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Entries in personal training (64)


How Giving Personal Trainers Strategic Goals Drives Health Club Revenue

Personal training programs can be a huge profit-driver for health clubs, but many clubs aren’t maximizing the revenue opportunities for a number of reasons, says Luke Carlson, CEO of Discover Strength in Chanhassen, MN. 

“In all service-based businesses, we really have to make sure we have the right people—but the importance of having the right people is amplified when its such an intimate relationship, like with personal training,” he says. “We need to have mechanisms in place to make sure our people component is strong.” 

Giving Personal Trainers Strategic Context 

One of those mechanisms Carlson employs is a quarterly conversation that managers have with personal trainers to help them work toward organizational strategic goals. During those meetings, managers and trainers discuss three critical points:  

  • The trainer’s embodiment of the club’s core values
  • Specific feedback regarding the trainer’s performance around their key roles
  • The trainer’s progress on their quarterly objectives or priorities  

“So many trainers are coming to work everyday trying to give good customer experiences, but don’t know from managers or leaders what to do to drive the whole organization forward,” he says. “These conversations provide trainers with that strategy in the context of the personal training department.” 

Examples of Quarterly Objectives for Personal Trainers 

A strategic quarterly objective might be for each trainer to reach out to clients that haven’t been to the club for three months and recapture 10 of them. 

“If we assign that objective to four or five trainers and they achieve it, we just got 40 or 50 clients back in the door,” Carlson says. “So no objective is more important for that trainer to be doing in those 90 days.” 

Another quarterly objective might be for trainers to recruit clients to join a specific club program. 

Take, for example, a new personal training program geared toward brides, grooms, and wedding parties looking to get in shape ahead of the big day. The program may be marketed in the club and on social media, but tasking individual trainers to recruit members “brings it down to the ground,” Carlson says. 

“We look at what the whole department and club needs to accomplish and just assign those quarterly objectives to each trainer,” he says. “By doing that, strategic goals become very bite sized.” 

Learn More Personal Training Program Strategies at the IHRSA Institute

Carlson will go even more in depth on those strategies and more during his IHRSA Institute session, “Personal & Group Training Management.” The Wednesday, August 3 presentation will feature 10 tools and mechanisms that will drive performance for the whole personal training department. 

“I’m going to talk about how we really need to look at the department—not only how do we become better at personal training, but how do we become better managers, leaders, and business people,” Carlson says. 

Learn more about the IHRSA Institute, August 2-5 in Chapel Hill, NC.


April 14 Webinar: Sales Training for Personal Trainers Who Don’t Like to Sell

Personal trainers don’t choose their career to become salespeople, but—like it or not—they must be involved in the sales process in order to foster a successful personal training program. 

“The biggest [barrier] is that personal trainers think of ‘sales’ as a dirty word,” says Michele Melkerson-Granryd, general manager for BB Fitness Studios in Austin, TX. 

In her Thursday, April 14 webinar, “Sales Training for Trainers Who Don’t Like to Sell,” Melkerson-Granryd will explain how health club operators can encourage their personal trainers to get involved in the sales process in a palatable way. Personal trainers often assume that sales involves approaching members mid-workout, but, today, there are more effective and comfortable ways for them to promote their services.

“They might not be your direct personal training salesperson, but they’re definitely part of that process and they need to have their head in the right place,” she says. “It does need to be part of their mindset that they are really selling themselves every time they are in the club.” 

In the hour-long webinar, Melkerson-Granryd will help attendees: 

  • Gain insight into the psychology of your staff and clients.
  • Learn how to change the perception of “sales."
  • Explore how to generate leads and referrals.
  • Review easy sales techniques and scripts to share with your trainers.
  • Discover the importance of relationship building. 

Webinar attendees will gain “techniques to retrain the trainers’ perception of their position in the sales process, and what they can do to increase the comfort of their position in that sales process,” she says.

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4 Ways Attending IHRSA 2016 Will Strengthen Your Personal Training Business

Personal trainers are among a health club’s strongest assets—they forge relationships with members, foster a sense of community, and—above all—deliver results. But many personal trainers aren’t as profitable as they could be—they're experts in fitness, not business. 

That’s why IHRSA 2016, March 21-24 in Orlando, offers a wide-range of educational sessions, seminars, and roundtables geared specifically to personal trainers and health club operators looking to strengthen their personal training program. Here are the top four ways attending IHRSA 2016 will benefit your business.


