Building A Business During Winter

Jun 23, 2016 | by AIF

You’re not alone if your personal training business has fewer general enquiries and a drop in attendance during winter.

But, there are ways to limit the effects and, in fact, build your outdoor PT business, even when your members’ motivation levels wane during the colder months.

We ask Step into Life’s founder and director Larry Cohen for an insight into the trends he notices and the successful business strategies his franchisees’ use during winter.


Anyone who knows small business’ will tell you every industry has peak and off peak periods. But the key to success is maintaining a steady and consistent marketing and promotion presence. Make sure you know the benefits of training in winter, and take a strategic approach when dealing with new or potential clients versus existing clients.

Here’s how:

  • New clients: Explain what the benefits of exercising outdoors in the winter months really are. For example, you can burn up to 30 per cent more calories when exercising outdoors during winter as opposed to indoors. This is because the body burns more fuel to stay warm. Your message needs to be educational to help these clients overcome any obstacles they might have to using your services during winter.
  •  Existing clients: Your already very high care factor should be raised in the winter months to keep your long-time members motivated. Remember, don’t limit your communication with clients to just their training sessions. Try to surprise them with a text or email, or send them a ‘well done’ card in the mail to reward them for being a client of yours.


Ideas for a retention program you may want to run might include bonus educational sessions about topics like:

  •  Fitness goal setting;
  •  Nutrition;
  •  Understanding the benefits of cardio workouts; and
  •  What is resistance training.


The same advertising methods apply all year round. For personal trainers in the outdoor space, it’s important to have visible car signage and portable items such as a tear drop banner. A constant marketing presence means that your brand and offering will be placed on the ‘mind-shelf’ of your potential customers. This means when they come to making a buying decision, they will think of you first.


There’s no doubt wet weather can pose some challenges for outdoor PTs. And, some sessions may need to be modified depending on the conditions. Always assess any safety concerns as a result of working on a wet surface. For example, high intensity cardio segments such as sprints may need to be limited due to the risk of slipping. Instead, replace these with something like step ups. Remember, your members will be more uncomfortable than usual, so put extra effort into boosting their motivation with encouragement. A simple text message reminder to bring a dry layer to put on after the session can make a big difference.

Photo credit: Step into Life West Pennant Hills



The Australian Institute of Fitness
The Australian Institute of Fitness (AIF) is the largest and longest established fitness training organisation in Australia, with dynamic training methods and expert course coaches nationwide - spanning fitness, massage and nutrition. The AIF qualifies more fitness professionals than any other provider in Australia, as well as offering a broad range of continuing education courses (CEC), upskilling resources and partnership programs for existing industry.

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Disclaimer: Where Certificate III in Fitness, Cert III/Cert 3, or Fitness Coach is mentioned, it refers to SIS30321 Certificate III in Fitness. Where Certificate IV in Fitness, Cert IV/Cert 4, or Personal Trainer is mentioned, it refers to SIS40221 Certificate IV in Fitness. Where Master Trainer Program™ is mentioned, it refers to Fitness Essentials and SIS40221 Certificate IV in Fitness. Where Master Trainer Plus+ Program™ is mentioned, it refers to SIS30321 Certificate III in Fitness and SIS40221 Certificate IV in Fitness. Where Certificate IV in Massage or Cert IV/Cert 4 is mentioned, it refers to HLT42021 Certificate IV in Massage Therapy. Where Diploma of Remedial Massage is mentioned, it refers to HLT52021 Diploma of Remedial Massage.