The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association is the fitness industry's only global trade association representing over 10,000 for profit health and fitness facilities and over 600 supplier companies in 75 countries.



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Entries in personal training (64)


Trainer Law Could Be Precedent for other States

While proposed regulation of Washington D.C. personal trainers moves closer to becoming law, IHRSA is actively engaged in protecting the interests of IHRSA member clubs. 
Existing drafts of the regulations would mandate registration of local trainers and require oversight of the profession by the D.C. Board of Physical Therapy.

Since this is the furthest any jurisdiction has gone toward establishing rules for trainers, and could establish a precedent for other states and cities, IHRSA has placed significant importance on making sure that they will not create an administrative burden for health clubs or serve to limit fitness consumers’ access to qualified trainers.
IHRSA has been working throughout the summer with our District lobbyist to maintain a constructive dialogue with policymakers. We will keep our members informed as we continue to exchange information with local officials. 

Members are invited to

To support IHRSA's efforts to protect clubs across the country from harmful proposals like this, please join the Industry Leadership Council.


Fred Hoffman and Scott Lewandowski: Personal Trainers and Member Retention

I firmly believe that whatever takes place in a club is a reflection of the company and its management. Policies, procedures, performance standards—all should be based on the company’s mission statement and represent its core values.

If you have a mission statement, revisit it, and, if you don’t, draft and fine-tune one. This statement should provide an explanation of what the club does, a description of the company’s culture, and real-life examples of how it’s demonstrated on a daily basis. It should also enumerate the firm’s core values, explaining how they’re employed to obtain the desired results for members, staff, suppliers, and, of course, the business itself.

The critical objective of maximizing membership retention should be clearly stated.

During the interview and hiring process, trainers should be informed about the mission statement, and, specifically, about their role in retention. Their responsibilities should be clearly set forth in the job description, and they should indicate that they understand and agree with all of the requirements before signing a contract.

Their responsibilities and obligations should be discussed and stressed during the post-hire orientation process. Thereafter, communicate with trainers on a regular basis, and if needed, refer back to the mission statement and the club’s policies and procedures concerning retention.

Remember that trainers can only be successful with clear direction from the company and its management team, and when provided with the means and tools required to accomplish what’s expected of them.


Personal trainers must understand, first, why the retention of club members is so important, what the club’s retention-level goal is, and how achieving high retention numbers will improve their training business. It costs approximately three to five times more to obtain a new club member—due to advertising and marketing expenses and sales team compensation—than it does to retain a member. So holding on to clients adds money to the club’s bottom line.

The extra profit produced by improved retention can underwrite growth and promotion initiatives for the club, higher compensation and bonuses, or the purchase of new fitness equipment for the trainers to use with their customers.

Trainers need regular feedback to do their best. Send an online survey to members who’ve worked with a particular trainer, solicit their feedback, and share the favorable responses with the trainer. Use the unfavorable replies to create training tracks to improve service.

Trainers also need to recognize that the scope of their business extends beyond their own clients. They need to service not only those individuals, but all of the club’s members, as well, some of whom will become their future customers. Offering consultations and seminars to the general membership will lead to higher retention numbers. To incentivize trainers, reward them with bonuses for recruiting first-time clients.

Keep your trainers engaged in all of the club’s activities, and let them know about the positive impact they’re having on your business—and retention will grow.


IHRSA Webinar: The Right Group Training Offerings

The majority of health clubs out there offer group fitness and time with personal trainers. The question, as a club owner, is why should a prospective client choose your facility?

Vito La Fata, the host of IHRSA’s next webinar, can help you find that question. “Group Training: Revenue, Results, and Raving Fans with Small Group and Semi-Private Training,” is Thursday, Feb. 5, 2 to 3 p.m. EST.

La Fata has plenty of experience and knowledge in the field. He is CEO and founder of Fitness Profit Systems, which develops plans for companies to turn fitness and into profit, as well as founder of Fitness Evolution.

He sees three essential pitfalls by clubs that are not successful in group training and personal training: no way to get members to take part in group training; no specific classes that would be of interest to members; and competing solely on price.

Read on to learn more about La Fata's webinar.

Click to read more ...


Gearing Up for the New Legislative Session

January, traditionally, is a busy month for both health clubs and state legislatures. While clubs are dealing with a flurry of new members armed with New Year’s resolutions, legislators are returning to work to process a flurry of new bills.

Many of the proposals they’ll consider have the potential to affect clubs, possibly in adverse ways, so operators are well advised to keep an eye on legislative developments. The following are several types of legislation that might surface this month, or later in the 2015 session, as well as tips to prepare you to respond effectively in the event they’re introduced.

Read more.

Click to read more ...


Working With a Personal Trainer Has Many Benefits

This Week in the Fitness Industry is here, chock full of good information.

