Escape Fitness: Matthew Januszek
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Guest: Matthew Januszek
Release Date: 9/26/2022
Welcome to Trulyfit the online fitness marketplace connecting pros and clients through unique fitness business software.
Steve Washuta: Welcome to Trulyfit. Welcome to the Trulyfit podcast where we interview experts in fitness and health to expand our wisdom and wealth. I am your host Steve Washuta, co-founder of Trulyfit and author of Fitness Business 101. On today’s episode, I speak with Matthew Januszek. You can find him at Matthew JANUSZEK on Instagram.
He is the co-founder of escape fitness amongst many other businesses that he started along his journey. He is an entrepreneur. He has taken escape fitness from just a small startup with minimal capital to a major international business. He is chosen by Premier fitness brands around the world. Matthew and I discuss everything from fitness trends to important concepts. Keep in mind when building your fitness business or your fitness gym.
Not only from a physical perspective, like spacing, lights, and weights, but also the psychological and more business-minded perspectives. It was a great conversation I enjoyed speaking with Matthew, and with no further ado, here’s our conversation. Matthew, thank you so much for joining the truth and podcast. Why don’t you go ahead and give my audience. And the listeners a background and a bio on who you are. What it is that you’ve done in health and fitness? And what it is that you do day to day right now in health and fitness?
Matthew Januszek: That’s a big question. What I’m waiting for, okay, let’s narrow it down. Where would you like? Are there any bits that you want me to start doing?
Steve Washuta: How did you get introduced to health and fitness? What was your first leeway into it? And then how did you progress to doing what it is that you do right now?
Matthew Januszek: Yeah, I, I was originally a sort of a 16-year-old fan of pumping iron and Arnold Schwarzenegger. So I sort of fell in love with bodybuilding and weight training at a young age. And I guess that that’s probably where I got the bug.
For the sort of many years, I Have managed to find a way of turning that passion into a business. Which is what I’m doing at the moment.
I think it was something that for whatever reason. I was pretty passionate about it as a kid probably had people around me that used to lift weight. Sort of friends and sort of fathers or friends that were doing it. So I’m sure some of that influence must have rubbed off on me. And that’s how I caught the bug.
Steve Washuta: And what is your day-to-day like now in the fit fitness and health world? Are you helping gyms out? Are you helping individual trainers out? Are you working with clients? What is your day like?
Matthew Januszek: Yeah, we got a fitness equipment company called Escape fitness. One of the I guess one of the larger companies in the functional training space. So we work with gyms around the world, in about 4050 countries. And we have direct operations in UK in the USA, which is where I am.
Matthew Januszek: We basically people come to us and they say they’ve got a boutique studio or a gym, a box. You name it. They will come to us and similar to the for anyone who can see the visuals. But somebody similar to the place in the background, they’ll come to us and share their vision and well designed, I guess sort of beautiful outstanding facilities.
Matthew Januszek: We manufacture the equipment that goes in it. We provide all the training and education. To help people understand how to how to make the most of the investment.
We do a little bit of residential but it’s predominantly sort of. You know, a particular type of high-end studio that is looking to do to stand out from all the other gyms in the market.
I guess if you look at the place behind this. You’ll notice it’s probably not your traditional gym. Although it is probably a place that you’d love to work out and if it’s something you own yourself.
Steve Washuta: What gave you and the company the impetus to do this. Did you feel like there was a space needed for this in the industry? Was it a financial decision? Was it because you yourself found it difficult to find, let’s say unique functional fitness equipment to use in sort of smaller-level personal training type gyms.
Matthew Januszek: It was really an evolution we’ve been going I think I’ve mentioned for 24 years. So we started selling dumbbells and weight plates. And again, and as with all good companies. You need to be thinking about how you can differentiate yourself in a crowded market although it wasn’t particularly crowded when we started it.
Matthew Januszek: It is now so it’s always important about what walking do different people would notice your number one. And so that you can provide some sort of unique value and, and the industry is very different when we started you know, they were it gone from this sort of spit and sawdust style to bodybuilding gyms. which is where I grew up in and then you had these big boxes appearing where they were predominantly cardio from 6070 80% cardio and then a few weights.
Matthew Januszek: So when we started sending free weights. It wasn’t as popular as what it is now it certainly wasn’t as popular as it was just before the introduction of things like CrossFit.
I think Bro free weight training, really to the mainstream so we’ve just evolved, you know keeping an eye on trends and trying to solve the problems that are in the market. And I think that’s something that you always need to do. What type of gym Do you work out.
Steve Washuta: So I work out at, like physically at a big box gym that has everything that has a basketball court that has saunas that have spas that have turf, so that you can do like a large, I would say, like 50 yards by 30 yards area of turf.
You can do functional fitness that has kettlebells and TRX, suspension trainers and bands and ropes and all that and boxing equipment. I mean, you name it, this gym has all of it. Now, I don’t personally train out of there, specifically I personal train out of my home virtually,
I will do some things locally, and I will visit but because I handle a lot of different things. I have a fitness software company. I have a book and a course that I sell. and I mentor trainers that I work with one on one, so I probably only personal train about eight to 10 hours a week.
And again, that’s mostly virtually. But I’ve worked in all sorts of gyms. all different sizes. I appreciate and probably respect the small gyms set up more, because you have to do more with less, both from a space standpoint, and from a, I would say, a fiscal standpoint, and I’m sure that’s a little bit of what you guys do, you can tell me but if I have Steve’s gym,
and I’m whatever, you know, 1000 square feet, and I say this is the amount of money I have. Do you Matthew or your company, help them design the gym and pick out the particular equipment if they’re not sure which equipment they should have?
Matthew Januszek: Yeah, I suppose so. So in your case, a personal trainer that as you know. You’re it’s there are 1000s of people probably even in your close geography. So how do you differentiate yourself really, that that’s kind of a big thing, and you know. You’ve got a book and a number of other things and a podcast. So you’re probably getting your name out there?
Matthew Januszek: You’re probably recognized in a way that maybe some of the other trainers are not. I guess is another thing is, you know. A lot of trainers are in terms of their education and their knowledge is how do you sort of acquire certain skills for a particular demographic, again, to be able to be the best person that you can be providing a service and getting results, whether it’s athletes or general, you know, like, men, women, whatever it is, so the skills are really important.
