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Fitness Clubs Provide Comfort, Not Just a Place to Exercise


Aparna Mohan, 36, has spent the last three years with the same personal trainer at New York Sports Club in New York City. Her membership corresponds directly to the time she moved to the city — clearly, both match well.

Mohan always has had some sort of fitness routine. She’s tried personal training a couple times previously, but it never stuck. Then she went overseas, fell out of her fitness routine a little and wanted to recommit. “One manager who really gets my personality connected me with my trainer Monica,” said Mohan. “We really hit it off and we joke that it was a set-up.”

She described having a trainer as very encouraging. The added discipline it brought and having to make an appointment has been good motivation. Mohan has stuck with her trainer because of the progress she feels and the constant workout variations. “I’m getting stronger,” Mohan said. “Monica [has exercises] in my workout to show myself I’m getting stronger. It feels like she is committed to me too.”

Even though Mohan has moved, and her New York Sports Club and Monica are no longer the closest location, she still travels to that particular gym just to workout with her.

Working with a trainer stuck for Mohan this time around because she said she was ready to commit, but also she didn’t get the feeling she used to get from other trainers — that she was just another client. “Monica has my quirks in the back of her mind. It’s important to feel you’re getting personalized attention,” she said.

The best thing a trainer can do according to Mohan is become a great listener. Don’t just listen to goals, but what a person likes and dislikes, what motivates them and what’s going to push them beyond their limits. Mohan said she listens to other trainers at the gym and they’re spouting off statistics about their clients body but don’t realize they aren’t connecting with what drives the individual.

Some of the benefits of personal training have gone beyond Mohan’s expectations. She has definitely lost weight, and her already low cholesterol is even lower. She feels stronger and accomplished being able to lift her own carry-on bag overhead while frequently traveling.

Additionally, Mohan has gotten to know other members through personal training in just the few minutes before and after scheduled sessions. Other women who train with Monica have gotten to know each other and camaraderie formed. These women now e-mail back and forth, sign up for races together and share wedding planning tips. This added relationship even benefits their own workouts, as they like to be competitive with each other as Monica will push them by telling them someone else did more sets that morning. Mohan said she never expected to find such relationships from training.

Mohan works out two days week with Monica citing the need for the frequency. She also discusses nutrition with Monica as well. “We’re both avid cooks,” Mohan said. “So we’re always exchanging recipes or Monica will tell me what to swap out to lower fat content in a recipe.” In the beginning, Mohan said Monica spent a lot of time talking to her about nutrition and helping her stay motivated.

Outside of her two sessions a week, Mohan said she is in fairly constant contact with her trainer. The two e-mail a few times a week.

For Mohan her personal training relationship has been a great success and had an impact on her. She likes that even on days that she doesn’t meet with Monica other trainers who recognize her encourage her. “It’s nice to feel like other trainers are looking out for me,” she said.

Mohan has been a long-term member, what rewards do you have set up for your loyal members? Do they feel like you appreciate them? Would your management be able to set up a great match like Mohan and her trainer? Are your trainers encouraging all members and not just their clients?

Getting to know your personal training staff better is a good step in the right direction to be able to make potential recommendations for members. A good fit is obviously going to be more successful for everyone in the long run. -CS

By Ali Cicerchi

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