Training…the other kind

It’s no secret that this time of year new members of all types flood into fitness centers around the world. Every year improving health and fitness or losing weight remains the top resolution world wide. Unfortunately making the resolution and sticking to it are often two very different things. Fortunately every January we are given the opportunity to help people change their lives through fitness. With a little planning and forethought we can capitalize on this opportunity, help our members and grow our businesses. The answer - TRAINING!

In the fitness community when we hear the word training we immediately think about personal training, or small group training. These are excellent and valuable facets of our business but that is not what I’m referring to here. I’m referring to training your TEAM! You can have the best marketing department in the world to drive potential customers into the most beautiful facility in the world but if they are not met by highly trained professionals when they arrive, it’s often a lost opportunity.

As business owners and leaders it is imperative that we are consistently investing into the training and development of our teams. The key word there is investing. It takes time, effort and occasionally money. You may not see an immediate return but that is why it’s called an investment. If you stick to it, the results will be far greater than the investment. The great news is that you can develop a world class training program for your team in just a few simple steps.

Make it Realistic

One of the hallmarks of a great training program is to mimic the things that your team member will actually encounter on a daily basis. This includes being cross trained and educated on other departments and roles. Often times we train our trainers on fitness techniques. We train our sales people on sales and so on. However anyone that has worked in a club knows that team members are always asked something outside of their area. A front desk staff may be walking trough the facility and a member asks them how to adjust a seat on a machine. Often the response is let me get you a trainer. Wouldn’t a better reply be - let me show you? And then then introduce them to a trainer for further instruction and a connection? A trainer might be asked when the next Group X class is. Instead of saying, you can ask at the front desk, they could immediately know where to find that information and satisfy the member. This type of service increases the professionalism of your organization and makes the member feel welcome and safe. They know they can ask anyone in the facility for help and get it. That keeps members coming back! This type of training through role playing also makes your team members feel confident that they can handle any situation. When a team member feels like this, they too are more likely to stick around!

Focus on the Fundamentals

Too often in training we want to focus on ‘higher level’ tasks because they seem more exciting and we don’t want to bore anyone. There is a time for this but regular training must focus on the fundamentals not the outliers. You can never review enough how to properly answer an incoming call. You can never review enough the proper way to do a sales tour or to ask for a referral. You can never review enough proper program design for trainers and instructors. Every role in your facility should have at least 5-7 basic fundamentals that anyone in that position should be able to master. Only once they have should you move on to more advanced aspects of the job. Without mastery of the fundamentals, the things they will see most often, advanced tactics are worthless!


Often times when we think about training our teams we think about the on-boarding process or the training system for new hires. Yes this is critical but it is also critical that we are constantly training our existing team members. One of the biggest mistakes in leadership is thinking “I told them that”. You probably did but once is never enough. We need to plan repetitive training that reviews the fundamentals but also pushes people beyond the levels that they are currently at. The training must push them beyond their comfort levels because that is where the growth takes place. Best practice is to set up a cadence for your training. Some departments train daily, others weekly an so on. Whatever you decide, make a plan and stick to it. Consistent, repetitive training is where the magic lies!

As January comes to a close there are still many new and existing members that are coming to your facility every day. Ensure that your staff is highly trained to serve them. It’s a privilege to do so. Providing your members with a world class experience will keep them coming back and they will probably even bring their friends! At The Abs Company We Change Lives from the Core! Like you we believe that FITNESS CHANGES LIVES and we look for ways to do this every day. A well trained staff is just one more step in this direction and remains at the CORE of what we believe!