I'm wrapping up my first month of working in Corporate Fitness this month. When I say corporate fitness, I'm talking about working in a global style fitness center. Planet Fitness, Lifetime Fitness, LA Fitness, Gold's Gym etc, are prime examples of these. I find these facilities to be great for many things, but I'm finding an unfortunate truth behind general practices.
A while back, I wrote about giving away free exercise plans, and how my contract for being a personal trainer at one of those chains included an "exclusivity" or "non-compete" agreement, forcing me to end my ability to make money on fitness outside my place of employment. After now having worked at that job for a month
, here are some things I'm learning...
1. Most Personal Trainers Want What's Best For You
Many gyms use cool slogans like "Your goal is our goal!" or "We're here to help you get to your goals!". These statements are more or less true, but they're only true because most personal trainers have good hearts and want to do what's best for you. Many of the personal trainers I know and work with care about your goals, what's going on in your life, and how you are doing. They want to help you reach your goals. If it wasn't for these individuals, I really would have a hard time believing those statements.
2. Quotas. Lots of Quotas.
Unfortunately, the kindness and heart of good personal trainers is somewhat diminished, because though we see you as people, our bosses see you as quotas. I attended my first end of month staff meeting after my first week, and all that was talked about was money and selling. The 'Trainer of the Month' award went to the highest selling personal trainer, not the one who helped their client hit their goals and beyond. Sadly, this turns the true optimization of your health into trying to sell personal training so much that sometimes your best interests get pushed aside if quotas aren't being met.
3. Take The Free Consultations
Most corporate gyms offer a "Free Session" with one of their personal trainers when you sign up for a membership. Honestly, this is mainly a time for them to pitch personal training packages to you in hopes that you'll buy. What the consultations that my gym offers look like, is a goal planning session, some basic measurements (height, weight, Body Fat%), a baseline test or 'Mini-Workout', and a plan of attack. What I've noticed, is that the personal trainers who legitimately care about you will show you how to achieve your goal by giving you two different plans of attack: one where you do your own workouts and one where you meet with them for personal training. They want you to achieve your goal, but also want to give you the most amount of options. However, you don't get either options unless you take the offer for the consultation, just know that for the personal trainers, they have to at least try to sell you personal training. Either way, you still have the ability to reject the personal training, and you get free measurements and assessments out of it, so you still win in the end.
Overall, after a month I am finding that working in corporate fitness is kind of like practicing football, and then stepping onto a baseball field on game day. It's a far different ballgame than I'm used to. Is it a good experience? Definitely! I find that my ability to coach and give cues is improving, as I'm no longer working with the level of athletes I used to be working with. Do I enjoy it? Honestly, not that much. And a large part of that is due to the emphasis of selling training packages and the quotas, but it works out after a while. We'll see how this changes after working there for multiple months.