What’s so wonderful in the fitness profession is the continuous growth of our industry. There are more gym instructors, fitness instructors, personal trainers, Pilates teachers, yoga teachers, boot camp instructors, HIIT teachers, and the list goes on. There are more fitness professionals on the circuit than ever before. According to the IHRSA report, the total fitness industry revenue was an estimated $94 billion in 2018 with projection to reach $99.9 billion in 2019.
As club owners or bespoke studio owners, it’s our responsibility to put the best of the best into our centers. Excellent instructors gain and maintain numbers, they are passionate, and we are happy to have them onboard — but are they as qualified as they set out to be?
Recently I’ve been interviewing therapists to come and join our vibrant team. For some reason, I decided to check the details of this one particular candidate who said she was registered with all the leading health insurance companies. Her CV looked great, she is a delightful person and not only that, perfect for the job. But I was questioning, why is she not in a full-time job, and why was she only filling in for people? I telephoned the first health insurance company on the list and low and behold, she wasn’t listed.
You want the best of the best, and having a person on your team who has lied is not going to keep you customers. Do your research, contact the candidate’s references, check out their social media, insurances and certificates. How many hours did it take for them to become a fitness coach? You’re not a bad manager if you turn someone down — in fact you’re a star if you pull the needle out of the haystack.
Last month, an instructor was hiring space to teach her client. The teacher qualified in Pilates 18 months ago. She had her client lying on her side using a tennis ball to massage the side of her neck. Is this out of scope of practice for a fitness professional? Is this instructor qualified to instruct such a move? Is it safe to massage the side of the neck with a tennis ball, or are we going to get an insurance claim? Where did she learn this exercise, and is it from a respectable resource? Who knows, but ask them — it could be a genuine exercise.
Keep up to date with your team and invest.
Every six months, sit your team down and have a group meeting. Stay up-to-date with what your team is learning and where. Not only is it good for you to know, it shows you’re interested in them. Remember they are the ones pulling in the money. Are they up-to-date with their CECs? Are they registered on the leading fitness organizations like ACE, USREPs, and the Pilates Method Alliance? The fitness industry is always announcing that we should be teaching this, and that exercise over there is old school and shouldn’t be taught anymore. Does your team know this? When was the last time they updated?
The industry is continuously changing like the wind from east to west, and our teams need to stay up to date with the latest research. Encourage them by posting links of articles on an internal WhatsApp group, arrange in-house training days, and if they have gone to an external training day, ask them to discuss what they learned. Would it be of interest to everyone else?
As we develop and grow, it’s harder to stay at the top — but I know for sure, having a team of fitness professionals who are qualified, maintain their qualifications, and have a bug for learning, is the way forward to success.
Nikki Chrysostomou is the founder and director of the Tranquility Pilates Studio. She has over 14 years of experience running her own independent boutique Pilates studio. If you would like further advice on how to value your business or have any questions in relation to this topic, you can reach Nikki at firstname.lastname@example.org.