Should you Focus on Athletes or Adults?

Jun 22, 2022

I walked through our facility last week at 3:30 and it was dead. 

A week ago, we had 30 lacrosse athletes training hard, where did they all go? 

Oh yea, Lax season just started, they're at practice! 

This drop off used to hurt us as a business, but not anymore because we made one very strategic decision, presented below.

I talk to frustrated gym owners every week that struggle with large swings in revenue due to changes in the sports seasons.

I have yet to see an athlete performance focused facility not have these swings.  

These revenue swings drive up stress levels like crazy, especially if you are not particularly good with your financials (most fit pros do not do well here)

These swings make it very hard to have a predictable revenue base and always hinder your cash flow which makes it hard for you to consistently build wealth or invest back into your business.

When you do not have a consistent base of revenue that covers all your basic needs and business expenses you will always live in this constant state of anxiety.

The key to solving this problem is to build a year-round membership designed for one specific target market that has enough juice that you no longer get hurt by seasonal swings. With this structure, you can expect a certain level of incoming money, every month, all year long. I have seen this done with athletes but it is rare, the adult fitness market is a strong option here.

The most important thing we need in our business is focus.

If we focus on athletes 50% and then adults 50% we will always be in the middle.

The middle is “no man's land”. 

My advice to most owners that struggle with this is to pick one and own it.

It doesn't mean you have to stop one of them all together, but you do have to have a clear focus on the market you want to help 

When we made the call to make the adult fitness population our main focus we had to make some very tough decisions.

We were bringing in a decent chunk of money from training High School Teams but they seriously got in the way of us growing our adult program.

Training teams are sexy because they bring in good money for a short time, but the truth is teams are a one of the biggest distractions out there, unless that is your core business.

They are usually unpredictable, take over your entire gym, bring clients that may or may not be good candidates to continue and usually bring high maintenance parents.

When we gave up teams we gave up revenue, which was scary in the short term but that allowed us to put an adult class there that now generates money year-round instead of one month. 

NOTE: If 80% of your revenue comes from teams right now, DO NOT stop. To give something up you must be in a position where you can survive if there is a purposeful drop off.

We also limited our sports performance to 3:30-6:30 PM on weekdays, this eliminated several late evening spots in our athlete program but freed up core times in our primary adult market that we know will be there all year long.

I had a guy tell me on a consulting call how frustrated he was that he couldn't get his adult program going. He told me he kept canceling his nighttime adult class when he randomly got a team... absurd!

It's stepping over dollars to pick up pennies.

Once you make the call as to what will be your primary market will be, the majority of your resources need to go there. This even includes the physical structure of your gym which will make for some very tough decisions for some of you reading this.

Most adults do not want to train in a 500-square foot warehouse with no air conditioning. The venue needs to fit the market.

I don't care what you decide but I do believe there needs to be a primary market that takes up at least 70% of your business. Having some sort of monthly membership option that brings consistent revenue is key. If you can do this with athletes, great. The adult market is simply much easier to create a predictable reliable business.

So stay focused on your primary market and structure your business around that, your website, Facebook page, facility layout, class time selection all needs to be based around who you want to help.

Still have the secondary market but never compromise your primary and be prepared to temporarily lose at one while gaining in the other. 

If there is any gym I can help the most it is the hybrid model of Sports Performance/Adult Fitness. If you'd like to discuss this with me personally there is a page on my website, where you can schedule a free call. I'd be happy to help clarify some of this and help you find a specific direction to go with your new hybrid gym model.


Vince Gabriele is an 11 year veteran gym owner that runs his own fitness business mastermind, solely for gym owners to help them grow their business. To contact Vince, visit