  • personal trainers are good for your health
  • China ready to make splash in fitness
  • become a better runner
  • children who exercise may think faster

Read it all in This Week in the Fitness Industry.

Click to read more ...


Personal Trainer Accreditation

Has this happened to you?

An applicant for a personal trainer opening at your club seems impressive and knowledgeable, but she holds a certification from an organization you’ve never heard of.  How do you know if her certification has adequately prepared her for the job? Moreover, how do you know if her certification is from a real company and not just some sham acronym with a website?

In 2002, IHRSA began working with some of the fitness industry's leading personal training certification groups on an initiative to help answer these questions and promote safety for consumers working with personal trainers in health clubs. 

One important outcome of those meetings was a determination of the value of an independent and nationally recognized accreditation for personal training certification programs.

Read on to see the recommendations, and more on hiring personal trainers.

Click to read more ...


This Week in the Fitness Industry 7-25-14

Today's edition of This Week in the Fitness Industry is about what you can do to improve performance and feel better about yourself.

Here's what we have:

  • Study: running with music improves performance
  • Those who exercise feel better about their physical appearance
  • Don't let fellow members intimidate you
  • Working with trainer better than video, magazine

Check out more on all of these in This Week in the Fitness Industry.


ACE releases latest personal trainers manual

With clients, trends, client's needs and equipment changing year-to-year, it is easy as a personal trainer to fall behind.

The American Council on Exercise is here to help. The non-profit organization dedicated to educating safe and effective exercise and physcial activity, has just released the "ACE Personal Trainer Manual" (5th Edition).

It "provides exercise professionals with the latest evidence-based training solutions and health-behavior strategies to empower clients to make meaningful changes and improve function, health, fitness and performance."

Learn more and how to order, in print or an eBook, it at the ACE website.



Important Steps in Hiring a Personal Trainer

A good personal training department is more than ample trainers, having many clients, and making a profit. 

While those areas are critical to success – both the club’s and clients’ – there is much more that makes a strong department.

Sherri McMillan, owner of Northwest Personal Training in Vancouver, Wash., provides the following advice.

“I think it is important for an owner or manager (of a club) to understand the potential and opportunities for a good personal training department,” said McMillan. “There are many examples where a personal training department has surpassed memberdues. An owner needs to understand how critical the opportunities are.”

McMillan knows a little about both personal training and educating on the subject. Among her accolades are the 2010 International CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Program Director of the Year, Inaugural IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Canadian Fitness Presenter of the Year, and was a finalist for the 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year.

She said one of the most important areas, if not the most important, is the initial step: the hiring process.

Bringing on the right candidate is not about the strongest resume. Asking the right questions in the interview and making sure the person you bring on fits in with the club’s mission and vision is crucial.

“In terms of the interview process, we outline a number of qualities and characteristics that we feel are important to be a good personal trainer,” McMillan said. “We try to ask questions that answer those questions.”

McMillan pointed out the top three characteristics she looks for:

  1. Education: The candidate has to know what they are doing, understand the practical and technical side of personal training, and will get good results for clients.
  2. Personality: The candidate must have good customer service skills, be a good listener and communicator, and have an upbeat attitude. They must have the qualities people are attracted to.
  3. Business: Personal trainers have to have the ability to self-promote and market the department and themselves, and have the ability to influence someone to commit to health and fitness. Personal trainers need to show their value and sell themselves. 

“If you find the right trainer for your team, if someone is strong in those three areas, then they will be a rock star,” McMillan said. “The ability to find the diamonds and weed out the rest will definitely take some time and energy.”

“I think a lot of owners and managers don’t put as much value on the personal training department as they should,” she said. “If they can be shown how (personal training) can impact the bottom line … it will go above and beyond its potential.” 

McMillan did a full webinar on the subject, touching on many areas of personal training in a club or studio, including effective marketing, recruiting, interviewing, training, retaining trainers and more.. McMillan said her webinar is geared more toward management – personal training department, club owners and club managers – but human resources department and personal trainers can benefit, too.

Those who watch the webinar will be shown the potential of a personal training department and will be able to bring that back to their peers and bosses.

For more information on IHRSA webinars, visit


IHRSA webinar: profitable personal training department

A good personal training department is more than ample trainers, having many clients, and making a profit. 

While those areas are critical to success—both the club’s and clients’—there is much more that makes a strong department.

Sherri McMillan, owner of Northwest Personal Training in Vancouver, Wash., will discuss both the obvious and “oh, I didn’t think of that” areas that contributed to successful personal training when she leads the next IHRSA webinar, “Managing a Highly Profitable Personal Training Department,” on Thursday, July 17, 2 to 3 p.m. (EDT).

Read on to see what McMillan will cover during the next IHRSA webinar.