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Chris Stevenson: The Bottom Line

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Chris Stevenson

Every month, Club Solutions sits down with an industry expert to share in their wealth of knowledge. In the March issue, we sat down with Chris Stevenson, the owner of Stevenson Consulting

1. How did you get started in the fitness industry?

I grew up as a high-level competitive martial artist, so exercise was always a prominent part of my daily routine. As much as I loved competing, I equally loved the cross-training aspect of the sport. As my days as a competitor came to an end, I began coaching other martial artists. Like my own experience as a competitor, I found I enjoyed coaching my athletes in physical conditioning as much as coaching the actual sport itself. It was at that point I decided I had to become more involved in the health and fitness industry. It was in my DNA.

2. What’s been a key to your organization’s success? What are you most proud of?

Without a doubt, the key to success in all the organizations I have run is instilling a culture of creating an exceptional member experience. When I owned Stevenson Fitness, I was proud to have our club receive the highest net promoter score (NPS) in all of North America in the first ever NPS study where IHRSA partnered with The Retention People to survey clubs in North America.

3. What has been one of the biggest accomplishments of your career?

I am proud to have had the opportunity to speak and share best practices around the world with other passionate fitness business owners. As much as I loved running our clubs, I never imagined it would take me to places like Portugal and Beijing. Meeting with and helping other club owners with their businesses has been an incredible experience I am grateful to have had. 

4. What has been one of the biggest challenges you have faced in your career? And how did you overcome it?

I loved being the positive, fun leader who was liked by everyone. I was terrible at having difficult conversations with team members and hated conflict. A colleague gave me advice when I realized my struggles were holding us back as a company and holding me back in my professional development. I learned difficult situations did not have to be about being a bad guy, it was more about setting clear expectations and following through on a regular basis in a positive way. The combination of frequency combined with black and white expectations minimized conflict.

5. What is one lesson you have learned that other fitness professionals can learn from?

Make decisions based on “real” not “feel.” Far too often we let our emotions guide us rather than data, research and facts. When I shifted from “feel” to “real,” my decision-making became better by leaps and bounds. While gut feelings may play a role in decision-making, it is best to rely on concreteness over emotion.

6. Tell us one fact about yourself others may not know.

I did stunt work for the children’s show Power Rangers. I think this job made the transition to the fitness industry easy since all I had to do was trade in my Power Ranger spandex for some Lululemon spandex and start training people and teaching Group X. 

To learn more about Chris Stevenson and his journey in the fitness industry, connect with him on LinkedIn.

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Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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