A Recipe for Success by Kerry Johnson

For the past few years I’ve been slowly building my own fitness business locally so that I can have more time at home with the kids and still earn a living doing what I love.  My own training business is going so well and I’m loving every minute of what I do.  I work across 3 studios – all have Total Gym, bosu and other functional tools – none are traditional gyms at all.  The award winning studio – InShape Studio, Active + Physio Clinic in Orewa and my own small home studio.  

I teach approx. 20 small group sessions a week across these 3 studios as well as seeing a handful of one on one clients. I can also say hand on heart that all classes are full with regular clients with over half of them attending more than one session a week.  I achieve this through using Total Gym, BOSU and soft foam rollers plus applying my knowledge of pilates, functional movement training and other fun things like brain gym and yoga.  NO BURPEES, NO BOOTCAMPS – no horrendous joint crunching over the top exercises. 


I have found my niche – it has taken a long time for me to find my niche and to understand it, a lot of training and research, observing and working with awesome physios, more experienced trainers such as Helen Chisholm (owner of InShape Studio) – and a lot of passion about wanting to help people move and feel better.  My approach has always been client driven not money driven. 

I’ve put together a list below of “My Recipe for Success” – 

  •  Find your niche – understand what you are good at, passionate about, what sets you apart from other trainers – what makes you unique. I started in this industry over 17 years ago as a crazy aerobics instructor – I made it my mission to teach everything – all styles of group fitness – you name it I’ve taught it.  Over the years my stance on fitness has changed so much – now I teach gentle, slow functional movement/pilates based mobility and strength exercise sessions – still effective and challenging but I have a different appreciation for movement patterns and exercise for wellness – my main client base is women aged 35-70 – most with injuries, core dysfunction, aches and pains, medical conditions etc. Total Gym and BOSU allows me to train these women in a way that is so unique, fun, creative and effective.
  • Keep learning – always – never think you know it all or know better than others – you can learn something from every client you train and every trainer you work with/observe.  Be open to learning and re-educating yourself.  Evolve as a trainer.learning
  • Create/find a network of likeminded professionals to work with that can feed into your niche – a referral network. Don’t be afraid to share clients with other trainers – you can achieve more working together than on your own.
  • Look for opportunities and grab them – trust in yourself.  Put your hand up and say yes!  Taking on a challenge and putting yourself out of your comfort zone is what makes you grow.  Whether its volunteering to help at an event, do a talk/presentation, write an article.  To be successful as a trainer I have done and still do alot of things for free – because it’s my passion and I want to share knowledge and learn more and grow.
  • Be consistent, keep things simple.  Have set rules and pricing for your services, don’t have too many options.  Fill sessions before you add more.  Be careful with your time.  If you don’t set parameters and days/times that you will work you can end up working at all times of the day and night but still not be successful.  Try to run sessions and clients back to back. Be clear about your rules re booking and cancellations right from the start.


  • Focus on what your clients can do – their potential to succeed – not all the things they can’t do or do wrong.  I was told a long time ago – “if your student doesn’t understand what you are teaching it is not the student’s fault it is the teacher’s”.  I always have this in my mind. 
  • Have fun and make your clients laugh and smile – include them in your business, your successes, ask them their opinion, be interested in their lives, introduce new people to others in the group sessions – make everyone feel part of something that they belong to – not just a face in the crowd.


If your Total Gym/studio sessions aren’t running hot all the time with waiting lists contact me to have a chat/email about how to make it work better for you!

Kerry Johnson Photo 2011

About Kerry Johnson…   With over fifteen years experience in the fitness industry. Kerry has worked in a wide range of fitness and leisure centres in the UK and New Zealand, including Fitness First, Configure Express, Contours,  Council run Leisure Centres and Corporate Leisure companies.   With experience of being a Personal Trainer, Group Fitness instructor, Studio Co-ordinator and Club Management – Kerry is a passionate, energetic presenter.  She enjoys seeing how the ‘fitness experience’ is evolving and improving health and fitness for all. Kerry teaches group fitness, GRAVITY Programmes and pilates on the North Shore & on the Hibiscus Coast plus runs her own PT business from her home studio and InShape Studio in Whangaparaoa.  She also currently works for HQH Fitness and her role involves providing business solutions for people interested in setting up a new functional fitness studio or gym. She is also a Master Trainer in multiple fitness systems and runs workshops & courses through HQH Fitness.

1 thought on “A Recipe for Success by Kerry Johnson

  1. Hi Kerry my new phone has deleted your details. I had a fall last Sunday and strained my leg and have huge bruises on my ribs. I think I will give tomorrow a break. Can you message me your phone number please so I can text you! Love Julie Flower

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