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Personal Training: The Power of Positivity


As fitness managers, we often concentrate on the negative. Which trainer is not hitting his or her goal? Who is not performing enough sessions? By how much did we miss this month’s goal?

Instead, look for positives and coach your trainers on them. If a trainer is not grossing enough in overall revenue, but has kept clients for long periods of time, praise them for that. Use their high retention to encourage high referral rates, by offering clients an incentive to refer new clients. Look for positive aspects of your employees’ performances and build on those.

When you see something positive praise the person and celebrate that particular behavior in a public setting. This has two different effects; one, it encourages the employee to continue that positive behavior; two, it shows other employees that is how you want trainers to perform.

If you highlight positive behaviors, your lower performers may realize they can achieve greatness. Positive recognition is one of your best motivators, not negative ones.

I had a trainer that was atrocious at selling after initial consultations, but who was great at analyzing biomechanics and fixing postural issues. So instead of trying to fix how he sold, we created an eight-week program that focused on his strengths and sold the package for him. He quickly filled the program and retained those clients.

When you praise in a positive manner, make sure you say what was good about what they did. Random “nice job” comments are OK, but give no meaningful feedback and do not encourage the employee to continue that behavior. Instead, say “John, nice job on increasing your group training sessions this month.” This gives positive feedback on a specific topic that you want to see repeated.

Always do the management rule of “praise in public and criticize in private.” Celebrate your employees’ positive successes in groups and watch how it motivates everyone.


Vic Spatola

Vic Spatola is the director of personal training at Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club. He also does personal training business consulting. Contact him at: v4victoryconsult@gmail.com.

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