Why Your Training Business Needs Small Group Fitness



Group Fitness

Why Your Training Business Needs Small Group Fitness

Reading Time: 4 minutes 59 seconds


Date: 2019-06-25T00:00:00-04:00

Small group fitness accountability isn't a fad. It's a proven method for motivating clients, changing lives, and making a good income. But before you jump into recruiting people for your small group fitness program, you have a few things to think about.


First, decide what you want your small group to look and feel like.

How many people do you want to train? A small group consists of four to fourteen people. If you train fewer than four people, you're not truly leveraging your time. If you train more than fourteen, you're not giving your clients the attention and service they want and need.

Next, decide who you want to train.

Start with your unique story. Invite people who have goals like the ones you've already achieved. For example, if you lost 40 pounds, people who need to lose weight will be attracted to your story. They'll sign up so they can do what you did. Having something in common builds camaraderie and enhances small group fitness accountability.

You can also think about which clients would be the most fun to work with. As the coach, you get to decide who you work with!


What kind of program will you coach clients through?

  • A cardio challenge group?

  • Interval training for obstacle races?

  • Kettlebells for weight loss?

If you know who you want to work with but don't know what kind of programs they would like to participate in...ask potential clients what they want. Ask about their fitness goals, challenges they face, what kinds of exercise they enjoy, etc. If you know what potential clients want, you can create programs to meet their needs. Then your program will be successful right out of the gate. So, don't be afraid to ask!


Where will you connect with your small group? For participants to get the most out of your program, they need to feel connected. Many fitness trainers use Facebook. Others use a CRM software. Some create a group text/chat.

The important part about connection is making sure you do it often.

Finally, where will you and your clients meet for the workout? Will you meet at the beach, the basketball court, your home studio, or at the trailhead? Will your workout location change to keep clients motivated? Will everyone have access to the locations you choose? Consider this as you plan your training program.

How Long?

How long is your program going to last? Before deciding on a 12-week program, think about who you're serving and what you're teaching. Some group exercise programs might be more successful and fun if they are only 30 days long.

How long each session will last? A 30-minute group exercise session probably isn't long enough. Remember that you need to warm-up, cool-down, and stretch your clients. And you will need time to demonstrate exercises and get the group ready for the next exercise.

Generally, group workouts should last 60 to 90 minutes.

Avoid 7-day challenges. These are ineffective and cliché. Also don't do single-exercise challenges. The squat and push-up challenges have been done to death. Create something that matters.

How Much?

Finally, it's time to iron out pricing. This varies depending upon the factors we discussed above:

  • Where you train

  • Who you are working with

  • The duration of the training sessions

  • The length of the training program

It may take a bit of leg work to get your training program running, but small group exercise programs are a great way to get started as a personal trainer.

You can charge less, which will draw prospective clients without putting a dent in your income. You can also practice your programming skills, get lots of testimonials, and build your business by referrals. Participants may even hire you for some personal training sessions.

Of course, if you're just getting started, we have some other great ideas for you to get experience in our article, Getting Experience as a Personal Trainer.

What Small Groups Expect

You know who you're going to train, what fitness goals they have, where you will train them, and how much money you could earn. Now it's time to design your fitness programs.

As a fitness trainer, you know that periodization is the key to success in fitness programs. The principle holds true for small groups, too. Design group workouts so they build upon previous workouts. Clients want results and without periodized training, they won't get what they're paying for.

When working with a small group, focus on lifestyle modification. Motivate them to set new, healthy habits to lose weight and maintain a healthy body composition. Don't try to push clients into a certain lifestyle or force them to do only HIIT workouts because that's what you do.

Create well-rounded training programs that meet their needs, fit into their current lifestyle, and help them achieve their fitness goals.

Some group workouts you should try are interval training and circuit training. High-intensity interval training (aka HIIT) is a great way for clients to build muscle, increase cardio endurance, and see quick results. High-intensity interval training also makes the hour seem to fly by! You can use kettlebells or battle ropes to increase the challenge.

Circuit training is great in groups. It's easy to incorporate kettlebells, sandbags, or plyometrics into circuit training because you don't need equipment for everyone, just for one or two stations.

If you'd like to try running a boot camp, read our Boot Camp 101 article to find out how to get started. But understand that boot camps, although lucrative, have their flaws.

For one, boot camps are cheap. Most trainers charge five to ten dollars per session. Client's need to have skin in the game to be successful. Losing a few bucks isn't incentive enough to keep them motivated. Although small groups are not as expensive as one-on-one personal training sessions, because client's pay up front for the program, it's harder to quit with money on the line.

Another con, boot camps are open-ended. Anyone can join or quit at any time. This makes results inconsistent. With a small group exercise program, you set the start and end dates. This allows you to set goals for your clients, hold them accountable for showing up, and track their progress so they see results.

How to Run Your Small Group and Manage Your Community

The clients you're working with expect you, their coach, to keep them motivated and moving. But you shouldn't be the only one they count on. Build camaraderie by assigning fitness buddies within the group.

If clients want to lose weight, then accountability partners are key. Encourage them to text each other photos of their meals, pictures of them during workouts, or drinking water, etc.

Set goals and create incentives. Let your group decide the rewards they get for meeting milestones and what happens when they don't.

Finally, educate your clients along the way. The more they know, the better equipped they are to make healthy choices and continue their fitness lifestyle.

Ready for more? To get the best resource to help you write great programs and improve your skills for group training, ISSA's Group Fitness Training certification will set you on the right path. Get started today to build your business and your brand!

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