Episode 277

How to Become the Go-To Gym for Women Over 30 with Molly Galbraith

In this episode, Molly Galbraith joins me to talk about how to become the go-to gym for women over 30.

[00:00:00] Hello, my friend in today’s episode, I have back on the podcast for maybe the fourth or fifth time, one of my favorite badasses in the whole fitness industry, it’s Molly Galbraith from girls gone strong, and she’s talking about a really critical topic on today’s podcast, which is how all of you as gym owners and fitness professionals can take better care of your female clients who are experiencing menopause and perimenopause.

And she’s going to talk a little bit about a new cert that girls gone strong has put out for all of you who want to level up in this area. It’s an amazing episode full of. As always really critical information about how you can better serve your female clients. So, uh, I think all of you, this is a must slip and listen episode.

So keep on listening.

Welcome to the Business for Unicorns podcast, where we help gym owners unleash the full potential of their business. I’m your host, Michael Kehler. Join me each week for actionable [00:01:00] advice, expert insights, and the inside scoop on what it really takes to level up your gym. Get ready to unlock your potential and become a real unicorn in the fitness industry.

Let’s begin.

Hello, fitness, business nerds. What’s up? Welcome to another episode of the business unicorns podcast. And today I’m so frigging excited. One of my favorite guests was back on the podcast for, I don’t know, the third, fourth time. I don’t know who’s counting, but she really should be on every week. It’s Molly Galbraith, girls gone strong.

Hi, Molly. Molly, welcome back. Hi, Michael. Thank you so much for having me such a job. It’s such a joy. It is always a joy, truly. Honestly, before we start recording every single time, I just want to keep talking to you and catch up on your life because you’re always doing such interesting shit. You have so many great things going on, both in your life and your team at Girls Going Strong is always crushing it.

Um, and today I want to talk about your most recent project because I think it’s so needed in the world. Everyone’s ready for it. I think you [00:02:00] just launched it just a week or two before recording this podcast and people are already loving it. And I just want our audience to, to really know they have to come get this from you.

Cause it’s so important. So you want to give us like a high level overview. What’s your most recent product that girls going strong has launched. Yeah, absolutely. So for those who don’t know, GGS has an academy. It’s the world’s first and only academy that provides a research backed interdisciplinary women’s specific certifications for women and the professionals who work with them.

And so we have three certifications. The most recent one that we just released or are about to, we’ve released it over the summer and it’s actually getting ready to open again in November. So you’ve probably seen the chatter about it. It’s our menopause coaching specialist. Certification. We’re so excited about this one because it really, we’ve got our women’s coaching specialist, which covers coaching women across their lifespan.

We have our pre and postnatal very specific to pregnancy and postpartum. And this one is a deep dive into perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. And this one is wildly important. Especially for [00:03:00] gym owners and health and fitness professionals, because on average, 67 to 75 percent of people who hire a coach or trainer are women.

The majority of them are going to be in that 35 to 55 year old age range. And I think it’s really easy to think about menopause as a quote unquote older person’s problem, right? Don’t know that perimenopause can start on average between 39 and 51 years of age. So I turned 30, I turned 39 this year, right?

So I’m literally right there on the cusp of perimenopause. Perimenopause can on average last four to eight years. And I’ll tell people a little bit more about what that is and what it entails in a minute. But. And then there’s menopause and then post menopause and those symptoms can last up to 10 years or longer.

So when I help health and fitness professionals realize menopause symptoms can massively impact your clients for up to 20 years and it can start in their late thirties. These are the women that you’re working with, right? These are the majority. Right? Of your clients and the thing about these [00:04:00] symptoms is they literally impact women I’m like from our brains to our boobs to our bones literally head to toe And so we can dive into the symptoms in just a minute but it’s so wildly important because we did a survey of the ggs community and Only three percent of women in our community said they had a coach or trainer who was a trusted resource for menopause That means 97 Of women out there who are in fitness, interested in fitness, hiring coaches and trainers feel like they don’t have a trusted resource for this.

And 73 percent of women never seek help for their menopause symptoms. So these are massively impacting their lives. They’re not getting help for them. They don’t know where to go for support. They’re not. Don’t feel like they have anybody they can trust and they’re just suffering in silence, honestly.

Yeah. Yeah. It’s so amazing that you’re creating a product to, to make, solve this, to have women have a place to go where they feel they can rely on someone, ask questions, get support. And why not? That’d be trainers at the gym. I [00:05:00] think for all of you listening, like how does this apply to me? How’s this impact my gym?