Matthew Januszek: Then and then the experience, you know, it could be just a great virtual online experience. It could be when you come into your facility, if you work out from home. Or if you have your own space, how do you know what are the elements around the, the studio, you know. you don’t have to spend a fortune on doing what we’re doing.
Matthew Januszek: But certainly. if you can have a location that’s memorable, it’s clean, it’s tidy, it’s organized and you know, smells great. And everything about it.
It’s there’s something distinctive about it. And so what we do is if anybody. I guess comes to us with a business. Whether they’re a personal training studio, or a boutique studio, or whatever they’re trying to do. I always get people to think of okay, like, you know. Who is it you’re going after, because I think the days of being all things to all people are probably gone and to be able to compete with these mega companies that the implied like they’re probably the gym that you’ve, you’ve mentioned, you know.
Matthew Januszek: They’ve probably spent a few million on. On building out so if you’re a startup, it’s very difficult to compete with those but if you are an independent trainer. Then what can you do differently and, and so number one is looking at the types of clients go to that big box gym and think about what who are the people that are probably not being served here.
It could be the sort of over 50 men that are at a certain particular stage in their life, where they’ve got the young trainers that don’t really appreciate what it’s like to be an over 50s guy. You know that they’re trying to give them exercises that their body probably doesn’t fit with particularly well and they don’t appreciate you know, mentally where they are and what they want to achieve.
Matthew Januszek: And they may or may not be able to relate quite in the same way.
So, you know, maybe it’s trying to understand where they are in their life. The fact that they’ve got families and wives and jobs and all this sort of stuff and, and being able to provide a solution that tailors are those you know. Being able to sort of pack on a little bit of muscle, give them a certain type of training, communicate in the same way provide value around you know.
Matthew Januszek: In terms of marketing provide useful information for where that person is at that stage in their life. To sort of helping them you know. Recover well eat well you know, supplementation, which is different.
It’s really, you know. What we do with clients is trying to Have a look at where they own a business and help them identify who they want to go after and then build a solution. From the equipment from the education and support on you know, whether it’s even marketing to be able to be the sort of best person in the business to service them.
Matthew Januszek: And you’ll probably be able to do a lot in the big box, as you’re because you’re focused. And, and I guess, you know, coming back to the very beginning, you know. What we try and do as an organization is specialize in a particular area. We don’t do rows of cardio and strength machines.We really focus on that sort of functional training area, which is my belief of, which is the best way to train most effective way and most cost-effective way. And, you know, help businesses do the same in some respects.
Steve Washuta: Well, I want to come back to that sort of niching out and building your studio based upon your niche, and also functional training, but I’m gonna go back to something you said originally, I thought was really interesting, sort of the smell and the feel of a facility those olfactory senses when you walk into a gym, for me, it’s usually a kickboxing gym, you smell sort of the leather on all the bags and all the gloves.
And it is true, you know. Gyms have a gym having a unique, not only sense of smell. But just the look and the feel. Whatever that is, whether it’s a certain color pattern, or there’s something different on the walls. Whatever that is like the gym behind you. Having that sort of that black with the accents of neon yellow and then all over the place.
I think I think that does matter to people. Whether they know it or not, it could be subconscious. But it is something that could potentially set you apart if somebody’s going to be paying 60 ,70 80 ,90 $120 an hour for a personal trainer. Well, you better look the part physically but your gym better look the part right you better have the appropriate equipment and also have a look and a feel to the facility.
And I think that’s probably underrated by most personal trainers because you don’t learn that business side. You’re looking at the body from a Kinesiology standpoint, right? What can I do from a functional standpoint? and then maybe you’re working at a gym. And then when you have to open up your own gym. All of these things that are sort of surrounding that business portion or not is like unbeknownst to trainers, they have no idea that this is coming.
Matthew Januszek: Yeah, and a lot of the work, we run a podcast ourselves called escape your limits. I interview a lot of the top trainers that work with many big actors and movies, movie stars and musicians. And that kind of stuff.
Matthew Januszek: And you know that the same they really, you know. They’re obviously going after a particular demographic, but all of those small details, Gunnar Peterson is a great person. If you ever get to check out his studio in LA, the attention to detail is incredible, you know, when just outside of the fact that it’s amazing, Jim, in terms of all the equipment that’s in there, and how he’s got it set up in a relatively small space. But just everything that he does with the clients, the water bottles, towels there, that the whole thing is, it is really, really well engineered from the beginning to end. And, that’s him, that’s his brand, and everybody has their own brand on it.
Matthew Januszek: But I think you know, nowadays, it’s okay, it’s great to be a great trainer. And that will definitely get you very far. And I don’t want to play that down. But if you’re, if you’re going and trying to bring in clients and expand your business. Then then you really need to think about that. Because those are the things that when you when the type of clients that you’re attracting when they go into a hotel or a restaurant. Which they obviously will do that these types of, I guess, unconscious.
Matthew Januszek: Things like pumping sense into the hotel lobby and all that stuff that’s going on everywhere. So when they come into a training studio. They are going to recognize that even if they can’t necessarily put their finger on it.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, I worked at a country club for a long time and they had towels at the front desk. And you don’t realize how little things like that matter to people. And if someone were to come to the front desk. And those towels were not ready and folded it was if it was as if they took all of the exercise equipment away. They couldn’t work out that day.
But it is the little things like that giving your clients the little whether it’s water or towels or whatever that thing is that little bit of extra each time that sets them and you sort of setting your gym apart from everyone else’s, but I want to get into the functional training a little bit because to me there was, of course, we had the bodybuilding phase, the oral Schwarzenegger type lifting in the 80s and 90s, even early 2000s where it’s like, Okay, I’m gonna do 486 reps, I’m gonna work in one plane of motion. It’s all about vanity.
And then we, you know, between CrossFit and I think people just got smarter and said, I need to make sure that I’m moving in all planes of motion, and really focus on mobility. So we started to do that more. You saw more corrective exercise, you saw more things like the TRX suspension and bands, and things of that nature. Tom Brady came out with the TV Well, if he didn’t touch a weight, all these things got in. But to me, I’m looking at the younger kids now. And I see it going back the other way when I go to the gym now, you know, I’m 37.
