Best Practices Fit to Give Back: How Doing Good Can Go Beyond Your Clients

Trainerize trainer Heath Marshall on giving back after Hurricane Harvey

As a fitness business owner—whether you’re just getting started or have been at it for a while—the idea of “giving back” might not have crossed your mind. And that’s okay! You have many things to consider and plan out when starting your own entrepreneurship and it can take lots of work to continue to grow your business and build on what you may have already established. But for me, giving back has always been part of my vision for success and an important part of how I do business.

When I began my journey as a personal trainer, the thought of giving back was already a staple in my plan, and for me, it went beyond just helping individuals with their health and wellness. It wasn’t until August 2017; however, that the moment came for me to live up to my goal of making charity and social responsibility part of my business.

Inspired to Act

Hurricane Harvey was wreaking havoc in Texas, causing over $120 billion in damage, leaving many Americans without a home, and worst of all, resulting in a number of casualties. The media was showing individuals being flown or bused down to Texas in an effort to help the community. Like those selfless individuals and so many others out there, I too wanted to help but wasn’t able to leave New York. I thought, “What can I do!?” and racked my brain for a way that I could make a difference from 1500 miles away. That’s when the idea for a fundraiser came to me.

 

I quickly took my idea to the manager at a gym where I was working at the time. and to my surprise and delight, he was quickly on board. So quickly in fact that he told me to have all the plans to launch it by Monday and be ready for the event by Saturday. Here it was a Thursday, and I had never done anything like this before! So many questions ran through my head: how do I even start a fundraiser? Who do I contact? How do I promote this? WHO THE HECK DO I SEND THE PROCEEDS TO?!?! It was time for me to put my money where my mouth was. It was on.

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Turning an Idea into Reality

You can’t be driven away by the thoughts of doubt or questions of “how am I going to get from point A to point B?” When faced with a challenge or the great unknown, the best thing you can do is just make it happen. So, fueled by the unfortunate events caused by the hurricane, I realized I had a platform to do something and set to work creating a way to help others and—at the same time—bring my own community together.

 

Time to get this fundraiser going!!! #teamfit #hurricanerelief/a>

A post shared by Heath Marshall (@ironjunkiefitness) on

The plan was simple: with the help of Aaron and Tommy, two other trainers at TeamFit, we would raise money for the hurricane relief efforts by performing reps of specific exercises in exchange for a monetary donation from both gym members and non-members. To make things extra interesting, we made sure that the exercises chosen were not only fun to watch but for us to complete. We proposed that a $1 donation would buy 135-lb deadlifts, Burpees, Push-ups, Tire Flips, or last but not least 1 minute on the Jacobs Ladder. I called it “Punish A Coach – For Hurricane Relief” and set a goal of raising $500.

I wanted the fundraiser to grab the public’s attention and that’s exactly what it did! I can’t express enough how excited our clients were to be able to make us—the coaches who had previously put them through their paces—do work. It was payback time in their eyes!

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Using Our Platform for Good

By the end of the fundraiser, I’d spent 86 minutes straight on the Jacobs Ladder, which burned 1700 kcals, and left me absolutely cooked—not to mention all the other exercises I had to complete! But it was absolutely worth it. When it was all said and done, through the generosity of our clients and members of the community, we’d raised $1000 and doubled our original donation goal.

By taking some time out of our usual schedules, we accomplished a lot that day. Not only were we able to do something to help the thousands of people in need, but we were also able to bring our community together and show the public that we weren’t just a gym looking for new members to add to our revenue—we were connected to and invested in something bigger than just us, and in doing that we had fun and left a lasting impression on everyone who supported us.

It’s really things like this that can make you stand out as a business and make people remember you, talk about you, even recommend you. It doesn’t matter if you’re a big club, small gym, or an independent fitness professional.

Do you have to wait for a natural disaster to happen before you step up and give back to your community? Of course not! You yourself can look for events and causes locally or regionally year-round. There are plenty of organizations in need. But whichever causes you decide to support, just remember: don’t do it for self-gain, do it because you have this amazing platform to do more than your average joe. Be creative; be aggressive in promoting the event; be real!

And each time you do something, learn from it and use those lessons to do it again—but better! If I could have changed one thing about the Punish a Coach fundraiser, it would have been to reach out to local businesses to collaborate with us and possibly sponsor the event—something I’ve since done for other challenges or events I’ve run. The more you can network, the more people you can reach, the more people you reach, the more your name/company will become part of a conversation, and the more impact you can make on the world around you.

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