Ask an Expert: Shannon Fable

Personal training expert.

Shannon Fable.

You have questions, we have answers. We took some time this month to speak with Shannon Fable, the director of exercise programming for Anytime Fitness, about personal training’s ever-evolving role in health clubs.

In the last year, what positive changes have you seen in personal training?

SF: The best thing that I see happening with regards to personal training is that it’s no longer considered a service for the elite and privileged. There are so many people willing to set aside money to invest in their health than in past years. I hope this trend continues.

How is Anytime Fitness best utilizing small group to enhance personal training?

SF: Anytime Fitness is diving head first into a wide variety of training options, including small group training. We chose to more sharply define what small group training means in our system and carve out a special place in our member experience for these programs to live. Our proprietary programs service six people at a time and are designed around a specific personality and promise. We are running six-week programs that consist of two 29-minute live workouts with a coach and one virtual workout per week to build consistency and autonomy.

What are some positive changes you’d like to see in personal training as an industry?

SF: I would love to see our industry shift the (often) common perception that one-on-one training is the only thing “personal” in a club. It’s time we realized that while every client can certainly benefit from a one-on-one, “VIP” training program, not everyone is ready for it, can afford it or is open to it. In order to reach more people and influence more folks, I believe we should come together and realize that fitness can still be viable and productive, regardless of how it is delivered (one-on-one, one-on-a few, or one-on-many). That’s contrary to the way it is presented in most facilities where one-on-one is king and other alternatives are “consolation” prizes.

What tips do you wish all trainers knew?

SF: Build trust first. Become a trusted resource for as many people as you can. Build relationships on this trust and the sales will follow. People invest money in things they value. If they’re not buying right now, they don’t see the value. Instead of trying to “overcome objections,” focus on how you can build the value and trust that the sales will come.

How do you see the influence of personal training evolving over the next couple of years inside the club?

SF: Personal trainers will need to become health coaches or lifestyle coaches. We understand now that exercise is only part of the equation. We have to teach people behavior change, nutrition and so much more. Just exercising with us one to two times a week is not cutting it. Trainers will have to start moving into this territory to stay relevant.

What are your top four tips for personal trainers?

1. Get educated and stay educated.

2. Get a mentor.

3. Find ways to creatively bolster your income. Trading an hour for money can only get you so far. Explore ways to make residual income and opportunities to increase the money you can make per hour.

4. Set aside time to work on your business, not just in your business. Every trainer tries to get booked solid with clients, but few realize there’s a formula to creating a sustaining formula that involves setting aside time to work on projects, growth and upskilling. If you’re always working with clients, you have no time to plot for your future.

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