/ Fitness Business

Resistance Exercise Conference 2021 Recap

As first-time attendees and sponsors for the Resistance Exercise Conference this year our team had a lot to look forward to. After we signed our long-term partnership with the Discover Strength team to help them manage and scale their company with our software we turned our eyes towards this conference as a great opportunity for both parties. A few days after the event I wanted to share a few of my notes and personal highlights.

This was the first fitness conference for many attendees of REC in the last two years. Not only was everyone there excited to just see their friends, mentors, and peers, but it was an incredible event to mark just how far the industry has come from where we all were in 2020. In presentations and personal conversations we recapped each of our journeys as fitness business owners and operators throughout the pandemic. If you’re reading this I’m sure you don’t need me to go into detail. The main point here is that I was incredibly impressed and inspired by the stories I heard. Despite everything they went through, the attendees fought and persevered to keep their businesses alive and to help their communities when they needed it most. That’s hard to do, especially as a small business owner. In an interview I did with Rick Stollmeyer from Mindbody last year we talked about how the businesses that got through this would have scars, but they would also have a very rare opportunity to further push their businesses to new heights as we all got through this. I could see how much opportunity there was for everyone at REC and it was clear they are aiming for taking their businesses to that next level from here.

As a younger member in this industry, and someone who came in from the business and tech side, I’ve always loved learning about how the strength and fitness industry grew to where it is today. My brothers and I were first introduced to the space from reading the books and blogs of fitness industry leaders such as Dan John, Eric Cressey, and others. Over the years as I’ve learned from other members of the industry who there Dan Johns and Eric Cresseys were, the industry veterans who inspired them to enter the strength and fitness industry. One of the goals that Luke Carlson and the Discover Strength team have with putting together REC is to bring the veterans who inspired them to the event so they can share their stories. And, in return, so the younger fitness business owners and operators can recognize them and thank them for their work to help drive the industry forward. Watching REC recognize and give awards to Jim Flanagan and Joe Cirulli for their long and impactful careers was very special. There was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that went into them being on the stage. Luke Carlson, the Discover Strength team, and many at the conference say they wouldn’t be here today without them. I could listen to their stories all day.

The driving force behind the conference and the attendees being there was shared belief - resistance training is by far one of the most effective strategies fitness consumers can use to living a long and healthy life. For years these fitness business owners and operators have been a small niche within the industry, always working to improve their craft and respect from other practitioners. Over time REC attendees' body of research, hard work, and client results have continually grown and compounded. The reason for that was the community that the REC attendees have built up with themselves. This wasn’t a IHRSA sized conference, it was an intimate conference of less than 200 people. But the 200 attendees...wow. Talk about making a difference to their communities. As first-time participants this is a community I am very thankful to have been brought into and I can’t wait to see it continue to grow.

One extra note to add here, we're going to have to start paying Skyler Tanner from Smart Strength Austin sooner rather than later for being our top salesman. Talk about a key member of this community, he knew everyone there! Appreciate the kind words my friend!

What’s next?
The main goal that I heard from many at REC was that they are still trying to get their businesses back to a semblance of normal. There’s been progress, yes, but there’s still work to do. The biggest challenge that I heard over and over again was that these businesses are struggling to hire new team members to meet the needs of their business and customer base. If you are a younger personal trainer looking to join a successful business and community I’d highly recommend reaching out to Discover Strength and the REC team. Even if you’re not close to their Headquarters in Minnesota they can easily refer you to another member of the community who’s closer to you and looking for help or available to answer any questions you have. Here’s the link to learn more.

For us, well one thing we’re doing for sure is marking our calendars for the REC conference next year. In the meantime we are excited to keep on expanding our business by helping the REC fitness owners and operators we met at the conference manage and scale their businesses with our software. If you’d like to schedule a time to chat with our team at StrengthPortal please don’t hesitate to reach out. Until next year.

Matt McGunagle

Matt McGunagle

CEO & Founder of StrengthPortal. Working hard to help you in between deadlifts and jiu-jitsu!

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