Advanced Fitness Strategic Advisors are trusted to solve product, sales, channel, revenue and strategy challenges that internal teams don’t have the time, directive, relationships or perspective to address.







Strategic input from the Advanced FSA team can flatten the learning curve in:

  • Account and customer acquisition
  • Sales platform innovation
  • New market or vertical expansion
  • Product development and go-to-market strategies
  • Channel and segment penetration
  • Key account management

Our Expert Advisors

No matter the challenge, Advanced FSA’s dedicated experts have the in-depth knowledge to help create and refine innovative and actionable strategies for future success at every level.

Tim McCarthy – The Business Driver

Proven results are the measurement of success for this 25+ year veteran of the highly competitive global fitness market. Expert in the development of complex go-to-market strategies and developing sales channels, accelerating growth across a variety of market segments and expanding customer relationships.

Kent Collins – The Groundbreaker

With a well-earned track record for innovative strategy building, product and new market development and distribution network activation, Collins helps clients build their fitness projects and businesses on the solid foundation of previous lessons learned. A master class guide on testing and launching new concepts and building necessary connections in the fitness and hospitality industries.

Gregg Spieker – The Idea Generator

An entrepreneur and business leader for over three decades, he knows what it takes to create a viable company and grow it to sustainable profit levels that can stand the test of time (and whatever tumultuous market fluctuations happen along the way). Knowing the right risks to take, and the disastrous decisions to avoid, Spieker mentors others who can benefit from the paths he’s already taken.

Bruce Schlagel - The Product Guru

A product sales expert and team leader in the fitness equipment space for more than 20 years, he’s also a fitness product patent holder who knows how to take products to market and secure big box retail distribution. Unsurpassed technical product knowledge and market insight on what sells and what doesn’t makes Schlagel an equipment and product trend-spotter with the history to back up his recommendations.

Rick Barbee – The Problem Solver

No matter how far-fetched the idea or how desperate the need, Barbee will find or create a way to fulfill it. His knowledge of fitness industry systems and processes, combined with extensive product expertise and a thirst that only superior client satisfaction can quench, make him a key collaborator for businesses blazing new paths in the fitness and health industries.

Frank Van de Ven – The Transformer

Across the global fitness market, adaptability is not only the keystone for survival but also the juggernaut for growth, as Frank van de Ven knows all too well. An expert in international market expansion and product line introduction, he has captained the fitness go-to-market strategy for multiple business lines across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, with specific expertise focused on the burgeoning markets in Japan, China, India, Russia, UAE and Saudi Arabia. Frank is a well-known and highly respected global influencer, responsible for successfully integrating new business lines into existing models, translating customer insights into integrated business strategies and transforming market approaches to find breakthrough opportunities.

Sarah Peterson – The Analyzer

Businesses looking to grow need the ability to put the numbers puzzle together, spotting both opportunities and weaknesses, and recommending data-driven directions for the health of the business. A CPA and financial operations expert for more than 30 years, Peterson shares her expertise around what it takes for businesses to sustain healthy margins, profitable operations and robust top and bottom line revenues.

Steve Drickey – The Guardian

A keen risk-management mind, knowledge of international standards and compliance, and 18 years in the fitness industry creates an unbeatable expert in product liability and safety, patent and trademark protection and product development processes that can make or break a fitness product or company. Don’t forget to add the ins and outs of licensing, royalties and exclusivity to this SME’s list.

LaRae Marsik – The Brand Builder

One of the keys to growth, success and profit is a memorable brand that ties directly to the products and services it supports. Marsik is a brand development and marketing expert with more than 25 years of experience launching, auditing, revitalizing and transitioning brands across multiple industries. B2B and B2C businesses alike need a strategic marketing hand on the wheel if long term growth is your goal.


Tim McCarthy
The Business Driver

On today’s fitness business growth opportunities

Compelling opportunities for growth are revealed as the fitness business shifts. Exercise formats have changed creating new options for fitness participation, and the ability to use technology to deliver and enjoy greater, more engaged fitness experiences are two major factors that are changing today’s fitness landscape entirely.

Where do companies make mistakes that they may not realize are missteps until it’s too late?

Companies often set out with the best intentions to be true to their brand, what it stands for and what customer expectations are for that brand. Losing sight of those critical components – value, service, reliability, differentiation or whatever they may be – is death. Ignore or neglect your brand attributes at your peril.

Kent Collins
The Groundbreaker

On what’s happening in the hospitality market

The most exciting concept being tested today in the hospitality channel is finding the space to launch and implement a functional training program. Functional training is not going away. Innovation, collaboration and a commitment to space allocation will be vital in the success of the concept for hospitality companies of all types.

