Building a Strong Personal Training Business

Personal Training

Building a Strong Personal Training Business

Personal training has grown rapidly in the last few years in an effort by exercisers to obtain better and faster fitness results. Clubs have successfully integrated personal trainers into their programs, but the challenge is to create the opportunity to connect a member with a trainer from day one.

The following is a summarization of an education session from the 2015 IHRSA Convention, produced with full permission from IHRSA. The full-length video is available for purchase at

About the Speaker

Michele Melkerson-Granryd, M. Ed is currently the General Manager for BodyBusiness Health Club & Spa at Davenport Village in Austin, Texas. She occupies the role of Executive Director of the Texas Health Racquet & Sportsclub Association, and is also an adjunct instructor at the Austin Community College. She began her career as a Group Fitness Instructor, and eventually expanded her career to encompass areas of sales and management. She holds a Master’s degree in Human Performance.

"Personal Training Is an Emotional Transaction"

The emotional aspect of training incorporates the client's goals and desired results, and it's important to touch upon these goals in each client session. Providing consistent attention and guidance to clients creates a relationship and trust that a client’s interests are a priority. Client education demonstrates the value of your trainers. Assess your club in terms of its values and reinforce these through your personal training program.

  • Mission: Revisit your mission and review your facility’s accomplishment goals. What is it that you want to accomplish?
  • Values: Assess your values. Are you team-oriented or do you value a more independent work environment?
  • Products: Define the products your facility provides. In addition to personal training, your club can provide wellness programs, a better quality of life for your clients, and valuable relationships.
  • Client Goals: Consider the goals your clients set and re-evaluate your products – they should relate to your clients' goals.

Implement a System While Creating Opportunities

When creating a personal training program, align your staff with your facility’s mission, products, and goals. Train your staff to create sustainable and successful personal training programs. All staff members should be involved in your facility’s personal training programs, or at least well-informed of the details.

When hiring sales staff, look not only for sales skills, but also emotional intelligence. Have at least one person dedicated to selling your training programs and matching trainers with clients. A team of trainers with a variety of personalities can demonstrate their value consistently and meet the overall needs of your niche. Provide compensation to your staff that incentivizes production.

Train the Trainers on Equipment

Trainers should have relevant equipment-based training. Invest in equipment that can be used in personal training sessions and create a dedicated space for such sessions. Equipment should be trainer-centric so that trainers are able to easily work with clients and demonstrate their value. Offer multiple types of training opportunities such as individual training, duos or trios, small groups, larger groups, and training sessions that vary in length. 

Marketing to Your Target Audience

Market to your target audience by giving clients or prospects information about your club and the services it offers, specifically your individual and group personal training programs.

Create program-specific marketing strategies. Guerrilla marketing, client testimonials, and referrals are effective ways to bolster your marketing efforts. Build personal training into your membership.

Trainer-related videos and material on your website enhance your marketing efforts while providing value for your clients. Staff personal training programs instill a level of trust in your clients and also support sales.

Incorporate Personal Training Opportunities at Point of Sale

Create opportunities by integrating your personal training offerings in your point of sale. Free trials or guest passes for week-long personal training sessions provide ongoing exposure for your programming. Create and implement a successful personal training program with a knowledgeable staff, professional equipment, and targeted marketing strategies. Most importantly, provide value for your clients.