Training and Education Key for Professional and Student Staff


Campus rec center fitness facilities have distinctive staffing models within the industry. Of course, they have the professional staff all gyms have, but they also have consistently fluctuating student staff – which can leave center directors wondering how much and what type of training to invest in. But to put it in proper perspective, a center’s members don’t care about unique staffing issues. Pro or student, members expect all staff on hand to deliver on their high expectations.

Whether a campus rec center or traditional gym, industry-wide customers want more: better equipment, dynamic variety, more fun and fast results. Certainly quality, versatile, programmable equipment in a well-designed, efficient, exciting space is part of the equation, but not all.

To truly achieve success, ongoing training and education should be at the forefront of any rec center director’s mind. Without a knowledgeable team to implement the vision — which means ongoing training for both professionals and students — the budget spent on equipment and design can often be wasted.

Proper quality education supports rec center staff to help them ensure members achieve the experiences they desire. Therefore, investing in it should not be an afterthought, but an expectation any time one is adding new programming, buying new equipment or redesigning the facility experience all together. After all, experience is often about the interactions between people.

Quality training and education has other benefits, too. It helps centers overcome the struggle to retain great staff. It keeps workout routines fresh. It engages members and increases participation.

In fact, effective professional and student staff training and education dramatically improves the member experience because it introduces new training methods, increases interaction between staff and members, and up-skills the team to help achieve great member results. And, to be maximally workable for both pros and students, it should happen face-to-face, as well as online and with continual support.

If that’s not reason enough to embrace ongoing training and education, up-skilling the entire staff ensures the products the center invests in will be used properly while immediately increasing the teams’ passion and energy for the product and ensuring its safe implementation into the gym environment. Plus, ongoing training and education helps a facility to introduce new concepts and programs with greater success.

A campus rec center fitness facility not only has a diverse staff to make work like a well-oiled machine, it also has a varied member base — some long-termers like faculty, staff and members of the surrounding community, and some briefly passing through. And though its student members may never walk through its doors again upon graduation, a great rec center has the potential to inspire in them a lifetime of healthy fitness habits. That starts with investing to develop an entire team of well-trained, knowledgeable staff members.


Matthew Januszek is a co-founder at Escape Fitness, a leading global equipment manufacturer offering innovative products, gym design, flooring and training. Additionally, Matthew is the host of the Escape Your Limits podcast, which delivers insights from the fitness industry’s most influential leaders and entrepreneurs. For more information, visit, call 614.706.4462 or email

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