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American Family Fitness’ Top Trainer Recruiting Tool


Ensuring your gym is equipped with quality and educated trainers is essential to success in your personal training department. Recently, American Family Fitness, which has nine locations in Virginia, began working with The National College of Exercise Professionals (NCEP) to host workshops and certify its training staff. NCEP offers a holistic personal training certification via a 2-day weekend class with hands-on practical, instruction.

Bobby Hall, the regional fitness director at American Family Fitness, said working with NCEP has given the club not only the opportunity to educate trainers, but also attract training talent — which is one of the main reasons they forged the partnership.

“When I got to American Family Fitness we were in need of some new trainers, and we just weren’t really getting the return we wanted after going through the normal recruiting avenues,” said Hall. “So, we reached out to [NCEP, because it’s free to host a training]. We figured, worst case scenario, we’d end up with a few trainers and further our education. Best case, it could become a great recruiting tool for us.”

The “best case” turned out to be the result. According to Hall, American Family Fitness has hired close to 30 personal trainers from the NCEP trainings. “It’s landed us more personal trainers than any external recruitment we’ve done in the past six months,” he said.

And, those 30 hires came to American Family Fitness at no cost to the facility.

Currently, NCEP works with a variety of health clubs including Fitness 19, Retro Fitness, Equinox and more.

According to Hall, one of the highlights of the NCEP programming is the quality of the education.

“It’s great stuff,” said Hall. “The thing they do that I love, that was well-received by trainers, was they really explain things. I always use the expression: If I was going to have a conversation with my mom, I need to be able to explain personal training in a way that my mom, who’s a teacher, can understand, because if I can’t explain it to her, I’ll never be able to explain it to clients. It’s one thing to be able to talk personal training to other trainers, it’s something totally different to talk about it with members.”

Hall said NCEP’s material is laid out in an in-depth, professional manner, but also in a way that is digestible and makes sense for people who hadn’t previously been in the industry or those who didn’t go to school for exercise physiology.

Adam James, the vice president and director of development for NCEP, said the company prides itself on teaching curriculum in a way that’s easy to understand. “We try to make it where people can come to our class and hear this detailed information — but, it’s presented in a way that just makes sense,” he said.

Hall said another benefit of the program is that once a trainer is certified, they can go through the training again free of charge as often as they’d like, for a re-fresh or just to deepen their understanding of the material. In addition, he believes NCEP is different than other programs in that it’s not as rigid  — which turns out to be a good thing.

“I mean that in a positive way, because it gives you the outline on how to make a program, but doesn’t tell you it’s the only way to make it, so a lot of trainers who kind of have their own identity or style, they get to retain that identity or style, but still follow a proper progression program,” said Hall. “[NCEP doesn’t] get near the credit they deserve for the quality of the content in there.”

In addition to the recruiting benefits, here are Hall’s other favorite parts of the NCEP program:

  • The digestible, easy-to-understand language.
  • Help in making the onboarding process for employees easier.
  • A free, highly successful recruiting tool.
  • Quality content.
  • The opportunity to attend unlimited amounts of workshops after signing up.
  • NECP’s reliable, consistent two-way communication efforts.
  • The ability to provide existing employees with free certifications.
  • The opportunity to teach material and educate others.

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