Weight loss programming income for franchised fitness centres and their trainers – dietflex

Weight Loss Programming for Fitness Centres

Weight Loss Programming Income for Fitness Centres & their Trainers

Want to learn about an untapped market for you to attract more (high yield) members and PT clients in your area?

For every 10 new members or PT clients who join and say weight loss is a goal, there may 20 or more locals who want to lose weight and are not even considering joining a gym or getting a trainer, as a pathway to losing weight. 

This article explains why.

Who should invest time reading this article?

This is a comprehensive article on the multiple benefits that effective systemised weight loss programming can bring to fitness centres. If you are reading this it can mean two things:

  1. You want to boost centre revenue and find innovative ways to attract a new member segment and more PT clients. You'd like to add secondary revenue to the business. This article is for you. You'll need to invest about 15 minutes to absorb it but it shows you ways to add up to $80,000 extra revenue or more to the business.
  2. You are looking for effective ways to help existing members lose weight - whether you intend charging them extra or not. Those interested in running challenges may find this valuable.

There are 10 opportunities below.

If you are the owner or manager of a franchised centre, you must ensure you work within the permitted guidelines of your franchise agreement. If unsure, contact your franchisor. Feel free to forward them this link.

OPPORTUNITY 1 - Get More New Members from an Untapped Segment

Read this carefully if your centre is in a regional or outer suburban area, where there is a greater market for weight loss.

If you'd like to grow your membership numbers, average membership yield and centre profit, consider this:

  1. The percentage of adult Australians who are overweight or obese is about 66%.
  2. In any year around half of them may be thinking about losing weight. That's about 33%.
  3. In most areas the percentage who belong to a fitness club is only about 12%.

This suggests that throughout the year, in every area, there are huge numbers of people who are thinking about losing weight but NOT thinking about enquiring at any fitness centre, including yours.

Yes, we all know that 'weight loss' is the most common goal of new members and PT clients, but for every one person joining your centre with weight loss as a goal, there may be many others who want to lose weight and don't even consider enquiring with you, or any of your fitness competitors. It's a disconnect.

This DISCONNECT is a massive opportunity for your business.  

So... why don't more of the 33% who want to lose weight enquire at your centre to lose weight? There might be two big reasons:

  1. You are not marketing an attractive weight loss solution to your local community. Easy to fix.
  2. They perceive that they'll have to exercise. Easy to fix.

Imagine if you had a scalable weight loss program that you could market in your local area, that allowed participants to get started losing weight and add exercise once they were ready. You could charge up to $99 to start and $35 pw extra (on top of membership or bundled into a premium membership) by direct debit or 12 week pre-pay.

For that they get:

  1. Initial set up session to explain how the program works
  2. All the tried and tested program materials to make implementation easy for them: booklets, pocket planners, menu planners, recipes, shopping lists, handouts etc.
  3. Scheduled one-on-one program coaching sessions - 15 minutes once a week. A weight loss coach should be able to see four scheduled clients each paying $35 per week.
  4. Fantastic results!
Are Nutrition Qualifications Needed?

As dietflex is an expert weight loss system that can be delivered by non-experts, your team members who coach clients in the dietflex program do NOT need any nutrition qualifications: they only need to do the online dietflex coach training program (approx. 20 hours). With every location license we include an extra coach training access so the business has cover in case the main coach takes holidays or leaves.

Who would do the coaching at your centre?

With an efficiently-run schedule a coach can see 4 weight loss clients per hour. The centre might offer the team members interested in coaching a 50/50 split. This would enable the coach to earn up to $70 per hour. In Australia there is nothing prohibiting a business offering paid work to people who are also 'sub-contractors' or 'tenants'.

The centre manager simply has to ask something like "Who would be interested in doing the dietflex coach training program (in their own time - about 20 hours) and be willing to schedule set coaching times, knowing that you'll be able to earn up to $70 per hour?" Of course, it's a great feeder for new PT clients. This extra income opportunity can also help the centre attract and retain PTs as it increases their income potential. dietflex coaching can also be delivered by employees inside their shifts.

The key to implementation of any new initiative or program is delegation. The key to successful delegation is to figure out in advance "What incentive should the business offer in order to attract a driver who will drive the program and love marketing and delivering the program, so I (the manager) do not have to?"

Is 15 Minutes Coaching Once a Week Enough?

dietflex is a tried and proven program and coaching model that has evolved and improved over many years of testing. It involves crystal-clear dietary program instructions, self-monitoring daily by the client and face-to-face coaching weekly. In the beginning we used to coach clients three times per week, however attendance was variable and clients actually placed a higher value on only needing to see their coach once a week. With pre-scheduled time - the same 15 minute appointment each week - dietflex clients are not paying for session time but for time-efficient results.

