Mindset for a Healthy Reopening

limitless opening
Terry Patryluk

Terry Patryluk

The Gym Profits Group

Now that some clubs across the country have opened, and others are getting ready to do so, there are so many things that need to be put into place to ensure you open safely, stay safe and become profitable again, that it may seem overwhelming, especially if your club is on the brink of not making it. This of course will put tremendous pressure on gym owners and their management teams. Added to that pressure is the possibility that some who are returning to work after months of restricted behavior and fear of what the future holds, may be experiencing a certain amount of uncertainty, anxiety, or even depression. All of these factors of course can have a negative effect on the attitude employers and employees need to bring to work each day, to help their company recover. A fearful, defeatist, or generally negative attitude held by those responsible to improve things, can easily result in less focus or attention to detail to do so.

The reference to attitude here does not only mean having a good attitude about things in general, which of course is important at any time. What I am also talking about is having the necessary frame of mind to tackle significant challenges during tough times, whether they were caused by something unavoidable like the COVID-19 Pandemic, or the daily stresses involved in ensuring one is running a good and profitable business. For future reference, let’s call this one’s business attitude.

Hopefully, one day COVID-19 concerns will be far behind us, and we will return to as normal a situation as possible, but all things being equal, those clubs with employees and employers who have the best attitudes will have a much greater chance of survival than those who do not. 

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company...”

Some Attitude Warning Signs

In some cases, many employers or employees may not even be aware that their mindset has become an issue, so do not feel the need for self-assessment. In the best of times, taking a true self-assessment of one’s actions is not that common, but it becomes even more crucial to do so during tough times, when so much is riding on getting things done, and getting them done right.

Here are some indicators that can identify when someone’s business attitude is not where it needs to be, causing them to become a part of the problem, instead of the solution:


  • Consistently not getting things done on one’s daily list of priorities.
  • Not having a daily list of priorities to begin with.
  • Not following an important project through to completion.
  • Dealing with multiple projects at once, leaving one project for another, then another, finishing few of them along the way. 
  • Spending more time talking about problems than addressing possible solutions.
  • Continuing the status quo in certain areas when all the signs show a course of action needs to take place.
  • Delegating important personal tasks to others without management oversight. 
  • Becoming reactive to many issues instead of proactive.
  • Assuming that once someone is instructed on what to do, that they know how to go about doing it.
  • Not checking on the success of processes you have implemented yourself.


As a club owner or manager, do you recognize the need to improve on any of these issues personally? Or, do you know someone on your team who would have some of the above challenges whether this was noticed during, or even before the pandemic? If so, and you believe they are a valuable employee, this could be a sign that they could be feeling unsafe, or overwhelmed, and are now just going through the motions. If safety is the cause, do what needs to be done to make sure the work environment is safe as it needs to be in present times. A great source for club safety is the FICDN (Fitness Industry Council of Canada) who have been a huge support to gym owners across the country in this regard).


As some gyms will be bringing back less employees for the next while, and fewer employees will be doing more, it would definitely be good to help them structure their day more effectively. There is also proven value in overwhelmed workers taking five-minute breaks when needed so they can regroup and return to their job more energized and more effective.


Until they get back on track, have daily check in meetings to ensure things are getting done to your expectations. In my experience helping clubs turn around, I have found too often that the first meeting a boss has is the one after the problem has occurred, not the one that would have been best to happen earlier to prevent a problem from happening, or to prevent one from getting worse. 

"If your thinking is focused on what the future holds — whether in a few minutes or several years down the road — it may make you more susceptible to becoming overwhelmed. Think about one moment, task, and experience at a time, in the present moment, to help remove the possibility of uncontrollable thoughts that may or may not come about."

The Joy of a Rocky Road

Having recruited, hired and trained many management personnel in my lengthy career at a fitness club chain with 38 locations, there is one thing, which I refer to in my book, that I observed that was common among the best of them. These people all had great attitudes in general and great attitudes when it came to dealing with significant challenges. In some cases, the greater the challenge, the more they enjoyed the opportunity to resolve it. I rarely recall (if ever) that any of them came up to me saying, “We have a problem!” Instead, their mindsets were so focused on the solution, that they would identify the issue to me and already have some ideas in place to correct it.

