No . . . No . . . Not GREEN!

By Phil Kaplan

We live in a fast moving world of changing technology and insufferable overkill.  A trend can become an explosion in a matter of days.  If the green movement is becoming an explosive platform infiltrating society’s collective focus, if you want to get noticed in an ever-growing sea of green, it’s time to fly a glowing flag . . . and not a green one!

The Beatles in 1962 had unremarkable crew cuts.  In 1963 they sported D.A. haircuts (playfully abbreviating a duck’s back end), the popular style of the day.  In 1964 they appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show with unprecedented mop top haircuts and a pop culture explosion began.  Was it the hair?  No, but everyone watching that television show knew these four guys were different.  They sounded different, and they looked different.

Think of ZZ Top.  Do you think of guitars, or do you think of beards?  They play gritty rock n roll, but what put them over the edge in their video heyday were the beards.  They looked different.  They became outstanding.

Don’t miss my point.  The Beatles, ZZ Top, and everyone who has found extended stand-alone fame for a period of time by sporting a remarkable look also brings talent to the table, but there is clearly something to be said for being different, even at first glance. (continued below)



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You’re a personal trainer.  That’s cool, that’s noble, and that’s commendable, but are you remarkable?  Sure, you’ve got your expertise, your client fans, and your preferred methodologies for transforming bodies, but are you different?  More importantly, does the marketplace recognize your uniqueness?

The Toyota Prius was different.  It was a hybrid.  It didn’t look as boxlike as previous hybrids.  It emerged at an ideal time.  It emerged at a time when the playing field changed.  Gas prices went through the roof.  People bought the Prius.  Sure, they were doing something that helps the environment, but that altruistic act was spurred by a selfish motive.  They didn’t want to be victimized by gas prices that threatened to eat up any disposable income.   

Today, the green movement is more aggressive than ever, but Prius sales are making way for SUV’s.  Why?  Have we abandoned the infectious commitment to the preservation of the ozone layer?  No.  Nobody would be that brash, but we do have to recognize an element of human nature.  The selfish nature of the human animal often trades global benefit for selfish reward or pleasure when it comes to purchases.

Where’s the tie-in between ecologically supportive auto purchases and personal training?  The tie-in comes down to a recognition of the marketplaces shifting awareness, a recognition of the wave of marketing infiltrating many industries.  To be noticed, many companies are playing off the green theme.

Some health club chains are investing lots of green in opening “green” facilities.  They believe the market will recognize their commitment to the health of our planet and will find appeal justifying membership commitment.  Cleaning companies are coming out with green products.  Bottled water is being sold with an “eco” twist, some major players switching their labels to green in color.  It’s a socially acceptable marketing message.  Even Macintosh is promoting the green benefit of their new line of laptops.  So shouldn’t personal trainers follow suit?

Maybe they should.  It is not for me to judge.  What I can tell you without doubt however is, if you plant green flowers in a field of green nobody will notice the beauty of the flowers.  If you put green paint on a green wall it becomes invisible.  If you pour green liquid into a green drink nobody notices the change.  In a field of green, if you want to stand out, you want to be something other than green.

I make two points in this article. 

One, even if you are environmentally conscious, and make your own decisions with the environment in mind, it is not going to make you a more saleable trainer.  Your prospective clients will consider your services not because of what you do for the environment, but because of what you can do for them.  Remember, they may buy affordable cars that promise not to hurt the environment, but they’ll buy them only if they perceive personal benefit in doing so.  They may buy bottled water with an eco label that uses less plastic for the container, but only because they’re thirsty and the water is readily accessible.  They will invest in a personal trainer for one reason and one reason only.  They believe the trainer will help them move toward physical betterment. 

The second point relates to uniqueness.  If everyone else is sporting a D.A., grow a mop top, or if “hair bands” are all the rage, be a beard band.  If everyone else is painting green on a green backdrop, be unique, be remarkable, and develop your own marketing message that is a stand alone. 

Much as people will read this article, ignore my intentions, and decide erroneously that I am against the green movement, people will react, and when they react, at least you have their attention.  If those same people come to know me, they’ll find the message goes deeper than the knee jerk response, and it is possible to be aligned with a common mission without being painted into an ordinary message.   

I suggest that if your intention is to grow your business, unlike a food vendor, a seller of cardboard items, or a manufacturer of plastics, you don’t have anything significant to gain by being green. 

Keep your focus on the client, and if you want to stand out, tell people you’re not interested in the same shade of green as the rest of the field.  You’re going to stand alone.  You’re going to go RED (an acronym): 

Reduce Complexity
Empower for the Long Term
Develop a Habit

Reduce Complexity – it’s hard to make sense out of anything related to health or nutrition today as misinformation stems from varying agendas.  Supplement sellers promise everything from detox to muscle growth, medical complexes promise to rid you of fat or prescribe injections of rejuvenation, diet centers promise you can be like Valerie Bertinelli or Dan Marino if you’ll only follow their preachings and buy their packages of food, and books that you can buy with one-click contradict each other so radically you can read about the virtues of grains in one book and read about how grains are the cause of the destruction of mankind in another book that arrived in the very same shipment.  If now, the consumer tries to avoid pesticides, choose free-range or wild-caught meats and fish, eliminate refined and processed options, and ensure they get their EFA’s, their 8 servings of fruits and veggies from organic sources, and drink waters only from the right sources, you almost have to urge them to give up their jobs so they can seek and find foods to eat.  Rather than telling them what they can’t or shouldn’t do, help them find simple options that fit into their lifestyles.  Ditto for exercise.  If they believe they have to “work the core,” do 45 minutes of cardio to burn fat, train with resistance for every major muscle group, stretch, breathe, and also find time to sleep . . . . sleep may win over exercise.  Simplicity will be your greatest ally in facilitating adherence, and adherence allows you to be forgiving of some of the less-than-perfect-choices naturally fallible human beings are going to make.

Empower for the Long Term – we’ve known the virtues of a synergistic integration of aerobic movements and resistance exercise for decades.  While the newest releases in functional training have their value, you’re going to best empower your clients by teaching them principles rather than “pieces.”  In other words, teach them to move their bodies through space, teach them to stimulate “the push muscles” and “the pull muscles” in balance, teach them to elevate heart rate, and teach them to move forward, back, up, down, and laterally with an awareness of shifts in their center of gravity and you’ve empowered them to exercise anytime, anywhere, regardless of equipment availability, regardless of weather, regardless of the current trend.

Develop a Habit – handle the first two recommendations and you’ve removed the devilish association between “exercise” and “chore.”  Simplify and empower and your clients will come to integrate exercise and supportive eating into their lives as you do, not as a conscious “have to’ but as a welcome habit. 

Be as green as you’d like, but recognize that your dual commitment is to enjoy the quality of life you desire by bettering the lives of others.  Don’t let a wave, a trend, or a collective shift in societal focus ever distract you from your true mission, and while the green message merits attention, any readjustment of focus must be made with the eternally considered question, “will this help me achieve my mission?”  Your mission is noble, whether you’re the greenest of the green or the lightest shade in the forest.  In this environment, don’t let the green movement overpower your ability to remain in the black by being RED. 

Phil Kaplan has developed strategies and systems that help personal trainer find long term security and prosperity.  Find his newest offerings at His newest offering is an affordable 8 day program offered via teleconference. Find details.


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