OPPORTUNITY 2 - Expand Your Demographic Appeal

For some franchised centres the majority of members are males 18 to 29.

If the business wishes to attract more females, and people in older age groups weight loss programming can help. Depending on client's "readiness to exercise" they can be offered time-efficient programming like a pre-set single-set program on pin-loaded stations and cardio programming.

Centres will find that weight loss programming will attract more women, and overweight inactive males, including those who do not think they are ready for exercise.

OPPORTUNITY 3 - Increase Average Yield at Point of Sale 

At your club, is 'weight loss' the most common goal for new members and PT clients? If yes, why not offer every prospective new member a choice between:

  1. Regular membership at your regular rates
  2. Regular membership plus weight loss (or "transformation") program at $35 pw. (You set your dietflex fees.) You can make it inclusive of club access or on top of club access. Just keep it simple.

There is an industry habit to "Just sign them up now and try to sell them programs later." This approach leaves a lot of "money on the table". The best time to offer programming is when new members are enrolling. It's easy to ask them what they want to achieve and then offer them the program that will best help them achieve their goal. Don't keep your most valuable programming a secret when they are most motivated to invest in themselves.

Our role is NOT to stop them investing extra money in themselves.

Tip: Your pre-sales questions or questionnaire must identify their goals and past exercise and weight loss history so your sales discussion can focus on their wants.

Common Belief - "Our Members Won't Pay Extra for a Weight Loss Program"

That's probably true, well at least 95% of existing members won't. In most clubs it's only around 5% who pay for personal training. Remember, the goal of this article is NOT to create a weight loss program and try to sell it, or give it away to existing members. (Make sure you read Opportunity 10 about challenges.)

The key is to have a weight loss program to offer to all prospective new members who indicate that weight loss is one of their goals.

Once you have the program in place, you should start marketing it externally and you'll attract prospects enquiring about your weight loss program and willing to pay for it. This can be a great source of extra high-yield members.

Unlike fitness club memberships which tend to be regarded as a commodity (ie judged on facilities, convenience, presentation, branding and price), weight loss is regarded as a specific result for which consumers are less likely to make price comparisons and more likely to pay more. Selling weight loss programming is best done using specific weight loss marketing and pre-sales weight loss history forms and sales training, which dietflex provides.

OPPORTUNITY 4 - Increase PT Session Value

Between 5% and 15% of your members will be open to personal training. A progressive personal trainer could offer "PT PLUS" where they add a 15 minute dietflex weight loss coaching session to the PT session each week. The weight loss coaching could be done by them (if they are dietflex certified) or by the club's dietflex coach.

OPPORTUNITY 5 - Increase Word-of-Mouth Member Referrals

There are two pathways to word-of-mouth referrals:

  1. Active: The member's desire to enhance their status amongst their peers by sharing great news or new news. "Did you know there's a cool new club opening up?" or "ABC club have this incredible offer. You should check it out." It's the conscious or unconscious thinking that "I'll look good in my friend's eyes by sharing this." Referral incentives and systems might add to to this.
  2. Passive: When a member's body is visibly transformed - especially after weight loss, their peers (friends, family and workmates) start saying "You look fantastic. How did you do it?" These referrals have a very high conversion rate and they will be predisposed to doing the dietflex program too.

An effective weight loss program can double a club's word-of-mouth referrals, for the weight loss program, through which these people become members... hopefully members for life!

OPPORTUNITY 6 - Income Outside Your Four Walls

There are at least two external ways your team can get extra "weight loss members":

  1. Run a weekly clinic in local medical centre, growing a one-day-a-week clinic where your coach can see 4 people per hour. These people will lose weight, even if they are not yet adding exercise. You can extend membership access for those ready to exercise. This can build a great referral relationship with local doctors as well.
  2. Run workplace coaching clinics in local companies.

OPPORTUNITY 7 - Increase the Average Membership Length

Most members fall into three categories and it is not a good idea to assume that all member's wants are the same.

  1.  Those members for whom the club is their "Third Place" and they enjoy going nearly every day. Typically, they like to "do their own thing". Most of these would be unlikely to be dietflex prospects.
  2. Those similar to the above but want to improve their results (especially weight loss) and value social connection. For these members dietflex can be delivered and coached in groups, or better still, teams that compete against each other as part of a challenge. They would typically pay a fee, which would be less than the centre's one-one-one dietflex coaching fees. Connecting members through challenges can create bonds that are associated with keeping memberships longer. (dietflex provides group coaching systems as well.)
  3. Those members who join to achieve a specific result, like weight loss. Although, at the point of sale, they may be willing to commit to coming in 3 or more times per week, it's a good idea to have programming where they see results coming in just once or twice a week and for just 30 to 45 minutes.

