9 Ted Talks Every Fitness Entrepreneur Needs to Watch

Published on: 
10 September 19
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11 min read

The internet is an excellent resource for learning and inspiring. Whether it’s a podcast that takes a deep dive into your favorite topic or a detailed infographic on social media; there’s a wealth of engaging, easy-to-digest content right at your fingertips.

Previously, we curated both the best fitness podcasts for you and your members and the books to change the course of your fitness business. So in this article, we decided it’s time to give TED Talks their time in the limelight. Motivation, innovation, health and wellness, leadership; you name it, there’s a TED talk for it. 

TED is a global community of people with speakers from almost every industry you can think of and the core goal to spread ideas. Beginning as a conference on Technology, Entertainment, and Design back in 1984, TED has been in the business of talking for over 30 years. 

So what are the best TED talks for fitness entrepreneurs? To make the list easier to digest, we’ve separated the 9 talks  below in two categories; Motivation and Leadership

TED Talks for Motivation

If you’re in need of some inspiration for your fitness business, these talks will do the job in less than 20 minutes. There are some great options in this section that are sure to motivate your members too.

1. Dan Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation  

In this popular talk, Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation. Pink challenges the traditional idea that great incentives and rewards drive motivation.

“Scientists who’ve been studying motivation have given us this new approach. It’s built much more around intrinsic motivation. Around the desire to do things because they matter because we like it, they’re interesting, or part of something important. And to my mind, that new operating system for our businesses revolves around three elements: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Autonomy: the urge to direct our own lives. Mastery: the desire to get better and better at something that matters. Purpose: the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves. These are the building blocks of an entirely new operating system for our businesses”.

Working on the notion that traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think; there are good ideas in this talk for everyone. From a business or entrepreneurial perspective to every day; listen for new ways to motivate yourself. 

2. Angela Lee Duckworth: Grit. The Power of Passion and Perseverance

This speedy 6-minute talk is a guaranteed dose of inspiration for any listener. After leaving a high-flying career in consulting, Angela Lee Duckworth took a teaching job in New York. The talk uses her teaching experience to illustrate the key to success. Duckworth quickly realized that IQ wasn’t the sole aspect of separating successful students from those who were struggling. 

“Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint”.

For a fitness entrepreneur and for your clients; success is not a question of speed. It comes from dedication and marathon-like tenacity. 

3. Matt Cutts: Try Something New for 30 Days

This talk is a great one for clients who need a little extra motivation and can even be applied to staff training. Matt Cutts is a Google engineer and his short, lighthearted talk gets right to the heart of forming healthy habits. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do, but just haven’t? Whether it’s a new diet or training regime, the first thing you need to encourage a client to do is to start it. Cutt suggests trying whatever it is you want to commit to for 30 days – and it’ll stick. 

“I learned that when I made small, sustainable changes, things I could keep doing, they were more likely to stick. There’s nothing wrong with big, crazy challenges. In fact, they’re a ton of fun. But they’re less likely to stick”. 

With straightforward advice on setting and achieving goals, the information is invaluable for both trainers and members. 

4. Emily Balcetis: Why Some People Find Exercise Harder Than Others

Why do some people struggle more than others to manage their weight? Social psychologist Emily Balcetis reveals a study that addresses one of the many possible factors: our vision. This is one of the best ted talks for fitness entrepreneurs. If you’re in the fitness business, there’s no doubt that you’ll have experienced that some clients struggle more than others to stick to a regime; whether it’s diet or exercise, or both.

“Across the world, people are struggling to manage their weight. There is no simple answer. But one reason I argue is that our mind’s eye might work against us. Some people may literally see exercise as more difficult. And some people might literally see exercise as easier”. 

This talk will start to get you thinking about those clients who are struggling in a new light and provide simple ways to help members overcome these differences.

5. Judson Brewer: A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit

Helping a member break a bad habit can be a real turning point in their fitness journey. When it comes to the fitness business, working with clients to help them achieve their goals isn’t just about the time they spend in your studio. It’s about their core habits, routines, and overall mindset because at the end of the day; they bring this into every session they attend. Whatever the cause of the pattern, Psychiatrist Judson Brewer encourages people to get curious about their habits in order to break them. 