On the one thing you need to grow or break into the fitness market today

Fitness companies need two things to innovate: technology and the ability to bring products to market in a timely manor.

Steve Drickey
The Guardian

On the challenge of competition, vulnerability and barriers to entry:

Competition gives the public more and potentially better options, drives down barriers of price and availability, and increases all of our opportunities. But this open marketplace can encourage fake claims of innovation, raw copying, the normalization of extremes in training methodologies, even the introduction of untested or dangerous products and practices. What’s a good, competitive business to do? It’s a minefield.

Sarah Peterson
The Analyzer

On the challenges that stand in the way of profitability

Managing margins due to tight competition and similar products is a key challenge. Add to that: hiring and retaining experienced staff who can lead and execute corporate goals, proactively strategize to react to market changes, and build lasting relationships with loyal customers. At the top-most level, branding becomes more important to gain market recognition – keep your reputation high and care for it continually. Operationally, it’s basic defense: keep your overheads low so that you can weather the storms when they come, because they will come.

On business “failure to launch” and the impact of change

Businesses fail to launch because they are not focused – focused on what they want to do, where they want to be in the market and what their customers are wanting. To make this even more challenging, customers’ wants and needs change constantly. The only constant is change, and you can’t take your eye off the ball.

On defensive business management

Not managing the competition or failing to be hyper-aware of customer’s changing needs will sink a company faster than anything else. Failing to diversify is a company killer too. Savvy companies anticipate market changes and adapt before their competition has time to see the signs. Partnering strategies can allow access to a larger market share. Adding value that your competition doesn’t is a given, whether it’s customer service, unique complimentary products or services that allow you to gain a toe hold to climb higher, faster than the field. Analyze your competition, study and learn from both their successes and their failures, and do it your own way.

Bruce Schlagel
The Product Guru

On what it takes to innovate, and have new product ideas stick

As training continues to evolve, so do the machines and accessories required to meet this demand. Right now there is a big push for functional training, small group training, as well as unique machines that can help keep people motivated. For new products to be successful, they have to hit the mark with a target demographic and be able to have staying power and be more than a fad or novelty that people try only once.

On failure and success, and what tips the scales

Every fitness center has a unique clientele and purpose in the market. Some centers are designed to be an amenity to another core business like an apartment community fitness center is to that property. It’s a package deal and easier to succeed when tied to another core business. Other fitness centers are stand-alone gyms or studios and their success is in their ability to attract and retain members. In either case, knowing target demographics and where products fit into those communities’ needs is critical to the design, implementation, and marketing approach of each new product.

Rick Barbee
The Problem Solver

On today’s top challenges for fitness facility builders and how to stay competitive in the market

One of the top challenges is in providing the most relevant and trending products and design elements to meet the broad user demands and, at the same time, being different from the competition. It’s a never-ending tightrope to walk. On top of that, there are infrastructure needs to accommodate the equipment needed, and the details behind creating the best fitness experience possible – ceiling heights, electrical and data connectivity, flooring tolerances, etc. – can be a complex web of details to manage.

On fitness industry changes and how companies are responding

There have been huge shifts in training types that appeal to fitness communities, shifting from HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and obstacle course training, to Olympic lifting and CrossFit-type box jumps and burpees, to more functional bodyweight and resistance training options. To keep up, companies are evolving and advancing alongside the trends, creating more versatile fitness facility options and equipment instead of staying limited to single plane movements on a weight stack machine.

Frank Van de Ven
The Transformer

On the evolution of fitness into entertainment

Our industry is at an inflection point where we are moving from a fitness, health and wellness focus to an entertainment one, where it’s increasingly important to create experiences that inspire participants to help them achieve their goals. Very few providers understand the full measure of what it takes to create these experiences which integrate technology, gamification, culture, competition and social factors, among other things.

On international market development

Asia is by far the most interesting developing market right now, as the growth potential is huge and the percentage of the population participating in fitness activity is still very low. At the same time, health care costs are increasing significantly, creating ideal growth opportunities for well-positioned fitness industry innovators who can meet the markets’ needs.

On global brand introduction and expansion

Understanding the regional culture and speaking the language are critical for success, and one of the keys to that success is to hire talented leaders who are connected at the local level. I’ve seen many companies fail by discounting the importance of localism. Differentiation and diversification are also vital to the introduction of any brand, product or company to new international markets. To break through, any new-to-the-market brand needs to be nimble to address particular needs and target audiences without diminishing its brand identity or competitive value.

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