Anything a club can do to increase the average membership length will increase centre revenue and decrease marketing expenses. Reasons for cancelling often include: "not achieving my expected goals" and "not being able to get in often enough to justify keeping my membership". One of the best things a club can do is to ensure that members achieve and maintain their initial goals in a time-efficient and visit-efficient way.

For those wishing to lose weight, the first 12 weeks can deliver visible weight loss and set them up for long term success. As dietflex is not based on CICO (Calories In Calories Out) members can achieve predictable weight loss results from the weekly 15 minute dietflex coaching session and just one or two short exercise sessions a week.

When the centre has a new novel weight loss program that is generating results, they'll feel confident re-marketing the program to their leavers (expired members). Also, knowing the time pressure and lack of desired results are common reasons for cancellation request, it's good to have an upsell to offer these people as an option. "Before quitting your membership, I'd like to show you our incredible new dietflex weight loss (or "transformation") program. You may want to give it a go for 12 weeks. It's only 15 minutes a week (plus one or two short workouts) and you could lose up to 12 kilos."

Centres can also consider having a "wall of fame" or "member success stories" showing the before and after photos and stories of members. This can dramatically increase sales, even from members whom you might not have thought to ask if they were interested.

OPPORTUNITY 8 - Increase Retail Sales

With dietflex the clients are taught to create their main meals from everyday supermarket foods and supplement their main meals with between-meal dietflex protein snacks. These snacks help optimise their protein intake which helps with satiety and program compliance. The dietflex coach sells the recommended protein snacks to clients in bulk. The target retail spend per week is between $10 and $15 per active client per week. Having over 30 clients could add over $15,000 annual retail turnover with good margins.

Most of this turnover is from active dietflex clients. Some may continue buying the protein snacks after they have reached their weight goals. But as dietflex helps them "fat adapt" and get easier access to their body's fat for energy, many notice that they get increased energy and mental focus through the day, and no longer need any snack.

The range of dietflex protein snacks have been specified by our dietitian to match the various phases of the program. They are also only available exclusively through dietflex licensed facilities, so the centre knows that they will not be undercut as they are not available elsewhere. Margin management is important for the business.

The products do not need to be on display at reception. They are offered during every weekly coaching session and can be kept in a locked cabinet in the coaching area. The coaching system actually monitors when clients are likely to need new stock.

OPPORTUNITY 9 - Self-Funding Membership Marketing 

Getting leads and sales is a constant challenge for every business. In a competitive market the business that can spend more to acquire new customers will typically win. This requires a plan based upon two factors:

  1. What is the average lifetime value of a member? Say your membership has no enrolment or FOB fee, the direct debit is $18 pw and the average member stays 18 months (78 weeks) then the lifetime value is $1,404.  12 weeks of dietflex ($99 + $35 pw) adds $519 to make it $1,923.
  2. What can the business afford to pay in advertising costs to acquire a new member who pays $99 up front and $1,923 in total? 

Knowing the answer to these two questions, the business manager can launch Facebook/Instagram ads with the objective of attracting new members who want to lose weight. A target might be: spend $20 per day = $600 per month to generate 12 new "weight loss" members = $50 each. If you achieve this, then the weight loss program part of your membership marketing will be self funding. dietflex can help with the ad creation and planning.

For Fitness Advertisers Only!

The table on the right is an example of the results of a made-up sales funnel.  The ad spend is $140 a week for 70 clicks that lead to 3 sales. The Customer Acquisition Cost of each new member is $46.67, plus there's 67 people who can be re-marketed to via Facebook ads, and of these you have the name, email and phone number of 7 for more direct follow up (email, text and phone).

Warning... you might achieve this AFTER much failure, testing and measuring, but it's a very worthy goal: self-funding membership marketing. dietflex can help with planning this.

OPPORTUNITY 10 - Weight loss challenges

Once a centre and its team develop skills and confidence with the dietflex program and the one-on-one coaching process, they will be able to take it to a group-delivery model. This is best done in small groups or teams.

Did you know that the completion rate of members in a challenge can be dramatically higher if participants are divided into teams who support each other and compete against other teams.