So I’m not old by any means. But the 20-year-olds, are all lifting heavy, they’re all moving in one plane of motion. They don’t do any functional fitness. I mean, they might be grabbing a kettlebell, but they’re grabbing a 100-pound kettlebell and doing two or three squats to high poles. So why do you think this shift happens? Do you think that it starts in a certain part of the country? Is it the social media thing? Do you think it’s just an ebb and a flow young kids lift heavy, they get injured, they learn and then they go back to functional training as they get older.
Matthew Januszek: But it’s very interesting, I, we’re very fortunate that I get a lot of information that probably most people don’t get access to. And because we work with most of the major fitness brands, we, I know, many of the CEOs, and in fact, I did an interview at an event called sai back about two or three weeks ago and I we talked about this very subject and I said to them, what are trends on the gym floor? What are you seeing what are people using or what other people using glass and has it changed since people have come back from the pandemic we really went into detail on it and you know what, what you said is absolutely correct?
Matthew Januszek: The wet majority of the big brands most people will be aware of as being a reduction in use makes ellipticals treadmills as well. But you know, the funny thing is people are now used to treadmills clean females is a lot of the programming is being influenced by tick tock so they’re, you know, there’s they’re sort of walking on an incline, my guess is that there’s an I’ve not seen this particular trend, but there’s, you know, slow speed on an incline, and activating sort of glutes and quads and that type of stuff. So people are not running on it in a lot of cases but are actually using it in a slightly different way to what we would become aware of the freeway side in particular was always very busy, but it’s even busier.
Matthew Januszek: And particularly the requirement for squat racks. And this is across a number of major chains. But the interesting and what they’re doing is they’re investing in more squat racks as a result of that more benches, more squat racks, but they’re interesting differences, the people that are using the squat racks, and you’d think that it’s the guys like you spoke about that want to get really buff, but it’s actually the women, the majority of when, you know, this particular person I spoke to when they did a study, the majority of the squat racks were now being used by women. You know, again, doing a lot of lower body exercise, etc.
Matthew Januszek: But this was, this was a big shift because years ago, you didn’t really get you to get the odd probably, you know, five or 10% of users will be for female now. It’s you know that that’s what’s happening, which is an interesting change. So why is it happening? Well, I’ve certainly noticed this sort of, you know, this whole sort of false full circle, which is where exactly I came from, you know, when I years ago, that’s what we did.
Matthew Januszek: And it’s so funny to sort of see this as being cool again, and if you look at what’s happening on social media and the type of people that are influencing the younger generation, then they do look like the kind of okay, they do not sort of necessarily Dorian Yates style, size, but they are more of a kind of a frank Zane classic bodybuilder. Look, you know, that’s, that’s the kind of look that people are striving for.
Matthew Januszek: And, yeah, I don’t know why it’s come from all I can think of is probably social media has had a big part to play with it. If you look at things like UFC, you know, you look at the sort of classic UFC fighter shape then again, it’s, it’s lean, it’s athletic, it’s muscular, not too much, but that’s the sort of look and I suppose that’s what probably what people want to look like, I guess. Yeah. Yeah,
Steve Washuta: I think you’re right. I don’t know exactly where it’s coming from social media seems to be somewhat of a driver, both from a, I would say a male and female standpoint, insofar as what what maybe one gender assumes the other gender wants the other to look like.
And what I mean by that is, if there’s a lot of let’s say, celebrities and stars who have really strong lower bodies, and I’ll that’s politically correct, without naming particular muscles, but that are very big, right? So that you’re you’re behind your glutes, and it appears that that is now in fashion. From a lifting standpoint, not necessarily cardio, not people aren’t doing as much cardio, but I will see at any given time in this gym.
Granted, there could be four or 500 people in this gym, but an exercise that I’ve never seen done before until about seven or eight Here’s ago which is the barbell across your hip Glute Bridge, with three or four plates on each side. And there’ll be girls lined up along the wall all doing this exercise, specifically for what I would consider vanity esque reasons, right? They’re not trying to jump higher, they’re not doing this for any sort of athletic prowess.
And I would argue that it doesn’t help any athletic prowess. It’s, it’s to build your glutes for size. And for a look a particular look that’s going for and to each their own, I think all exercise is good, provided, it doesn’t come with some sort of mental anguish, where you’re only trying to get better and better and better and better and stronger and stronger.
As long as you’re comfortable in your body. All exercise is good. But I do think social media does have a large portion of directives in how people are deciding to use exercises and why they’re deciding to do things. And, and I hope that it switches back the other way.
I’m always a promoter of it’s good to move in all planes of motion, you should go to the gym sometimes, and not even think about what you’re going to do walk in, feel it out, warm up a little bit, see how you’re moving. Maybe you go play basketball for an hour, maybe you go swimming, maybe you do bodyweight, maybe hit the dumbbells. But to have such a structured routine, and only focus on what I would consider vanity is not great.
Matthew Januszek: But I think it’s an interesting subject. And I guess you got that people fall into many different categories, I suppose the first thing that I would say is, look, if people are getting off the couch and getting in the gym, then that’s great.
Matthew Januszek: You know, that’s a great first step. And then through that, whatever that gym is, you know, being able to then educate themselves and learn from trainers like yourself that can then help, because people have got to have education, where did they get it from? At the moment? Well, it’s probably, it’s probably social media, if we’re honest about it. I believe I interviewed Brett Contreras is the glute guy who, you know, I believe, invented the move.
Matthew Januszek: And, you know, he did a bunch of research on it both in sport specific, and for a lot of the sort of bikini models that they train and, and, you know, he’s got his own views on it, I, I guess I don’t know enough about it to necessarily comment, but I suppose, you know, through that, it’s it’s, and role models are all affected by role models, and what we see, I think that that is driving people in into the gym and, and doing particularly, particular exercises were bad, and I can industry, that’s really for us to, you know, to try and take that I think, you know, we all want maybe six packs, a lot of guys want some biceps, and, you know, packs and all those things.
Matthew Januszek: And if you can, I don’t think there’s any harm in striving for that. I’ve always I think, to be honest, the thing that got me into fitness years ago was wanting to have some big biceps, like a friend of mine, you know, that that was the thing. And for many years, it was always a thing, but what that probably has done is AC one, it helped me create a business in the fitness industry, which is sort of changed my life already through what the business is done.
