Error message here!

Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive a link to create a new password.

Error message here!

Back to log-in


The Space Between Fitness and Medicine: Where “the Good You Do For Others” Brings the Reward you Deserve | Part 3

Part 3 in a three-part series. Read part 1 here, and part 2 here.

If you’ve been following this article/series since Part 1, here’s what you now realize:

  1. There is a massive market of adults in “need” of exercise and nutritional interventions to rediscover the health they’ve moved away from.
  2. Although the conventions of the medical field are poorly equipped to reverse chronic disease, and the conventions of the fitness field primarily offer protocols for training healthy individuals (even the “special pop” certifications address safety more than an aggressive approach toward dis-ease reversal), there is MASSIVE OPPORTUNITY for you to prosper in working with this “unwell” market.
  3. The “value” of a personal trainer is best defined, not by the overall marketplace, but by the importance placed upon the promise of a thrilling outcome among a select and targeted demographic. In other words, if you develop a skill-set and strategy that empowers you to help others restore health, your value is commensurate with the importance the client places upon healing.

A quick review of these three realizations reveals the now-obvious.  If you ever sought to prosper by bettering the lives of others, a re-tuning of your skill set and re-programming of your attention can dramatically increase the reward you draw from your chosen profession.  The opportunity lies within the market of “The Unwell.”

The Progressive Career Evolution Continues 

Staying with the premise of the progression from “trainer” to “specialist,” allow me to again, lay out the levels” of evolution.

  • At Level 1, a competent Personal Trainer effectively takes clients through safe and effective exercise programs. The Level 1 Trainer earns based on his or her establishment of value among the masses and is in great part subjected, in terms of fees, to “what the market will bear.”
  • At Level 2, the Trainer evolves to a position of Specialist, and directs his or her marketing toward a specific avatar, a “type,” allowing heightened value by linking training services to the reduction of “pain” (referring, not specifically to physical pain, but more often, to the emotional pain that comes with movement in a negative direction along the Dis-ease Continuum). As a Specialist, the ability to command premium fees fast emerges and increases significantly.

Before I share the “next step,” before I help you see how the needs of an unwell market and the science that reveals the power we have to introduce exercise interventions that reverse deterioration and align with healing (both in functionality and at a cellular level), it’s helpful to share a few elements of the Lifecycle of Business.

We operate in a bubble, in an insulated world where “sessions,” “training tools,” “CEUs,” and “client acquisition” take on a life of their own.  In the world of Personal Training, paradigms develop, trends emerge, but rarely do they reflect what we might call mainstream business or “the corporate world.”  We are so averse to the “suit and tie” mentality, our industry has grown with a disregard toward or perhaps a self-imposed ignorance of “standard business principles.”  For this reason, many trainers struggle to find financial freedom, even as they advance and become “industry veterans.”

In Part 1, I accused you of being an Entrepreneur.  I stand by that accusation, and if you are going to create, grow, and drive a business, I insist that there’s value in understanding at least a few foundational business principles.

The LifeCycle of Business (coined by Dr. Adizes) stands as a consistent and reliable model of the process virtually any business goes through as it moves from conception to death.  I won’t go into great depth, but I will share a few key milestones along the cycle.

The Far-Reaching Rules of a Business’s Ascension

Every business begins with “Courtship” (an idea is being tossed around to asses feasibility) and when the first dollar changes hands, it moves into its Infancy.

Infancy drives forth a business condition where the owners and principles develop some real-world experience, yet periodic chaos and unavoidable mistakes are still to come.  This is the progression into the phase off Adolescence.

Beyond Adolescence, assuming the business owner learns, shifts, and implements, comes a stage where “the bills are being paid.” I call this the Sustenance Stage.  It feels good.  No, it isn’t the elation you hoped would show up when the dream was initiated, but there’s a financial sigh of relief.

A Level 1 Trainer in the Sustenance Stage finds moments of peace.  There’s a sense of “I proved myself.”  Expenses are no longer creating extreme stress, there’s a level of certainty, and the trainer in this stage can state that a Personal Training Career is in fact established.

