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Best Practices


The “Secret Shopper” Advantage

By Megan Senger | April 30, 2012 |

As a fitness entrepreneur, you work hard to provide your customers with great workout experiences. But do your staff members effectively deliver on your goals? Or is there a gap between your expectations and the service your clients receive?

To find out, you might want to arrange a “secret shopping” evaluation of your fitness business. Discover the pros and cons of secretly shopping your company by hiring a professional evaluator—or by doing it yourself. It’s a unique way to determine what your customers really think.

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Fit Pros Share New Year’s Business Resolutions

By Ryan Halvorson | January 16, 2012 |

Many people use the New Year to assess the past and develop plans for the future. For business owners, January is a good month to set goals that lead to improved success, revenue and freedom. Here are some examples of what your fellow fitness professionals plan to achieve in 2012, courtesy of the online forum IDEA Answers ( Joanne Duncan-Carnesciali: “I am resolved to delegate more to prepared fitness professionals and to spend more time becoming a more effective lecturer/teacher.

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Train Your Trainers and Thrive

By Bruce Burke | October 10, 2011 |

We all understand the value of personal training, but there is no denying that too many consumers have had bad experiences or have developed misconceptions about what we do. Trainers fail; their businesses go bust. Why does it happen? How can it be avoided?

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Prepaid Packages or Personal Training Memberships?

By Ryan Halvorson | April 15, 2011 |

When it comes to selling personal training services, a common practice is to require payment for a series of sessions at the start of training. According to data from the 2010 IDEA Fitness Programs & Equipment Trends report (IDEA Fitness Manager, July–August 2010), 69% of respondents “ask clients to pay for individual sessions/classes or packages of sessions/classes.” Troy Fontana, CEO of Freedom Fitness Unlimited in Sparks, Nevada, believes this method may soon be history.

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Optimizing Amenities

By Valerie Applebaum, MPH, CHES | January 31, 2011 |

Look around your facility. All fitness center operators want to keep pace with advances in our industry and, in doing so, operate a diverse facility that appeals to a broad demographic. Establish your facility as a unique place to work out by making available the newest amenities—specifically in the areas of equipment, flooring and the locker room.

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Systems for Customer Service Success

By Megan Senger | October 18, 2010 |

Think about the customer service provided by top companies like the Ritz-Carlton and Disney. Now think about your personal training business. Does your brand evoke the same image of exceptional assistance? Or is it time for you to borrow proven customer service systems from these top-notch names?

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Fitness Facilities Lack Adherence to Health Screenings

By Ryan Halvorson | April 21, 2010 |

According to ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, “potential [exercise] participants should be screened for the presence, signs, symptoms, and/or risk factors of various cardiovascular, pulmonary, and metabolic diseases as well as other conditions that require special attention.” Yet despite these recommendations, a recent study has found that many fitness
facilities do not require new members to complete pre-exercise screenings.

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Manage Multigenerational Staff Successfully

By Ryan Halvorson | April 21, 2010 |

Fitness facilities worldwide are filled with employees and contractors whose ages span multiple generations. With each generation comes a different work ethic and sense of how responsibilities are handled. For a fitness facility owner or manager, an understanding of generational differences can help foster a sense of community and success among staff. Here are tips for managing a multigenerational staff, courtesy of Chicago-based Lakeshore Staffing:

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Do you have a cancellation policy? Why or why not?

By IDEA Authors | February 16, 2010 |

My time is valuable. When clients cancel and I don’t charge them, I lose income. My rent and bills don’t change because of these cancellations. I inform my clients of my cancellation policy right away and ask them to sign a form saying they understand the policy. I have a 24-hour cancellation policy, but if I see that someone has several cancellations, I schedule him on a week-to-week basis. With all this being said, I use common sense.

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Promoting a Fitness Bucket List

By Sherri McMillan, MS | January 26, 2010 |

In the 2007 movie The Bucket List, Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson play terminally ill patients who escape the hospital ward to complete adventures on their “bucket list.” Most people can connect with the concept of a bucket list—the things you want to do before you “kick the bucket”—because no one wants to die with any regrets. We all want to live our fullest lives.

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Tricks of the trade

By IDEA Authors | January 26, 2010 |

When we introduce a new service, we spread our promotional efforts over a variety of media. If we want a big push, we take out a print ad in targeted local publications. It’s important to note that a print ad has to run for a while before it gains attention. You can’t just run an ad once and think that it’s going to produce anything. An ad has to run for at least a couple of issues before the event you’re promoting, and has to continue to run for several months before people actually start to take notice and inquire about your offering.

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Creating a Successful Internship Program

By Justin Price, MA | October 26, 2009 |

Internship programs provide supervised practical experience for people wanting to gain hands-on knowledge in a specific area of the health and fitness industry. Designing and running your own internship program can be a rewarding experience for both you and your students. It can also become an additional revenue stream for your business and increase awareness of your name as a leader in the personal training industry.

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Selling Affiliate Products

By Amanda Vogel, MA | March 13, 2009 |


You probably already recommend health and fitness products to your clients. What if you could receive a cut of the profit when clients purchased stuff you told them about? This technique is called affiliate marketing, and it’s one way to bring in revenue without having to actively provide a service, as you do with one-on-one training.

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Identifying and Managing Risk Among Trainers

By Darren Jacobson | November 1, 2008 |

 9  Business Basics:
Pricing Your Services
13  Technology:
From Mobile to Mobility
17  Training for Growth:
The Struggle for Significance
21  Best Practices:
Build Your Team

By nature, personal trainers are passionate, driven, organized and excellent at communicating, or so we would like to believe. In reality, within any team there are radical differences in terms of trainer competencies.

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Build Your Team

By Darren Jacobson | November 1, 2008 |

It is said that if you want to be successful, you must surround yourself with great people. One of the most challenging aspects of running your own business is finding great people and then keeping them.

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emergency kit

In Case of Emergency

By IDEA Authors | July 24, 2008 |

Whether you call it a disaster plan, an emergency response plan, a crisis management plan or something entirely different, you must put in place a contingency plan for your business—with the hope that you’ll never have to use it.

Setting the Foundation
Start by taking care of some simple foundational elements….

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IDEA Fitness Journal

IDEA Fitness Journal

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December 2019