Matthew Januszek: So it means that you know, sort of 52-year-old years old, I’ve pretty much trained with, you know, with the odds short period, but I’ve pretty much trained the whole of my life and still do to this day, four or five times a week. And, I guess as a result of that I have a very different life to someone that doesn’t.
Matthew Januszek: So I suppose it’s trying to write things that are working, that are moving people in a direction, and then being able to serve education and influence like yourself, and is to try and sort of saying to people, okay, well, like that’s good, why why not now sort of incorporate what you know, make sure you’re balancing yourself out for a start and try and incorporate, as you say, some of the more functional rotational types of movements even to be fair CrossFit,
Matthew Januszek: as though they I think they did a great, they made a great difference to the, to the world of fitness, that there wasn’t a lot of sort of rotational training in CrossFit. I don’t know whether that’s changed. I don’t follow it anymore. But it was still very linear in terms of a lot of the movement. So but but you know, it brought a lot of people in and, and, you know, hopefully those people went on to do you know, better things for them.
Steve Washuta: Yeah. And you know what, to be clear, I echo your thoughts completely. As far as people getting off the couch, whatever they’re doing is fine, right? They’re there, their goal and their will to be healthy is great. Where I sort of nitpicking is with people in the industry, trainers, people who have less specialties and I think, an issue that I have, and we don’t really have to go down this hole, but we don’t live in a vacuum.
So if you choose to do one exercise, that means you’re choosing not to do another exercise essentially. So you have these people who come out with these studies and I love poking holes in them and say okay, we do glute bridges for four weeks and then this athlete improves this way. It’s like well, you didn’t do Another exercise, right? So if you did that study, and instead of doing glute bridges, they were only doing, let’s say box jumps, what would have happened?
So I’m not saying that you can’t improve using one particular exercise, but what else could you have done? And that’s, that’s what I like doing. I sort of like poking holes in other people’s training regimens and saying, Yeah, I understand that works. And really another issue with a lot of these studies, you’ll see these people who take 1819 20-year-old athletes, and they work with them, and they go through these new studies, it’s like, well,
anything you would have done with this person probably would have helped given their sort of athletic prowess is so high, take a 55-year-old, a 60-year-old and say, Okay, we want to do speed and agility training, well, you can do back squats, all you want, I’m gonna do actual speed, agility training, and my 55-year-old is gonna be faster than yours, most likely. But that’s a whole nother conversation. But I do like poking holes that people studies who are all about lifting heavy,
Matthew Januszek: it’s, I had a conversation in the car with a trend, who is it sort of top trainer about this very subject. And it’s an interesting one, because I suppose if you are a trainer, and you’ve got some natural gift, maybe you can do a particular job, I think the guy that he was talking about how to particular skill, at a vertical jump, he was just genetically gifted, what he did do is he, he then added a lot of energy and effort and training to that which took him you know, took his natural ability to another level.
Matthew Januszek: And then as a complete package, he was he was a freak of nature. And then what he did is he then worked with, with certain people to make an improvement. And then I think, came up with a book and did a whole thing. And there’s a number of people who sort of use this type of idea. And, and because he was a bit of a freak.
Matthew Januszek: And he built on those skills, it was a great marketing vehicle to, to bring in a lot of clients, because he was obviously one of the sorts of renowned experts in the world with this for, for a number of reasons. And then off the back of that transitioned into other things off the back of his successor with this vertical jump and, and I suppose it’s like, well, is that the right thing to do.
Matthew Januszek: And it’s difficult from a business perspective, then it’s a pretty smart strategy if you do have something that comes back to our original point if you do have something that you stand out, and then you can build a bit of a brand around which get people’s attention, hook them into your phone or get them to sort of know like, and trust you, which is what you want to do, as you know, in any kind of sales situation.
Matthew Januszek: And then once they do trust you then kind of whatever you do behind that you you’ve already got their attention. So I think from a business perspective, it works, you know, sometimes some of the claims that people will make, and some of the studies you know, kind of a little bit stretching the truth, and they’re very specific.
Matthew Januszek: And as you say, you know, you could come up with the same study under some different conditions and come up with a very different result. But I don’t have the answer, I suppose I just know that you can see what people are doing and why you would want to be controversial about something and why you would want to upset a lot of people and create division and an A team of people who agree and don’t agree, because that’s just gonna get you talked about.
And that, I suppose is a lot of the tricks that people use in Mark, whereas a great and then you believe balance is good. And you should do a little bit of everything. It’s not quiet. It’s not controversial. It’s not sexy, and nobody’s going to talk about it in the same way. So it’s a difficult challenge. I guess.
Steve Washuta: You mentioned one of these answers before and if you want to just elaborate on this, it’s fine. But what is a common mistake you see people make when they’re building out their gyms, I know you mentioned maybe not really locating their niche and then building out accordingly if you want to expand on that, that’s fine? Or if something else comes to mind.
Matthew Januszek: That’s the first thing we get people all the time. And as a lot probably on a regular week, we get lots of people coming through our website or on on the call, we’re saying like we’re looking for a gym, can you do a design and the challenge with that is no we can’t Well, I can give you a number of designs, I can dump a bunch of equipment in there but that’s not really what you’re looking for.
Matthew Januszek: And what we generally do is to say like put the brakes on before you start putting your equipment list together and let’s come back to you know, the very basics in terms of what you know, where are you going as a business? Well, it’s like you it sounds like, and corrects me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like you have tried to get a balance between the number of hours that you want to work as a trainer combined with some other sources of income so that you’re not just a slave to the clock and all you’re doing it am I sort of right Yeah, exactly, yeah.
So. So that’s really important to recognize. And it’s also important maybe to get some advice to sort of say, you know, from people that have been trainers and have sort of realized, yes, it’s great to just fill your day with hours and get a certain amount, but you’ve got, you’ve got a limit to that. So are you going to hire another two or three trainers? Is that the goal? Or do you want to be the guy or the girl,
Matthew Januszek: if you do want to be the guy or a girl, then from a lot of trainers that do do that, and I know a bunch of them is that getting up at 334 o’clock in the morning, and they’re working too late in the evenings, by the time they’re, and if you know, good trainers that are also preparing a lot for those workouts as well.
Matthew Januszek: So it’s a pretty intense job. And, and unless you’re one of the very few that has particular clients that can afford to pay a certain amount that’s going to give you the life that you want, then you may want to sort of round out your model life probably a lot like what you’ve done. So I think it’s important for it to understand, like, what you want to be doing yourself as a business.
