My 3 Biggest MISTAKES in my Fitness Career

I have made lots of mistakes in my career. Some BIG. Some not so big.

Heck, just last week I made a careless mistake on an FB LIVE that was so frustrating to me.

It was NOT one of my top 3 career BIG mistakes but it drove me bonkers for hours afterward. It frustrated me for most of the day. And then I just had to drop it!!

When we make mistakes, we have to learn from them and that is why I want to share my Top 3 “BIG MISTAKES” of my entire 25-year fitness career.

Here are what I would consider my TOP 3 BIG mistakes made in my career (and the FB LIVE was NOT one of them) ☺

My 3 Biggest MISTAKES of my entire fitness career:


BIGGEST MISTAKE #1. NOT Systemizing my Business early-on.
When I started my business in the year 2000, it was on pure passion and drive. I had no clients, no money, and no business plan. Not very smart. I would not recommend it.

But with lots of hard work, I soon found myself as busy as I could possibly be within two years.
And within those 2-years (2002), I was so busy working “in” my business, training clients, and growing my business, that I rarely stopped to work “on” my business.

As a matter of fact, because I was so busy doing 40-50 sessions a week, I had very few systems in place. Despite growing to 18 trainers within 2 years and a rapidly growing company, I had NO financial systems, a POOR check-in system, a HORRIBLE accounting system, and my HIRING system wasn’t good.

And after a major lesson that cost me over $18,000 and a lot of embarrassment, I quickly changed and built my SYSTEMS for all these aspects.

Nowadays, I have systems for EVERY aspect of my business. Every. Single. Aspect.
Remember, S.Y.S.T.E.M. stands for “Saves You Some Time Energy and Money.”

Lesson: SYSTEMIZE your business. No one loves doing it. It’s not sexy. It’s not fun. But if you want to make money and be profitable, and you want to be efficient, and you want to run a good business, and you want TIME freedom, then you MUST absolutely systemize your business.


BIGGEST MISTAKE #2. Not getting rid of people fast enough when I knew they weren’t the right fit for the team.

This pains me when I think about it. Why is it that we hold onto people longer than we should when we KNOW they are the wrong fit for the team? Ughhh!!!

In my nearly 19-years of running Fitness Quest 10, I’ve had my share of “bad” hires or times when it was time to terminate one’s employment because of lack of productivity and performance, poor attitude, non-congruence with our team’s core values, or apathy.

Loyalty has always been one of my best traits. It has also stung me in the past.

Sometimes you know in your gut it’s time for someone to move on. But your chicken-sH*&^t to make the move that needs to be made. You make excuses WHY you aren’t going to get rid of someone instead of doing the inevitable.

And then one day they quit, or things blow up and their employment is terminated, and you find out things that you WISH you knew 6 months prior. Or a year. Or three.

Man, I’m shaking my head just thinking about it. Why is it that sometimes YOU want GREATNESS for someone more than someone wants for him/herself? If that’s the case, you may have the wrong person on the team. Or at least they are in the wrong seat on your team. That’s for you to determine.

If you have the right people on the team…INSPIRE them. Grow them. Set expectations. Make them feel valued. But by all means, if you have a negative energy vampire that is hurting your culture and pulling YOU, YOUR TEAM, or YOUR CLIENT/MEMBERS down, pull the trigger on what NEEDS to be done. No more deliberating. Get. It. Done.

Lesson: Hire smart. LEAD like no other. And by all golly, get rid of someone on your team if they don’t belong!


BIGGEST MISTAKE #3. Not changing fast enough because fear gets in the way!

Yep. You. I’m speaking to YOU.

What is it that you want?
What are those whispers telling you that you need to focus on to achieve your career, business, or personal goals that you desire?

In my close to 25+ year career in fitness and coaching, I’ve had a lot of changes and taken a lot of risks.

Opening a business. Growing a business. Leading a team. Writing books. Giving 40+ keynotes/talks per year. Starting a Mastermind Coaching program. Evolving that Mastermind program and growing it several times. Expanding Fitness Quest 10. Not one time. Not two. But three. And soon to be another…

Contrary to popular belief, rarely was the risk or the change easy. Normally, I had excuses like…
“I’m not sure now is the right time.”
“I’m 90% positive it will work, but man that 10% is scary.”
“Maybe I should wait one more year.”
“What if I fail?”
“What if I succeed?”

