IN an industry with no state licensure and no trueregulation over certifications, any and everyonecan seemingly become a personal trainer.For most companies, an exercise science degreeis not required and, in some cases, not even a certification froman accredited program.So who is responsible for developing a trainer as soon as they arehired?Who keeps them accountable for everything they should be doing forand with their client?
How can a gym owner use fitness trainers to generate additionalrevenue?How do we regulate ourselves in an unregulated industry?These are questions many gym owners, entrepreneurs and executivesshould be continually asking themselves.
These were the questions I asked myself in 2007 when I waspromotedfrom trainer to Quality Control Director of Personal Training forUrban Active.I was expected to regulate what had never been regulated. Fromcertifications to internal revenue and pay wages to quality of service andproduct, Iwas promoted to help change our personal training department. Inorder todo that, we had to move towards having regulations over acceptablecertificationsand ensure current staff had a current and quality certification.We alsoknew that the personal training department had opportunity forgrowth, andwe were losing out on opportunities for long-term clients becauseour trainershad difficulty maintaining clients.
In order to turn the ship, I created the Quality ControlSpecialist (QCS)position, or Head Trainer. Having a position like this isimperative for anyclub or studio wanting to monitor and improve the quality of theirstaff .The core of a QCS's/Head Trainer's jobresponsibilities arethree-pronged:
1. Science and Expertise: From a science point of view, every QCS willadd additional skills every new trainer requires. Whetherfunctional-basedtraining or corrective exercise, for example, the QCS will add tothe repertoireof the new trainer.
2. Client Relationships: Each QCS will go over in detail the evaluationand assessment portion of the first client appointment. Usingemotionalintelligence and motivational interviewing, the trainer is taughthow to establishrelationships with clients that last years.
3. Business Skill Set: Personal training is a business, and at UrbanActiveour trainers are taught to understand our business. Quality willalwaysequal revenue. To that point, the QCS position is behind thescenes and thechecks and balances for the company.
Each QCS will hold and manage their own clientele, at the sametime lendingtheir leadership skills to their trainers. Each month, the QCSwill do ashadow process on their trainers during a session to evaluate 10key points(client interaction, nutritional counseling during the session,etc.) They willalso evaluate each trainer's client folders to make sureevaluations are done,folder is neat and cardiovascular/resistance/flexibility programdesign is donefor each client. This holds our trainers accountable for givingour clients thebest service possible, leading to revenue down the road.
In the quest for the ideal person to holdthe position of HeadTrainer/QCS, you must look at the followingqualities:
1. Training Experience: A good candidate for QCS must have vast trainingexperience in order to lead and develop other trainers. It isespecially importantthat the candidate have extensive experience within yourorganization inorder to know your model and what is expected of the staff andleadership.
2. Teaching Skills: The candidate must have a love for teaching andtheability to teach and instruct your team. A focus on the continuingeducationand increasing the skill sets of your team is a linchpin of yourcompany'ssuccess. Whether it be the ability to instruct an overhead squat orhow to check their clients into the client management system, avaluableQCS will understand the value of effectively teaching yourtraining staff.
3. Leadership Skills: Personal training is driven by motivation andleadership.However, there are egos and personalities that often make internalchange difficult. A QCS must possess the leadership skillsnecessary to influence the majority of the group to perform certain tasks andbe accountableby earning the respect of the entire team.
4. Organization: A position such as this requires the individualto be organizedin every way.
5. Communication Skills: In order to hold an effective meeting or presentduring a seminar, a QCS must have great communication skills inorder to resonatewith the audience. The QCS must understand the importance to beingable to communicate with upper management, directors or otherleadership.
6. Passion: This position offers a great opportunity for fitness trainers toadvance their career, however, it also requires that theindividual not onlyhave passion for our industry, but a drive to want others toimprove andtake pride in the club accomplishments.
At Urban Active, each club has an internal revenue goal (TrainerInvolvement)which is 25% of the clubs' goal. From the advent of the positionin 2008, ourTrainer Involvement company-wide was 12%; in 2010 it was 24%. Thisyear weprojected to do over 25% and $11 million generated from ourtrainers.With the help of the QCS position, we were able to go from a vastmajorityof our trainers being uncertified to everyone holding a degree inexercisescience and/or an accredited certification. We were also able toaddstructure and accountability to our trainer core. Our product hascontinuesto be progressively better and we were able to add dollars to ourtop line. Inclosing, I recommend every club and fitness chain implement thisposition.It will change your business multifold.
Josh Bowen, BA, CSCS*D, NSCA-CPT*D, is theQuality Control Director of Personal TrainingforUrban Active. He manages over 400 personaltrainersin six states. To learn more about UrbanActiveplease visit www.urbanactive.com.