1. Master the Personal Training Sales Process 

IHRSA 2016’s “Fitness & Personal Training/Programming” track is chalk-full of expert-led sessions that will provide you with skills and strategies to better sell your business. 

For example, Steve Satin, president and founder of Satin Wellness, will present “Strength to Sell: Proven Strategies to Sell Personal Training” on Monday, March 21. In the hour-long session, he’ll teach attendees to overcome common barriers to selling personal training and share strategies guaranteed to boost revenue. 

Also on Monday, Brandon Jonker, operations director for Discover Strength, will give attendees actionable tools to increase their personal training profitability in his session, “Implementing the Tools to Build a Profitable Personal Training Department.” 

“People will 100% walk away from my presentation with six tangible tools that they can implement the next day in their club, business, or department,” Jonker says. “They’re great ideas that are proven to increase profitability in their club.” 

2. Get Hands-on Experience Using New Technologies in Exercise Equipment 

The IHRSA Trade Show is the largest event of its kind in the health and fitness industry. This year is on track to be one of the biggest yet, with more than 400 exhibitors showcasing their products and services in a dynamic, thriving, high-energy environment spread over two full days (March 22 and 23). 

You can be the first to see the newest models of your favorite fitness equipment—many announced for the first time at the show. 

At the Trade Show, you can sample the latest cardio and strength machines equipped with the most cutting-edge digital electronics and ergonomic designs that will benefit your clients. And don’t forget to attend an Early Morning Workout session, where you will get your heart pumping and experience hot, new group exercise classes. 

3. Earn Continuing Education Credits (CECs) from the Industry’s Leading Organizations 

Strengthen your qualifications while learning how to improve all aspects of your training services. The following organizations will be offering CECs at IHRSA 2016: 

  • Aerobics & Fitness Association of America (AFAA)
  • American Council on Exercise (ACE)
  • Cooper Institute
  • International Fitness Professionals Association (IFPA)
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
  • National Council on Strength & Fitness (NCSF)
  • National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association (NESTA)
  • National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT)
  • National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA)
  • SCW Fitness Education (SCW)

4. Network with Fellow Fitness Professionals from All Over the World 

We’re expecting around 13,000 fitness professionals from 80 countries to convene on Orlando for IHRSA 2016, and there will be dozens of networking opportunities to meet and share strategies with other personal trainers. 

You spend all year strengthening your clients’ bodies, so now it’s time to focus on strengthening your business! Register now and use discount code FLSOC to receive free admission to the Trade Show.

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IHRSA 2016 Session Spotlight: Build a Profitable Personal Training Department

If you’re looking to increase the profitability of your personal training program, Brandon Jonker, operations director for Discover Strength, will provide actionable tools to help you do just that during his IHRSA 2016 session, “Implementing the Tools to Build a Profitable Personal Training Department.” 

“The biggest challenges that health clubs face when it comes to personal training is not necessarily ideas or concepts, but literally ‘the how’ behind executing them,” he says. “They might have a great idea or a great program, but 'the how’ is where most personal training companies drop the ball.” 

Jonker himself has mastered “the how” at Discover Strength—thanks to his tools, the Minneapolis, MN-based company’s personal training sales closing ratio increased from 50% to 71% in the past 2 years. 

In his Monday, March 21 session in Orlando, Jonker will provide those tools to assist operators in hiring the right trainers, identifying their ideal client demographics, getting those target clients in the door, enhancing client retention, holding staff accountable, and more.   

The session’s key learning objectives are:  

  • Review a comprehensive system for both assessing employee performance as well as providing ongoing coaching and feedback
  • Obtain the tools to teach your trainers how to seek and obtain personal training leads
  • Discover the five-step process for closing more personal training sales
  • Learn the five key steps to improving client retention
  • Learn how to create and sustain ongoing peer-to-peer accountability ultimately leading to a stronger team, culture, and bottom-line results  

“People will 100% walk away from my presentation with six tangible tools that they can implement the next day in their club, business, or department,” he says. “They’re great ideas that are proven to increase profitability in their club.”

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2016 Legislative Threats: Personal Trainer Licensure

This post is the second in a series of four case studies that demonstrate how IHRSA works to protect your health club from legislation that could harm your business. View the first post here.

