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Since I entered the online health and fitness industry in 2014 to now, the answer to this question in the broadest sense has been yes and no.
I will ask my favorite question and the answer is undeniable.
If the answer is yes, the online health and fitness industry is over saturated, then should you not coach? We should never add any new coaches?
I hope you see that is obviously absurd. Of course there is room for you, your perspective and your passions. You will have a slightly different approach than a coach who agrees with you on all levels. There is still room for you.
So if we established that the fitness industry does have a shit load of coaches in it, then how do you navigate that as to stand out from all the noise as some people would say. That’s the goal of today’s episode.
Health and fitness is also not limited to just a writing workout programs and teaching people how to count macros. Health and fitness spans nearly anything having to do with the human body and or habit building and behavior change. That’s doctors, in chiropractic, physical therapy, pelvic floor health, neurological therapy, and your wider scale fitness trainers. It spans kettlebell specialists, yoga instructors, weightlifting coaches, running coaches. It all falls under health and fitness. Is every single one of those areas saturated, probably not. But as a whole, yes I do believe that the industry is saturated. But I don’t believe that it’s saturated with high-quality professionals.
This is why I think niching down, and establishing your messaging and brand is so important. Because we’re all talking about health and fitness to some extent. What is going to set you apart from other coaches is your ability to communicate, and your messaging.
If you haven’t yet downloaded my free Ideal Client Avatar Creator be sure to do so. This is a great start if you have no idea who you are speaking to online. If you have feelings like you don’t know what to post, or you have trouble coming up with content. Understanding your ideal client can help mitigate some of that.
Outside of your ideal client, your messaging also comes down to your own passions what you want to speak about or create contact around. You truly do not need to create contact that you don’t want to create. In fact I encourage you to steer away from that.
This is also where I think having experience in person can help refine your gifts and passions. What comes easy to you that doesn’t come easy to someone else. This will likely be a part of your messaging and your niche.
Get my Know Your Niche Content Guide here
For instance I was always very good at modifying on the spot, and correcting form. I always really enjoyed program design and I knew that that didn’t come easily to most of my colleagues. So after 2 1/2 years of frolicking a bit aimlessly through the online world of health and fitness, I started to talk about what I wanted to talk about. And that brought about who my ideal client was pretty organically.
I just want to make clear that those two things need to be married and I believe that that’s what makes up your niche. It’s a combination of your ideal client and your passions and area of focus. It can be a bit of a which came first? The chicken or the egg when we are talking about your messaging and your ideal client. Spending some time honing in on both of those will undoubtedly help you gain clarity about your place in this industry.
And ideally that leads to more niched content. Which attracts more of your ideal clients and people who interact with your content.
So let’s do a few little exercises. Sometimes in identifying what we are about, it can be helpful to clearly define what we’re not about. What we don’t want to talk about, what is not of interest to us or our ideal client.
For instance maybe my ideal client is interested in macros. I have literally 0% interest in helping people with that. So I don’t do it and I refer out to Working Against Gravity for my clients if they are interested in nutrition services. You don’t have to offer some thing just because Sally offers something. But you do still need to be on your client’s team and ideally have a network or suggestions if they do want some thing that you don’t offer. That’s just good business either way.
So make a list of all the things within the industry or even within your area of focus that you don’t want to offer, and or create content about. You don’t want it to be a part of your brand or your messaging. Not because it’s a bad thing necessarily but because it is not of interest to you. I invite you to consider it to not be a bad thing. When we run into things that we strongly disagree with, that can actually become a part of our messaging. For instance I know several coaches who talk about how there can be repercussions to certain fitness or health practices. I have no issue with that. I’ve talked about the over sexualization of the fitness industry before because it’s something that I’m passionate about. I talk about it less and less because quite frankly I no longer see a need to verbalize that. It worked via just showing up how I do online for years before I verbalized it. And at this point that’s kind of what I’ve gone back to. I don’t feel it needs to take up space on my feed for the majority of my audience. That was just some personal refining I chose to do with my content.
So make that list of things that you are not about and or do not care to have within your messaging that maybe other people have within your area of focus.
Then I want you to list out topics that you feel very passionately about within your area of focus. Things that you enjoy, and or you think are good at. Ideally you have had feedback from clients, friends, colleagues. What are you generally interested in within the health and fitness industry. Where do you want to help people the most. Make a list of these topics.
And then I want you to write out 2 to 3 brand stories. You might not know what these are yet, but they do exist. I assure you. I felt like I didn’t have a story for a long time. But I did. I just didn’t realize that the stories or what ultimately helped build my brand.
Two of them on the fitness side were my back injury and my rehab process in that. It led me to create Movement 101, as well as a complete revamp of Built by Annie. It also led to the creation of my Big Lift Audit Testimonies essentially that injury and my natural passion for movement analysis led me to let that be my focus. It’s not sexy, it’s not what was on Instagram seven years ago. But it is what ultimately led to the success of my brand.
The other one is more so on the programming side which as I mentioned is another passion of mine. I was my own guinea pig for over 10 years when it came to training. I’ve done a lot of freaking strength and hypertrophy programs. I have the first-hand experience. I was never the strongest, or had the most muscle mass, but I do have quite a bit of first-hand experience with programming and doing those programs myself. I don’t think that has to happen for you to be good at programming. But it allowed me to create what is Built by Annie, and now I Pure PROgramming course.
Wanting to do all the things within health and fitness is part of my brain story. Wanting to gain strength and put on muscle and increase mobility and increase work capacity have open my goals.
Essentially I’m asking why you do what you do the way that you do it?
Spend some time journaling about your philosophy within health and fitness. It’s OK if you don’t have crystal clear stories yet. But I think that if you do want to stand out in an industry that I do consider to be saturated, leveraging your own story is going to be part of that. Because no one else has that. Literally no one. But people will relate to the story on some level. And that will set you apart.
When I entered the health and fitness space I believed that I had to focus on weight loss, use before and after pictures, and have some big transformation story. But I didn’t. I’ve always been active, I’ve never had to lose weight. My goal has always been to put on more muscle mass. That doesn’t mean I’m on qualified to be a fitness coach. I can acknowledge those things when working with clients. I can still have compassion and sympathy and to be honest about never having experience some of those things. But I also never wanted to focus on weight loss. Because my passion has been getting people to lift weights. Lift weights well, and enjoy it.
I don’t think weight loss is a bad thing at all. I think that there are real health implications that come with both obesity and lacking muscle mass. It’s just never some thing I wanted to focus on. I only mentioned these personal experiences because I hope to maybe paint a picture of how important it is to know yourself, your own passions, and who you want to help in order to establish your spot in this industry.
The other thing I’ll say is create content for a long time and you’ll find out. You will naturally refine this and feel more comfortable through feedback and content and within your programs. Through experience.
Please don’t let the idea of this industry being saturated stop you from sharing whatever it is you have to share. Because it is valuable and it is needed, and someone will likely relate to you over someone else. So let’s not strip them of that opportunity.
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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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