club. They want to help the people they once shared the floor with and have some incredible success stories of losing weight and finding new excitement in their lives and want to share that passion with their peers.

The BTS Club Trainer program is designed to help club owners and managers create a “blue fish” business. A fitness business that stands out for all the right reasons.

All a club needs is one experienced team member who wants to take their fitness careers to another level. Someone who has reached that stage in their careers where it is not “all about me”.

To be a great coach, to be an inspirational mentor, you simply have to follow the lead of one the 20th century’s greatest leaders, Mahatma Ghandi:

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Be bold and be a Blue Fish.

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