I think honestly, Molly laid it out for you, but you want to talk about ways to retain your clients long term and women are going through this experience for up to 20 years. Their lives, they’ll stick around at their place where they are understood and supported in all the ways they need to be. And you want to talk about differentiating yourself from everyone else in your market.

This is a great way to attract women as the place to go in your market with really well informed trainers who can really know how to take care of them. And I think you’re right that the stats speak for themselves, but just anecdotally, I know all of our Unicorn Society members, almost all of them have majority female clients and many of them.

As you have majority male trainers who know very little about anything perimenopause or menopause related. And of course, they’re probably not turning to those folks for questions and support when they really could be. They could be a great resource for attracting more female clients and keeping them longer.

So let’s dive in a little bit. So what are the kind of early kind of symptoms of perimenopause that women will start to [00:06:00] experience that people should know about? Yeah, absolutely. I want to make one point, what you just said, if you think about the fact that these women are going through these symptoms, the majority of their trainers are male.

Think about the remarkability aspect and by remarkability, people remark about you. They talk about you to their friends. Can you imagine 45 year old Pam who has this male trainer in his late twenties or early thirties and he’s a menopause informed coach. Can you imagine the remarkability aspect of that within your community, whether it’s online or in person.

Okay, when we get into That’s a game changer, right? That’s a game changer. It’s so out, it’s so over, sadly, I think people will see, it shouldn’t be, but it’s so above and beyond their expectations. Hopefully, that will change. And thanks, Bartee. Girls Gone Strong. But the idea is that they would never expect that 20 something year old trader to know anything about it, and to be well informed Is just such an exceeded expectations kind of moment.

So sorry, go ahead. Yeah. So when we think about symptoms, I literally like to categorize them all. I literally have to start at my head and [00:07:00] move down to my feet. So it can literally start in the brain with everything from brain fog to cognitive difficulties, to anxiety, to depression. To increased risk of cardiovascular disease, to increased risk of breast cancer, to shoulder pain, joint pain, muscle loss, strength loss, loss of power, increased fall risk, all the way down to gut health, so we’re talking constipation, diarrhea.

bloating, all kinds of digestive issues, decreased gut motility. So they struggle with going to the restroom, down to vaginal dryness, genitourinary syndromes of menopause. There’s all kinds of things happening with their libido and their sexual health and their vaginal tissue. And it literally just goes on for hot flushes, night sweats.

Poor sleep, lack of energy. You can imagine how all of these things impact a woman’s health and wellbeing and her health and fitness results too. And so she’s having these symptoms. And if her coach or trainer has no idea what’s happening or [00:08:00] doesn’t mention any of these things to her, or they don’t know, she doesn’t know that they’re informed about this kind of stuff.

They’re not going to feel comfortable having these conversations. And so these symptoms, like I said, can start and they. They vary very widely across women and how long they impact them and, and even how often they’re having these symptoms and whatnot. But again, they can start in the late thirties. They can start earlier than that if a woman has a very premature ovarian insufficiency or medical menopause or has hysterectomy or something like that, but yeah, start in the late thirties and can last into a, through a woman’s sixties.

Wow. And just imagine if they’re coming to our gyms to try and get results and have energy to make it through their day and to feel stronger and to feel more connected to their body and to maintain their range of motion and we don’t, and they have any of those things going on and we can’t talk about it and we can’t proactively address it, how are we expected to get them results?

How are we expected to get them results if we can’t actually address those challenges? Yeah. Mood swings and irritability. And so you just picture them. They’re trying to go to bed. They’re struggling to fall [00:09:00] asleep. When they finally fall asleep, they wake up with a hot flush there. They’ve soaked their sheets in their pajamas.

They’re throwing the sheets off five minutes later, they’re cold. They put them back on there. Then they have all this interrupted sleep. And then they’re whatever male trainer walks up and they’re like, Hey, Pam, how’d you sleep last night? And they’ve got the mood swings and irritability.

Haven’t you been trying to get more sleep? You should really get more sleep, Pam. Come on. What are you? Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. Talk me a little through a little bit of what are some of the things that you teach in the program that some of our listeners can take away in terms of how the, how, how trainers can act differently to be more supportive and more informed and have that make a difference in their experience with clients.