Matthew Januszek:And then based on that, as I said earlier, who, who is going to be your target demographic that that suits you and who you are and what you’re passionate about, and what you’re prepared to do, even if you’re not going to make any money, which in most businesses is the case for quite a number of years. And, because if you can do that, then you’re going to keep going, regardless of the money, you’re going to do it because you’ve got a love for what you’re doing.
Matthew Januszek: And you’re going to persevere when most people won’t do that. So figure it figure out that, you know, what do you want to be? Who do you want to go after? And then try and figure out okay, what are some of the things that they’re going to need from a location, whether it’s online or offline experience, the type of training tools, then you can start putting together the type of training tools that will allow you to best service that that particular client and how to lay things out, because if you’re, if you’re training 50-year-old women, for example, and you’ve got a few other trainers in there, and they’re self, you know, they may be overweight,
Matthew Januszek: they may have not feel comfortable about take taking their clothes off in, in meaning they’re sort of regular clothes and putting on workout clothes, and they don’t want anyone to look at them. So designing it. So there’s an element of privacy because if they are laying down on the floor, on a foam roller or whatever, they just want that, that sort of element of privacy. So you’ve got it, I suppose you’ve got to take all those things.
Matthew Januszek: Whereas if they’re young 20-year-olds that are on Instagram, then they want to be the center of attention, they want everybody to look at them, they want plenty of mirrors, you know, all that kind of stuff. And so you’ve got to know your audience. And then once you do that, then equipment selection and the quality of equipment is also important. If you want to go high-end, then you want to make sure that what you’re investing in, reflects that type of client, you don’t want to be buying new equipment of Amazon.
Matthew Januszek: And maybe you have to do that for a start. But you don’t want some cheap dumbbells that people are putting in their homes. And they and you can tell they’re cheap dumbbells, you know, you’re a professional. And so you should really be using professional equipment that reflects the type of you know, who you are as a brand and the clients that you want. And so that’s what I always say. And if not, there’s always an inconsistency.
Matthew Januszek: And when, as I said, I’ve met hundreds, maybe even 1000s of gym owners and trainers and businesses around the world and, and the ones that are successful. Do those things that the ones that are not as successful don’t do, there’s definitely a bit of a recipe for it. And that’s why as an organization, we spend so much time once speaking to people, you know, I’ve been interviewing people for nearly five years now every single week, and I asked them the same questions.
Matthew Januszek: So we interview people, and then try it, then work with them, find out the problems that they need solving. Find out the things that make a difference to their business over a 24-year old 24 year period, and then help them with solutions around that. So that is definitely a blueprint if you look for it.
Steve Washuta: Yeah. And it’s very nuanced, as you described, there’s a lot of things that people don’t, that they don’t think about. It’s not like throwing a squat rack in your garage and going for it right you have the psychological portion, which matters a lot.
I’ve trained in gyms that were women only, and a lot of older women, and like you said, it’s going to be a different way in which you structure that gym based upon sort of the psychology of what’s going on. Then. So I trained at a country club where you had old and young. So you had a lot of the young kids who were into Olympic lifting, and they would drop the weights.
And you had the 65-year-old golfer curmudgeon who would come over and start yelling at the kid as if he was doing something wrong. Well, we know he’s not doing something wrong, right? We don’t. We want to make sure that we focus on the concentric and not the eccentric and drop the weight and certain Olympic movements.
But then again, it’s rattling the whole gym so well that wasn’t a great design right there should have been a separate Olympic lifting section in that gym so you have the sort of the legit sticks of what’s going on. And then like you mentioned, sort of the ergonomics, how are you building out that gym from a spatial look, and where the equipment can be used?
And if you plan to hire three or four trainers potentially, can you have three or four trainers work in that gym at the same time? Do you have a separate section for that gym where the trainers go, if you’re going to have other people working out, and all those things that you want us to think about before, they just say, Hey, I’m gonna get my favorite equipment, and throw it in a space?
Matthew Januszek: And you’ve also you know, you don’t get into, like, you talked about noise, you’ve got music, you know, like, that is a big thing. Some people want loud music like there’s a great place that is just not far from here called Dogpound. There’s one in LA one in New York, you know, that’s a particular type of person they’ve got Victoria’s Secret models, and you know that that’s the vibe in there.
It’s, it’s kind of like a nightclub, whereas there could be, you know, different demographic, they don’t want the lamp is it they want it quieter, and you know, in the background, and that also comes in terms of the recruitment process for the trainers and people that you bring on with you. They also need to guess there are a lot of trainers that can do the job.
But you know, are they a brand fit? Because you don’t want someone that has a different view of their brand? And because that’s going to create issues? And I’m sure you we’ve got lots of stories about how those problems are there.
So you want to be recruiting people that are you recruiting against your, your brand values, that’s what you want to be looking for, as opposed to, yes, obviously, you’d want to make sure that you’ve got the relevant qualifications that goes without saying, but beyond that, you need to make sure that there’s a, you know, the values are being shared with with who you define yourself as being as well.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, that’s actually a good point to make too. Young personal trainers, people who just get their first certification and go, I can’t go into a gym, I don’t really have a style yet or a niche. People want to take you under their wing and sort of teaching you their way. This is how our gym does it.
This is how we go about this process. So sometimes it’s an advantage to be what I would consider a clean slate, and have someone take you under their wing, and they’ll teach you their way, instead of coming in with all these, you know, presuppositions about oh, this is how I train, I only use kettlebells I only do this rather than coming in as a blank slate so to speak, so that you can be taught by a mentor on how they work in their particular gym.
What are your thoughts on virtual training? Do you do any personally? Have you worked with any? No, I’m sure you have gym owners that say hey, we’re gonna be doing some virtual training? Do you help them maybe pick particular equipment on how do you go about that process?
Matthew Januszek: I’m a bit biased on this one, because we have a partnership with flex it can be called flex it. So we provide screens, for gyms with a lot of our frames, and functional training equipment. So if you’re in and we’re actually sort of launching it in about a month’s time, but if you’re in a, if you’re in a hotel jam, or an apartment complex, where there’s no trainer, then you could go in there, but the trainer has all your equipment.
