As a business owner there’s a plethora of rules regulations and certifications that you have to navigate through. Of course, on top of that, gym ownership comes with its own specific headaches. When you own a business of any description you quickly find out that there are all kinds of tasks that seem to have been designed to distract you from your purpose and the mission of your enterprise. As always, I try to avoid the controversies and politics of ownership but we all have to deal with them. So, my discussion point here is how to respond effectively to yet another set of dirty jobs in the gym management and fitness center business.
Certification Re-certification and Supporting Certification
Three of the most common categories of documents that you will be forced to deal with as a gym owner are:
1. Fitness certification, both initial and advanced
2. Re-certification of expiring certificates
3. The prerequisite supporting certification that goes with them
The initial certification should not be such a big problem. After all you don’t hire untrained trainers, right? Either they come to you pre-certified or, alternatively, lesser-qualified staff in your gym is ambitious enough to get certified as trainers and build their careers from the bottom up. I think that kind of initiative should be strongly encouraged. If you have someone who starts at the bottom and works their way up I think they make for more loyal employees.
The counter-argument is that they might just use you to get the qualifications and then move on. I’m not suggesting you pay tuition or buy their test books, just be supportive and available as a mentor. Also, it’s a human need to want to grow and progress, if you encourage that as a leader there should be no reason that they would want to want to get away from you.
Making sure your trainers have their certifications and they stay current. Remember to have the CPR certifications to support it. For example the certifications of the American College of Sports Medicine last for three years, after that re-certification is a must. It’s up to your people to take care of it and the best will be motivated and proactively deal with it before it’s too late. However, it’s in your best interest to make sure that they do get re-certified in a timely manor. Any delinquencies will reflect on your gym as a business, as a whole.
Striving for Further Certification
A Physical Fitness Certification is great; it’s the way to get into the best career field in the world. But here’s the thing: It represents the minimum level of qualifications to get into the fitness business. You have to pass the requirements to get certified but that’s just the beginning. Now you’ve made it you need to keep going. Build on the basics to stay on top of your career and be ready for anything that the business, fitness trends and fads can throw at you. So this is something that will be another draw on your attention and time. But it’s something that you do now to make sure that you can still be working and leading the field in the future.
As they say if you’re not living you’re busy dying, which is totally depressing, but it is true that if you are not growing in your sphere of influence your sphere of influence is diminishing. In some ways it’s like the treadmill. You keep running but you go nowhere. You get off it in the same place you got on it. But you do so with marginally greater fitness each time. If you give up on fitness you lose it pretty quickly. It’s the same for much of the administrative paperwork that goes into running a business.
Don’t forget that the kind of stress we put ourselves under while we are working out is the good kind, also known as eustress (look it up!), which protects us from the bad kind, known as distress. The dirty work that we do on a daily basis can be stressful but it holds us together and helps us be ready for contingencies.
- ACSM’s Get Certified Guide: http://certification.acsm.org/files/file/2011%20CRC%20Guide_LR.pdf
- Ideafit, Staying In the Fitness Game, by Mary Monroe: http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/staying-in-the-fitness-game
- Urban Dictionary, eustress: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=eustress