Sustenance, however, is a potential trap.  When you have “need” to produce, you rely upon a frenetic energy, you manage to put out figurative fires when they erupt, and your passion is your calling card.  As soon as that “need” quiets, the risk of becoming stagnant becomes very real.  At a desire level, nobody starts a business to get to “I’m paying the bills,” but too many trainers find themselves stuck there.

Moving to what I’m calling Level 2 brings a heightened ability to prosper.  When you push beyond Sustenance, when you become “a specialist,” when you learn to target “a market,” and when you develop a premium price tag for helping those with discontent find betterment, its simpler to move into profitability, to up your lifestyle a bit, and perhaps to establish savings.

Level 3, however, aligns with the stage in the LifeCycle of Business referred to as “Prime,” and that’s where you want to be.  Always.

The Pursuit of “Prime”

In a state of Prime, your energy is enhanced, your passion is ignited.  Your reward, emotionally and financially, is thrilling.  Best of all, the “system” you’re operating under “works.”

In “Prime,” client acquisition is no longer a hill to climb.  You’ve found your market, referrals are commonplace, your value is established, and your future hasn’t any bounds.  The income ceiling present in Level 1 and even Level 2 is lifted.  In Prime, you establish relationships, opportunities, and strategies that allow you to earn without being fully reliant upon your time.

If you target the Unwell market, the need and the numbers “in need” are so great, Level 3 is on the other side of a wide-open doorway.  It truly lifts you from Specialist to Bona Fide Entrepreneur.

The primary difference between what I’m calling Level 2 and Level 3 is . . . at Level 3 you create revenue streams that are NOT reliant upon your time.  You still offer personal services, whether they’re one-on-one, small group, or large group interaction, but your time now commands a greater Premium and the business generates revenue without direct need for your constant energy.

To grow beyond Level 2, you would establish a system of offerings that may include employees, programs that utilize learning materials (videos, recorded webinars, books, etc.), or affiliations with other businesses or facilities that can “sell” your intellectual materials.

In this 3-part series, I simply wanted to lay out the opportunity that exists in what I’m referring to as “the space between fitness and medicine.”  I wanted to help illuminate the open road for growth.

When you see the opportunity, adjust your education and practice to best meet the market with the greatest demand, and recognize a path of clearly defined growth, you elevate to true entrepreneurship, the ability to create a thriving business that becomes the source of your prosperity as it helps a whole lot of people find a whole lot of joy.

The Unwell market lends itself to educational forums and materials as reversing disease is truly in the hands of the patient.  What the patient lacks are the right strategy, a system or program for implementation, and continued guidance.  Sure, there are books for sale, handouts provided by non-profit organizations, and an endless stream of online videos . . . but the information often conflicts, the approaches are often extreme, and without a gradual and lasting shift in mindset, habitual behaviors die hard.

This is an ideal time for you to progress, grow, and accommodate the segment of the marketplace with the greatest need.  Today, you have an opportunity to serve as the pivotal player in your clients’ health care.  Whether you touch this market with one-on-one sessions, as a specialist capturing a position of being to “go-to,” or a long term plan with offerings beyond the need for your individual time, there has never been an arena as ripe for growth as “the space in between.”

To master your future, to learn specifically how to progress your career forward in this promising and inviting space, consider attending one of my workshops presented through the Medical Fitness Network.

Here’s the bottom line.

  • The unwell market is underserved and unfulfilled
  • We, as health practitioners, can help those who suffer the most common chronic diseases (blood sugar irregularities, thyroid imbalances, self-induced inflammatory issues) find betterment and in that there is extreme value.
  • The space that sits between two underserving industries (medicine and fitness) is uncrowded and opportune

If you simply want to expand your power by learning how to better utilize exercise as a healing intervention, or you want to tap into the immense potential for new levels of emotional and financial reward, the door is presently wide open.  I’m inviting you to walk through it.


Phil Kaplan has been a fitness leader and Personal Trainer for over 30 years having traveled the world sharing strategies for human betterment.  He has pioneered exercise and eating interventions documented as having consistent and massive impact in battling chronic disease.  His dual passion combines helping those who desire betterment and helping health professionals discover their potential.  Email him at phil@philkaplan.com


MFN Industry Expert