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Rules. Who Needs Them? We All Do!

Make Them Count For Your Club and Your Trainers

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Angie PattengaleAngie Pattengale

I'm a fan of standards and guidelines. Let's face it, anyone who has children can appreciate the very basic need for rules and setting standards (and examples). There's something to be said for accountability and consequence. The premise for our being is wrapped in instruction and outcome; without accountability, could we truly be successful in life?

As free spirited as it might sound, rules really aren't meant to be broken. In fact, most rules are intended to keep us safe or responsible. What would happen without even the most simplistic of them? Traffic lights and stop signs are good examples, but what about when it comes to personal conduct or self-sufficiency? You don't always get the same obvious response. We generally tend to look to an authority for guidance, direction and even consequence. But, what happens when the guidance we might receive is self-serving or blurred by misdirected intentions? That's a rhetorical question. We know that rules not set for the greater good will ultimately affect people in a negative way. This is true for any topic, any household, or in this case, any industry.

We know that personal training has one of the biggest potentials for profitability in most clubs who report offering the service. It can also be said, given data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that a career in personal training can be a very lucrative, long-term option. Without the existence of standardized training methods in health clubs or professional codes of conduct for the individual trainer, though, the long-term isn't so much a sustainable option. Consider a club that sets policy which serves itself more than the public, or a trainer who conducts himself unprofessionally. You can't imagine those businesses operating for very long. A misguided focus or a blatant disregard for standards and accountability will always prove detrimental. It is ultimately your responsibility, as a trainer or a club owner, to protect your clients by setting parameters that are tied to assuring health, safety and overall wellbeing. In some unfortunate cases, it could be argued that guidelines are merely set to protect the bottom line, and for most people, in or outside the business realm, complying with standards that cannot be reckoned with quality, safety or responsibility doesn't come easily.

In the context of personal trainers who work in health clubs, it is crucial that standards be set and effectiveness be monitored. If personal training has the potential of being one of the clubs most profitable value-adds, then a focus on the types of standards and methods for monitoring club and trainer effectiveness should be more consistently considered. Rules that are set for trainers should represent a balance of safety and gratification that is felt by the client and the trainer alike. We've all heard "a happy worker is a productive worker." Well, "a happy trainer is a productive trainer." And, how much "happier" will your club be with a team of highly capable and productive trainers? Start with an assessment of current club standards. Are they well defined? What measurements are used for assuring compliance, or to gauge member/client satisfaction? To really maximize your personal training department, and subsequently, rates for retention and member-to-client conversions, have well-defined standards that pay special attention to the needs of your members as well as your team of professionals.

Can there be a balance of empowerment and parameters? Absolutely! Whether you're a club owner or an independent trainer, some high level concepts to remember when establishing, or re-assessing, standards and managing club-to-trainer or trainer-to-client relationships are:

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