Professional fitness certifications, both group fitness and personal training, require a certain amount of continuing education credits (CECs) on an annual basis to remain certified in good standing. In general, each contact hour of education is measured at either 0.1 or 1.0 CECs, which must be documented in order to maintain a credential.
Ben Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Like anything else, you get what you pay for; investing in the right workshop for your team can indeed provide positive returns. There are different options for club operators interested in offering education workshops — some may require an investment, while others simply some well-organized planning. Options include:
Being a host-site for a workshop offered by an equipment company or certification. If your facility has a specific line of equipment like TRX Suspension Trainers you could offer your facility as a host site. In return you will receive passes for attendance at the workshop which can be used as staff incentives. For example, the staff person who has the highest sales or most training sessions performed receives the workshop for free. There is no cost for being a host site, but if it’s for a group fitness program it may require closing a studio for the day and cancelling classes, which may result in disgruntled members, so be forewarned.
Having staff develop and deliver a workshop. This can be a great opportunity to highlight the experience of a veteran team member as well as being a great way to share best practices or introduce a new exercise technique, however, they may not be a source of CECs for staff. A common practice is to have a team member share what he or she learned while attending a recent conference or workshop. Larger operators may have the resources to invest in developing a team of internal educators to deliver CEC workshops, but that requires a significant investment. The time to develop and deliver the workshop are the costs of this option.
Hiring an education consultant or company to deliver a workshop to your staff. For this option, $200 to $400 per contact hour is the going market rate. The actual price is based on the experience of the speaker, the topic being delivered and whether CECs are offered (note: not all workshops have CECs, make sure you know whether the one you’re interested in does). Workshops for generic topics like program design may be more affordable, while those for cutting-edge subjects like movement screens or understanding fascia may be more expensive. Certification organizations may offer a “buy-out” price for their workshops so an operator can pay for a workshop to be delivered directly to their staff without any other participants.
The most expensive option would be the purchase of new equipment. Most equipment companies will offer an education workshop for staff based on the amount of equipment purchased. These workshops primarily focus on training the staff on how to use the equipment just purchased, but the science is the science — meaning that as long as the company delivers education based on sound principles of exercise science, that information can be applied to almost any piece of equipment or any type of exercise program.
Whichever route you decide, make sure the topic is relevant to the needs of your members. Your trainers may want a workshop on a hot topic like sports conditioning, but that does not make much sense if the average age of your membership is over 60. Increase engagement and retention of both staff and members by hosting workshops that enhance the ability of your staff to deliver solutions your members want.
Pete McCall is an ACE and NASM-certified personal trainer, international presenter, strength coach, host of the “All About Fitness” podcast, fitness blogger and an author of several fitness articles and exercise science textbook chapters. In addition, Pete holds a master’s degree in exercise science and has been educating fitness professionals for more than 15 years. Currently Pete lives in Encinitas, California, where he is an education consultant and master trainer for companies including Core Health & Fitness, Terra Core, 24 Hour Fitness, ACE, NASM and ActivMotion Bar.