Yeah, absolutely. So one of the absolute baseline foundational things that we do is with our intake form, Michael. So on our intake form, when we’re learning about our clients, we have a boundaries and consent section where clients can opt into these certain conversations with their clients. And so this is everything from nutrition, sleep.

stress, pelvic [00:10:00] health, menopause, hormones, all that sort of thing, because you never know what topics are going to be sensitive or are something that your client isn’t interested in talking to you about, right? Maybe she’s fine talking about her pelvic health, but she doesn’t want you to ask about her sleep because that’s a really frustrating.

That’s a really frustrating thing for her. But in general, we think, Oh, sleep is pretty benign. Or maybe you have a client that has a history of disordered eating. She isn’t interested in talking to you about her nutrition. She’s coming to you to get really strong or to manage her mental health or whatever the thing is.

She’s do not ask me about my nutrition. So foundationally we have a boundaries and consent section on our intake form. So that number one, we make sure that clients are actually opting into these conversations and that coaches feel confident and prepared. They’re like, Oh, Pam’s ready to talk to me about this.

Okay, cool. I know this is on the table to begin with. So even that is a. game changing new tool. Just that gives the team not just permission to ask about it, but allows them just to be proactive because it might be the first time ever that person in that intake form was asked, do you want to have this conversation?

Do you want to talk [00:11:00] about your body in this way? Do I talk about your behavior in this way? And even just Having them fill it out, I bet is valuable to some people and then having a team who is really ready to respond to those opportunities is really fantastic. So even listeners, even if you just do that, you’re already doing something that probably a very small percentage of gyms is doing, which is open the conversation to talking about more than just weights lifted and have that consent process.

So critical. Yeah. What else? Thank you. Yeah. And I’ll say there’s a sentence or two above that says, Hey, there’s a lot of different things that can impact your health and fitness results, including all of these. So please let me know which things you’re comfortable with or which ones you’re not or whatever.

So explain to them why they’re being asked this question in the first place. So the textbook is broken up. We have a like coaching and psychology section. We have an anatomy and physiology that’s. Specifics. You actually know what’s happening to a woman’s body during the menopausal transition. We have the mental health and well being section.

We have nutrition and supplements, and we have exercise, rest, [00:12:00] recovery, programming, and common medical considerations that are impacting women going through menopause. And so it’s a Super complete tool. That’s going to give you all the tools that you need to have these conversations. It talks about motivational interviewing.

It talks about the stages of change. It talks about how to be empathetic and have these sensitive conversations. It specifically talks about how to have these conversations. If you’re someone who’s never going to go through menopause, right? How you can be the person to have that. Then, like I said, you learn the anatomy and physiology.

So you’re learning all the different changes happening to. A woman’s body so that you can have an informed conversation, which I have no idea what’s going on. You can say, Hey, I’ve, I got a little bit of information about this. Are you interested in learning more? We’ve got the mindset, mental health and wellbeing.

So we’re talking about all of the mental health challenges that women are going through as it relates to their body changing. Cause it’s a really challenging period of time for women when you feel like. You’re getting older. You don’t, you’re having these changes happening in your body. So many of them feel so wildly out of your control and that lack of [00:13:00] control and that feeling like you have no idea what’s going on can be so disconcerting at the same time that you’re having brain fog, you’re forgetting things, your memory difficulties.

Oftentimes women at this stage have big life changes going on, right? Maybe they’re separating from a partner or going through a divorce. Kids are going off to school. Maybe they’re feeling a lack of meaning and purpose in their work. And they’re wondering what’s next for the second half of their life.

The important work in this certification of teaching coaches, how to help clients actually articulate, what do you want for this? Part of your life. We have something called a menopause vision statement that helps them explore their values, helps them explore the things that they’re interested in that excite them.

So instead of looking at menopause as like a lot, while my life is over, it’s no, this is your opportunity to really say, what do I want for the second half of my life? And how does that tie to my health and fit? Because if a client’s values are connection and adventure, and you’re telling her that she has to follow a really strict meal plan where she has to pack her stuff, six to six meals a [00:14:00] day.

And she’s like, I’m just trying to go hike the Grand Canyon with my friends or whatever. It doesn’t match. Or you say, Hey, you really need to give up your wine. And like her wine club is her connection with her people every week, right? Like it’s learning what’s important to her at this phase of her life and how that.

