As any boutique fitness lover knows, a studio thrives—or doesn’t—on the talents of its fitness instructors. They need to have solid fitness training and the ability to teach and motivate a group (safely), plus on-brand charisma and killer playlists. In other words, every hire is a unicorn. And behind the scenes, studios have to do a ton of never-ending (figurative) legwork to find trainers and staffers who fit their method and personality. Alexandra Bonetti, founder of buzzy New York City-based fitness chain Bari Studio, hopes to streamline the process with Talent Hack, a user-driven site that aims to be the LinkedIn for fitness professionals.
“The site connects people to companies in the fitness industry,” Bonetti explains. Studios can post all of their job listings and position requirements, including those for front desk staff and managers. Trainers can tout their work history, social media profiles, and even videos of them in action, then submit that information to studios. Job hunters can search a variety of criteria such as location, job type, and skills such as barre, Tabata, and trampoline.
Bonetti created Talent Hack because of her own needs at Bari. Every time the studio is looking for instructors, she says, “We’re going on a variety of sites—Craigslist, dance/NYC and Playbill—sending a mass email, posting on our Instagram, using our trainers’ networks.” People looking for fitness-industry jobs follow a similar process, including visiting each studio’s site to check their listings.
“There’s a hole in the support structure [in the fitness industry]—it’s hard to find mentors, growth opportunities, and professional development.” —Alexandra Bonetti, Talent Hack founder
Two months after its soft launch, Talent Hack now has 500 professional profiles and 50 companies on board—including Crunch Fitness, Flywheel, SLT, Pure Barre, Fhitting Room, Athleta Studio, CityRow, and Body By Simone—and it’s having its coming-out party on Monday in New York City, with an event at the Asics flagship store in Manhattan. Besides fit-friendly networking, there will be a panel talk with Olympian Queen Harrison; trainer Adam Rosante; Asics Studio head trainer Erin Bailey; Katie Witkin, co-founder of marketing firm AGW Group; and fitness photographer Chris Fanning—all moderated by The Sweat Life founder Aly Teich, who is now president of Talent Hack.
Echoing multiple studios’ complaints about the inefficient way talent searches currently happen in the industry, SLT founder Amanda Freeman calls Talent Hack a “godsend.” And CityRow founder Helaine Knapp agrees: “It’s going to save us a lot of time and energy,” she says, “because we’re going to have more qualified leads.” Similarly, Body by Simone’s director of training, Alice Ramshaw, signed up both for the studio and for herself as a trainer: “Trainers who might not think about applying with us might find us on this website.”
Bonetti wants the site to be a big, interactive tent for those already in the industry and a launching point for those hoping to get into it. And she’s already echoing that beyond digital, with a series of intimate IRL events (held at her NYC apartment). These “Talent Hack huddles” with 20-30 people at a time give trainers and studio owners the chance to compare notes, share advice, and build relationships—which ultimately led to the kickoff of Talent Hack’s event series, Monday night at the Asics store.
“There’s a hole in the support structure [in the fitness industry]—it’s hard to find community, to find mentors, growth opportunities, and professional development,” Bonnetti says. “It’s a place to raise issues and connect, which is so important. It’s been really, really special.”
While Talent Hack’s first focus is getting the word out to New York-based trainers, fitness pros from Los Angeles, Denver, and more have already joined—and Bonetti aims to make Talent Hack a nationwide service. Because after all, as CityRow’s Knapp puts it: “More and more people are trading in the suit and tie and pumps for Lululemon and sneakers.”