Challenges can provide multiple benefits to a centre including:

  • Add an extra source of revenue
  • Connect members, which increases retention
  • Improve member results
  • Stimulate referrals
  • Add to the centre culture

Having a dietary program that can be delivered to groups with confidence adds to the exercise programming the centre and its trainers deliver.


Want your own branded program?

Even though most clubs are successful using brands...

  • The brand on the franchise
  • The brand of the group-ex programs
  • The brand of equipment

... it's easy to use the dietflex program but with your brand, as if you spent the last 10 years creating it. We'll tell you how.

Two ways dietflex works in franchised centres

Plan A - Centre License - Members pay the centre. The centre pays the coach.

  1. The centre purchases a dietflex license. ($495 training fee and then $25 per week) or ($1,495 for year one and then $995 for each year thereafter). There is an option to have a customised Facebook Advertising Sales Funnel. This is normally $2,995 to set up, but for new licensees, it is just $995, and so the up front to get started is $1,490 ($495 plus $995).
  2. The centre identifies one or two team members, instructors or trainers (employees or sub-contractors) who wish to do the dietflex online coach certification, and then coach those signing up to the program at the centre. They do NOT require any fitness or nutrition qualifications.
  3. The centre manager has a strategy session (with dietflex CEO) to determine: pricing, program bundling with membership and/or PT, program marketing for new weight loss members, program sales and coach remuneration.
  4. Although the centre sets its fees we suggest $35 per week or 12 weeks pre-paid. If you have just 32 weight loss participants, that's around $1,120 pw ($53,000 pa) extra revenue with coach time of just 8 hours. But this is nothing compared to the marketing and retention value of these members' when they achieve their weight loss goals.
There's 3 Markets for Weight Loss Programming
  1. Non-members. People in the local community who wish to lose weight and will respond to weight-loss-specific marketing. This can generate an extra and constant stream of new members.
  2. Members One-on-One. Existing members who wish to lose weight with a one-on-one solution starting when they wish to start.
  3. Members in Challenges. Existing members who are happy to pay to participate in a 6, 8 or 12-week challenge where all participants start and stop together. Education happens in groups, unless some wish to upgrade to one-on-one coaching.

This plan assumes the member pays the centre (pre-pay for an 6, 8, or 12-week program, or via direct debit add-on) and the centre pays the team member who delivers the dietflex coaching.

Plan B - Personal Trainer Takes Out the Dietflex License

Plan B assumes the coach buys the dietflex license and pays a percentage of income or a rent to the centre. We're happy to chat about the pros and cons to both business strategies.

Now, if you recognise the community problem and the business opportunity, and would like to have a free WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAM BUSINESS STRATEGY CALL, just click the green button below to book a call at a time that suits you. You are welcome to have business partners or key team members on the call.

Don't like "dietflex" - prefer your own brand? 

Most franchised centres use branded equipment (Precore, Life Fitness, Maxim etc) and some offer branded group-ex programs (LMI, Radical, Mossa etc) knowing that their competitors may also offer these brands. To the consumer it is other things (like convenience, facilities, centre design and programs) that matter.

Some consumers may even equate the specialist brand 'dietflex' with higher value. We already know that anything branded with the centre's brand, most members expect for free.

The dietflex brand story is simply "Because one diet does not suit every body, clients need a flexible approach to develop the diet that works for their body. Hence dietflex = diet flexibility." We fully acknowledge that for some the word "diet" triggers thoughts of deprivation. But the name dietflex immediately explains that it's about weight loss. For marketers - when you confuse you lose!

However, the new versions of dietflex materials are unbranded and so the centre can name and brand the program under their existing brand if they wish. Be aware that the protein snacks will remain under the brand dietflex and our other exclusive brands.



Jamie Hayes, CEO dietflex  
04 1828 1126

PS If you're like me you might be thinking "We're smart. We know fitness. We should be able to create our own dietary weight loss program." I get that. But having spent over a decade developing and testing the dietflex system, which included making many expensive mistakes, I suggest that your time is too limited and too valuable. Try dietflex for a year. Then decide. Of course you can promote it under your own banner as well.

Choosing the right weight loss program for your franchised centre does not need to be complex.
You have to consider things like:

  • what delivers the best results for new and existing members
  • how to market your weight loss solution to the local community (offline and online)
  • how to market it to your members
  • how to sell it to new members
  • how to deliver it
  • who is going to deliver it? Who will be your weight loss program driver?
  • how much extra DIRECT revenue do you want it to add to the business?


The 10 questions below may help you get extra clarity on the problems and opportunities in weight loss programming. 

