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Dusters at the ready it is National Spring Cleaning Week, aiming to inspire and
educate Fitness Professional’s in the UK to spring clean not just their homes, but
their business and finances as well. Here’s some simple ways to give your business
a refresh.

Tidy your bookkeeping routine

It might not be that exciting but regular bookkeeping is an essential part of running a
business. By always knowing how much you’re spending, how much tax you owe
(and when) and which clients haven’t paid you, you’ll be able to make informed
decisions about how to run your business.

Spring Cleaning Week is the perfect time to tidy up your routine. To make sure you
stick to a regular plan, start by picking an hour a week that you can dedicate to your
bookkeeping routine. Make that time an appointment like any other in your diary, so
that you’re not tempted to put other meetings there. You can then use this ring-
fenced time to keep up to date with your invoices, reconcile your bank transactions,
chase up invoices and log expenses – saving you a lot of hassle in the long run.

Manage your bills

Keep track of the costs you’re incurring and pay your bills promptly to keep good
relationships with your suppliers and stay on top of your cash flow As part of your
hour, set aside some time to go into your online banking site and pay any bills that
are due for payment.

Reconcile your bank transactions

Do you know what you spent your money on in the last week? The last month?
Which customers haven’t paid you yet?

If you don’t keep track of your finances you will forget what you bought, and when
your accountant asks you ten months later as she goes through your bank
statements, you don’t stand a chance of remembering what each cost was for. Use
part of your hour a week to stay on top of your bank transactions to save yourself a
last-minute scramble.

Learn one new thing about your business

What secrets is your business hiding from you? Once you’ve got all the admin out of
the way, you can use part of your hour to turn detective and learn to read what’s
hidden inside your accounts.

As a start, take a look at your profit and loss account for the last few months. Don’t
panic, this really is just a sum of what your business earnt and what its day-to- day
running costs were. Did your income drop at a certain point in the year? Could you
smooth this out by broadening the services you provide or by collecting payments
from your customers monthly?

Two-minute tasks

Have you got two minutes to make things even easier? Here are two things that you
can do every day to make your hour a week even simpler:
Record expenses as you go

How many receipts do you have in your wallet right now, waiting to be forgotten or
lost? If you’ve got a smartphone, record that expense as soon as you spend the
money, before you can forget about it.
Financial Fitness Group offer a free app which is mobile-friendly, so you can just
take a quick snap of your receipt on your smartphone, upload it to your expenses
and then file the receipt.
Track your mileage

When’s the best time to track your time mileage? Every time you use your car for
business purposes, when the details are fresh in your mind! As soon as you finish a
trip just take two minutes to record it. You can use the business mileage tracker
within the app.

Brush up your contract

It’s essential that you agree a written contract with each client before you begin work,
otherwise it’s all too easy for a client to delay and dispute payments or cancel
without notice. Take some time this week to check that your contract template covers
you for all potential disputes.
Here’s some things to consider when you’re reviewing your current contract:

1,How quickly do you want to be paid?
2,Your contract should make it clear that the client is paying for your time
whether or not they used it, unless this give you notice of cancellation within
a predefined period.

Give your business plan a polish

The new business year begins in April so now is a good time to review the business
plan you hopefully made when your business began.
Your business plan should have covered details about who your customers would be
and how the business operations would work, as well as how much you expected to
sell, and how much profit you estimated you’d make.
Take the time to think about how you would like to develop your business in the next
year. Are you planning to take your business into a new market, for example maybe
you want to start doing client training online or are you considering bringing out a
new service? Will there be changes to your operations, such as moving into your
own premises? All of these factors could affect what you need to include in your
updated business plan so that it’s as helpful for you as possible.

I like an hour a week because it’s a small habit that can make a big difference for
your business – the regular routine will help you stay on top of the boring stuff, but
also gives you time to think about your big-picture goals for your business, and how
to achieve them. Small habits really can have big results!