Matthew Januszek: And, and they can take you through an experience and, and so I think that there’s obviously nothing like the face-to-face experience, that you can’t replace that in anything. So it’s not a substitute for, but certainly the world we’re all living in, it’s just, it’s not always possible to be able to do that for maybe from a cost perspective, or time or location. And so if it was a choice of well, you, you’ve decided that you need a trainer, and I you know, for me, anybody that’s, that’s, that’s getting on their fitness journey.
Matthew Januszek: If they can afford it, I would always recommend that they get the best trainer they can because there’s just so much to learn, outside of just the motivation itself, that you you’re just going to save yourself years of issues if by by getting a really good qualified trainer. And I don’t think it’s an I’m going to dot around a little bit here, but it’s not just fitness, as you know, is one component. I’ve got a good friend if you know Michelle DelCor.
Matthew Januszek: And he he and I had this conversation. He has a big edge in leading education companies. And he says in in a lot of cases, clients come to him and the first thing they need to do is to recover because they’re highly inflamed. They’re there, they’re stressed out, they’re not sleeping and resting enough. And before you stick them onto a program, he just wants to get them back to to the right position so that you can then start building them up. Whereas a lot of people think well, let me let me jump into a hit class and that’s where I start.
Matthew Januszek: And so you’ve got to really have somebody that knows what they’re doing and has spent a decent amount of time studying it and studying the right type of information as that information has had. experience with clients or has been mentored in some way that can give you a basic assessment in terms of where you’re at the moment, and to and to help you with with some key steps at what you should do going forward.
Matthew Januszek: And a lot of that can be done virtually because it’s not always exercise based it could you maybe have one session with a trainer where they’re just working with you on your technique and helping understand where you might be tired if you can’t get into the positions and give you a few things that you can do. So you can actually move correctly before you start loading on any weight, but you really show that you know, and then I think the virtual training, then can really be a bit of a sort of a substitute, or, or you’re doing in between maybe the weekly, monthly face to face session.
Matthew Januszek: So I believe it’s got a place providing issues correctly. I like I’d always prefer to do face-to-face if I could, but my job means I can always do that. So if I can jump on a screen and get someone on there to kind of, you know, give me what I need, then great. What do you think about virtual,
Steve Washuta: I think it’s here to stay. So whether people like it or not tough, it’s here COVID I think expedited it so it was starting to come along and then COVID happened, Jim shut down. And people had no choice. If you had a personal trainer and you still want it to work. Or you couldn’t go to your gym anymore, you had to go online, whether that was you just simply looking up a YouTube yoga video, or whether that was you and your personal trainer hopping on a zoom like we are now Matthew, you had to do something virtually.
So I think there’s a percentage of people who did it and thought, You know what, this isn’t that bad. I think I can continue to do this. And there are some people who, like you said, the personal side of the personal training that client relations, that relationship you built, can never be overtaken. So maybe they’re using virtual as a supplement. But they’ll always also do that one-on-one personal training.
But either way, if you’re a trainer or somebody in the fitness industry to not have a little bit of a foothold in the online realm, I think is a big mistake, because it’s here to stay whatever fashion that is, whether it’s someone like me who is trying to build a software where people, the general population can meet trainers, and they can work out together.
Or whether it’s someone like you who has, you know. A hand and flex it where people can just. You know, use their equipment as be and have sort of a virtual personal trainer right there. It’s here, there are going to be some people who prefer that. And I do believe, though, that what may happen, and this is just a guess. You’ll see a different demographic and population start personal training. I think personal training will become more expensive. I hope to goodness, good for me.
And you’ll see people who have more money, specifically personal training. And you won’t see people, everyone else is going to stick to the online game. So your 20s and 30-year-olds who don’t have that sort of money. You can pay a $12 a month subscription fee to flex it or something of the like.
And they can go through that process right or, and then you’re gonna see the 67-year-old woman who’s retired. And has a 401 K and worked for IBM for 25 years say You know what. I want that one on one personal trainer I feel safer with Steve than I do sort of the online program. And that’s fine. I think the cream will rise to the top the better trainers. And they will get those clients and the virtual training will work itself out in the long run.
Matthew Januszek: I got a friend who he David mentioned he he does what’s called the state of the industry report. Every year and studies 1000s of fitness facilities. And looks at data and trends is a great report. I’d recommend checking it out. It is just released one recently. He sort of has a bullet he said. He looked at everyone and should really have everyone that goes into a gym should have their own trainer.
Matthew Januszek: And he gave it makes a lot of good arguments for that because he said like really if you go into a gym. The majority of people outside someone like yourself and me and probably people that have been doing this as a business. But the majority of people that come into gyms to work out have have no clue about what they’re doing.
Matthew Januszek: They’ve no information, they’re just you know, right. here’s the gym, here’s an induction, and then they’re left on their own and no accountability, no motivation, no education. And so the chances of well. We know the industry knows how long on average people stay and when they quit. So we know that that model isn’t successful. Yeah, if you look at the stats with clubs that have personal trainers, there’s just a massive difference.
Matthew Januszek: So it’s clear that if you if you do work with the trainer, it’s going to help you get your fitness goals and I think when you start to look at the benefits of health, fitness and wellness. And I think I recommend any training They’re coming into the space now is to is to not narrow themselves down into just purely exercise, I would, I would think about expanding that, because there’s a lot more value if you can, if you can do that. But if there’s, you know, the benefits to people’s life. By understanding everything around this sort of whole wellness, personal wellness is huge.
Matthew Januszek: And, in fact, it’s, it’s a lot more important. You know, what’s more important a new car or your health? Well, probably when you’re 25, you’d say a new car. But when you’re 50, and 60, and you’re facing a life-threatening disease. Or you’ve been told that maybe you’ve got two or three years to left. Or maybe your health is severely compromised, that you can no longer do the majority of things that you can do when you’re younger.
Matthew Januszek: When you look at the consequences, you know. I know there’s probably nobody that would choose the car over their health. And so how much do you pay a month on your on your car payments. Including your insurance, you know, how much do you pay? And and what if you? What if you substituted a percentage of that into into your own personal health and wellness? What if you substituted a percentage of the amount of alcohol that you drink in a month. And to your personal health and wellness?
