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Group Personal Training – How it Works for the Client and Coach

The new catchword is “group personal training” but what exactly does that mean?

What is Group Personal Training?

It seems like every year there is a new catchword for an old concept. The new catchword is “group personal training” but what exactly does that mean?

When you go to the gym, you will usually find three types of people training in the facility. There will always be the obligatory gym rats that have been training for years and walk around with their headphones on ignoring everyone else; no gym would be whole without a few of them!

At the other end of that, there are the people who are uncomfortable, or don’t like, working out on their own and stick to the energetic and packed group fitness classes. Lastly, there are the mix of athletes and individuals new to exercise who have hired a personal trainer to work one on one with them.

The new trend is a cross between the last two groups. Many people want the security of having individualized attention, which reduces the risk of injury, but they like being able to get the benefits of the reduced rate of group training. Group personal training is the gap that bridges the two thus making a whole new “fitness mania”.

What are the Benefits of Group Personal Training for the Client?

When you attend a group fitness class, there is one instructor who everyone follows in unison . Examples of group fitness classes are cardio kickboxing, step class, low or high impact aerobics, Barre fitness, Pilates or Body Pump. These are just a few of the classes you can find. While the instructor will provide a few modifications, usually everyone does the same thing.

On the other end of the spectrum for a group class setting, Group Personal Training. The word “Group” is involved, but that is only because in group personal training several people are working out at once. Otherwise, the personal trainer is there to coach the group while the clients are doing customized programs based on their abilities. The coach will cruise around the class and correct form for each person individually.

The obvious benefit for the client would be that it is more cost effective for clients who would like to get, or need, hands-on attention from a personal trainer several times a week. Personal training one-on-one will generally run from $50.00 to $100.00 + an hour depending on the experience or travel time of the trainer if they are coming to you. The cost of group personal training will run you about $25.00 to $30.00 an hour depending on the facility and size of a class. which can be more affordable to people with less disposable cash.

The other less obvious reason individuals prefer group personal training classes is the motivation factor. Some people enjoy the camaraderie of working out with other fitness enthusiasts, while others like the energy and competition it provides.

What are the Disadvantages of Group Personal Training?

In a group personal training atmosphere, you will get a high-intensity workout, however, depending on the size of the class, there may not be as much hands-on time with the trainer as if you were one on one. Should you be brand new to exercise and require a lot of attention, then you may want to consider booking in a time with the trainer individually before attempting a group situation.

Due to the fact you are getting less individualized attention, the risk of getting injured will be higher if you don’t have prior experience. Ensure you feel comfortable with the exercises before your first class by booking some time with the trainer to discuss their workout plan for you.

How Does Group Personal Training Work for the Trainer?

Similar to the client, as a personal trainer, there are advantages and disadvantages of running group personal training classes.

Although as stated, clients will be paying you less individually an hour, you have the ability to work with more clients which will give you the obvious ability to make more per hour overall. Due to the fact you can charge less per hour, it will also give you the ability to work with clients who may not be able to afford your hourly rate. Word of mouth in our industry is key, the more people who know how amazing you are, the wider your net is cast to drive more business into your private one on one client base.

Group personal training classes also offer your clients the potential to workout in an atmosphere of camaraderie where they can motivate one another, therefore, puts less pressure on you to be the only source of motivation. Classes provide a high energy and enthusiastic setting that will drive your clients to meet their goals to keep up with their peers.

Due to the fact that group personal training is a “new” fitness trend, this shows to the general public that your company is staying up to date with the times which in turns makes you look more credible as a trainer.

Group personal training allows you to go into corporate or special interest groups to offer classes which will again drive interest back to you for your one-on-one client base.

It is important to note that you should still take the time to do individual consultations with each client who wants to enter the group. It is imperative that you still understand the needs of the individual to reduce the risk of injury. You may want to steer people who are new to exercise with little to no experience away from highly competitive classes as they may find them demotivating. Instead, you may want to consider running classes geared towards beginner, intermediate and competitive level athletes. You may also want to steer some clients towards private sessions if they have health conditions that require constant attention, both for the safety of the client and group.

On the whole group training is a great way to kick start your career by allowing more exposure to bigger crowds! It is an excellent way to show off your knowledge and to let you shine!

All in all, group personal training is beneficial for both the client and trainer. These classes are an excellent way to expose the client to exciting and new training methods and will provide an energetic and competitive environment to help you excel and meet your goals.

It is important to note that if you have goals for a particular skill set you are trying to achieve i.e. you need to improve functional movement due to injury or physical dysfunction, or have postural and alignment issues, then hiring a private personal trainer would certainly be worth the cost and reduced risk of injury.

Cathie Glennon – BCRPA/SFL