Across the country, state legislatures do not dictate to health club operators which personal trainers best fit the needs of their business and membership. However, legislation proposing legal requirements for trainers has been making rounds for 20 years and has been considered in more than a dozen state legislatures. In January 2014, the Council of Washington, D.C. became the first to enact a bill that called for registration of trainers in the district. 

Personal Trainer.png

The bill passed by the Council required registration of trainers, but largely left responsibility for determining what certifications and background trainers must have to continue working in D.C. to the district’s Board of Physical Therapy.

IHRSA Adopts Different Strategy Than Most

While many stakeholders took to lobbying the Board in favor of, or opposition to specific requirements, IHRSA worked with its district lobbyist and local club operators to educate the Council and the Mayor’s office on how the entire concept of personal trainers regulated by physical therapists would likely restrict access to safe, effective training services in the district. This past fall, the Council and Mayor both agreed with IHRSA’s position and took action to preempt rules being issued by the Board of Physical Therapy, removing the threat of misguided regulation of D.C. personal fitness trainers.

These bills do not spring from a rash of serious injuries caused by personal trainers. When California took up the issue in 2009, it was because a legislator sought to hire a trainer for his teenage daughter and had a hard time understanding what made one trainer more qualified than the next. The same year, a bill was filed in Massachusetts following a state representative’s attempt to find a fitness instructor for his elderly mother. In 2008, New Jersey legislation was introduced at the behest of a “school” that was issuing its own, unaccredited trainer certifications.

Legislators introduce these bills to ensure that their constituencies have access to legitimate personal trainers. IHRSA has spoken to every one of the bill authors and not once has their intent been to inflict damage on personal trainers or have the state become overly involved in the industry.

Best Intentions Gone Wrong

Unfortunately, that is exactly what these bills unintentionally accomplish. The burdensome nature of some proposals does more than impose excessive fees for trainers or training requirements that aren’t quite in-line with the industry’s best practices. The New Jersey bill would have required trainers to undergo 300 in-person classroom hours, a 50-hour unpaid internship, and pass a state administered licensing exam. The Massachusetts legislation would have required an advanced degree. Other states would have made it difficult for someone born outside of the U.S. to work as a trainer.

As these bills arise, IHRSA works to ensure that the legislation does not limit a clubs’ access to qualified personal trainers, or make fitness services more expensive and difficult to acquire for consumers. IHRSA recommends certification of personal trainers by an accredited third party.

What 2016 Looks Like for Personal Trainer Legislation

Based on legislative trends, conversations with state lawmakers and regulators, and intelligence gathered from our lobbying teams and member clubs across the country, IHRSA predicts that we will once again face a number of bills that will propose new requirements for trainers in states.

A number of indicators suggest legislators will consider the issue in multiple states in 2016, most notably in Florida, Georgia, Maryland, and Massachusetts.

IHRSA’s Public Policy team has worked to ensure that the industry is prepared to protect itself in each of these states. But if you aren’t located in one of these states, you aren’t quite off the hook. Legislative issues spread quickly across state lines so it is very important to stay on top what is going on in your state, even if it is not listed above. Be sure you are signed up to receive IHRSA’s Legislative Alerts and routinely visit IHRSA’s state pages to get the latest on issues that might impact your club.


IHRSA 2016 Session Spotlight: Proven Strategies to Sell Personal Training

A thriving personal training program can yield significant revenue, but many health clubs struggle to master the sales process.

That’s because traditional personal training sales methods often create several barriers, says Steve Satin, president and founder of Satin Wellness, who will present “Strength to Sell: Proven Strategies to Sell Personal Training” at IHRSA 2016 in Orlando.

Common Barriers to Selling Personal Training

Health clubs often rely on their front desk team, membership team, and personal trainers to sell personal training—an approach that can be detrimental to the sales process.

“Generally, the front desk team and the membership team are focused on bringing in new members—that’s their job—and it’s not as focused on selling personal training—it could even feel like overselling to a prospective or new member,” Satin says. “Many personal trainers are in this business because they love to work with clients and assist them in reaching their goals. Very few enjoy selling the personal training to members—they often feel uncomfortable or even pushy.”

Boost Revenue by Educating Staff

To overcome those barriers, health club operators should educate staff members about the best ways to promote personal training in their specific touch point. Each of the three member touch points has different role to play in the personal training sales process.