You may like to print out this page so your can scribble your answers and thoughts on it.

  1. Can you estimate what percentage of your new members have 'weight loss' as a goal?
  2. If they join in the hope of losing weight but don't achieve the results they want, do you believe this could increase the possibility of them dropping out? (Member churn)
  3. If members join and do lose weight, do you believe that they will be more likely to stick to exercise and keep their membership longer? (Member retention)
  4. Do you believe these members will only be successful losing weight if they combine exercise with dietary change?
  5. Do you believe that one diet does not suit everybody?
  6. Do you believe that having a coach to guide members through their individual weight loss journey and hold them accountable will yield better results than programs where there is no one-on-one coaching?
  7. "People who pay, pay more attention, and are more likely to get better results." Do you agree with this statement?
  8. The Australian statistics are that 2/3 adults are overweight or obese. Would you say that in your area it may be more, less or about the same?
  9. Do you think there are many people whose weight actually stops them exercising or joining gyms? (for physical, psychological and/or emotional reasons)
  10. Are you open to learning how you can attract and serve people who want to lose weight and, at the same time, increase secondary revenue and add an extra stream of new members to your business?

Quick story

Many years ago we wanted to offer a weight loss program in our club. Not having any skills in diet formulation and coaching, we had a dietitian see members on a fee-per-visit basis. We added strength training to the program. Although the program was rudimentary using the old-fashioned "eat less and exercise more" approach, some members lost weight. But the business did not make any extra money and the program was "expert-dependent"; when the expert left, the program stopped.

As a club owner or manager you've probably experienced this painful and costly lesson. You have a class or program being delivered by an expert. Or you have a PT with "their clients". The expert or PT leaves and the members leave with them to do that class or program elsewhere. Ouch!

The lesson was that we needed 5 things:

  1. an expert system that could be delivered by non-experts so the new business revenue stream and the program were not vulnerable if the PT or team member doing the coaching took leave or left.
  2. a way of training staff, instructors and trainers to deliver the program
  3. a way of selling the program to new members and PT clients
  4. a marketing system to attract a growing segment - people who want to lose weight
  5. a management system for monitoring the results

"Your business and your trainers can have the best qualifications and the best add-on programs in the country, but if you can't market and sell them effectively, there's no point."
Casey Conrad

Weight loss discovery

The energy-balance theory that weight loss is just about "calories in versus calories out" made perfect sense to me... and millions of others. It sounds so logical. But the problems with this belief included:

  1. It treated the human body like a bank account which grows if you put more money in than you spend and shrinks if you spend more than you put in. Unfortunately the human body behaves more like a chemistry set - controlled by hormones.
  2. If you simply tell people to "eat less and exercise more" they'll get hungry. Hunger is the enemy of effective weight loss programming, and of sustainable results. We actually told thousands of members to do this. No wonder our results were variable.
  3. It ignored the biology discovered in the 1950's that insulin drives fat accumulation. The researchers also identified that carbohydrate intake (in excess of each individual's tolerance) drives insulin - which drives fat accumulation.
  4. The challenge was how to uncover each person's individual carbohydrate tolerance and what that means in foods that they (and their family) like.

Every human body is different and responds differently to different diets.

Say hello to dietflex. Because one diet does NOT suit every body, people need a guided process to develop the healthy sustainable DIET that is FLEXIBLE to suit their food likes and their body's responses to foods. (This explains why it is called "diet flex".)

dietflex includes all the fully-developed planners, booklets, processes, handouts, recipes, cheat sheets, training, marketing, sales strategies etc so one or two of your team can train, launch and execute quickly. It has taken years to develop and refine.

Prefer to email a question? Email jamie@dietflex.com.au and please include your name, business name and contact details.

As the owner or manager of a franchised centre, you must ensure you work within the permitted guidelines of your franchise agreement. If unsure, contact your franchisor. Feel free to forward them this link.

Who should invest time reading this article?

This is a comprehensive article on the multiple benefits that effective weight loss programming can bring to fitness centres. If you are reading this it can mean two things:

  1. You want to boost centre revenue and find innovative ways to attract a new member segment and more PT clients. You'd like to add secondary revenue to the business. This article is for you. You'll need to invest about 15 minutes to absorb it but it shows you ways to add up to $80,000 extra revenue or more to the business.
  2. You are looking for effective ways to help existing members lose weight - whether you intend charging them extra or not. Those interested in running challenges may find this valuable.

There are 10 opportunities below.

OPPORTUNITY 1 - Get More New Members from an Untapped Segment

Rotate your phone to see table below.