Ask an Expert on Personal Training
Kristen Frick, a personal training director at Gold’s Gym, shares tips for running a top-notch personal training department.
Why were you drawn to personal training?
KF: Growing up I was active with dance and cheerleading and never had to actually workout. When I got to college, I gained the infamous freshman 15 and, for the first time, started feeling very self conscious and uncomfortable with my weight. I started working out and got a job in our school’s health club and even taught a Pilates class.
I enjoyed working out so much and helping people. I remember a comment my mom made to me: “You should have gone to school for something that involves fitness.” I thought: “What on earth can I do with fitness for a career?” I started looking online and found The National Personal Training Institute and moved from Pennsylvania to Florida to attend. Straight out of school, I got a job at Gold’s Gym and have been here ever since.
What do you think is essential for running an effective personal training department?
KF: To have an effective personal training department, it’s essential to have the right people on staff. Everyone needs to have respect for one another and work as a team. Proper communication within the team, such as holding staff meetings and making sure everyone is following our policies, procedures and code of conduct, is paramount.
You also need to hold each trainer to the highest professional standard expected. To do so, you can create incentives for trainers to compete among themselves and for team goals. Be able to think outside the box and be creative to help motivate each trainer.
How do you attract members to training?
KF: We offer every new member two complimentary sessions with a trainer. The first session is a neuro-musculoskeletal assessment, where we also talk about their goals and life habits.
The second session is an actual workout to show them corrective exercises for their muscle imbalances and also to make the workout fun for them. This is our most effective way of showing our members how a personal trainer can be beneficial.
What has been your biggest learning lesson?
KF: I’ve learned that people can be very stubborn. They come to you for help, but don’t want to change their lifestyle. It’s those types of people that you need to have patience with and find a different way to get them to want to change.
As far as management, I’ve learned that it’s not about just telling people what to do. It’s being someone that leads by example and has been where they have been and can understand their frustrations firsthand. It’s about being able to help them write a workout program for a difficult client or clients with disabilities.
How do you think personal training will evolve over the next five or 10 years?
KF: It has already started to evolve. I feel that back in the day, personal training was about putting a client through a hard workout, making them sweat and if they weren’t sore the next day, saying they didn’t work hard enough. Trainers have gotten a bad reputation over the years of injuring clients because they weren’t paying attention to muscle imbalances and correcting them.
Personal training is evolving into more of a physical therapy approach. It’s about helping people live a better quality of life and rehab from injuries. It’s about learning what exercises will benefit or harm that individual client.