“The front desk team is a great place to ask appropriate questions, the membership team can easily provide the option of personal training to an enthusiastic new member, and the personal training team can absolutely sell once they learn an approach that is focused on the best interest of the member,” Satin says. “Increased personal training revenue comes from building the comfort and confidence of the entire club team on exactly how to navigate the sales conversation with a member.”  

Convention-goers who attend “Strength to Sell” on Monday, March 21 in Orlando will leave the session with proven sales skills to increase their personal training business.  

“They will team up to practice with actual case studies and leave with a real-world approach that works for their members and their staff,” Satin says. “They will leave with confidence, comfort, and the motivation to get started right away.”

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Personal Trainer Regulations

Poorly written personal trainer regulations have the potential to

  • Substantially increase the costs trainers incur to comply with requirements
  • Reduce, if not temporarily eliminate, the pool of trainers available to clubs for hire, and
  • Pose major financial threats to clubs that generate revenue from personal training sessions.

The first attempt to regulate person trainers started in California in the early 1990s. And, IHRSA has successfully been fighting for clubs on the issue of personal training regulation regularly since 2006. It’s an issue IHRSA has faced many times in many states.

  • 2006: Georgia
  • 2007: Texas and Massachusetts
  • 2008: New Jersey, Maryland, DC
  • 2009: New Hampshire, Massachusetts (again), California
  • 2010: New Jersey (again), Maryland (again)
  • 2011: Massachusetts (yet again), Georgia (again)
  • 2012: Florida, New Jersey (yet again), Texas (again)
  • 2013: Massachusetts (and again)
  • 2014: DC (fight begins again) See the recap of the DC battle
  • 2015: DC and Massachusetts
  • 2016: Massachusetts (yet again)
  • 2017: Nebraska

IHRSA has learned from years of fighting this legislation that states copy what other states legislate. When we defeat badly written proposals in one state, we see very similar language show up across the country the very next year. That’s why it’s so important to fight these proposals as they arise.

The biggest problem club operators would face with all the personal training legislation – IHRSA reads every bill introduced on this issue – is that it would create a bottleneck, making it harder - not easier - to hire/retain well qualified personal trainers. IHRSA works to educate these lawmakers on how their proposals would hurt small businesses and the very people they are trying to help.

As these bills arise, IHRSA works to ensure that the legislation does not limit a clubs’ access to qualified personal trainers, or make fitness services more expensive and difficult to acquire for consumers. 

IHRSA recommends certification of personal trainers by an accredited third party, but not licensing.

NOTE: Contributions from IHRSA members support IHRSA's efforts to keep your training business safe from government regulations. Download a pledge form or visit today.


Ten Years of Experience Fueled DC Personal Trainer Regulatory Success

Have you been following the personal training regulation battle in DC? If you have, you may have wondered what role did IHRSA play in the recent victory in DC regarding personal trainer legislation. A look at the history of this fight and the strategy employed in the DC fight demonstrates IHRSA’s role in the victory in DC and a number of other states.

Let’s start with a look at the history. The first time IHRSA defeated an attempt to narrow the supply of personal trainers through legislation was 2006. (In 2008, DC made its first attempt to regulate personal training, but it was defeated by IHRSA.) 2006 marked the beginning of many years of IHRSA successfully fighting for clubs on the issue of person trainer regulation. Let’s do a quick run through of the personal trainer legislation that has been introduced and stopped by IHRSA.

  • 2006 – GA
  • 2007 – TX
  • 2007 – MA
  • 2008 – NJ
  • 2008 – MD
  • 2008 – DC
  • 2009 – NH
  • 2009 – MA
  • 2009 – CA
  • 2010 – NJ
  • 2010 – MD
  • 2012 – TX
  • 2011 – MA
  • 2011 – GA
  • 2012 – NJ
  • 2012 – FL
  • 2013 – MA
  • 2013 – MA
  • 2014 – DC fight began
  • 2015 – MA.

One of the things we have learned in the nearly 10 years IHRSA has lobbied on this issue is to pick the right fight. When we look a little closer into DC, we see how important that is. If all the interested parties lobbied only the Physical Therapy Board then we would have lost. Despite the repeated attempts to sway the members of the Physical Therapy Board, the Physical Therapy Board was poised to issue onerous regulations.

