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Best Practices


The Professional Development Conundrum

By Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA | February 10, 2014 |

Experts agree that employers need to invest more in staff training and development to create stability, boost retention and improve the consumer experience. This is a particular challenge for many large-chain, membership-based fitness facilities. Rather than nurturing and training a newly hired personal trainer for exercise life- style programming and customer service skills, some fitness facilities orient trainers to be salespeople whose wages depend on commissions.

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Recruit Staff Like the NCAA

By Peggy Gregor, AFAA, ACE | November 13, 2013 |

When college football recruiters started taking an interest in my son’s skills on the gridiron, I came to a useful realization: When it comes to attracting talent and developing winning teams, head coaches and group fitness directors have a lot of parallel priorities.

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Phone Etiquette for a New Age

By Terah Shelton | November 13, 2013 |

Proper phone etiquette is essential in a health club environment. Many people prefer to call ahead to ask simple questions, rather than physically coming in. It’s their way of getting a “feel” for your facility. As a manager/owner, you want that introductory phone call to translate into a new membership. However, phone communication has degraded among young adults working the front desk, and it’s easy to see why.

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First-Session Success

By Casey Stutzman | March 1, 2013 |

“I’m terrified of change, even if it will improve my life.”
“I hate asking for help or admitting that I do not know something.”
“I avoid environments that are unfamiliar or that make me feel out of place.”
“I don’t believe that my own personal shortcomings are a source of my problems.”
“I will defend what I believe, even though it may not be right.”

For many people, those statements are true.

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Prevent Overtraining

By Valerie Applebaum, MPH, CHES | January 21, 2013 |

While the majority of exercisers are healthy individuals with a positive view of themselves, a few people use fitness as a means of perpetuating compulsive, obsessive exercise patterns. In fact, according to the American Council on Exercise, about 1%–3% of the population experience some degree of exercise addiction (Matthews 2009). Overtraining–or overexercising–is common at nearly all health clubs.

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The Anatomy of an Effective Outsourcing Plan

By Megan Senger | July 18, 2012 |

When you decided to become an independent exercise entrepreneur, you had a core focus and a vision of how you would help your clients. But overnight you also became the accountant, janitor, customer service department, blog writer, fitness manager and CEO—all rolled into one.

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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 (www.ideafit.com/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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What would you do if your client had a medical emergency during a session or was having one when you arrived at a session?

By IDEA Authors | January 18, 2011 |

Fortunately, in my 15 years as a personal trainer, I have experienced only two medical emergencies. The first incident occurred 3 years ago when I was leading a Nordic walking class with 10 participants along one of Toronto’s beautiful ravine trails. A woman who was about 60 slipped and twisted her ankle about halfway through…

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