Impacts and ties into her health and fitness goals, and we get into the nutrition and the supplementation. Obviously, this is all within the scope of practice of a coach or trainer. There’s a lot that we can do, a lot of recommendations we can make that are not medical nutrition therapy, that are nutrition habits and skills.

That can be positively impactful on menopause symptoms for women at this time in their life. And then there’s the exercise, rest, recovery, and programming. So that’s, you’re going to, you’re going to learn about the things like the joint pain and stiffness, the osteoporosis and osteopenia, the increased risk of falling, the pelvic health concerns.

50 percent of women in post menopause have urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse. These women that you’re working with are having pelvic health concerns. You’re going to learn how to program around that. And then you learn how to create relationships [00:15:00] with these providers that women are going to see.

So you’re on the front lines of these critical conversations with your clients that 73 percent of them are never seeking help for their symptoms. You’re not the one who can help them with menopause hormone therapy or whatever the medical treatment is, but you can say, Hey, Pam, start a conversation. Yes.

And we actually have a form, a one pager that coaches can print off and give to their clients to take to the doctor to have the conversation. It outlines a brief health history. It outlines what their symptoms are. It helps them prioritize their symptoms for them because the doctor’s going to say, Hey, this could help with your hot flushes, but it might increase your risk of this.

Are you okay with that? So you help her ahead of time, have an informed and productive conversation with her doctor. So she doesn’t come back and say, they didn’t listen to me, nothing. It’s she actually comes in and it says, Hey, Dr. Smith, here’s what’s important to me right now. I think I’m going through perimenopause.

Here’s my symptoms. Here’s what’s going on. Here’s what do I want to address? Can you help? So we’re literally helping our clients facilitate [00:16:00] these incredibly productive and useful conversations with their healthcare providers so they can truly get the help that they need. And it’s all compounded by the important work that we’re doing with them, with their exercise and nutrition.

Yeah. I’m always so impressed by how holistic your certifications are and how all encompassing the fact that it covers all of those different areas, both the mental cognitive part, the emotional part, the practical eating and fitness and nutrition part. And I think that the thing that stands out to me so much is that trainers can really be that person that, that encourages someone.

To approach self care in a new way to really think about taking care of their body as it ages and changes that to really reframe. That’s a real opportunity to double down on your self care and learn to interact with yourself in new ways, ask big questions. And that’s that, you know, that’s totally within scope.

That’s totally something that a trainer can and should be willing to do. I want to go back quickly to me to double click on one thing you mentioned, which [00:17:00] was I know the majority of trainers. You know, in the industry and listeners on this podcast are men who will never experience perimenopause or menopause.

And you mentioned that you address this a little bit in the courses, how to have this conversation with people when it’s hard for you to empathize. It’s hard for you to put yourself in their shoes. And I want to click on that for a second and say, what else could, should the dudes listening be thinking about when it comes to approaching this conversation with their female clients?

Yeah. So I think a couple of things are really important. So one, it’s having the consent to have the conversation in the first place. Two, it’s the understanding that you won’t understand, right? Anytime we’re talking to someone with a different lived experience than us, whether it’s, they grew up in a different socioeconomic background or they have a different skin color or a different culture, right?

We can’t understand what it’s like to be them, but we can recognize that we don’t necessarily understand what it’s like to be them. So I think even the acknowledgment. Yep. That I haven’t gone through this or I’m not going to go through this, but I care and I want to listen, I think is really important. [00:18:00] I think you can say, Hey, I’ve taken the certification.

I’m menopause informed, but you’re the expert on your body. So tell me what’s going on here. I think acknowledging that you have tools and strategies for them, but that ultimately they are the ones who are going through that experience. And so you’re actually collaborating with. Then, right. Instead of pointing your finger and telling Pam, she should get more sleep, right?

It’s Hey, Pam, like not getting good sleep is really hard. Is that something that like, like, and we can’t always control the quality or quantity of our sleep, but there are a couple of things that you might be able to do leading up to sleep or things you might be able to prepare yourself for the night that could stack the deck in your favor.

Are you interested in talking about some of those, right? Since. It’s not telling, it’s that collaborative process where you’re working with your client to see what they’re open to. So I think it’s getting the consent to have the conversation. Acknowledging that you haven’t gone through it, but that you care about their experience and you’re open to listening and that you have tools and strategies and are menopause informed, but that ultimately they are the [00:19:00] expert on their body and that you’re just here to troubleshoot ideas with them based on what they’re experiencing and what they’re open to experimenting with.

