Passion — The Internal Motivator You Can’t Fake

One of the questions I ask candidates applying for a position as a personal trainer with our club is — “What are the qualities that make up a great personal trainer?”

The question is intended to get their perception of what is important in a trainer, and then the following questions ask about the person, to see if they possess those qualities. The answers I get from those questions are very interesting. Here are the topics I cover:

  • Professionalism
  • Education
  • Rapport building skills
  • Salesmanship
  • Ability to listen
  • Ability to train any client
  • Easy to get along with
  • Team player

The one response I seldom get when asking questions (on most occasions when I get this response, I hire right away), is passion! People that love what they do are the easiest people to improve, will work the hardest for you, and feed that energy back to their clients. Passion for fitness, living a healthy lifestyle and helping individuals reach their goal is the number one thing I try to find in a trainer.

Besides asking the candidate if they are passionate about fitness, how do you determine this? Here are some dead giveaways about a person’s passion:

  • Hobbies — this will be an activity relating to fitness and health.
  • Pride in a client’s success — while some trainers brag about how many sales they did last month, the one that brags about their clients’ success is the person you want on your team.
  • Watch their face as they talk about their workouts — this is another dead giveaway, if their eyes widen and they lean forward and talk about their last workout as if it were an adventure.
  • Their excitement and engagement when they are at your facility — if they ask questions and look at every piece of equipment, they love what they do.

Passion is the driving internal motivator that you can’t fake and you should hire.

Vic Spatola is the Director of Personal Training for Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club in Greenwood Village, Colorado, a suburb of Denver. Contact him at


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *