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Nurses already working in fitness

Hi Fitness Nurses,

I just received an e-mail from a fitness nurse who owns her own studio.  She totally understands the need to call herself a ‘fitness nurse’ but is concerned about this name change and the perception from her current customers/clients who know her as a personal trainer or group exercise instructor.  Also she is attracting ‘healthy people’ to her studio and not ‘unhealthy’ people  who I suggest you seek out as a fitness nurse.  I know I have been saying for a long time now that you have to call yourself a fitness nurse; but I never suggested that you get rid of current clients and force them to call you fitness nurse. You have to start where you are.  Some nurses want to be a fitnessnurse and have never worked in the fitness profession. (I would still make all the written changes in your marketing and at some point you have to call yourself 
one or the other to avoid confusion)

For less inflammation, we now offer coconut milk; inflammatory, processed soy milk is no longer available.

Changing the menu

If you owned a restaurant and wanted to change the menu; because you want to start moving in another direction, because you want to make more money, work less hours and get to a new section of customers who really would love your food, if you caught their attention… you may lose a few customers during that change.  But the ones who love your service, your atmosphere, the ‘taste’ of your food, would hang in there, no matter what you changed on the menu.  You’re not going from Southern cooking to Italian cooking.  You’re just changing some items on the menu.  For example, instead of doing fitness assessments in the future; do fitness nursing assessments.  Instead of or in addition to a offering large group fitness class to 20 people; offer small group with a specific problem in mind, and yes…charge more.  People will pay more if it’s a solution to their specific problem.  Offer a fitness challenge for members who are at risk for osteoporosis or who has high blood pressure or pre-diabetes.  The outcomes measured are better lab numbers, feeling better; not so much weight loss (but maybe).  That is priceless.  Take a survey on what’s keeping them up at night about their health; what are they worried about?

Not getting fitness nursing clients?

Do NOT give up what is making you money right now.  BUT… if you are at a glass ceiling working as a personal trainer and/or teaching 10-12 group exercise classes a week, (which is what I used to do; group exercise instructors typically look like hell.  No rest.  Body injuries. Grab ‘n go food) and want to become known as a fitness nursing expert, you have to start marketing in a way that targets what is bothering people now, not just weight loss.  (ie, taking medication, trick knee, food cravings, osteoporosis, low HDL/high triglycerides, worried about getting cancer or another disease, etc.)  Remember tell people what their transformation will be when they work with you; not who you are.  This is why I say that fitness nursing may be a challenge in a “traditional gym”, studio or fitness center (where the primary result is image, image, image)  So, what’s next, once they get that image they worked so hard for?  Unsustainability? – Are they really healthier mentally and physically? Or is there more weight gain later, possible injury, neuroses like cardio junkies developing?  So, once you know who you want to help and how you want to help them; you have to ‘qualify’ them.  This does mean saying ‘no’ to people who don’t fit your transformation offer.   If you just take everybody and anybody to pay your bills, these people will take you away from the people who really need to work with you.  I know I’ve been there.  I hated every minute of working with these energy zappers and time wasters.  They are not loyal to you and they expect the most from you and want to pay the least right before bathing suit season (at the Jersey Shore, we have bathing suit season)You’re turning into a rep-counter.  I suspect you nurses, who are working as trainers in a gym now, may be feeling this way.

Remember the “courage” part I mentioned?  You have to be confident too.  If you are not confident in being a fitness nurse, you need to find out why.  I sometimes feel like I am single-handedly trying to find money-making venues for fitness nurses.  I have to educate other nurses, other healthcare professionals and the public.  So do you. 

With this physician who I am working, I’ve had to tell him 7 or 8 times what I’m going to do.  Patience.  I thought of all of you when he just suggested I do another information session, I’ve alreay done 2 and one more this Thursday.  He wants me to do it when I’m already scheduled to begin my group sessions at his office!   
Deep Breathe.  Think about if Ican pull this off… I can easily have 6-8 clients, who I eventually qualify, each month, without massive marketing and sales. 
This is the grunt work and it’s not always easy.  We have to almost make our own jobs.  Maybe in a few years, fitness nursing will be a household name.  For now, we may not get a lot of clients; we may even lose a few PIA’s (Pains In Ass) clients.  However the clients we do get will be clear on who we are and what we offer.  They will be quality clients; our ideal clients, who will pay the money we deserve. 


Start Out How You Want To End Up!

