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How Do You Find ‘GREAT’ Trainers to Hire?

One of the most common questions I often get from fitness club and studio owners is this: “How do you find ‘GREAT’ trainers to hire?”

My answer is inevitably the same:

You DON’T. There aren’t just ‘great’ trainers walking the streets looking for a position in your studio, club, box, or gym. Now that being said, I DO believe there are a lot of GREAT people that are ready to be LEAD from ‘goodness’ to ‘greatness.’ And GREAT LEADERSHIP is what can help create a positive environment, a winning culture, and a WOW team.”

And this is where LEADERS often fail.

We often hire good people. But then a lot of “leaders” then don’t put these people in a position, an environment, or a system to succeed. And the trainer either ends up hating their job and quitting or they get fired because “they don’t have the work ethic they need to succeed.”

And then no one is happy.

So my question to you is IF you are a leader, or you hire trainers or fitness pros, or you’re trying to build a great team/culture/or business, do you do the following 10 things?

Here are my “10 MUST-DO’s for GREAT Fitness LEADERSHIP”:


1. Do you hire smart?

I used to hire a ton based on education and certification. Now that’s only part of the equation. I want to make sure someone has the same core values as our company and is a person built on trust, integrity, and honesty. Additionally, I’m always looking for someone with a “growth” mindset, a “team-player,” and someone who has a proven track-record of hard-work, commitment, and dedication to their craft. If someone thinks they know it all, they are NOT the right choice for the job.

After several rounds of interviews and observations, I also highly recommend always doing a “social-media” check, follow-up with all references, and even sharing a meal with them. The longer the interview process lasts, the more information you can gather and the better decision you can make for your hire.

And always listen to your gut when hiring. Your gut is your internal compass that rarely leads you astray. Tap into it and listen!

2. Do you set expectations?

One of the most common mistakes leaders make is they hire someone and than just expect the new hire to be good. By not communicating expectations and training them in your system, you are setting your new hire up for failure. And that’s a leadership mistake.

Invest a few hours a week with your new hires in the first 90-days and make sure they understand your mission, vision, culture, core values, your training system, and how to get results with your clients. If you don’t communicate this, you can’t expect them to just do it.

And after those 90-days, keep communicating and leading your team. Whether they’ve been with you 1 month, 1 year, or 10 years—all people need great leadership and solid communication.

3. Do you provide feedback to your teammates?

Feedback is the breakfast of champions. Everyone needs feedback. And believe it or not, people want feedback. The key is HOW you communicate it. I believe in the sandwich technique. Start with what the person is doing very well, than provide them with one or two things they can improve on, and than finish with more positive reinforcement.

Leaders need to get comfortable providing feedback to their team. It truly will make a huge difference in the results derived, the culture fostered, and the overall growth of the team.

4. Do you acknowledge, praise, and make people feel valued?

The number one reason why most people leave an organization is because they do not feel valued. So what do you do to acknowledge, praise, or make your teammates feel special?

Do you remember their birthday?

Anniversary date when they started working for you?

How about just saying “Thank you” to them for the job they do?

How about a “shout-out” at a team-meeting or on a group email?

How about a “rewards program” for trainers or staff when they attain  certain milestones in education, credentials, experience, or results?

5. Have you created an environment where teammates can thrive?

People want to work and train in a winning environment and culture. So how do you harness and create that?

Do YOU bring your positive attitude and contagious enthusiasm to work everyday?

Do you catch people doing good things and praise them for it publicly (there’s that praise thing again!).

Do you say “YES” to your team more than you say “no.” See if you can turn culture into a “Yes, we can do that” culture more than a “No, I don’t think we can make that happen.” I’m not saying you have to say “yes” to everything. But I am saying that many times our teams know more about the needs of your clients, members, and even organization than even you. So listen to them! #ListenMore

6. Are they compensated fairly?

At the end of the day, trainers bust their tails for many hours a day. And like me, you probably got into this industry to make a difference in people’s lives. And you would probably do it for free if you could.

But you have bills to pay and food you need to put on the table. So you need to generate revenue to live. And hopefully you can make a decent wage for the work you do. And the better work you do, the more you can charge.

I believe in order to keep a team together and in sync, you need to compensate your team as best you can while maintaining the profitability of your company. So hey, if you lead a team, put together a package that’s special and designed to create a career for someone versus just having a job.

For me, that’s one reason we’ve created a total package to compensate our trainers and staff. This includes:

  • Competitive wage
  • Health insurance
  • Vacation Pay/Paid-Time off
  • Educational Allowance & Opportunities
  • 401K
  • Scholarship opportunities
  • Apparel Stipend

You have to do what works best for your organization. I do believe that making sure you have a competitive wage scale & potential benefits plan can go a long way in building a loyal, solid team that can ultimately serve the mission for a long time at a very high level.

7. Do you LEAD your team or MANAGE them?

Dogs get managed. People should be lead. Which one do you do? People want to be empowered. People want to be instructed on how to do a great job. They want feedback on how they can do better and how they can grow within an organization. They emotionally want to feel like they are part of a team or organization that cares for them. So make sure you do that. Care for them, lead them, grow them, and empower them!

8. Do you provide professional growth opportunities?

How can you enhance your trainers and staff members’ careers? Can you provide in-service educational opportunities?

Could you provide an allowance to help pay for a continuing education program, live event, course, Mastermind coaching program, or certification that a team member wants to attend or be part of that will enhance their career? By investing in your team, you are ultimately investing in the clients who they are serving and that are part of your culture and fitness family. #WinWin

9. Do you foster personal growth?

I have often said, “You can only take a client on a journey as far as you’ve taken yourself.” So how far and deep have you gone investing in your personal growth?

And how far have you gone to invest in the personal growth of the individuals on your team? This could be anywhere from gifting them books to read to help improve their mindset or leadership all the way on up to investing in coaching programs or courses for key personnel members that are devoted to self-mastery. Grow your team and your profits will grow incrementally as well.

10. Do you CARE?

It’s said that “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” And when it comes to leadership, CARING is one of the most important traits of all.

Real simple. Ask people how they are doing and then listen.

Spend time with your teammates. And clients.

Do your best to set up an environment for people to succeed on all levels.

Show more heart and soul when communicating how you really feel.

Have empathy.

Ask yourself the question, “Is this how I would treat my mother or my father or sister or brother or son or daughter?” If so, great. Do it. But if not, CARE MORE and watch what happens.

My friends, if you are trainer, coach, or fitness pro, you are a LEADER. And if you make leadership decisions today that affect hiring and team-building, I hope my “10 Must-Do’s to Fitness Leadership” can serve as a way to ultimately help you and your team become GREAT.

Much love and lots of Leadership,


P.S. I am hiring at Fitness Quest 10!!!

All of this leadership wisdom comes from 21+ years experience in this great field and in leading a “world-class” team of people. I pride myself on building our GREAT PEOPLE that train and work at Fitness Quest 10. They truly are consummate fitness professionals that epitomize what it takes to be a great fit pro.

If you feel like you would like to join the team at Fitness Quest 10 and have the qualifications to be lead to greatness, you can visit our prerequisites at

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