Congratulations on your new career as a fitness professional! There are numerous fantastic aspects of being a personal trainer, not the least of which is helping clients achieve their health and fitness goals. Of course, in order to do that, you need an organized system in place to help you attract and manage your clients. That’s where working in a gym as a staff member can really offer you a great advantage.
Working in a gym, you can typically expect to be assigned new members to orient to the facility by taking them through fitness assessments and initial workouts with the intent of gathering baseline information to help them set realistic goals and introducing them to the equipment and club programs, respectively. It is during these initial sessions with new members that staff trainers are usually expected to not only promote the various gym services, but also sell their own personal training services.
Many clubs are set up this way because it works. By the time a trainer is finished taking a new member through his or her initial sessions, a professional relationship has started to develop. If a trainer has worked to create rapport and trust with the potential client, the odds are likely that the new member will pursue additional workout sessions with the trainer (if not immediately, then at a later date). It is common for commercial fitness facilities to pay trainers a lower wage for new-member orientation sessions, and a higher wage once the new member purchases private training sessions with a trainer.
Working as a staff trainer at a gym usually means that all of the appropriate forms and documentation systems for training clients will be provided to you. Each club is unique and has its own business practices surrounding which forms are necessary and how they prefer documentation to be recorded, so you will most likely be trained on those aspects of the business from the club itself.
However, if you are an independent contractor providing your services at a club that welcomes that type of business structure, then you will essentially be running a small business out of a fitness facility. In this case, which is perhaps the situation you might prefer to be in eventually, you would be responsible for all of your own documentation and business administration activities. ACE offers excellent online resources to ACE-certified professionals in this area on the “Business Basics” page. On this page, you can find strategies for setting up your business, policies and procedures for running your own business, sales and marketing ideas, and client retention tips. Be sure to take advantage of these FREE resources from ACE. Even if you’re an employee (and not an independent contractor), this website is worth checking out because it can help you with strategies for selling your services and growing your client base. ACE also offers a comprehensive book full of business forms with templates of the various types of documentation that personal trainers need to excel in the business.
I wish you the best of luck!