The Fitness Industry’s 80 Percent Annual Trainer Turnover Problem Has a Solution

During the past few decades, personal training has become the biggest internal revenue generator in the fitness industry. Unfortunately, the industry has an annual personal trainer turnover rate of 80 percent, according to numbers cited by many people in the fitness industry.

Imagine a chain of clubs hiring 4,000 trainers in a year and then having to rehire another 3,000 personal trainers again the following year. Why does the industry have such a high trainer turnover rate? Several issues are to blame, but one of the top reasons is that trainers are often unqualified to work hands-on with clients. The industry has accepted the majority of trainer certifications without much thought about the discrepancy in qualifications among certifying bodies. In many cases, if a job applicant holds the same certification as the fitness director, it is accepted.

In today’s market, it is difficult to find qualified talent to meet client needs and ensure a steady flow of revenue from personal training. Desperation leads to bad hiring decisions by club operators who are scrambling to fill vacated positions. The low bar that has been set and accepted has created a monster that, after 30 years, has undermined the industry and sidelined personal training as a legitimate and sustainable career path. Taking the easy way has led to the sad and desperate approach of hiring as many personal trainers as possible and then throwing them into the mix to see what sticks. Fitness employers themselves have created a vicious cycle of rapid turnover and low revenues that are detrimental to the entire health club industry.  

Many of today’s certification agencies only require passage of a written exam for certification. But this is a hands-on industry. Imagine visiting a dentist who has never used a pressurized drill but only learned the theory and science of dentistry. Mothers, fathers, sons and daughters trust their trainers, even though many trainers have no practical experience when they first start.

The biggest side issue to this problem is that the public at large does not know their trainer’s qualifications and background. Is a trainer with no practical experience qualified to provide a safe and effective science-based workout? The liability risk is staggering for everyone. Failure to address this side of the coin has created a cataclysmic cycle of job training and turnover for fitness human resources departments all over North America. Both mom-and-pops and big box chains are in constant hiring mode.

Fitness facility operators who have done their homework pay attention to the numbers, and these business operators know that an education-based certification with complete NCCA-accredited comprehensive testing in written knowledge and practical skills will produce long-term success.

What W.I.T.S. Offers Is Different

W.I.T.S. aligns our standards with health occupations such as emergency medical technicians and offers an educational approach with research-based testing and internship requirements that provides a qualified pool of job applicants from which employers can select the best of the best.

W.I.T.S. established a format for hands-on practical labs at universities so that people wanting to be trainers can learn the trade. We then created a standalone infrastructure to test individual skills. W.I.T.S. is pre-approved for college credits toward a degree in more than 1,500 colleges and universities. That is a standard.

Real standards for your clients will equate to long-term business success. W.I.T.S. has done this alone for 26 years. W.I.T.S. personal trainers and group fitness instructors are internationally recognized, but that is secondary to the fact that our graduates are ready from day one to perform on the job.


A W.I.T.S. personal trainer is the diamond in the rough that you have been looking for each year as a business. The W.I.T.S. trainer has accomplished three times more in core knowledge, hands-on training, two exams and internship qualifiers to master the job specifications. The bottom line is that W.I.T.S. trainers perform. Contact Devon Lewis [email protected] (888-330-9487) for a college site and/or graduate near you. Visit us at the Club Industry Show Oct. 9-11 in our Booth 511 at the Hilton Chicago. Your business-winning solution for success is right here, right now.

The editorial staff had no role in this post's creation.