Matthew Januszek: What if you substituted one of the meals that you went out with on that health and wellness? So suddenly, you’re balancing the investment in your life? And okay, you could say, well look, you know, maybe I’ll get out and run run over by bus. Yeah, okay, that could happen. But assuming that doesn’t, and I’m assuming that you’ve got to live with this body for as long as possible with the best quality of life and I people. Trainers simply are not selling themselves in the way that they should be marketing themselves in the way they should be.
Matthew Januszek: And if they would be able to do, they would not only be fulfilled. Because they’re making a difference to people’s lives. But they would also be earning a great income providing for themselves. And there’s so many more, you know. There’s such a small percentage of people that are members of a health club or a fitness program.
Matthew Januszek: There is such a huge amount of people that really need something. But don’t have any involvement in fitness. So there’s no shortage of people to go after. There’s just a shortage of ways to get them interested and appreciate the value in it. Over something like you know. making an extra $500 A month payment on a car. And that’s I think what that’s that’s the quest. That’s the sort of problem the industry needs to be doing a better job at solving I think,
Steve Washuta: completely Yeah, part of it, the trainer, some trainers have what’s you know, that imposter syndrome. They just think they only see what social media shows them. So they always see maybe higher level trainers than them and go. What can I give this person there are all these other trainers out there.
But I think their really bigger problem is, like you said, they believe they’re being salesy. But they’re not, you’re helping somebody go into older age in better health. And I always tell trainers, compare it to clients. Especially clients who have money, their finances. they’re trying to save for old age, they’re putting money away into savings accounts, and 401, k’s and doing all this stuff. Well, they need to also prepare their bodies for old age, and who wants to be 65 and retired and have all this money, when they’re the least capable of using it.
If you can’t, you’re not going to be able to take that trip to Rome, if you’re in a wheelchair. If you have COPD, or if you have gout, go walk around Rome. So if you’ve been planning all of these things for retirement. And later on in your life, you also have to focus on your body and ensure that when you have the most money. You’re capable of using it. And I think that trainers are either I don’t know, part of it, maybe they’re not working with older clients. And I think once you’ve worked with people in their 60s and 70s and 80s.
You see, you see what could be right you see the difference. I mean, I’ll have clients, Matthew, who are 70 years old. And one has the I would say anatomical movement structure of a 50-year-old and the other one as that of a 90-year-old. Because the one person was working out their entire life. they paid a trainer. They were doing the right things, and the other person was not and they started too late. They started after retirement. And I think
Matthew Januszek: when you can you can’t as you know. I think you can still make a big improvement whenever you start don’t you know there’s a huge amount of things that you can do. But I do think you’re right. You know, if you flip that question around and said to somebody when there was 70 lat you know,
Matthew Januszek: Would you have preferred you know. What would you have done if you’d have bumped into me like 30 years ago. And I could have got you to be in a different position than what you’re in now. You know, would you have wanted that to have happened and everyone would have said that? Yeah, I wish I met you 20 years ago.
Matthew Januszek: You hear these stories all the time and it’s it’s our responsibility. It’s not. I think a lot of people have this in sales and even professional salespeople is you right? It is called imposter syndrome or something. But they, they just feel comfortable that they have a belief system that sort of makes them think that it’s being salesy to do this and they’ve got to get over it.
Matthew Januszek: And just really question a lot of. If that is what they think that I’ve really got to question it because these people need. Even me, I’ve learned so much I mean this all the time. Even at my age, after being an extra 25 years. I learn every day, I’m learning new things. I think, damn, I wish I learned that a long time ago. You know, that would have made a big difference. I’m grateful for this information.
Matthew Januszek: And if you’re a young trainer you’ve got, you’ve got so much to offer. People and, and it is about, you know, we’ve got a game full circle. But it’s about deciding who you want to who’s your target audience. And I would say in some cases, rather than trying to be the celebrity trainer. There’s only a few of those, there’s only so much space, there are only so many celebrities out there sort of point 000 1% not easy to get into that.
Matthew Januszek: But there are so many baby boomers that have kids have left home, maybe sold the business, maybe retired. Got a lot of time on their hands, got a lot of disposable income, but don’t have the quality of life, as you said to match that. And that is, so that’s a great place to go after it. Maybe you’ve got to sort of re re go back to school and learn a lot of stuff. Learn how to market to these people learn how to talk and coach and understand their goals and all these things.
Matthew Januszek: And you can you could probably stand out. Because there’s probably not a lot of people that are really going after that. There’s a few you see it a few people on YouTube and social media. But they’re all going after the same people who they’re all trying to target the same people who don’t actually need it that you know. In the beginning, you talked about the young kids and guys and girls on Instagram that want the muscles like they don’t need you as a trainer, you know, they know it themselves.
Matthew Januszek: They know everything. So you can’t, there’s nothing that you can teach. Because they’re unteachable. They just want to watch their influence or on tick tock, tell them what to do. So you’re almost wasting your time. in some cases, trying to go after that. and do your YouTube videos or these crazy exercises like a lot of people do. You know, it’s great stuff. But that’s not gonna get my dad interested in coming to talk to you, you know, where are you? How are you going to make money from those people?
Steve Washuta: Yeah, and so you know, some people will never learn until including yours truly. I mean until I had a torn labrum and Greenall hernia. I didn’t know I thought I was doing everything correctly. So sometimes, there is no teaching, they’ll just find out on the room. But I want to sort of pivot here real quick and ask you some business-related questions.
And you could talk about maybe yourself personally, anecdotally, or just any information you have, and advice. But you know, what would you tell people who are stuck in business. whether it’s the personal training, or they’re starting a gym, and they feel like okay, there’s no more revenue coming in? Or like, I don’t, I don’t know, my next step or I want to expand that I need more revenue or whatever. Like they’re just stuck in a place. Do you have any advice? Do you? Do you yourself? Get a business partner? Do you hire a coach? Do you say it’s just time to pivot? What would your advice be?
Matthew Januszek: It’s a difficult one. And I know a lot of people are probably in that situation at the moment, you know. I’ve certainly been there. And a lot of times, and what you’ve probably got to do. And someone’s sort of advised me on this as well as is you can’t make a quantum leap from where you are to somewhere different. It might maybe someone you bumped into someone one day, and they take your life in a totally different direction.
