Sales: Becoming a Training-centric Gym

Help your gym become training-centric.Below are some personal training facts that over the years I’ve found to be true:

  • Personal training doesn’t need to be individualized.
  • One-on-one training often causes more problems than it solves.
  • Gyms and gym owners need to control the product and not have the tail wag the dog.
  • Seek general athletic conditioning and train everyone like an athlete.
  • Have three to five options to allow for people with different budgets to take advantage of fitness coaching.
  • Trainers can’t sell, which is a generalization that is mainly true. Find one coach who has sales skills (willing to try and not afraid to ask for money) and funnel all training prospects through her or him.

Are you looking to begin the process of building a training-centric gym? Are you trying to get 40 percent or more of your members to purchase a year-round training membership? Here are six tips to do so:

Personal training doesn’t need to be individualized.

This industry, for years, somehow came to the conclusion that personal training had to be one trainer and one client. So many trainers began to look at a client like a puzzle or a problem. “How can I take this person and turn them into me?” The reality is that the Average Joe is not going to be a bodybuilder or even workout five to six days per week. He needs a place where someone can do some thinking for him while he picks up heavy stuff, puts it over his head and puts it back down two to three days per week.

One-on-one training often causes more problems than it solves.

This is especially true when you sell packages. Weird stuff starts to happen sometimes and the “workouts” become more like social therapy sessions.

Gyms and gym owners need to control the product.

If you allow independent, contracted trainers to “eat what they kill,” you breed a culture of an owner not knowing who is doing what, how they are training and what happens if that trainer leaves? Gym owners can control the product by having all coaches as employees and ensuring that everybody on the team shares the same training philosophy.

Seek general athletic conditioning.

Related to the above points, gyms need to create a culture where all coaches and players believe that everybody can and should be trained like an athlete. Programs should be designed with general conditioning in mind. “Fitness is motion and motion is life. We believe that strong is beautiful and the key to a high-functioning life.” Something similar should be your gym’s motto.

Have three to five options.

Only about 5 percent of the general population can afford traditional one-on-one personal training. This has led to the growing popularity of small group and team training. The recommended options in most gyms with proper space is:

  • Simple access (rent a treadmill).
  • Template workout (a workout program for one month with a full session, repeat every month).
  • Team training (10 to 15 people, loud music, energy, a strength component in every workout).
  • Small group personal training (two to four people, intensive coaching, complex movements, different workout daily).
  • One-on-one (for people who either want it or need it because of a sport-specific goal or a limitation).

Email me at with “training centric” in the subject line and I will get you a free video that goes over the playbook for a training-centric gym.

Trainers can’t sell.

But there are a few out there who can. Most didn’t get into the profession to be salespeople, but many have sales skills and don’t know it. Are they willing to put in the effort? Are they okay with asking for money? Then make this person your “Assessor” and have them spend 60 to 90 minutes with each person, putting them through a sample workout and then placing them where they need to be.

Keeping changing lives.


Jason Linse is president and founder of The Business of Fitness, a consulting company.  He also owns a personality assessment company called People Plus+ Fitness. He can be reached at jason@jasonlinse.comor at 612-310-1319. Visit

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