Sweat Equity: 1.28.2020 | Issue #2


💰Taxes, deductions, audits, oh my! –Going green in 2020 – #MeToo in the gym – To buy or to lease equipment? – Interview with Onnit’s Chief Fitness Officer 🎤

You made it. January has left the building. For many in the fitness industry, things usually begin to pick up quickly after a relatively relaxed holiday season and it often feels like January is never-ending. Fortunately, time has a way of moving forward despite the stressors that accompany the start of a new year.

Speaking of time: we want to provide you with content that helps you manage your business better — this means that we are dedicated to providing you with information that is purposely curated and carefully researched for the sole purpose of saving you time on various managerial tasks. To accomplish this goal, Sweat Equity will be delivered in bi-weekly segments.

New This Week: A how-to guide for tackling tax season… Implementing 2020 business trends into your fitness business… Is it better to buy or lease gym equipment?… Interview with Onnit’s Chief Fitness Officer, John Wolf… Shareable health and fitness finds.

Still with us? Great. Let’s get started.

If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, book a demo with our team today.

Table of Contents

Tax Tips for Trainers

Navigating tax season as a personal trainer

January 31, 2020

If you manage a fitness business or have employees that work under you, tackling tax season first requires that you get any forms to your employees prior to the end of January. This means that 1099 forms for contractors and W2 forms for employees must be postmarked by January 31st. While your employees may not receive the forms by that date, it is crucial that they leave your office and are in the mail by the 31st.


How do you handle taxes if you’re a self-employed personal trainer or gym owner? How do you “reap” the rewards, so to speak? You take advantage of deductions. As a business owner or self-employed trainer, you have a lot to work with in terms of tax write-offs. Here’s a great resource from NFPT that dives into what deductions are and who can take advantage of them.

Tax Tip #1 – Keep records. If you did not keep records of your business expenses in 2019, learn from this lesson and start compiling all 2020 receipts and expenses in an Excel sheet so that the following tax season is easier to navigate.

Track your business expenses with our Fitness Business Management software. Sign up for a demo by filling out the form below:

Grow and manage your fitness business better with Exercise.com

Tax Tip #2 – Did you just start your fitness business? Good news – you can get a tax break for that. Start-up costs like marketing and advertising, website design, and realtor fees can be deducted. Other deductions for fitness businesses of any age include travel costs (Did you visit clients in their homes?), health insurance premiums (Did you pay for private health insurance?), miscellaneous business expenses (Did you buy a printer for your business last year? Did you pay any state business license fees?), continuing education (Did you add another certification notch to your belt in 2019?), and fitness equipment (Did you add a few medicine balls to the gym?).

Tax Tip #3 – See if your fitness business is eligible for the new Qualified Business Income Deduction. If you’re a corporation, you do not qualify. However, if you are a sole proprietor, LLC owner, partner, or an S corporation owner, you may qualify. Check out this guide to learn more about the QBI deduction and what it means for your business.

Tax Tip #4 – While you may be tempted to go at it alone, unless you made the career switch from being a CPA to a personal trainer, it’s best to leave your finances in the hands of a tax professional. Hiring an accountant is well worth the upfront cost to ensure that you’re getting as much money back as possible and to avoid being audited.

For more information on tax write-offs, head to this short-yet-sweet rundown of additional deductions worth mentioning.

The Business of Fitness

Here’s how to apply some of the top business trends of 2020 to your fitness business

#MeToo 2020

The #MeToo movement is still in the spotlight in 2020 – and it’s up to businesses to take action. According to the organization Equal Rights, there was an “80% increase in the number of sexual harassment bills introduced in states across the country” last year.

What does this mean for fitness businesses? A study conducted by fitness equipment review site, Fit Rated, found that an unsettling number of gym-goers, particularly women, have faced some form of sexual harassment at the gym – with 70% of women who “reported changing their gym routine due to a negative experience at the gym.”

What can be done? Prioritize the safety of not only your members but your employees as well. For gym members, every reported incident should be taken seriously and a no-tolerance, gym-wide harassment policy should be in place. For fitness business employees, equal pay strategies and offering various benefits like maternity leave should be explored. A sexual harassment policy should also be created. This policy should then be used for regular staff meetings to refresh employee knowledge on how to train members appropriately and how to address any issues of harassment that may arise.

Going Green

In a survey of 30,000 Americans conducted by the Physical Activity Council, Millennials and Gen Z are the most active generations with 60% of Millennials and 70% of Gen Z reporting engagement in some kind of “high-calorie activity” like bodyweight exercise, HIIT, cross-training, boxing, and/or treadmill running. In addition to making fitness a priority, Millennials and Gen Z prioritize “going green.” A 2019 Gallup poll found that “67% of people aged 18 to 29 and 49% of those aged 30 to 49 say global warming is real, man-made, and a serious threat.” Gallup also found that these generations “search for meaning from their work and purpose in their patronage” more so than any other age group.

What does this mean for fitness businesses? Millennials are willing to pay more for sustainability. Some gyms have already used this knowledge to their advantage. Not convinced? Even Forbes highlights the importance of businesses’ role in social change.

What can be done? Think about ways that your fitness business can “go green.” Encourage recycling, go paperless, and cease selling plastic water bottles. The American Council on Exercise lists a few additional ways you can make your fitness business eco-friendly.

What else? As mentioned, going paperless can help you on your going-green quest, and Exercise.com’s Fitness Business Management software makes going paperless a breeze. Request a demo today to learn more.

Buying vs. Leasing Equipment

To buy or to lease? That is the question.

When outfitting a gym, a big question facing gym owners is whether they should buy or lease their gym equipment. There are pros and cons to each. Luckily, we have you covered with our Gym Equipment Buying Guide.

Key Takeaway: Unless you have a lot in the bank, buy items that don’t require much upkeep, consider leasing items that do.

Passion and Personal Development with John Wolf

Our resident interviewer Schimri Yoyo sits down with Onnit’s Chief Fitness Officer, John Wolf.

Notable Quotes:

  • LongevityLongevity is the key element.”
  • “I know what I do know. I know what I’m not the best at. And I think that’s really important for us as experts to understand that it’s not our job to do and be everything for everyone.”
  • “One thing I’m always telling people is [that] it’s really important to understand that what you see is the end result of thousands of repetitions of practice and not something that should be discounted and misappropriated.”


Interesting Internet Finds

Share these links on your social media platforms for increased reach and engagement

Watch: The “Gordon Ramsay of Fitness” doesn’t shy away from the word ‘fat.’

Taste:  Tired of that daily protein shake? Shake things up with these 9 high-protein oatmeal recipes.

Buy: In 2020, tech and fitness come together. Check out this year’s must-have fitness tech products.

Read: In the mood to “look, feel, and perform at peak capacity”? Then, curl up with Ben Greenfield’s newest book, Boundless: Upgrade Your Brain, Optimize Your Body, & Defy Aging.

And, that’s a wrap! We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s issue of Sweat Equity: Insider Fitness Business Insights. We’ll see you again in two weeks.

If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, book a demo with our team today.

This week’s Fitness Business trends was brought to you by Brittany, Mathew, and Jeff.

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