Here is the conclusion I have come to CHANGE or DIE.

If you are not growing, you are dying. If you are not evolving, someone is catching up. Change must happen BEFORE change must happen.

Let me repeat. Change must happen BEFORE change must happen.

Lesson: Give up GOOD to get to GREAT! Make the CHANGES that you know you need to make. And by all means, make the CHANGES BEFORE they need to happen.

Scary. Yes. Face your fears. Run at them. And get done what you KNOW needs to be done. And then meet me at the top. ☺

I felt compelled to share today. I love when I hear back from one of you and you say, “TD, I needed to hear this today. I get exactly what you are saying and I’m going to take ACTION on what I KNOW NEEDS to be done.”

To me, that’s music to my ears. I’m not sure who I’m going to hear from and who’s going to drop me a note, but do me a favor…if any of these 3 “mistakes” or “lessons” that I made resonate with you, let me know which one.

And better yet, tell me what ACTION STEP you are going to take to go SOARING into 2019 with new life and new ENERGY.

I hope you’re as fired-up as I am. Much love and many lessons. After all, maybe my “mistakes” can be your “wins.”

Keep creating IMPACT!!!



P.S. I would LOVE to COACH YOU in 2019 and ensure you make the CHANGES necessary to take your business and life to the next level!!


We have an unprecedented 50% off for 2-months if you sign-up before December 26th for our Mastermind Institute or 50% off 1-month for out Platinum Level AND you get my Annual Roadmap & Strategic Plan. I do NOT sell that and I don’t give it away to anyone but those in my Mastermind Group.

Sign-up today at and you literally will receive my Roadmap Thursday. This will single-handedly be the most important “exercise” you do for your entire year.

Again, I do NOT give away or sell the Roadmap to anyone but to those, I coach. But if you would like me to coach you in 2019 on all levels, my team and I are READY TO GO!!!

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About the Author

Todd Durkin, MA, is a world-renown trainer, coach, author and motivational keynote speaker who trains dozens of elite, high-profile NFL, MLB, and MMA athletes, including two Super Bowl MVP’s, one NFL League MVP, Olympic gold medalists, Heisman Trophy winners, and MMA champions. Todd is a 2-Time Trainer of the Year, the 2017 Jack LaLanne Award recipient, the 2018 Canfitpro International Presenter of the Year, a member of the Under Armour Training Team, and a Top-100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness.

Todd was a featured trainer on the popular TV show, NBC STRONG, which is now airing on Netflix. His award-winning gym, Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, CA, is a Top-10 Gym in America and his 2 best-selling books, The WOW BOOK and The IMPACT Body Plan, have both changed thousands of people’s lives. If you would like to get motivated and inspired now, you can pick these books up at, or if you would like a signed copy, please purchase at

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TD Mastermind Coaching Program for Trainers & Fit-Pros

If you are a trainer, coach, or fitness pro, you need to check out Todd’s Mastermind Coaching Program. It is designed to help you create excellence in your business & life. It consists of 2-live retreats per year, monthly coaching, access to Todd and his team of coaches, select and unique opportunities within Todd’s network, weekly motivation, and a whole lot more. This is all primarily virtual so you can be located anywhere around the globe and you can join at any time.

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IMPACT Coaching for High-Performers & Growth-Minded individuals (Primarily NON-fit-pros)

If you are NOT a fitness pro, but a person who seeks high-performance and growth in business and life. There is a unique opportunity to work directly with Todd in his brand new IMPACT Coaching program. It’s only 90-Days long, but it’s an intense immersion in personal coaching (body, mind, AND spirit) and business coaching. There will only be 12-people in this program—one might as well be YOU.

The IMPACT Coaching Program starts September 16th so take ACTION today and apply. Here are all the details…

New Podcast

Lastly, Todd’s new podcast (“The Todd Durkin IMPACT Show”) just dropped, and we would love for you to listen. It’s designed to motivate and inspire you to live a life full of passion, purpose, and IMPACT, and it’s guaranteed to Get Your Mind Right. Check it out and subscribe today at We also have a part of the podcast where we take your Q&A, so please send us your questions through the weblink.

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