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Personal Training The Pulse

CS Interview with Vic Spatola On Personal Training Success

Vic Spatola.

Vic Spatola.

Greenwood Athletic & Tennis Club in Denver, Colo. has been nationally recognized as a best-in-class club. Most recently, the 153,000-square-foot facility was voted Denver’s Best Health Club in 2012 by Competitor Magazine. Part of that success is due to its thriving personal training department — last year, Greenwood took in around $2 million in revenue, from personal training alone.

Vic Spatola sat down with Club Solutions to discuss his role as Greenwood’s personal training director, and broke down some key things the club does right when it comes to personal training.

CS: Greenwood made $2 million in personal training revenue last year. Could you tell me a little bit about the personal training program and what makes it so successful?

VS: One of the things that stands out about Greenwood compared to anywhere else, is we don’t discount our personal training sessions if you buy them in packages. For instance, if you train with me, it’s $80. If you buy 10 sessions, it’s $800. There’s no discount per package. We don’t feel that the trainers’ value is going to go down just because you buy a bulk of sessions. That’s one thing that’s a lot different from a lot of other clubs and that’s really unique to Greenwood.

The other thing too is that we really focus on not just training one person. Because it’s a family club we’ll train two brothers, we’ll train the husband and wife together, we’ll train three of the kids together. So our trainers are very well versed in training more than one person. If we have four different people and three different goals, we try to keep the goals well aligned. That’s one of the things we do very well, is training in groups.

Another thing is the longevity of our trainers. Like I said, 16 of them have been there around 12 years. So having that large of a clientele base just continue on throughout the years is very helpful. Where many clubs have peaks and valleys in terms of membership, most people who come to Greenwood don’t leave. We have a very low attrition rate.

CS: Why do you think your personal trainers stay with Greenwood for so long? (16 of Greenwood’s personal trainers have been there for around 12 years)

VS: Community. Part of it is community; part of it is we have the clientele base. We’re positioned in just the right area between two high-end areas, so we have the clientele that live right around the club and it’s very easy for them to access the club. It’s easy for them to train and they have the extra cash to buy sessions. Also, we get tons of referrals. That’s part of the group training too.

CS: Could you give me some tips for personal training directors in terms of management?

VS: Hire right. Take your time and hire right. If you think someone could do okay, don’t hire them. If you think, “okay, this person doesn’t have the technical skills, but they’re willing to learn and have a great attitude,” hire them. It’s harder to find people with the right personalities to do this job, than it is the technical skills. I can tell you about all the mistakes I’ve made as a personal training director — hiring people who had great credentials, but who couldn’t talk to a toad. But if you get someone in that’s very passionate about what they do — they love fitness and they love being in clubs — hire them and then coach them.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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