A New Vision for Fitness

Vision Personal Training

In fact, he found that the way in which typical gyms operate can actually produce “a real barrier” to reaching desired fitness results. His answer is a more personalised approach to weight loss that puts clients – and results – first.

Mr Simmons believes that the fundamental problem lies in the fact that gyms earn a profit simply by having as many members as possible at all times. “In some models it’s just a sales machine,” he insists. Furthermore, he says that this business model depends on members not showing up to exercise. “If you’ve got all these people attending every week, where are they going to fit? That’s my biggest issue with some [gyms]. They hope that people aren’t going to be regular exercisers and actually use [the gym].” Mr Simmons does admit that this approach can work well for some members. “If you are a regular exerciser, then a gym will be suitable. If you’re motivated to train in a gym, you will get great variety and value.”

The problem, of course, is that many people aren’t motivated enough to get results on their own. That is where Vision Personal Training comes in. “At Vision, we flip [that business model] on its head completely. If you do personal training at our studio, you can then also come and use the studio by yourself. Whereas with a gym, if you want personal training you can only have it after you become a member. We went the opposite way. Become a personal training client and only personal training clients can use the studio at other times on their own.”

By using an innovative business model, Vision Personal Training can turn a profit with far fewer members than needed by a traditional gym. “With our business model, we have about 200 active clients in each studio, whereas in order for a gym to survive, they need at least 1,000 -2,000 [members] usually,” Mr Simmons says. By catering to fewer clients instead of pushing memberships, Vision studios can offer more personalised experience than the traditional gym. “We are a small, friendly studio where everyone knows your name,” he explains. “When people walk in the front door, all the trainers say hello to them by name. In fact, most of the trainers will not only know the members but all about their family too. You feel like you are part of the Vision family and not simply a number.”

In fact, if a client doesn’t show up for training the team notices and their trainer calls them to make sure they are ok. “It’s a massive difference with what we do with our contract and our commitment to our clients to what generally happens with a contract in the gym,” Mr Simmons says. “Our trainers get paid based on the sessions that they do with a client and are so motivated to see them succeed. They know that getting results for the client makes them want to keep doing what they are doing and they are rewarded not only with their pay but with the tremendous joy clients have achieving what they thought was unachievable on a daily basis.”

Vision’s welcoming, personalised approach helps clients feel comfortable and supported, but more importantly, it leads to results. “And it is all about the results,” Mr Simmons insists. “The big gyms, they provide a facility, whereas we guarantee results or we give our clients their money back.”

To get these results, the team relies on the Experience Program. The philosophy utilises four important points: emotion, education, eating and exercise. “It’s a really holistic approach,” Mr Simmons remarks. “We know that eating is more important to get a result than exercise is, so we focus a lot on ensuring that people are eating well. But more important than that is actually understanding the emotions behind why they eat and why they don’t train.” That is why emotion is listed first in the Experience Program. “It’s about our ability to figure out what it is that is actually causing someone to overeat and help them to change their lifestyle,” Mr Simmons adds.

The company hires top notch talent to ensure that every client gets results from the Experience Program. Credentials and experience are important to consider when hiring staff, but other assets such as dedication, passion and compassion are even more valuable. Once hired, every personal trainer undergoes a rigorous training program before working with clients. “They have to understand the Vision way,” Mr Simmons explains.

The training involves a nine week program, during which new employees go through the same fitness and diet regimen that clients undertake. “We actually train our trainers like their clients so they actually get a client experience to understand what it is like from a client’s point of view… They will never be able to understand what it is like from a client’s perspective unless they have done it themselves,” explains Mr. Simmons. Trainers also experience firsthand the program results, leading to firm belief in the program and the components of the Experience Program. “They will have even greater belief and become more passionate about it if they achieve a result themselves,” Mr Simmons explains. “If they see the program works for them, they will [know that] this program works for clients.”

To further ensure that clients get the results they are looking for, the company has launched a new online system that offers 24/7 support. Club Vision provides personalised training programs as well as nutritional guidelines, meal plans, and cooking demonstrations. The concept began with Fat Loss Take Control, a book written by Mr Simmons in 2001 with well-researched, detailed nutritional information. Mr Simmons says that that he wrote the book because “there were no books on the marketplace at the time that actually gave you the balance of carbohydrate, protein, and fat in each food.” This information is critical, he says, because eating well “is more about macronutrient balance rather than total energy… You can say to someone ‘have 2,000 calories,’ but if all of those calories come from fat, those are 2,000 bad calories. So calorie counting is ridiculous.” Unfortunately, the book required constant revisions to keep up with the rapidly changing food industry. To remain current, the company created an electronic database of the macronutrients in over 20,000 different foods that is always kept up to date. The concept quickly expanded into a comprehensive, personalised support system that essentially brings a Vision studio into each client’s home.

Club Vision has proven so successful that the team will be opening the resource to people around the globe this month. “We want more people to understand how to get great results,” Mr Simmons says. “External users will be able to fill out our questionnaires, work out their body type, their own training plan, work out whatever they need to change – and go through that process [just like] we do in the studio.” The information will also be available as an app for Android and iPhone devices so that users can conveniently track their exercise plans and eating strategies while on the go.

Vision Personal Training will be shortly converting to iPads to provide better support for clients and trainers. The technology ensures that trainers follow each client’s individualised program accurately and that they are consistently working toward goals. Using iPads in the studio will make it possible for clients to access sessions from home, so they can stay on top of their program and easily measure improvements.

The success of the Vision business model is evident by its strong growth. The company has grown from six to 46 studios over the past six years despite a rocky economy and strong competition, particularly from much bigger 24-hour gyms. Mr Simmons says that a lot of people have been asking if he feels threatened by these trendy new facilities. His answer is always, and unequivocally, no. “I’m not going to worry about the competition,” he insists.

The secret to success, he says, is to simply “follow what you morally know is right regardless of what the industry is doing. We are just going to stay true to what we want to do – and that is to continue to transform the lives of our community through education, motivation and inspiration, and get amazing results for our clients whilst continually evolving the way we do this.”

Making Sense of Management

Management is the art, or science, of getting things done through people. Sounds fairly straightforward – except for the fact that people are not robots waiting to do our bidding. People have their own minds, motivations, and goals. So how do managers keep operations – and the people behind them – running as planned?

June 19, 2018, 8:10 PM AEST