How Personal Trainers Calm Gym Members Fears

As fitness professionals the gym is where you feel comfortable. It’s a major part of your life. You love it and it makes sense to you. This isn’t always the case for club members, especially for new ones.

Nearly half of all adults who start a fitness program discontinue within the first six months. Think about all the fresh faces at your club after the New Year. How many of those faces do you see now?

While motivation, commitment, schedules and life may contribute to their absence, there is one overriding factor that will deter people from returning– discomfort. As a personal trainer, you are in a position to ease that discomfort, whether that member is a client or not.

The first step is to put yourself in their shoes. Picture this – instead of paying someone to fix your leaky faucet, you set out to fix it yourself. It’s your first time in a large Do-It-Yourself store. Did you feel out of sorts? Perhaps it was massive, or people there seemed to speak a different language. What’s a stem nut?

It was overwhelming, right? Surely there are others as lost as you, but you probably didn’t notice them. You noticed the ones who appeared to belong, reinforcing the feeling of being an outsider.

This is exactly how a new member feels walking into your gym. They sign up for a membership motivated to create a healthier lifestyle. But, when they walk in, they’re overwhelmed. The gym is intimidating. The equipment seems foreign. The other members appear to know what they are doing, and they all seem to be in much better shape.

Now, think back to that store again. One of two things probably happened. Hopefully, an employee picked up on your discomfort, and was able to help. Hopefully, they were able to ease your tension, give you some positive direction and leave you with a sense of belonging. If not, chances are, you fumbled around until you found what you were looking for, quickly left and never returned again.

Keep in mind that while you are comfortable in an exercise facility, it is a new environment for most. Understand it can be intimidating for a person to even muster up the courage to walk through the gym door. Observe new members and engage those that may need a little reassurance. Make them feel comfortable. Offer some advice, or an encouraging word. Not only will you improve their fitness experience, you will build relationships that could turn into long-term clients.


Angie Pattengale is co-owner and chief executive officer of the National Federation of Professional Trainers, where she works behind the scenes on relationship-building, advertising, policies and procedures, test development and delivery, and growing the business. She joined her father, NFPT founder Ron Clark, at the company in 1994.
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