Yeah, I think it’s so smart, Polly, and I think you’re right. It all goes back to initiating the conversation with some consent moment, some moment where they say, yes, I want to have this conversation with you. And then you’re right, it’s, if it’s a giant spectrum on one end of telling and directing, and the other side is asking and being curious, this conversation is way down at that end of the spectrum, just pure curiosity, asking questions, probing, letting them know that you’re available.

And that you do have some information if they do want it, I’m willing to do some telling if you want to be in the loop about what I’ve learned, and I think that’s so valuable, because, yeah, I think there’s, it’s really about compassion over empathy, because I think you’ll never know what it’s like to be in their shoes if you’re a dude, and you can still have compassion, say, I can see this is hard for you.

Do you want help? I think that’s a great way of thinking about it. So maybe let’s just talk a little bit about Yeah. Let’s, let’s imagine that our listeners like, yes, I want to get good at this. They go and grab your cert, they take it. And there’s a bunch of people on the team or the whole [00:20:00] team who’s really informed.

What are you, what do they hope to get on the other side of that rainbow? What’s the promise here by having a team that’s well informed on this topic? Yeah, you differentiate yourself and you’ve set yourself apart as the go to expert in your community for women over 40, which again, we know is the largest population of people who are hiring coaches and trainers.

And again, I think it’s that remarkability piece. It’s the being able to, it’s the retention piece, right? When your clients feel like that they, that you really care about them. One stat that I found was so interesting is that the. Doctors who are most likely to be sued are not those it’s all about their bedside manner.

So as the doctors with poor bedside manner are significantly more likely to be sued, right? Totally separate from what the actual like medical malpractice. Yeah. Yeah. Separate from the decisions that they made separate from the outcomes. It’s the doctors who have the poor bedside manner who don’t make their patients feel cared about.

And I think there’s such an important business lesson here, [00:21:00] right? When it comes to retention, when it comes to making your clients. Uh, love you and want to stick with you forever and again, and we know these are the folks who are more likely to hire trainers, but they’re more like most likely to have more disposable income.

They’re going to have friends who are struggling with these same things. And so when they say, Oh my gosh, have you gone to see Jimmy over at so and so, like he’s been helping me a ton. And so I think it’s the remarkability piece. It’s the setting yourself apart. It’s the differentiation. And it’s literally.

Becoming the go to expert for women over 40 in your gym or in your community. Yeah, that’s huge. That’s huge. This has been an amazing conversation. I bet we can talk for another hour about this topic. There’s so much to cover and so many details we could dive into. But let me ask you one last question as we wrap up.

Is there something that our listeners can start doing today? Whether they’ve taken the cert or not at this point, to start being a more welcoming, inclusive place to women over 40 who might be going through perimenopause or menopause? Yeah, absolutely. I go ahead and add that boundaries and consent [00:22:00] section to take forms, content sections, consent section.

I think that’s huge. I think that’s huge. And here’s the really good news. So if people go to my Instagram, so it’s at the Molly Galbraith, if you DM me the word learn, L E A R N, just the word learn, I can get you access to, we have a brand new free, Free menopause and nutrition course. So it tackles the biggest symptoms of menopause.

So weight gain and body composition changes, hot flushes, poor sleep and lack of energy and brain fog. It teaches you nutrition skills within your scope of practice to help women struggling with those symptoms. You’ll also get access to, we’ve got a ton of bonus resources. And one of them is our GGS intake form.

So you can take it. You can look at it. You can pull pieces from it and it just gives you an opportunity to get a little taste of the type of education. See if this is something that you’re interested in without having to go ahead and enroll in the certification. So go to my Instagram, DM me the word, learn, I’ll get you access to the free menopause and nutrition course, and you’ll get access to the intake form.[00:23:00]

Fantastic. Yeah. Friends go and do that immediately. Thank you so much for being here, Molly. Thanks so much for doing such great work in the world. And thank you for coming on the podcast to share it. I’m always thrilled to have you. So thanks for taking the time to do it. Oh, Michael, thank you for having me.

And again, I know how much you care about your community and the folks who listen to this podcast and all of the people who like know and trust you. So it’s an honor to, for you to share me with them. Thank you, my friend. Well, listeners, if you enjoy this podcast, please leave us a five star review everywhere that you listen so we can keep doing it and bring on brilliant guests like Molly in the future and go have a kick ass day.

I’ll see you on the next one. Bye everyone. Bye.