LTB education logo original small

The First Rule is “Do No Harm”

As personal trainers one of the first rules we are taught right back in our personal training courses is to “do no harm”, but what can we actually do to ensure we don’t cause harm to the people we work with? One of the worst experiences I’ve had as a personal trainer was when one of my 1-2- 1 clients injured her lower back doing a trap-bar deadlift. We had done a thorough warm-up, completed numerous warm-up sets and were working towards a new 6-repetition maximum (RM). We had 70kg on the bar and as this client went to do her first rep she dropped the weight and collapsed to the floor.

Although she managed to walk out and return to training 2 weeks later as it was just a slight strain, the whole experience made me question most of my decisions when it came to programming. I’m probably grateful for the experience as it made me consider more thoroughly why I’m making the decisions I’m making when programming and during sessions. What could I have done differently? On reflection the weight was probably closer to a 3-4RM, which was clearly above the threshold this clients body was ready for, but there is also the fact that honestly I couldn’t have done much; it was just one of those things.

What can we do to ensure we “do no harm”

1) Ensure Competence

One of the simplest ways to ensure you do no harm is to make sure the client is competent enough to be doing the exercise they are about to do. Have you worked them up the movement continuum (kettlebell deadlift > trap-bar deadlift)? Have you driven home what good technique should feel like?

2) Ensure Confidence

Ask, “How are you feeling about this lift?” If there is any hesitation, perhaps lowering the weight and/or skill level of the exercise would be worth considering. We want the client to feel confident in themselves before they start an exercise, which feeds back into point one about ensuring competence.3) Always Ask Yourself “Why”The word “why” is one I don’t think can ever be overused, especially when it comes to exercise and intensity selection. What is the client’s goal and does doing this exercise move them towards that? Could you select a movement that is safer which would allow the same stimulus. You may want your client to be doing deadlifts but are they a powerlifter and have they gone through the necessary foundational movement to be attempting something that does take a lot of skill.4) Work Within The Scope Of Your Qualifications, Knowledge And ExperienceWhilst there may be some acceptable circumstances where you are asking your clients to perform a movement you cannot personally do, if it is because you aren’t sure how to do it properly then there is no way you can teach it safely and effectively to anyone else.

A Final Note: Should We Train Clients In Pain?

It depends, but I think there is two simple ways to think about this question:

1. If you are in doubt, refer out.

2. If you are not 100% comfortable taking this person through a training session, refer out.

We have to take into account the fact that we are personal trainers and not physiotherapists. Our role is to take people through exercise sessions that are safely designed and specific to them as a person, not to diagnose or try to “fix”their ailments.

Stuart Aitken from ‘Lift The Bar’


Self employed? Professional athlete? Looking for someone to look after your accounts, and save you cash? Read on…

In my first year as a Pro triathlete, I also worked part-time on a self-employed basis. I couldn’t recommend an Accountant more so, and with my fabulous sponsors – Financial Fitness Accounting Ltd, who are AAT qualified, with over 8 years of experience of filling accounts specifically for fitness professionals, it was a no-brainer for them to take care of my accounts.

The life of a Pro triathlete = lots of travelling, expenditure, living costs, invoices, prize money, sponsorship deals, performance bonuses, equipment cost – the list can go on. It’s important to be on top of your receipts, be wise and savvy about saving money where possible, and allow your accountant to save you money on your tax return (often where you didn’t realise this was possible). Whether you’re self employed professional, work part-time and a Pro athlete, or a Pro athlete who can live off of their sponsorship packages, prize money and performance incentives, I would highly recommend having a reliable accountant, who can take the weight and pressure off of you, when you need to do your tax return.

Accountancy services are provided by Financial Fitness Accounting Ltd, and are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

A service which can save you money on your tax returns – effectively paying for its service, plus more
Your accountant will provide you with a very simple (trust me I’m brain dead when it comes to finances/maths and even I find this easy) system which you can fill out each month – recommended to keep on top of your accounts, which they then take care of, when filing your accounts

One of the best parts – they take-care of correspondence with HMRC on your behalf, so you literally have nothing to worry about. Simple.

They also claim that they ‘won’t be beaten on price; and guarantee that nobody else can touch us on price for a like for like service’ – bingo!

So, if you want to make you life that little bit easier when dealing with your tax return each year, get in touch –