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Friday, 11 July 2014 13:39

Thomas Plummer, living the dream

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I first heard the name “Thomas Plummer” several years ago.  Sometime, around 2009, I started reading his blog posts and buying his books.  I couldn’t get enough of him.  Up until then, I didn’t even know there was somebody out there running around helping gym owners.  “That’s what I want to do!”, I kept saying to myself. 


So, in February of 2011, when I started my one man consulting business, the first thing I did was write a blog.  In my first blog post, I mentioned Thomas Plummer.  I emailed him a link and introduced myself.  He responded promptly and invited me to one of his workshops. 

After his two day event, I insisted on buying him lunch.  I gave him a personality assessment and we sat and talked about the gym industry.  I was hoping that he could pick up on how enthusiastic and determined I was to succeed as a fitness business guru. I think he got it.

As we walked out of that restaurant, he said, “I am happy to mentor you.  Somebody has to do this shit when I retire.”

Since then, we have become friends.  I value his friendship, but what he may not know is that I sort of view him as a father figure. My Dad died not long after I met Thom, and whenever I would see him or talk to him, I always felt my Dad’s spirit in some weird way.

Below are 10 questions that I sent to Thom the other day.  I could have asked him 20 questions.  But I wanted to stay consistent.  I hope you enjoy reading his responses as I much as I did.  He is the master, the expert, the gospel when it comes to the gym business, as far as I am concerned.  And if not for him, I would not be doing what I am doing.  I am living my dream, so is Thom, and he and I hope that you are too.



  1. When people ask you what you do for a living, what is your response?

“I am a business consultant that specializes in helping fitness businesses become financially successful. Also, on any given day, I am a writer, lecturer and personal life coach. The path is set and I writing and coaching is usually the better part of any given day.”



 2.      When did you get your start in the fitness industry?

“In 1977 at Leon Snearly’s Power Company, a martial arts school/gym in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where I was going to graduate school. I started as a sales guy, trained gym people, and eventually taught some of the martial arts classes.”



 3.      With over 30 years of experience, what comes to mind when asked about the changes you have seen in the fitness industry from the early 1980’s until today? Future changes?

“We are shifting away from the dependency on machines and back to the need for talented, educated coaches and trainers. The mainstream, volume based business model is in trouble and the training gym will be the business of the future. Mainstream players who embrace training as the primary product they sell will have a chance to survive.”


 4.      You’ve published several books.  Most of them with a few hundred pages.  For anybody reading this who has wanted to write a book, what advice do you have for them?

“Anyone who wants to own a gym, be the person in the front of the room teaching at Perform Better or ACE or who wants to separates himself from the herd has to write an EBook at some time. The EBook is the business card of the future and is the minimum step you have to do to brand yourself in a crowded market. My books are old school and usually 400 pages or so. The goal is to always give a complete approach to fitness. Most books today can be about 150 pages, which represents about 10 major points. Your first book should be a “how to do it” book, such as The 10 Biggest Mistakes a Person makes in Fitness, or Five Coaching Tips that will Change Your Business.”



 5.        What annoys you most about gym owners?

“Overthinking. This is a simple business, but we tend to make it harder than it has to be. It also pisses me off when people don’t live up to their talent. Talent is a rare thing and people who have it and waste it is a hurtful thing to watch.”



 6.         I am sure you have hundreds of stories about gyms and gym owners. Some of them you chronicled in a book not long ago (Naked Woman at My Door).  Since that book, what is the best new story you have about life on the road?

“My flight arrived late for a connecting flight in Atlanta. As I stepped into the jet bridge, a guy was standing there calling my name. He opened the door on the bridge, took me down the stair and loaded me into a brand new Panamera Porsche and drove me across the airport to my next gate. I was the senior Delta mileage guy on the plane that day and they didn’t want me to be late. It seems 37 tears of loyalty paid off.”


7.          If you had to give gym owners the best advice you can in one paragraph, what would you write?

“Chase your passion. Never spend a day doing anything you don’t want to do. You will not be happy trying to work every day to make someone else’s dream come true. If it isn’t your dream, walk away and get started on your own life.”


 8.          You have taught a lot of people, including myself, how to be a better presenter.  Who should attend your workshop on speaking? 

“Anyone who wants to make fitness a career needs to learn to better present their ideas.”


 9.         What percentage of gyms could use a consultant, whether that be onsite training or telephone coaching?

“All of them need one. Sooner or later, your business will be faced with an opportunity to grow or change. Who you going to ask? The best CEO’s in the world all say the same thing: it is not what you know that makes you successful, it’s asking the right people the right questions.”



 10.        Jason Linse and “The Business of Fitness”:  Your thoughts?

“There always has to be a next generation of young leader. If you want to have longevity, it will always come down to helping others get what they want. If they are successful, you will find yourself making a great living changing the world one gym at a time.”


Thanks Thom, for taking the time to answer my questions.  As always, it is a pleasure to read your thoughts.  Keep living the dream, and everybody reading this..................keep changing lives.

Jason Linse

Jason has a passion for the industry, follows other industry experts, attends workshops, speaker schools, reads, reads and reads.  He enjoys imparting knowledge and ultimately affecting the bottom line of business.  He lives in uptown, Minneapolis, exercises almost daily, and lives by the motto:  “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

Website: jasonlinse.com Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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