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Personal Training: How to Build a Lucrative Personal Training Department, Part 3


shutterstock_188452241In last month’s blog I talked about our staff training and development system at Baptist Health/Milestone Wellness center, called Trainer University. For the full curriculum, see my last blog post. The first few topics on the curriculum include teaching our staff how to conduct the complimentary personal training sessions that we offer our members.

At Milestone we give all of our new members two complimentary personal training sessions. In the first session we go over health history, exercise history, sleep patterns, water intake, nutrition habits and goal setting. We also do a Tanita body fat analysis and a battery of fitness tests. Upon completion of the first session, our trainers will develop a workout plan that they take the member through during the second complimentary session. In Trainer University we teach our trainers how to recommend personal training in order to pick the member up as a client after the two complimentary sessions.

We view the first appointment as an opportunity to build trust and rapport with the new member, giving them a go-to person for any of their health and fitness needs or questions. We believe that trust is the foundation for selling personal training sessions; if the client doesn’t trust or connect with the trainer, they will not buy personal training.

After the trainer goes through health history and exercise history with the client, the next step is to do some goal setting. If they don’t discuss what the client wants to get out of the sessions, they lose rapport. We teach our trainers to meet the clients where they are (mentally) and guide them in the right direction thereafter. We also teach them to let the client set the goals. If the trainer barks orders at the client, it’s less personal.

Again, after the first session is completed, the trainer can design a program specifically tailored to that client, based on their specific goals and health concerns. We don’t have a ‘protocol’ for our trainers to follow because we believe that they will feel stifled and uninvolved in the client’s progress.

The most important step in building a personal training business through complimentary personal training sessions is recommending personal training after the trainer has taken the member through their complimentary sessions. We teach our trainers how to recommend in order to pick up a client almost every time they meet with someone new. Stay tuned next month for our method on how to recommend personal training.


Lisa Jo Groft, BS, ACSM-HFS, is the co-director of fitness at Baptist East Milestone Wellness Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

Lisa Groft

Lisa Jo Groft, BS, ACSM-HFS, is the co-director of fitness at Baptist East Milestone Wellness Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

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