It May Be Time to Fire Your Trainers

Nic DeCaire is owner and founder of Fusion Fitness Center in Newark, DE. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware and Wilmington College. DeCaire is an IFPA certified personal trainer and has been personal training in the Newark area for 12 years. He started his career at age 14 working the front counter at a local fitness center. His success and passion for fitness has grown since then. A former competitive bodybuilder and power lifter, DeCaire has won many awards in the sport. He is the chairman of the Main Street Mile, serves on the board of Kids with Confidence and is a member of the Newark Morning Rotary Club. If you would like to contact DeCaire, he can be reached at 302-738-4580 or [email protected].

What if I told you that it might be time to fire your personal trainers? Don’t get me wrong. Personal training is a lucrative part of any fitness club, so I’m not suggesting that you get rid of your personal training program. However, your trainers may be holding your members back from reaching their full potential. If your members are not getting what they pay for when it comes to personal training, it is time to fire your trainers.

Are your trainers dressed like they themselves are working out or like they are actually working? Do your trainers use medicine balls, foam rollers and resistance bands with their clients or is it still bench press Monday? As an owner or manager, you should be asking these questions.

In this economy, every dollar counts. When individuals make conscious decisions to spend money on personal training, they expect and deserve a value-added benefit. Your trainers should dress like professionals, not like they are about to work out themselves. No complaints and no excuses. It is not necessary to be in sweatpants and T-shirts to demonstrate an exercise. If they disagree, fire them. If I can demonstrate how to dead lift or perform a kettlebell swing in my slacks and polo, so can your trainers. A professional demeanor and professional appearance promotes confidence, both in the trainer and the client. It’s a natural reaction.

If your trainers are still doing bench press and barbell curls with their clients, fire them. Your clients should be getting up and moving around. It is your trainer’s job to make workouts fun. If your clients are having fun while they are sweating, they will sing your praises and will be more likely to continue. It is all about retention. Give them results and they will stay. As soon as they get bored, you have lost them.

Clients and personal trainers who work together for some time often become close friends. Clients trust trainers—they almost worship them. They may hang out together on the weekends and may even invite each other to special events. Gifts for holidays and birthdays are not unusual. Though this can be a great benefit for trainers, it can be devastating for owners and managers. Make sure your trainers are not crossing the line of professionalism by accepting gifts, vacations or money. When this happens, clients may begin to feel entitled to special treatment, like not being charged for a last-minute canceled session.

In addition, once gifts exchange hands, the relationship dynamic changes. Trainers who leave a club to go to another one often take their clients with them. In addition, if you need to fire a trainer, you risk angering the loyal client, who may speak ill of you to other potential clients and leave your gym.

When your trainers go on vacation, their clients should know how to work out on their own. If not, fire your trainers because they are not truly educating their clients and providing an all-encompassing approach to fitness. Many trainers want their clients to know just enough so that the trainer remains more valuable and indispensable. Owners and managers should want the opposite. The more knowledgeable the clients, the better results they achieve. When clients are successful, they will spread the word, which means more clients for your training department.

All training clients should be cross training. Members who are involved in many areas of the facility will stay longer. Spin classes and boot camps are great ways to get your members involved in your club because they will meet more members, potentially make more friends, feel connected and be more invested in the club, which will make it harder to leave.

If your trainers are not giving it their all when they are training, fire them. They are taking money from your members and not giving the proper service in return. If one of your trainers is slacking off, pull them aside and ask them why they got into this industry. If the answer is not “to help people,” let them go. We are a customer service business. Our job is to help people achieve their physical fitness potential. If this is not happening in your facility, it is time to “reload” with new trainers.

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