Managing a personal training department requires a number of skills, not the least of which is creating and enforcing systems to ensure that results are generated in a reproducible fashion. As the leader of your personal training business - in essence, that’s what you are as the training manager - it is up to you and your systems to determine how effective and profitable your business will be. Here are three fundamental duties that create a well-run training department. Creating simple systems guarantees that those duties are addressed regularly and are never overlooked.
1. Know Your Team
Meet with each personal trainer on your team one-on-one. Make this meeting private. It should last approximately 45-90 minutes. Do your homework prior to the meeting; know how long they have been employed at the facility and their production performance, based on how many personal training session sessions they have performed each month since they have been there. In the meeting, you should accomplish the following items:

  • Understand their career objectives and why they chose this field.
  • Learn about their fitness education (include CPR/AED certifi cation), what level are they at and where they want to go. Learn about any frustrations they have that are preventing them from reaching the next level.
  • Set clear requirements of what you expect from them, and then set up tracking systems to hold them accountable for those requirements. (This might already exist at your gym and just needs to be enforced.)
  • Give them some background on yourself, and make sure they know you are there to help them improve as a personal trainer, grow their clientele and improve their paycheck!
In a different meeting, have each one take you through a workout to learn their skills and techniques.
After the session, you should provide both positive and negative feedback.
After you get to know each trainer, set up monthly one-on-one meetings with each personal trainer at the end of the month to review and update their business plans for the upcoming month, including:
  • All their active clients
  • Any new business (number of new clients last month)
  • Drop-off rate (number of clients who stopped training last month)
  • Projection of sessions for the upcoming month
  • Areas for improvement
  • Outreach and promotional activities planned
Read Tom’s 10 Commandments for Elite Personal Trainers>>
They might be hesitant at first to the idea of creating a business plan and may resist sitting down for the meeting. However, after they see the value in it and their sessions and paychecks increasing, they will look forward to it.
2. Interact with All the Departments
You will not have a successful personal training program if you are not on the same page with the sales team, general manager and any other departments at your facility.
Let’s start with the membership specialists or salespeople. The most successful personal trainers I know have a great relationship with the sales team. It’s important for you or one of your trainers to meet potential new members on the sales tour. This is one of the best ways to build your training revenues. When you interact with that potential member, you must be selling the same product as your sales staff. Make sure you have asked the sales team how they explain personal training at the club and any other products offered related to your program. If there is a sales manager at your club, meet with him/her daily to discuss appointments for the day and share with him/her any activities that your team might be using to promote your personal training program. And make sure you meet with your general manager on a daily basis. The general manager and personal training manager are in perfect synchronization in the most successful personal training programs.
In addition to talking with membership specialists daily in regards to scheduled appointments, set up (and keep) a weekly meeting with the sales team and general manager that lasts 30-45 minutes to review all new members and make sure they have been introduced to all products available.
3. Work the Floor
A successful personal training manager will spend at least 50% of the time on the fitness floor and working with the other departments. While spending time out on the floor, accomplish the following tasks:
  • Meet as many members as you can; remember their names and their fitness goals.
  • Evaluate the cleanliness of the club, and address any issues that could affect your member base and your personal training business.
  • Evaluate the equipment, and look for any equipment issues that need to be addressed. Whether you are in charge of equipment maintenance at your club or not, you must play a role at making sure equipment issues are addressed efficiently. This will affect your business!
  • Be energetic, keep an extremely positive attitude, and have fun. You have the power to change the whole atmosphere out there on the fitness floor!

Finally, see thesidebar on page 9 (Editor's Note: available in digital version only. Click here>>) for bonus tips on how you can properly evaluate and assess your personal trainers so you can create the best, most effective team of trainers possible.
Thomas Muser, NASM, ISCA, ISSA, is the fitness director at Fitness 21 in Sunrise, Florida (www.fitness21.com). You can contact Tom attom@fitness21.com.

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