Here at Northwest Personal Training & Fitness Education, we boast that we have the “Best Personal Trainers in The World.” There are many factors that go into being the “best,” but one of the most important is continually and consistently furthering our education. It is easy to say that you and your business support education, but it isn’t always as easy to ensure your staff remains at the top of their game.
You guessed it. I have the answer! Host your own educational CEC events.
We will start with WHY we host educational events:
- We like being the BEST, so we work to STAY THE BEST through cutting edge and inspired education.
- Bring in extra revenue. We host 2 one day fitness education mini conferences each year (our Fitness & Training Forums). We bring in a different, well known and highly qualified industry presenter to each of these events. We allow our trainers to attend these events for free, but we also promote and sell registrations to these events. A portion of the proceeds from outside registration goes toward covering the cost of the event, and the rest is extra revenue for our business!
- Keep our staff happy. We allow our staff to attend our Fitness & Training Forums for FREE! That’s right we bring a conference to our staff twice a year. They get inspired education and CECs without having to spend a dime on event registration or travel. Not bad!
- Keep our staff informed. We choose the education events we host. If our trainers need more information on coaching runners, we bring in a running certification. If our trainers/small group trainers need to brush up on their Indoor Cycling coaching skills, we host an Indoor Cycling education event. Both our staff and our clients benefit when we have the luxury of customizing the type of training our staff receives.
- Provide quality education to the fit pros in the Pacific Northwest. We work to support all fit pros in our region. More highly educated fit pros in our area means more happy and educated clients. We stand for helping people “live life to the fullest.” Part of that is through education, so we provide it.
- Gain credibility with fit pros in the Pacific Northwest. We are always on the lookout for the best fitness professionals in our area. We want to be top of mind when fit pros are looking for work. What better way to show potential new employees our commitment to education and our staff than hosting quality education? Our staff talks up how happy and proud they are to be working at Northwest Personal Training and they may even mention that they receive free CECs/education while working for us. Sounds enticing doesn’t it?
Do some research and find out if anyone is hosting educational Fit Pro CEC courses in your area. Try to schedule yours at a different time than the other courses and either pick a certification course that is new to your area or try hosting a mini conference.
So HOW do we host educational CEC events?
We host educational CEC events 2 different ways. First, we organize and host 2 one day mini conferences each year (as I mentioned earlier). We call these mini conferences our Fitness & Training Forums. Secondly, we host certifications created by other organizations. For example, we host Schwinn Indoor Cycling certifications 3 to 4 times per year.
Organizing and hosting your own mini conference can seem a little overwhelming, but once you have a system down and have a couple mini conferences under your belt, it will be well worth it. Fit Pros love to go to an event that is live, local and with multiple session options where they can get a ton of CECs all in one day. Here are some things that make our Fitness & Training Forums a success:
- Presenters. We like to bring in a guest presenter for our Fitness & Training Forums. Many times this is a presenter that is well known in the fitness industry. We also have local personal trainers, physical therapists and nutritionist present. You don’t have to have a big name presenter to make a mini conference work. It might be better to start small with local presenters. This will save on your expenses.
- Have a great session line up. You can take a look at the session line up for our upcoming Fall Fitness & Training Forum to get an idea of the variety of sessions we strive for. We run two sessions in each time slot, but that isn’t necessary. Do a little research. Ask your staff. Find out what is hot and exciting in the fitness industry and include sessions that make the most sense for you.
- Host at a larger local facility. If your facility isn’t large enough to host a mini conference, find a local facility who would like to host your mini conference. Why would they agree to that? Try offering 5 free complimentary registrations for their staff (that will get their attention!). They will also get the recognition of being a facility that brings in education for their staff. It is a win/win/win for you, the host site and all of your staff.
- Get CECs. Once you have your session line up completed, go ahead and decide which continuing education credits you want to provide at your event and submit for their approval. Organizations like ACE, NSCA and NASM have information on their websites on how to submit for CEC/CEU approvals.
- Include lunch! We have found that fit pros like the idea of having lunch included with the mini conference. It is an extra perk that you can use in your marketing and it gives the fit pros a feeling of being well taken care of at your conference. Think of it as marketing for your next event. Make sure to include the cost of lunch in your registration fee!
- Marketing. You know that your staff will be attending, but what about the paid participants? We have found that a combination of outreach to fitness facilities in our area, social media targeted marketing (yes, paid social media marketing), marketing through the continuing education organizations and marketing to our fit pro database (through e-newsletters) is the best approach. If you are new to hosting educational CEC events, you may need to rely on non-email related forms of marketing while you build up your fit pro email database. Make sure you are gathering all of the email addresses of the participants coming to your courses so you can ask them to come to the next one!
- Get feedback. We ask all of our participants to give their feedback at the end of the event. They are required to fill out our evaluation form before getting their CEC certificate. We use the feedback to create our next Fitness & Training Forum. We share the feedback with the presenters so that they can improve and we take note of the topics fit pros would like to see presented in the future.
- You can make extra revenue. Our goal is to make extra revenue from our Fitness & Training Forums. This all comes from the outside fit pro registrations. Take a look at your expenses and the cost of other fit pro educational events in your area before determining the cost of your mini conference.
Hosting a pre-existing certification is another great option. Hosting something like a yoga or indoor cycling certification is a much simpler way to get involved in hosting fitness education events. It can be as simple as contacting the organization you are interested in to see what their requirements are for you to host.
- Pre-existing certifications can be a great option. You don’t have to create the schedule or submit for CECs. These types of certifications are typically much smaller than a mini conference, the organization you host for will help with marketing and they will most likely take and manage all registrations.
- Things to consider when hosting pre-existing certifications: you probably will not make extra revenue and you may not be able to offer free registrations to your staff. Most of these organizations will give you a couple complementary registrations, a discount for your staff to attend and pay for the presenter’s fees in exchange for you hosting the certification.
As you plan your calendar for 2019, consider hosting educational CEC events. The benefits can be HUGE to your business, your staff, your bottom line and your community. Do the things that make YOU and YOUR staff the BEST!