Update 2/27/20. Personal training is usually the top profit center in health clubs. Maintaining an efficient personal training staff is critical not only to the gym's bottom line but also to its ability to expand its services to the public. But, how does health club management know when its staff is burned out – or worse yet – not taking personal training seriously? As someone who has worked in a health club let’s review some of the top signs that a personal trainer is burned out.
Four Signs of Fitness Burnout
1. Being late for appointments
Everybody is late sometimes but is there one employee who is chronically late (or doesn't show up at all!) for his/her appointments? It’s human nature to put off till the last-minute tasks that we really don’t want to do. This can even occur at the subconscious level and may be a sign of a larger staffing issue.
2. Training clients while wearing street clothes
When members see a fitness trainer working with someone without wearing the health club's uniform, it sends a message that club management may be dropping the ball. I know when I see this I often wonder “what else isn’t management doing?”
Personal trainers are ambassadors of the health club. They need to wear the uniform. Failure to wear their uniform while working also confuses members. Personal training revenue is at least in part dependent on the health club’s members feeling at ease to approach the staff with questions. When members see a trainer not wearing their uniform, they may be less inclined to ask questions –or sign up for training.
3. Not paying attention to the client
I recently watched a personal trainer at a well-known health club talking on his/her cell phone – and texting –while his client was working out. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! Didn’t that personal trainer know that everybody in the club was watching his unprofessional behavior?
When members see personal trainers being unprofessional, it sends a message to health club members about the treatment they can expect if they signed up for personal training. I have heard from several people over the years who told me how they also witnessed seeing trainers chatting on the phone during training sessions. They all said they same thing – they would never hire that trainer.
4. Expired personal trainer certifications
All personal trainer certifications have an expiration date. Personal fitness trainers need to renew (recertify) the cert before the expiration date. We all make mistakes but the personal trainer who repeatedly lets their certification expire may not be taking the business seriously. Health clubs often know when a cert expires. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten calls by fitness trainers who have been fired because their certification expired.
Handling A Burned-Out Personal Trainer?
It’s easy to fire the fitness trainer who is not living up to expectations but that may not be the best answer. A better approach might be to speak to the person in private and try to discover the reasons behind their actions. This allows health club management to discover issues that they may not have been aware of how the gym is running. It also lets the general manager show the fitness trainer that they are more than just an “employee”. This last point is compelling because fostering a sense of “family” is one of the strongest predictors of personal trainer retention.