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Group personal training is a growing trend in fitness. It's a little bit like a cross between a large fitness class in which the trainer instructs but doesn't get personal with clients and an individualized, goal-focused personal training session.
Before you dive into this new kind of training—and there are many reasons why you should—make sure you understand what group training is. Take our advice on how to do this kind of training right, and you'll get more clients, earn more income, and reach more people.
People often confuse small group training with fitness classes. They are not the same. Small group training is a combination of personal training and group instruction. You work with a handful of people with similar goals to train and instruct. Here are some important distinctions:
A big difference is size. Group classes can have 20, 30, or even 50 people. Group training is more like five to ten people.
The smaller size means you get to focus on each individual, while in a larger class you are providing a more general workout.
You'll put more time into planning small group training because it is more specific and less general than a fitness class.
Small group training is more expensive than a larger group fitness class, with per-person fees ranging between $15 and $40 per session.
If you've been offering one-on-one sessions for a while, or even tried your hand at teaching classes, you may be ready for a new challenge. Group personal training offers you a chance to reach new clients and earn more money.
With group training sessions, you have a better chance of reaching those clients who would otherwise not sign up for personal training. These are the people who may feel a little shy or uncomfortable working one-on-one with a trainer they don't know. It's also a good way to get to potential clients who want to try training but can't afford individual sessions.
By reaching more people with group training sessions and series you'll also be networking with more potential one-on-one clients. Those who were hesitant to sign up for training may find they love working with you. After going through a set of group sessions, they may decide they're ready to take workouts to the next level and sign up for more focused, personalized sessions with you.
Reaching new clients means more than just earning an extra salary; it's also so rewarding. Check out this ISSA post about how great it feels to change people's lives for some inspiration.
Financially, group sessions just make more sense. They are more affordable for your clients, and they provide you with greater earnings in a shorter amount of time. It's necessary to get the balance right between the number of clients per group and the fee each individual pays, but when you do, you'll be earning more efficiently.
If you have never done this before, take notes. Small group training is not as easy as simply getting five people together and offering exactly what you would in a personal training session. You have to consider how to maximize the time for each client and how to hit individual goals while working with a group.
Instead of randomly grouping together a few people interested in training, be thoughtful about it. Create a series of group sessions with specific goals or types of fitness. For instance, create a six-session series on an introduction to strength training. You'll get individuals who have similar experience levels and goals. Some other ideas include weight loss training, training for runners, or pre-wedding boot camp.
Group fitness classes revolve around a type of exercise, like yoga or Zumba, and they're well suited to this. You are there to instruct without getting to know the individual goals of participants. Group training is different. Structure the sessions around goals, like losing weight, gaining strength, or running faster.
Families make great group training participants. Read this ISSA post on creating family fitness plans to get some ideas.
Getting people together by goal is essential to group success, but so is ability level. Your session will fail spectacularly if you put a newbie to the gym and working out with someone who has been lifting for years. You'll be stretched way too thin trying to help both. Use questionnaires when recruiting clients for group sessions. Ask about goals, experience, and basic fitness so that you can sort your sessions appropriately.
One of the biggest advantages to starting group training sessions is that it will allow you to make more money in less time, but only if you do it right. For example, if you have four people in a group and only charge them $15 per session, you are only earning $60 for an hour, likely the same or less than you would charge for an hour-long individual session. Set a minimum limit on the number of people in a group, or adjust the pricing based on how many people sign up to make sure you are getting compensated adequately.
Group training sessions can be a great new offering if you do it right. Earn more and work smarter, not harder. Reach more people and have fun helping small groups of friends or acquaintances get fit and meet their goals.
And if you're interested in the group fitness classes we mentioned, learn more by checking out the ISSA's specialty certification course in group fitness.
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