Episode 88: Lawrence Biscontini on The Business of Fitness

“Let Movement be Mandatory but Exercise be Optional”

About Today’s Guest
Lawrence Biscontini, MA, has made fitness history as a Mindful Movement Specialist winning the highest number of awards from ACE, IDEA & Inner IDEA, Can Fit Pro, and ECA since 2002. Lawrence travels the world offering world-class secrets in mentoring, fitness and spa consulting, and presenting for professional conferences, and working also on the Advisory Board for the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA), Senior VIP Consultant for Power Music®, and reporter-in-the-field for the International Spa Association’s #ispaDoyou campaign creating #ispaInterviews worldwide. He has programmed for Equinox, 24 Hour Fitness, Gold’s Gym International, Bally, and more, and his creations received the Conde Nast Traveler Awards‘ Top Ten Awards placement for innovative spa programming worldwide. Lawrence as a Mindful Movement Specialist enjoys celebrity clients like cast members of ABC TV’s soap opera “General Hospital,” and appears on news (CNN Headline News) and television (“LIVE! With Regis and Kelly”). He is a Registered Yoga Alliance Teacher (E-RYT 500), an AFAA Certification Specialist and Contributing Author and Content Specialist for industry publications like SCW Fitness Education Certifications and AFAA’s American Fitness, IDEA’s Fitness Journal, and the Spa Industry’s Pulse Magazine. His books include the most recent fiction Stories of Color and nonfiction Active Aging SCW Certification Manual: The Life in Our Years specializing in active aging research and practical approaches to movement for people over 50. He has also authored for charity a cookbook, Meals & Musings, a fitness textbook used at universities worldwide, Cream Rises: Excellence in Private & Group Education, and one of the only customer service books written for the spa and fitness world, “Running the Show.” Lawrence created Fitness Group 2000 (FG2000) at the turn of the century whose profits benefit several charitable endeavors, including the outreach work of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, Save the Children, and the Biscontini Scholarships he has created for most major international conventions. Over 80% of all revenue from sales generated at www.findlawrence.com support these programs.

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Show Notes
Lawrence and I begin the show reminiscing about chocolates, or rather how I first remember meeting Lawrence after he took my step class at the Reebok Sports Club, as it was known at the time. After class he gave me the most delicious chocolate truffles, and so of course from the very beginning he held a special place in my heart.

Lawrence shares how he got into fitness out of necessity because he was the fat kid from Philly. His Father died when he was 18 and when the doctor said “you’re next,” Lawrence decided to make some changes, including beginning to workout, which led him into his career of fitness and wellness.

Lawrence obtained his ACE Gold certification and started teaching in college while he was also working on his masters in communication. After college and while teaching part-time, Lawrence worked for American Airlines teaching their emergency procedures, which was amazingly and coincidentally related to fitness and health and the beginning of diversifying his career, which is a running theme throughout our conversation.

We talk further about the importance of having diversity within what we offer, regardless of our career, and also the importance of seeing yourself as a business, even if you love what you are doing. Passion is wonderful, but passion alone does not pay the bills.

Lawrence gives us a fantastic exercise to do so that we can look at where we spend our time and how that input of time is related to our output of income.

Take out a pen and paper.

Put all that you do in terms of where you place your focus in a row at the top of the page.

Underneath each row put all the tasks that are associated with that item.

List how much time is spent in each column.

At the bottom of each row write down how much that particular project adds income to your bank account.

Notice if where you spend most of your time also brings in most of your revenue, or is at least moving you closer to building a profitable business.

Depending on the results it may be time to reevaluate how and where you place your focus and spend your time.

Lawrence talks about the importance of having great mentors. He also goes a step further and believes we all need two mentors, one who is in the industry that you are working in, and one outside of the industry. One leads the way on “what to do” and the other leads the way on “how to be.” He also talks about how to reframe failures and rejection, and that when we hear the word, “no” that the reframe of the meaning is, “not yet.”

Lawrence invites us to look at movement being mandatory and exercise as being optional. It is this reframe that will help the fitness industry reach the people, who in the past, may have felt as though they “failed at exercise.” This way we can help open their ears by using the word movement over exercise, and also open their hearts to happiness. He believes that we also need to create compelling experiences instead of simply teaching classes and executing exercise.

Lawrence goes onto say that it should be our goal to make everyone feel successful. That the “s of experiences” is not only to build a community, transcend exercise and make everyone feel challenged but most of all help them to feel successful. It is then people will return, tell their friends, and then we have built a community, or a tribe a tri-mmunity, a combination of tribe and community.

Towards the end of our conversation, Lawrence shares that he has three philosophies that he has honed from working in fitness.
1. Never burn your bridges.
2. Love is always the answer. Never Jealousy. Never greed. Never backstabbing. Never unfriendly competition. Love is always going to be the answer.
3. Stay true to who you are inside and never sell out. Stay true to yourself and listen to your inner voice.

Wise words for sure.