Matthew Januszek: But generally, that doesn’t happen. So So what you’ve got to do is take a little bit of an audit on on sort of. Where you are and some of the things and the people and the connections that you’ve got that are working and then the things and the time you spend and that that’s that’s not working and. and try and sort of gradually move out from the stuff that’s not working and put more time into the things that are working.
Matthew Januszek: I did this years ago when I was I used to work for my grandfather. I had a bit I was in a dental business actually. When I was a teenager and I just sort of I didn’t want to be in that business. I wanted to be in the gym business. And so I never really gave it my full. I never really gave it my full attention and effort. I just sort of and as a result, my life didn’t really move on too much. I just kind of stayed where I was and I it’s a very long story.
Matthew Januszek: But I met someone who was a network marketing company called Amway. I went to one of these big events kind of like a network marketing event and they you know. Hype fuel up and all this kind of stuff. And I tried to get you to sell their soap and all that stuff. But one of the things I did get was he gave me a bunch of these cassette tapes. Which is You know, give you an idea of how long back I’m going. And I used to put them in my car. And he said, Just listen to some of these.
Matthew Januszek: And I And I’ve never heard of that stuff before personal development. And wherever I went, I was hooked on it. And, and through listening to a lot of these, these cassettes, I sort of changed my way of thinking. And I thought, well, I don’t want to work for this Amway company. But I would, I’d love to own a company like that myself one day. And so what I decided there was a guy on one of these speakers that used to talk about. You know, make dress for success.
Matthew Januszek: So I started, I went out and bought a bunch of new clothes started to dress differently. I, the little place that I worked in. I thought right, I’m gonna give it 100%. Even though this is not what I want to do. I’m going to sort of make it make it clean and tidy. I painted it up, you know. we did a bit of RE, you know. Sort of rebuilding and sort of up my marketing. and I sort of built that to a pretty decent size it was it was the sort of it was the best that I could, I could take it to.
Matthew Januszek: And it sort of got me to a position, it allowed me to grow myself. And it got me to a position where I then had this I met a guy. And had this small opportunity to he was looking for some dumbbells. He owned a gym. And I guess that’s kind of how I started escape. And I said to my dad, do you think you could find a place that makes these. Because he was an engineer. and we found a set of dumbbells. I made my sort of the first transaction.
Matthew Januszek: And that was really how to escape fitness started, you know, we didn’t have any money. We just started with these dumbbells and weight plates. And so I think what to sort of deconstructing that story is. Is you’ve really got to make the most of where you are.
Matthew Januszek: You’ve got to ask yourself. What am I really making the most of where I am, am I developing myself. I might have to I understand the sort of skills that I need to get me to the next level. To make me a better person. To make me more attractive to potential investors or business people or partners or whatever. Am I giving it 100% And am I being honest with myself when I say that. And then what you’ll find is that you will. You will get to a place where some different doors will open that are currently closed. And you don’t know what those doors are, and you can’t see them.
Matthew Januszek: And there’s no way for you to anticipate what they’re likely to be. But when you get there. You know the next stage or opportunity will open. and then you have to choose which doors to go through. And, that is kind of what continues to happen throughout life. But it’s it sort of starts with yourself really. And you know a lot of sort of reflection and thinking and planning and learning and working. And then eventually you’ll get yourself out of where you need to be. But definitely fill your head with that kind of stuff.
Matthew Januszek: And then fill your head with junk on social media. Watching what people are doing that you feel you should be doing. But you’re not watching people on YouTube or whatever they’re doing what you’re doing. And if you’re gonna watch someone on YouTube. And go and watch someone that can teach you something that’s going to improve the situation. But you know, don’t watch someone that. You know, you come away from it feeling you know. Demotivated and, you know. they’re, why are they in a place that you should be, for example? That’s my thoughts.
Steve Washuta: I think that’s great advice. And I certainly echo one of the points you made about. You know how you cleaned up everything in the business. Even though you didn’t want to be there anymore. You made sure that it was as tidy and perfect and you did as good a job as you could prior to leaving.
I think it’s a cliche term. but always pretending as if someone’s watching you is very important. Whether your personal training and you think there could be potential clients watching you. Or whether you’re doing whatever other action you’re doing, because that could be your golden ticket.
So to speak, somebody who sees you on a day to day basis. Who says you know what. I think Matthew would be a great employee. Or if I was going to start a company. I trust Matthew, I see his work ethic. And I think people sometimes forget that that’s the case. You’re you are being watched people are watching and judging you. And you should pretend as if that is the case.
Matthew Januszek: And if you’ve got because and again. It’s a cliche. Saying but you’ve got to be you’ve got to become the person that you want to be and maybe you think that you are that person, but you’re probably not.
Matthew Januszek: Because you are where you are. And you’ve got to go through some level of personal growth to recognize. Because you know, you can look back at all the stages in your life. And you always look back and think I thought I knew everything then but I didn’t know what I know. Now. It’s just that’s just life. The reason you are where you are is that you’ve not figured something out that you think you have. And you have to sort of be humble and drop your ego and accept okay, what is that thing?
Matthew Januszek: What do I need to become so that I am going to be more attractive. I’m not talking about physically attractive. I am going to attract the things. The people and the opportunities into my life is that will get me to where I am. And you know sometimes it could take a long time you know. It’s certainly there have been many situations that taken me years to figure that out. But there will come a day where that happens and you know, you will get there.
Steve Washuta: Now if you let my audience know where they can find more about you personally. More about escape and any other business ventures you have
Matthew Januszek: on LinkedIn from a business perspective, it’s Matthew Janousek. Instagram, again, Matthew Janousek, we’ve got a website, which is escapefitness.com. If you’re looking for any kind of fitness equipment. If you’re thinking of opening the gym or wanting advice on a business plan. You can you can go there and fill in one of the forms.
And then YouTube. We probably put out a bunch of free content for anybody. That’s in the fitness space workouts, nutrition, training, fitness businesses. Anything personal development. We dropped some of that in. So that’s escape fitness. That’s a YouTube channel as well. You know, check out and subscribe to that. And yeah, if there’s anything else I can help you with, then let me know.
Steve Washuta: My guest today has been Matthew Januszek. Matt, thank you so much for joining the tool for the podcast.
Thanks very much. Thank you appreciate it.
Steve Washuta: Thanks for joining us on the Trulyfit podcast. Please subscribe, rate, and review on your listening platform. Feel free to email us as we’d love to hear from you.
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