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"I apologize a thousand times."

by Phil Kaplan

That apology above isn’t a quote from me.  It is, however a quote; a quote from someone who received my last email and reacted to the headline. 

I apologized once.  He apologized a thousand times.  That’s a 1:1000 ratio, so I’d have to believe his apology was very sincere.

Before I share the email exchange, let me tell you what’s evolved over the past week.

I saw an episode of the People’s Court where Judge Marilyn Milian had to resolve a case in which a personal trainer stole a client’s fiancĂ©.  I was amused, stunned, and disgusted by the ensuing dialogue (here’s a link to the segment). 

This odd mix of emotions led me to make a decision.   I decided to make an incredible amount of information available to trainers for only $9 so that those who seek excellence can be unaffected by public perception.  I don’t know why that TV court clip affected me so much, but I can only guess it was the figurative straw that broke the camel’s back.  I had heard so many negative things about personal trainers for so many years, it reached breaking point.  I emailed my friend and colleague, Kelli Calabrese, an advance copy of the offer I was going to make to those personal trainers in my database.  Kelli emailed me back and even sent a short video telling me I’m crazy.  I went ahead with the offer, but I distributed it in an email with a provocative title . . .

“Personal Trainers are Dangerous and Not to be Trusted.” 

Tuesday morning, registrations poured in for about an hour, and then . . . my assistant Natalia told me the registration form for the Platform vanished.  

Vanished?  I don’t really understand how a web form vanishes, but sure enough, we tried to access the page and it was blank.  My web hosting company told me there was a huge amount of activity and something in the code did something to the message that browsers read . . . and despite the fact that I haven't the foggiest clue what they were talking about . . . I want to put the irresistible too-good-to-be-true offer out there again.  Here goes . . .

I’m going to send you a presentation about accumulating wealth and learning to separate your business revenue and personal economy.  This is all 100% specific to what you do for a living.  It is for personal trainers.  It has nothing to do with any hare-brained risky schemes or additional energy output.  

I’m also going to send you three presentations that will help you find new potential in this field, potential you never realized you had to power to control, one dealing specifically with the realities and solutions that emerge in an economic downturn.  

The presentations alone deliver over four hours of material, and that’s only the beginning.  There’s more.  You’ll get articles and insights related to training protocols, emotional persuasion, and client influence, and as if that isn’t enough, there’s still more.  You can have it all for $9.  Crazy?  Perhaps, but I know you won’t find a more extreme value related to finding prosperity and financial security in the field of personal training anywhere on the planet.

Was this week fully dedicated to this offer?  Of course not.  I'm living my life doing the best I can to walk the talk, and I can promise you there isn't a bit of direction or advice in the materials I'll share that is not honest, proven, and a part of my own present reality.  This past week, in addition to being prompted by Judge Marilyn to make an insane offer, I kicked off a group fitness program made up of people who have the greatest challenges I’ve ever faced in my 30-year career, I presented to 35 prestigious doctors in preparation for adding a true wellness element to a new hospital facility, and I had a full blown circus at my health club. I’m talking about clowns, games, dunk tank, stilt walkers, cotton candy, and live animals at Fitness 21.   I'm also a business owner, a friend, a dad, and in the past seven days I even snuck in a game of poker, a bit of basketball, Toy Story 3, and workouts and bike rides. None of that matters.  I just felt like sharing in the hope that you'll realize we are kindred spirits.  I've faced every struggle you're facing.  I've coached fitness professionals to find new levels of excellence and achievement.  Like you I continue to seek balance and one of the important lessons I've learned if you want longevity in this field is, there must be a separation between you and your business.  Sure, there's overlap, but unless you find balance burnout is inevitable.

Here’s what matters most . . . 

If you aren’t fully in touch with the passion that drove you to this fitness career, and if you aren’t being rewarded both emotionally and financially for your energy output, and if you aren't finding reason for periodic celebration of the joy that comes your way, that can change . . . quickly and dramatically, and the information I’m sharing in this special unprecedented offer is going to throw you so far above the state and condition of the conventional personal trainer you won’t believe you spent all that time pushing the personal training boulder up Prosperity Hill.

You can click here to get to the offer . . . or . . . you can read on if you want to read the email exchange that led to the thousand apologies.

After sending my provocatively titled email (Personal Trainers are Dangerous . . . ), I received a slew of angry, sometimes venomous responses.  Here’s one that well represents the bunch:

How dare you insult personal trainers!  You surely never worked with one.  I’ll bet you never took the time to understand all of the information a trainer has to learn to pass a certification.  Personal trainers help people, and if you choose to be so narrow minded you’re not willing to do a little homework and find a good one, you haven’t any right to criticize something you don’t understand.  I don’t know where you got my name, but take me off your list.

I responded. 

I apologize if you were offended.  I am a personal trainer and I take great pride in being a professional in a noble and rewarding industry.  I assure you, if you simply unsubscribe from the list, you will not receive another email from me.  My intention is to inform people, not to offend or upset.  As far as “where we got your name,” the only way names get entered into our database is through attendance at a seminar I conduct where you have the option of requesting being added to the list, or through registration and information request at my website.  If ever in the future you do find my information valuable, feel free to re-subscribe.  Wishing you great success in the second half of 2010.

And then came the reply:

Sorry.  I sent that before I read the article.  There isn’t any need for you to apologize.  I apologize a thousand times.  I am a huge fan since I heard you speak at IHRSA five years ago and it changed the way I look at my business.  I shouldn’t have been so reactive. I just take pride in what I do and when I saw the subject I didn’t look at the email to see who is was from.  By the way, you’re right.  There are too many personal trainers giving us a bad name.  Keep up the great work and keep me subscribed.

So, between the registration form going kaput, the offensive subject line, the extreme value of the ridiculous offer, and my desire to help this industry finally find its rightful position of respect and professionalism, I urge you to click here and read through the perspectives I share and the offer I’m inviting you to take advantage of.

Here’s the outcome: You’ll Be Better.

Phil Kaplan

[email protected]