“See food. Eat food. Feel good. Repeat. Trigger, behavior, reward. We quickly learn that if we eat chocolate or ice cream when we’re mad or sad, we feel better. Same process, just a different trigger. Instead of the hunger signal coming from our stomach, this emotional signal, feeling sad, triggers us to eat.”

In this talk, Brewer discusses the relationship between mindfulness and habit. From smoking to overeating; all the addictions we form even though we know they’re bad for us. 

TED Talks for Leadership

As a fitness business entrepreneur you lead people every day; whether it’s employees or clients. You can never learn enough ways to develop your leadership skills, as it’s an area you can always work to improve. 

6. Ernesto Sirolli: Want to Help Someone? Shut up and Listen!

This talk focuses on examples from the international aid community but its takeaways can be applied to any business, especially if you’re a fitness entrepreneur. You know the importance of listening to your members. If you don’t listen to them from the start, how do you know what they want? If you don’t know what they want, how can you help them meet their goals? 

“The most important thing is passion. You can give somebody an idea. If that person doesn’t want to do it, what are you going to do? The passion that the person has for her own growth is the most important thing. The passion that that man has for his own personal growth is the most important thing. And then we help them to go and find the knowledge because nobody in the world can succeed alone. The person with the idea may not have the knowledge, but the knowledge is available”.

Sirolli highlights that Sound advice for any entrepreneur. In this entertaining and impassioned talk, Sirollo proposes that before you can really help anyone, the first step is to listen and tap into their own entrepreneurial spirit. His advice uses examples of true entrepreneurship, and his experience can be applied to any business owner.

7. Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Why do some brands achieve things that totally exceed our expectations and defy all of our assumptions? Simon Sinek opens one of the most popular TED Talks of all time by posing this question to the audience. Snek explains that successful leaders start with “why”, using examples such as Apple and Dr. Martin Luther King to illustrate why this is effective. 

“Why? How? What? This little idea explains why some organizations and some leaders are able to inspire where others aren’t. Let me define the terms really quickly. Every single person, every single organization on the planet knows what they do, 100 percent. Some know how they do it, whether you call it your differentiated value proposition or your proprietary process or your USP. But very, very few people or organizations know why they do what they do. And by “why” I don’t mean “to make a profit.” That’s a result. It’s always a result. By “why,” I mean: What’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care?”

The take away will have you focusing your business message on defining why your fitness studio does what it does, rather than explaining how.

8. Seth Godin: How to Get Your Ideas to Spread

In a world filled with too many options and not enough time, people tend to ignore most things unless they really ‘jump out.’ 

“It doesn’t matter to me whether you’re running a coffee shop or you’re an intellectual, or you’re in business, or you’re flying hot air balloons. I think that all this stuff applies to everybody regardless of what we do. That what we are living in is a century of idea diffusion. That people who can spread ideas, regardless of what those ideas are, win”.

In this talk, marketing guru Seth Godin tells us why when it comes to grabbing attention, bizarre and bad ideas are more successful than ordinary, but boring ones. His approach is excellent for any business and will encourage you to get creative with your gym marketing strategy.

9. Laura Vanderkam: How to Gain Control of Your Free Time

There are 168 hours in every week – how do people find time for what matters the most? Time management expert Laura Vanderkam has spent years looking into how successful people tend to spend their time. Vanderkam finds that the majority of us drastically overestimate our weekly commitments and in turn, the time we have for ourselves is not a priority. 

“We don’t build the lives we want by saving time. We build the lives we want, and then time saves itself. We cannot make more time, but time will stretch to accommodate what we choose to put into it. I could tell you I don’t have time to dust my blinds, but that’s not true. If you offered to pay me $100,000 to dust my blinds, I would get to it pretty quickly. I can acknowledge this is not a matter of lacking time; it’s that I don’t want to do it. Using this language reminds us that time is a choice. And granted, there may be horrible consequences for making different choices; I will give you that. But we are smart people, and certainly, over the long run, we have the power to fill our lives with the things that deserve to be there”.

An inspiring talk for getting organized that will improve your time management in terms of your business. It’s another useful one to pass on to members. This video can be your go-to response for clients who “just don’t have time for the gym”!

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