Monday, February 13, 2012

What the Rock Group KISS Can Teach Personal Trainers

Lately, I have been reading alot before bedtime. And although my selection of reading has traditionally been fitness related books, I have steered off that path lately and I have been reading autobiographies of my favorite rock stars and heavy metal bands.

I have been a rabid KISS fan since I was 12. I knew of them when I was younger than that, but I was always deathly afraid of Gene Simmon's make up. His snarl and fire-breathing demeanor seemed to scare the daylights out of me,  that is, it wasn't until I got older I started to really appreciate the music of KISS. 

Now in my upper 30s, I am starting to appreciate the longevity of KISS and the business model that has helped them stick around for so long. I recently finished a biography of KISS and leaned alot about the band. And most of what I read sounds similarly to the advice I tend to hear lately about achieving success and reaching your potential. 

I have discussed in detail my rise in personal and career growth here; and once I began looking back on what KISS did in their early years; I realized that anyone can do the same. If you are a personal trainer, I know how tough it may seem to get your foot in the door...earn the respect of your peers....and get some referrals going your way. But, if you know anything about tenacity and sticking to your guns, you can learn alot from KISS when it comes to making it in the fitness industry. 

1.) KISS was laughed at in the early 1970s because they wore make up. Many record executives didn't even want to sign the band because they looked too feminine and looked ridiculous. But KISS wanted to be different. They wanted to look like no other band before. 

Many of today's personal trainers spit out the SAME terms, SAME sayings, and SAME rhetoric. The problem is there are only a dozen or so people in the fitness industry that many young trainers can look to as role models, but they all seem to say the same thing. There is no variety. Here are some of the typical things you will hear in the fitness industry on any given day:

"We should perform assessments with all your clients to check for any muscle imbalances."

"Crossfit is dangerous and we should banish it from gyms everywhere."

"Everyone should be doing glute bridges with a weighted barbell."

The problem with many of today's trainers is many say the same thing. We rob from other industry "giants" and try to apply their perspectives into our practice. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. If your favorite strength coach works with elite athletes and you work with the senior population, how much of their work can you really apply to yours? Less than 50%...?

You will never learn in this practice if you simply recite everything Mike Boyle says..or Gray Cook, or even me. Your learning  tools are the books that you read and the seminars you attend. The practical tools to carry out those findings are your clients.


The learning process is not finished once you finish the book or leave the seminar. It begins on Monday when you arrive to the gym.

2.) When KISS put out their first record, it was not accepted and popular. The tour didn't produce alot of income and the band lost money. People laughed at them and told them to take the make-up off. Do you know what KISS did? They put another record. And then another. And then another.....


People today tend to give up easily on things. They don't absorb the process anymore. Trainers drop into profession and drop out at alarming rates. Reason? Many tend to find out that they cannot design exercise programs outside the case studies that they learned in the textbooks. Many cannot strike up conversations and build a rapport with clients. And some cannot justify selling sessions for a living. KISS had tenacity and built a reputation on maintaining their "own thing" and pushing forward. When you find yourself being shunned by others for what you specialize in or write about, continue on and prove to them that you have what it takes to share the same career title "fitness professional". 

3.) From 1973-1976, KISS was hardly making a dime on any of their tours. Every dollar that the band made during those first few years, the band put it right back into the stage show. 


KISS was known as a concert band. Their shows were top-notch complete with fireworks, lasers, explosions, and tons of lights. Over time,  they became a marketing machine and the band transformed into business entity. 

How do you get good in your profession? You continue to invest. Be it your business or your knowledge, the learning process is never ending. Many trainers tend to obtain their certification and simply want to get started on their business. Many don't realize that the more they learn,  the better they will become and their business will prosper. Your mind is a business entity. Many trainers tend to forget that their business begins with their  coaching style. Trainers make the mistake of short-coming their business to just the physical building that they train clients in. It takes some money to make a business grow. Your mind is also a business. What you can do for others is a lucrative business and you need to continuously remodel it, update it, and expand on it. 

4.) By 1977-78,  the band wanted to break up. But KISS was at the top of the music industry. Everything was about KISS! The band was marketed well and the tours were producing millions of dollars. Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley (founding members) knew that if the band broke up, they would lose everything that they built. So, the management team decided to allow the band members to create solo albums separately from the band and release them simultaneously. At the time,  this was unprecedented because no band had ever had all their members release solo albums. But this was a smart business move.


Smart business moves sometimes take on different means. Small-business owners, like most personal trainers, need to think outside the box when it comes to making keen business decisions that suit them. Today,  there are plenty of mastermind groups that preach cookie-cutter business schemes, but do they really teach trainers anything about business? Maybe they do. maybe they don't. if you are being told exactly how to do something, I don't consider that leaning. I consider that following instructions where the mind doesn't absorb anything. Nowadays, everyone wants the work done for them. No one wants to put in the hard work, make mistakes, and  do long-hand math. Today, most business start-ups are created with cookie cutter templates with little proof of success. The only time I have seen one model work for a series of businesses, has been fast-food chains. And the only thing common about fast-food chains, is they all offer the same thing. Do you wan to offer the same thing, or do you want to stand out among the competition? KISS made their own business work based on what they stood for. What are you waiting for?



I wouldn't feel right ending this blog without featuring a video of KISS doing their thing. So hopefully, you learned a little something from this post and the band!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, great post. Kiss always believed in themselves as a band and had incredible persistence, even during their low years in the early to mid eighties. They also made their concerts fun and exceeded people's expectations. My favorite was the album "Rock & Roll Over," and the Ace solo. Cheers.

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