Early in the process, IHRSA and our DC lobbyist realized that the Physical Therapy Board was NOT interested in working with anyone in the industry. So, while not abandoning our seat at the table with the Board, we moved the focus of our lobbying to the DC Council and the Mayor’s office. IHRSA didn’t publicize this to our members or enter the media frenzy that was created in DC because victory is, was, and always will be more important than publicity. It was this focus on the DC Council that led to the victory. The regulations in DC were not stopped because the Physical Therapy Board listened to reason, but because the mayor changed the chair of the Physical Therapy Board and then Jack Evans, of the DC Council, gathered enough votes to repeal the mandate for personal trainer regulations. With that, the Physical Therapy Board opted not to release their guidelines. But make no mistake, the victory came from IHRSA’s work with the DC Council and Mayor. Not the Physical Therapy Board.

Just last week, the Standard’s Committee of the IHRSA Board looked again at Personal Trainer regulation and reaffirmed IHRSA’s Personal Trainer Guidelines position that allows for registration of personal trainers by an accredited third party, but not licensing. IHRSA, like both the Obama administration and many members of the Republican right - as pointed out in the WSJ article - is opposed to over-regulation, increased costs for personal training services and a money grab by state and local governments. IHRSA will continue this battle as we have done for the last ten years. 


D.C. Council and Mayor Work to Preempt Harmful Rules for Personal Trainers

Over the past year, IHRSA has been working to educate the Council of the District of Columbia on how the rules for personal trainers being considered by the Board of Physical Therapy could restrict access to safe, effective training services in the district. Recently, IHRSA’s D.C. lobbyist has been in routine contact with Councilmember Jack Evans, who has now pre-empted action by the Board, introducing legislation that repeals the licensure requirement and regulation of D.C. personal fitness trainers.

The bill was co-authored by Councilmember David Grasso and was filed with six additional co-sponsors, including Chairman Phil Mendelson.

The Council’s forceful action coincides with an effort by Mayor Muriel Bowser to install new leadership on the Board and remove the current chairwoman, who had advocated for potentially burdensome rules for trainers.

IHRSA will continue to work with the Council on this issue.


What Happens in DC Won't Stay In DC

Last year, the DC City Council became the first government to pass a law requiring the regulation of personal trainers. The law was light on details and so the DC Council charged the Board of Physical Therapists with drafting regulations. The Board of Physical Therapists are meeting today (September 22) and they are expected to release a draft of the regulations. 

But the story won’t end here. After all, it wouldn't be DC without political drama. When the DC Council passed the regulation requirements, they had no idea the attention the issue would draw. So when, or if, the regulations come out today, it is a sure bet that the DC Council will make significant changes to the regulations. (Repeat after me “There is no need to panic….yet.”)

Why What Happened in DC Won’t Stay in DC

The first attempt to regulate person trainers started in California in the early 1990s. Since then other states, including Georgia, California (again), New Jersey and Massachusetts have rolled the regulatory dice and looked at regulating personal trainers. The New Jersey bill stands out as the worst possible bill written to regulate personal trainers. (Yes we were able to stop that bill.) IHRSA’s efforts ensured that none passed, until the DC Council took action. As the first in the nation, the final law and regulations that emerge from DC will be the starting point for every other bill considered across the country. What is written in DC could become law in your state. So it is VERY important to get this right.

A Solution to the Wrong Problem.  

I am going to bet that if you woke up this morning thinking about personal trainers you did NOT think “how am I going to solve this problem of members getting injured by their personal trainers.” Why, because it is not a problem. More likely, you thought “how can I get and keep more personal trainers to work at my club.”

The biggest problem we have seen with all the personal training legislation – and we have read every bill introduced on this issue – is that it would create a bottleneck, making it harder - not easier - to get well qualified personal trainers to work at your club. IHRSA’s job is to educate the lawmakers so they really understand the problem and do not propose solutions to the wrong problem or make the problems worse with their so called solutions.

We’ve Got Our Team on This

Take a look at the map below. Here's where we see the personal trainer issue as most likely to pop up this year (with DC’s movement on the issue increasing the odds that even more states consider taking action in 2016). This chart originally appeared in our 2015 Threat Report. When a threat pops up, we act on it. In the case of DC, our DC city lobbyist has been representing the interests of clubs before the Board and the City Council, since the first day the Board met.



Expect more emails  with information and news on the developments on personal trainer regulations and other threats and opportunities that will impact the club industry. And as always, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need more information or have any questions.



Helen A. Durkin
EVP Public Policy