This mindset can be passed on to employees when leaders take this approach themselves. If employees are encouraged and supported while tackling challenges, they are much less likely to be afraid of failing and more likely to embrace challenges as just a normal part of one’s business day. 

"Talk to any successful entrepreneur, or any professional with a positive attitude, and you'll find one key trait in common: …Rather than seeing problems as burdensome forces of opposition, they see problems as opportunities--opportunities to learn, grow, improve, or adjust in a way that leaves them better off than before the problem existed."


Attitude Affects Revenue

An example of a harmful business attitude pertaining to the fitness industry would be the many clubs during the COVID-19 shutdown who did not see the value in setting up an online personal training program because of all the free workout offerings on YouTube. Other gym owners have looked at it another way, so invested time providing members with their own free club workouts, which has led to bumping them up to more effective paid online programs as they stay in touch with them on a weekly basis. This outreach also kept members communicating with their club, so they were less likely to join another club. 


And when things do get back to normal and members start to do more personal training at their clubs, those who have a virtual training program in place will now be able to attract new clients who would not typically join a fitness facility. 

The difference between these two examples was their business attitude. One looks at the possibilities, the other looks at the obstacles. (Check out Trainer Plus on how to set up a virtual training program for your club).

reopening opportunities
Problems are a Chance to Grow


Even in normal times, many businesses suffered because the decision makers wouldn’t alter their course due to the uncertainty of starting something new that they were unfamiliar with. Instead they continued doing business at a steadily declining rate, sticking to what they know, and hoping for the best instead of intelligently modifying the course based on the challenges at hand, even when they are not one hundred percent sure of the end result. The attitude of fear complacency was their demise here, not a lack of smarts.


Because of the short and midterm uncertainty of the pandemic, standing back is no longer an option for those looking to thrive again. If new revenue streams are put into place at your facility, this can make up for a reduction in present and future membership enrollments. Should business come back like it was before, that’s great!  Now you have even more ways of bringing in additional income. Not every new idea will work out, but those with the right attitude for their business will always be engaged and always willing to try new things.


An example in the sports world of sticking to the status quo, when a change is needed, would be a golfer who is good enough to compete and who always makes the cut, yet never wins or takes home any prize money. He knows that he needs to change his stroke, but doesn’t because he is afraid that he will hurt his stroke and lose his ability to compete altogether. At very best he may spend his entire career languishing in mediocrity, not ever realizing his full potential. Every club whose doors are open now, or who are planning to open when given the green light still has that opportunity to do so. 


In addition to the online personal training and corporate programs already mentioned, following is a list of potential revenue streams that can help you realize your full potential in this new reality. If you have some of these in place already, then you are ahead of the curve. If not, it only involves taking the first step to get started. Doing something every day towards this goal will build the momentum needed to achieve a positive result.  Give others on your team the opportunity to help. More than one person working towards a common goal can be very powerful, as you can hold each accountable.


Club Revenue Streams: Health supplements, fitness apparel, workshops, events, nutritional programs, renting out presently non used cardio equipment, rent out additional space to health-related services such as physiotherapists, massage therapists, etc. 


To look into how to get more out of a 5 minute break go to: https://www.mequilibrium.com/resources/how-to-get-more-out-of-a-5-minute-break/

Club Revenue Streams: Health supplements, fitness apparel, workshops, events, nutritional programs, renting out presently non used cardio equipment, rent out additional space to health-related services such as physiotherapists, massage therapists, etc. 


Terry Patryluk was Vice President of Sales for one of Canada’s largest fitness club chains for 15 years, until starting his own company The Gym Profits Group, in 2012 . He has been instrumental in helping gyms owners throughout Ontario develop and implement new revenue streams and improve on existing ones. He specializes in leadership and sales training and implementing club corporate programs and personal training programs.  He can be reached at 647-300-3997.

Much more about Terry can be seen on LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/in/terry-patryluk-25450b65/


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