Scenario: A personal trainer (let’s call him Ken Carson) is experiencing moderate, consistent success with his one-on-one coaching sessions. Ken’s schedule is pretty packed (there hasn’t been much time for admin and self-care) but he has lost a couple of clients recently.
Ken would like to make more money somehow, but only has so many hours in each day to run individual sessions. Ken’s also noticed a lack of motivation with many of his clients and would like to improve retention.
While creating endless individual fitness programs, Ken has an excellent idea: Group training!
Let’s have a look at why offering group training has benefits for both you and your clients (don’t let Carson Fitness have all the fun).
WHAT GROUP TRAINING IS (AND ISN’T)
When we say group training we’re talking about holding your normal personal training sessions but with multiple clients instead of one at a time. Each group you train would contain the same participants every time (more on the benefits of this later). The activities would be personalized for each member of the group.
What we don’t mean is holding exercise classes, which are usually more flexible in nature as anyone can join for a one-off session and the activities are not personalized. Exercise classes usually also contain more people as the trainer does not have to give focused attention to each member.
HOW YOUR CLIENTS CAN BENEFIT FROM GROUP TRAINING
Increased motivation and accountability
Sometimes people find it difficult to drag themselves out of bed, which is tricky if mornings are the only time a person can work out. Weather can also play a role; if it’s freezing cold or stifling hot, leaving the warm/cool house is very unappealing.
Exercising in a group can increase motivation to attend for various reasons. Many clients enjoy company when working out, and often they won’t want the rest of the class thinking they’re getting lazy. Exercising alongside others generates friendly competition and encourages clients to push and challenge themselves.
Better results through balance and diversity
The same old routines can often lead to boredom, and this can be reflected in client results. Working out with a group ensures that they switch things up and try new activities. Offering clients variety in their workout will keep them motivated and challenged. Group training offers both a foundation and springboard for achieving goals.
More fun and socialization
Not only are your clients getting a great workout, they’re also meeting new people and forging new friendships. Group training is particularly effective for encouraging shy or introverted people – especially if your group is not too large. Working out boosts endorphins and doing it in a group forms bonds that can lead to lifelong friendships.
You don’t need to be the only one providing support during a workout. Everyone in the class will help each other out, motivate and encourage, and push each other to do better. It’s a great way to achieve results faster by promoting social bonding.
For more information check out these Nation Council on Strength & Fitness (NCFS) posts:
HOW GROUP TRAINING CAN HELP GROW YOUR BUSINESS
Increase revenue while making classes more affordable
Training multiple people at one time means a boost in your income, while still keeping the classes cost-effective for your clients. Yes, you will charge each person less, but you will earn more per session overall.
You can maximize time efficiency because you’re training more than one client in the same session. A well-scheduled class can help you leverage your time better so that you’re not overwhelmed with the demand and suffer from the dreaded burnout.
Attract and retain more clients with diverse training options
You can experiment with different exercise formats, such as partner exercises, circuits, kickboxing, cardio etc. Having a wide offering of activities is a great way to keep the energy up and increase client retention.
Generate marketing opportunities
Group classes are a great way to market your skills to many people at once. It can also be a great way to maximize client referrals.
Develop your skills
Leading a group training session is great practice for gaining confidence with speaking to a crowd. This is essential if your career path includes becoming a presenter, thought leader or coach. It also strengthens your organizational skills as you need to instruct, watch and correct multiple people.
10 TIPS FOR DIVING INTO GROUP TRAINING
#1 You want to achieve the perfect blend of a group dynamic that still has the personalized feel of a one-on-one session. The key to this is the right group size. Too small and you won’t see as much revenue or build the group camaraderie you need. Too large and you won’t be able to give adequate attention to each member and the intimate dynamic will be lost.
You need the Goldilocks of group sizes – less than 5 is too few, more than 10 is too many. 5-10 is juuuust right (though some exceptions will apply).
#2 Build relationships with each client as if they are one-on-one. Keep in mind that this is still personal training, you’re just servicing more people at one time. Knowing what is happening in their lives and what challenges they may be facing can also help you to attend to their needs in each session.
#3 Develop an efficient assessment process that works for a group with potentially diverse needs. This will help you to create customized programs for each group.
#4 Find the sweet spot with your pricing.Group training should feel like an economical option for clients but also needs to be worth it for you. Group training is great, with heaps of benefits, but it’s still going to be a lot of work for you.
#5 Use a platform like TrueCoach to make planning customized workouts, booking group sessions and tracking individual members’ progress easier. Organization and time-management are crucial when undertaking group training so why not make it as easy on yourself as possible.
#6 Invest in yourself by upskilling and reskilling in any areas you want to offer to make your classes more interesting. You could have some group sessions that focus on a particular area such as preparing for a marathon or powerlifting training.
#7 Be prepared: have your sessions planned out, your locations set, your music queued and your equipment sanitized and ready. Most importantly, get to the location first so you can welcome and chat to each member (keeping up those relationships!)
#8 During sessions, carefully observe each client’s technique and use corrections and demonstrations when necessary. Interact with each person individually and acknowledge their improvements.
#9 As mentioned, group training can be a more intense experience because you have to do more in a single session. This means self-care is absolutely essential so schedule in time to relax and recharge. The point of offering group training is to make your business better, so don’t ruin that by wearing yourself out!
#10 Spread the word about your new service by harnessing the power of social media and referrals. Effective marketing is crucial to ensure clients know what you have on offer.
Keep in mind that there will always be a demand for one-on-one training, so don’t ditch it altogether in favor of group classes—you need to keep your options open.
Check out more tips for group training in this International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) post: Small Group Training: Benefits & Tips for Personal Trainers
Offering group training as a specialization can lift your business above the rest and make you stand out in a sea of personal trainers. Build motivation and accountability in clients to improve retention and attract new clients looking for a fitness community with a lower price point. With group training, everyone’s a winner!
For more on the benefits of investing in yourself for business success, including specializations like group training, developing soft and hard skills and the importance of self-care and a work-life balance, download our FREE ebook: Investing in Yourself: How to Improve and Protect your Best Business Asset
Article by TrueCoach
First published: September 06 2023
Last updated: January 11 2024