Vanessa Severiano

Vanessa Severiano

Vanessa Severiano is a fitness professional with 18+ years of experience in creating, managing and developing many brands in the areas of sales, marketing and operations. She's worked with mega brands and startups and is recognized as a strong leader with a proven track record of growth and results. Vanessa currently consults for fitness & wellness brands and has most recently developed an 8 week 1 on 1 coaching program to help fitness professionals monetize their personal brands. @vseveriano

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How Relationships and Results Fuel The Fitness Business

The fitness business is all about relationships and results. Standout instructors and brands exemplify this daily and it’s why they’ve enjoyed tremendous success.

Now we’re breaking this business fundamental down for you.

Relationships with Colleagues

The ability to work with others well is clearly a skill set that transcends fitness. The fitness business is unusual in that we spend a lot of time in close proximity to our colleagues. In an office setting, co-workers have a designated place to work in. Their desk is their personal turf. In the gym or studio, we are all constantly moving and shaking. We don’t “own” a territory, in fact, we are constantly sharing every area we work in. This creates an opportunity for us to improve our interpersonal communication skills.

Due to the early mornings and late evenings we spend together, we often create strong bonds that extend far beyond four walls. Whereas it’s common to go to the cafeteria or out to lunch with a co-worker in an office setting, in the gym, we come together during team workouts. There’s a certain vulnerability that is shared during this sacred time. You can either bench 200lbs like your colleague or you can’t. When we are vulnerable with each other, we strengthen relationships and increase trust. We motivate and push each other to dig deep to reach new personal records and cheer each other on when that goal is achieved.

Some of the best parts of being a part of a team include bouncing ideas off others, collaborating to come up with the best solutions for problems, learning from others, gaining perspective. Teamwork makes the dream work.

Relationships with Clients

Frequency enforces connection. In the gym and studio, we are consistently seeing the same group of members. This is unusual in a business setting as you typically see people you do business with on occasion. For example, you might see your accountant 1-4 times a year, your hairstylist monthly, or your doctor annually. Fitness enthusiasts see their trainer and or group fitness instructor 3-5 times a week and the real fitness freaks see us even more. This gives us the chance to know our clients on a deeper level and create a strong connection and sense of community. It also creates raving fans, which are more likely to provide you with referrals. Referrals are pre-qualified leads that are ½ way closed before you even speak with them. It’s the easiest lead to convert into a client.

Everyone wants to be acknowledged and made to feel special. When we learn to do this well, we never have a problem generating revenue.

RELATED 5 Mistakes Fitness Professionals Are Making and How to Avoid Them

Relationships within the Community

In the fitness business, there is so much competition, however, there is also much room to collaborate with one another in ways that benefit all. A rising tide lifts all boats and that is true of the fitness and wellness industry. When we connect with like-minded businesses and create partnerships, we are stronger. A great example of this is the recently developed California Fitness Alliance, which was formed to be a unified voice for the fitness industry to aid and support the reopening of fitness facilities as we navigate the unchartered waters of COVID-19.


There’s no greater way to cement loyalty between a brand and client than results. Results are measurable, but not always in the way you think. It might or might not be a certain amount of pounds lost or an improved sense of energy. It may be an overall improved outlook on life thanks to the flow of endorphins post-workout or it could even look like improved performance at work. We all know that there are numerous benefits to working out. Once a client feels the results followed by seeing it, you’ve taken your relationship to the next level.

Establishing and maintaining relationships is the gateway to great results and longevity in this business.  They go hand in hand.

Invest in your relationships like you invest in your stocks! Relationships pay the best dividends.

The fitness business is all about relationships and results, as proven by standout instructors. Now we’re breaking this business fundamental down for you!

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5 Mistakes Fitness Professionals Are Making and How to Avoid Them

The fitness industry is ripe for some major disruption. We need new voices and we need them now. The professionals that position themselves to provide both an outstanding in person and online experience will show up as the winners. 

Now more than ever, consumers are looking for tremendous value and the individuals and brands that provide that will reign supreme. 

If you want to be one of the victorious, learn from these five mistakes fitness professionals are making.

1.  Offering deep discounts on services.

When we discount, we devalue our services. We are sending a message to our clients that although we asked X for our service, we are really only worth Y. Deep discounting creates an environment of distrust. If you offer a discount once a client asks for it, your client will wonder why you didn't offer them the lowest rate from the beginning. When you extend big discounts, you set the tone for future expectations and the client now knows if you offer a discount once, you'll do it again.

Referrals are the lifeblood of any business, but even more so in the fitness business. When we give a discounted rate to a client, they will tell their referral to ask for the same and you now need to make more sales to hit your monthly take home goal, thus creating more work for yourself. Try offering bulk discounts instead of deep discounts. This is a win for the client, since they get the lower rate per session and a win for you because you just got a cash infusion and commitment.

*RELATED 4 Ways COVID-19 Will Change the Fitness Industry

2. Failing to deliver value.

Right now, people are cutting expenses that don't deliver value, and are keeping what is important to them. Deliver value to your clients by ensuring that you are providing an experience they can’t get elsewhere. This means checking in on clients and providing accountability, giving them your time and attention. Anyone can look up a workout on YouTube. What they need you for is the extra push and the accountability to keep showing up because you'll call them. Consistently deliver gold standard service and you'll be amazed to see how others rise to meet your energy and effort level. 

3.  Not asking for help.

Even coaches need coaches. Investing in a mentor or business coach to help you get organized with creating a vision and a clear pathway to success. There are no guarantees in life, however investing in yourself delivers an unmatched return on investment. Afterall, you are your most valuable asset. It’s ok to not be great at everything - nobody is! Your job is to be the best fitness professional you can be and getting valuable insight from an expert will help you save time and money in the long run.

*RELATED 7 Tips to Take Your Personal Training Business Online

4.  Not thinking long term.

While you might be able to see 10 clients a day while teaching at three studios now, it's not a long-term strategy. A long-term strategy includes multiple revenue streams. Multiple revenue streams means being able to take a vacation and still having money come in. Freedom is priceless. It means working only with clients and brands that you absolutely adore, and not having to endorse products on Instagram that you don't believe in, simply because you need money. 

5.  Not operating in your zone of genius.

You may have a variety of talents and be able to help a variety of people, but that's not a business plan. Getting clear on the specific client that benefits the most from your services and packaging that in a clear offer makes all the difference. Don't waste time trying to be a little bit of everything to everyone.  Focus on the people that you can make the most impact on and help the most.  Examples of this is deciding to focus your business specifically on youth athletes, or post-natal clients, or eliminating lower back pain in an older population.

Now more than ever, consumers are looking for value. Learn from these five mistakes fitness professionals are making, so your business an thrive.