This summer, I had the opportunity to intern at the Fitness Clinic under the guidance of Sam Woodworth, a personal trainer at the gym. Sam and I already had a working relationship; I trained with him throughout high school and kept in contact with him while I began my studies in Kinesiology at DePauw University. When he presented this internship opportunity, I gladly accepted and was very excited to begin working at the place that inspired me to pursue my major in Kinesiology. Sam outlined the internship by giving me a rundown of what was expected of me throughout my time at the Fitness Clinic. I got to take on some of the ordinary responsibilities of a gym employee, such as laundry and cleaning, but I also got to work on smaller projects under Sam. For example, I had the opportunity to shadow him and even jump in and help coach some clients.
One of my initial projects was to hypothetically create my own gym. This included the space itself, a name, my target demographic, and costs. At first, the process seemed simple, but the further I dove into researching locations, my target audience, the style of training, and branding, the more complicated it became. Throughout this project, I learned just how hard it is to try to build a business, especially a gym, from scratch, but I also found it incredibly interesting. Understanding what Sam must do to maintain a solid client base and bring in enough new clients, on the most basic level, was eye opening.
My second project was to develop, maintain, and improve the Fitness Clinic’s social media presence. Sam emphasized the importance of portraying the Fitness Clinic in a positive light that showed how passionate the employees are. One thing we agreed on from the get-go was we didn’t want to flood our social media with an abundance of posts, but instead, we wanted to deliver quality content that demonstrated our passion and expertise. In order to accomplish this, we created a mini video series about commonly mis-executed exercises.
By keeping these videos short and relatable to a large number of audience members, we were able to reach a significant amount of people and show we want to help improve their workouts with the correct techniques. There was a largely positive response once we started the video series, and our Facebook page visits and likes increased by over 80%.
The majority of my internship was comprised of shadowing Sam while he trained clients. I got to see firsthand how to interact with a client on a personal level and how the “programming” or exercise selection was used based on an individual’s needs. The idea of “bedside manner” was made apparent with every client I saw Sam work with. Every client is different and responds to different things. Sam was able to tap into those different needs among clients while still maintaining a friendly and understanding demeanor throughout each session. I believe that is the main component to keeping steady clients and elevating a trainer above the rest. The ability to cater to individual clients needs while still pushing their physical limits is key. Sam said this balance helps him acquire new clients as well. An existing client will talk about him in a positive way to friends or family, and then they’ll feel inclined to come in and work with him.
The programming portion of the training session was also very interesting to see. Sam doesn’t just work on corrective exercises or weight training but instead combines the two. This satisfies the client because not only do they feel like they are doing a “workout” with the weight training portion, but they also correct poor movement patterns and posture, which will benefit them in the long run.
Something interesting to point out is the fact that Sam shares the gym with other trainers and their clients. This means at any given time, someone else could be using equipment he planned to use. To avoid conflict, Sam always has a backup exercise or routine prepped. The ability to maintain his “bedside manner” and to think on his feet are two of Sam’s traits I intended to adopt and improve upon throughout my time at the Fitness Clinic.
As far as running the general business of the Fitness Clinic, there are a bunch of small tasks that have to be done in order for everything to run smoothly. Being the intern, several tasks became my responsibility, such as: doing the laundry, vacuuming, making sure the bathrooms are stocked, and cleaning equipment. These are all simple tasks one doesn’t really think about until they don’t happen. No matter how minor they seem, they are completely necessary for the business to run smoothly on the surface.
Another task I was to perform throughout my internship was to create the video content for the TV behind the front desk. Having something at the front desk that shows what the business is about can immediately entertain and teach its audience while generating value to the business.
Culmination of an Internship
Throughout my experience at the Fitness Clinic, I have learned a great deal about how to run a business, making oneself valuable, and creating a positive environment for clients. I had the opportunity to put all of this knowledge to use while I began to train a friend of mine about halfway through the summer. He came in 3 times a week, and I got to try out my newfound knowledge and ideas on him without the worry of “losing” a client. It was a great experience, and both of us noticed significant improvements in my abilities as a trainer.
Prevention over Treatment