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Q&A: Setting Up for Personal Training Success

personal training

Personal training is a critical component to health club programming — it gives members the opportunity to forge personal relationships and a positive image of your club, while reaching their fitness goals. Personal training also serves as a top source of revenue for most health clubs.

Here, Vic Spatola, the director of personal training at Greenwood Athletic & Tennis Club, shares his insights on setting up personal training for success:

CS: How can you offer personal training as a personalized service, tailored to each client’s specific needs?

VS: People don’t want to buy set reps or cool, new kettle box sets — they want to buy some type of emotional experience. There’s a reason members or prospects are in the gym, whether it’s a health reason, aesthetic reason, social reason or motivational issue. If they were perfectly hunky-dory and there were no worries at all, they wouldn’t come into a gym — they can motivate themselves to do whatever. If they just wanted to get a sweat on, they could just go to any spin class and then walk out the door. They wouldn’t necessarily need to meet one-on-one with somebody, so trainers need to find the “why.”

CS: How can trainers make clients feel valued?

VS: A trainer is a guide to get clients where they want to be physically, emotionally or mentally, from point A to point B. That’s where the value is. Members aren’t just getting a person who counts set reps — they’re getting a guide toward a greater emotional experience. Trainers should be sending motivational texts or nutritional suggestions to help in making healthy lifestyle choices.

I always tell my trainers, “Give your clients three goals: a one-week goal, a four-week goal, and a two-month goal. If you give them those three goals, that will start to get them to understand the idea of success. A lot of these people never had success.”

CS: What role should feedback play in the trainer-client dynamic?

VS: We try to send out a survey to all clients and members. If they had a great experience with a trainer, they mark it in there. When we get positive feedback, we give it back to the employee. We also do quarterly reviews with our training clients to make sure they’re achieving what they want to achieve. We ask questions like, “How are you feeling today? How do you feel with your workouts? Do you feel like your workouts are going in the right direction?” And we actually have the trainers ask those questions. It puts them on the spot a little bit, but we try to coach our trainers on how to get that feedback and not take offense to it. That dialogue is huge between a personal training client and their trainer.

Bobby Dyer

Bobby is the former assistant editor of Club Solutions Magazine.

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