My mother always said, “Start out how you want to end up”.  Be confident in your ability and all your skills.  So, don’t get discouraged, make concessions and sell yourself short when promoting yourself as a fitness nurse to physicians and other healthcare professionals and the public.  They haven’t heard of fitness nursing, so you have to be more confident than ever before.  You are better equipped to deal with the problems mentioned above than a personal trainer.   If you try to wear the personal trainer hat and the fitness nursing hat at the same time may confuse the public; the people who visit your club or studio. Remember also that if you are working in a fitness setting as a personal trainer and happen to be a nurse, are the sales people promoting you as a fitness nurse?  Does anybody else who works in the gym/club care or even know what a fitness nurse is?  I’m guessing not.  Do you know what to tell them?  You really need to call in to one of my free calls if you don’t. 
See this is where we are right now.  Going up hill.  But I believe it’s worth the trek.  ‘Cause once we get to the top, the rewards will be grand.  Financially and publicly.  Being clear is what we have to be.  If you need help with clarity of what kind of fitness nurse you can be, be sure to call into the next FREE Fitness Nurse on Duty preview call.  Saturday, April 30, 2011.  Call in information is here:

It’s so much easier just staying a personal trainer or group fitness instructor, isn’t it?  I know there are times, I feel this myself.  But soon, very soon after that fleeting thought I’d quickly remember the lack of respect I used to get from someone who has a weekend certification, tell me how they could be a nurse because they know
how to take blood pressures too.  And then I look at my paycheck and all the total hours I worked… And I say there has to be a better way. 

One day in particular I paid close attention to the middle-aged woman limping over to the ‘next’ machine in the circuit and starts to do too many reps, not enough weight and is favoring one side… she then proceeds to get on the electrical impedence body fat machine and wonders why it’s saying she’s fatter now than before she worked out (dehydration skews the reading making you read fatter).  She does the same thing every time she comes into the gym.  I want to help her.  Emotionally and physically.  But I have to eat something right now or I’m going to pass out… I have 2 group classes to teach in an hour.  Eventually she stops coming because she’s NOT getting any results or not as quickly as they were promised; but she’s hurting herself physically and emotionally.  The next thing she’ll be saying is, “Exercise doesn’t work for me”. 
I really do care and so do you.  These kind of people are all over.  I just think it would be easier to get a few clients referred to you as a fitness nurse from a physician/APN, than marketing the general public, like most personal trainers do.

I’ve written enough now.  Do what you have to, to pay your bills… But I feel that if I am going to struggle; I might as well struggle attempting something I’m passionate about… I have a better chance of making it and making more money with 5 or 6 quality clients I love; than dreading what I do and ‘wishing’ it would change with 30 clients who are running me ragged.  When I add up all my time (not just training time), my tolls, gas and aggrevation… I end up making $10.89 an hour; even though I might have charged $60.00/hour or more.  Now add in 30 clients.  Do you feel me?  Slowly change your menu to what you want to do.  Be precise, give them what they want, make them happy and then get out of there…  be the ‘nurse’ in fitness nurse.  Offer packages instead of hourly rates too.  Your services have to be different from what a personal trainer’s services (menu) may be.  One fitness nurse is doing a great job while in transition. Check out her website.

Yours in Fitness & Nursing,


About fitnessnurse

President & Founder, and Creator of Certified Fitness Nurse Academy, Paleo Fitness Nurse

3 responses »

  1. Lori- Wonderful post! It is difficult to transition and I’m thankful to have stumbled upon your website and have you and fellow fitness nurses to offer advice and guidance. Thank you so much for mentioning my site!

  2. Great article Lori. I just completed the final phase of decorating my home gym yesterday and I am so excited! Fresh paint, new carpets and mirrors have transformed the place to a professional looking studio. Even more exciting was that my clients were coming back for my services even before the the construction was going on. You were right…just do it while you are inventing it! Now I will return my focus to building my website as well as keeping my clients happy. You are truly an inspiration! Funny thing is that I still haven’t finished writing my business plan and I suppose that should be my next top priority.

    All the best!

    Brenda King,RN
    Fitness Nurse
    Owner of Integrative Fitness Nursing
    San Diego

  3. Grace Schraner

    Wow, your article is so inspiring and hit home. I am so pumped up to acquire more knowledge about Fitness Nursing. I finally found my niche in nursing after 15 years! I need guidance on how to do it right.
    Thank you.


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