Group personal training benefits not only the trainer but the client as well - cheaper sessions for the client and increased revenue for the trainer. Group training is categorized as a non-choreographed session training 3 or more members. Explore 5 basic elements that allow the trainer to create an environment for successful group training that will boost member enjoyment, trainer competency and results for all.
- Understand the importance of the primacy effect and how to utilize this when creating and maintaining a group training session.
- Learn why individual consultation is essential for everyone within the group.
- How to personalize the team workout based upon each individual within the group.
- How to use different training styles to build team strength and engagement.
- Understand the importance of continual feedback for you and the client.
Group personal training is, and has been, a top fitness trend for the past few years. The trend increases due to the improved income you as the trainer can receive per hour and the reduced cost for the consumer. As Pete McCall (2016) stated, “Rather than always looking for the next ‘best thing’ in fitness, we should be focusing our efforts on doing the basics right.” To create a successful environment for Group PT there are 5 necessities that are essential.
1. Marketing and Advertising
The primacy effect is the process by which early information colors our perception of subsequent information. It means, in simple terms, that what our clients and perspective clients first see of us alters how they view and feel about us moving forward.
This is basic – we know that if you are the trainer hiding in the office, locked into your phone and dismissing people who come for help, then your success will be limited; yet It is easy to overlook.
I will always remember a time early in my career where a 90+-year-old man came up to me on the gym floor between clients to ask for advice. I was tired, busy and had little time to help someone that I perceived would not benefit my business or my income. I passed him quickly to another trainer. A week later this trainer has taken him on as a client, a further week and he is training his sons and daughter, a month later he is training one of the grandchildren. I missed out on 12+ sessions per week because of my view and my tinted glasses.
The same occurs the other way around – perspective clients will be judging you based upon these basics. Get them right and you’re already marketing and advertising to your future clients:
- Branded outfit or uniform that is clean and shows professionalism.
- Happy helpful personality, going above and beyond what is required or expected of you.
- Always on time and never cancelling sessions unless for an emergency.
- Be generous with your time, knowledge and passion.
- Organized and pre-planned sessions that have clear objectives.
You are your biggest advertisement – this is not said with the expectation that you suddenly fill your Instagram feed with fitness model shots but the hope that you can commit to the basics.
2. Motivation System
Peter Twist (2012) said in the PTA Global Group Training Solution education that “Group training is much more difficult to coordinate than one-on-one training, requiring classroom management skills, integrating participants of varying abilities and active coaching to keep clients safe and give due attention.”
When embarking upon training a one-on-one client, a consultation is always performed to understand the client’s level, motivation, and goals. This is just as important with Group Training.
By using the following Program Design Questionnaire (PDQ) questions you can understand and easily categorize each client, explaining to them what this means, so that they can take ownership to choose the right exercises for themselves during your session.
- Is it more important for you to feel challenged or feel structured during your workouts?
- Challenged = Progressive
- Structured = Traditional
- When you need to reduce stress, are you more likely to do activities that are exciting and adventurous or activities that are calming and practical?
- Exciting & Adventurous = Progressive
- Calming & Practical = Traditional
- Do you enjoy exercise more when it involves a routine that you can adhere to or one that offers variety?
- Variety = Progressive
- Routine = Traditional
If your client scored ALL answers either one or the other, then your client is as stated (traditional or progressive), but if they stated one or two or each or answered “both” to some of the questions, then they will be hybrid.
The results can be interpreted and utilized by understanding each moStyle (movement style):
|This type of exerciser prefers the traditional and known,movements. They like using equipment such as DB, BB, Benches, Speed ladders, Medicine balls and cable machines. The exercises are preferably organized,with rules to follow that are goal driven and include competition.
||At the other end of the spectrum this exercises prefers unknown,movements with tennis balls, balloons, ViPR, Sandbells, Ropes and Kinesis,machines. The movements will be less organized, with minimal rules, fun and,emotionally driven.
||Hybrid is a mix of the two.
This information is important to understand for you, and the client, so that they can team up with the right partner for group work, vary the intensity, choose the best options for them and ensure a safe and injury-free environment.
Meeting each client where they need to be met is achieved by using the PTA Global tool – or Daily Readiness observation (Dr.O). In a group setting, the Dr.O can be implemented at the beginning of each session while the clients are performing specific warm ups, mobilisers, SMR and OFT to get an idea of where each client is on that specific day. This is necessary to ensure safe, fun and engaging exercise that boost client commitment, enjoyment and therefore consistency to your program. Once the scores for the Dr.O have been collected you can quickly tweak, alter and adapt the session.
Here are the questions from the Dr.O:
- Did you sleep well? Are you well rested? When did you last eat, what did you eat and are you hydrated? Have you got anything important to do after this session?
- What activity have you engaged in during the last 24 hours? Are you in pain, fatigued, tired, tight or sore?
- How would you describe your emotional state? What’s your level of motivation and do you feel mentally ready to begin?
Get each client to score themselves out of three for each grouping of questions – 1 being no limitations, 2 some limitations, 3 high/red light/stop. Then combining each total of three scores they will have a number between 3 and 9.
3/9 = go ahead
4-6/9 = proceed with caution manipulating exercises
7-9/9 = stop and refer
For more information on how to tweak, understand or manipulate what you do with this information check out the PTA Global Exercise and Stress Management Credential.
4. Team Building
Utilizing different training modalities within the group session will support the group atmosphere and culture. Very importantly, the culture permeates every aspect of a team’s experience.
Is the atmosphere relaxed or intense? Light-hearted or competitive? Supportive or competitive?
These qualities of a culture have real implications for how the team functions, how its members get along, and, crucially, how the members perform and the results they get. Results will engage your clients and keep them coming back whilst providing you will material to advertise.
Types of training that improve team strength are:
- Give and Go
- Relay Races
- Group Challenges
By taking an active, non-dominant, role in the creation of your group culture and providing an experiences that are enjoyable your members can identify the values, attitude and beliefs that propel them to success. This approach to team culture will ensure that members feel a sense of ownership and, as a result, are more likely to live by its principles.
This can be done in a variety of ways: assessing body language within each session; asking questions about specific exercises and/or entire sessions; assessing the satisfaction of the entire program.
Every member within your group wants to feel important and feel as if they are getting the attention that they want and need. Another PTA Global tool, the Kaizen-6, allows feedback for continual improvement. The client will believe that you, as their trainer, care about their individual experience rather than your own ego.
- Does each client smile, laugh and talk to others in the group throughout the session?
- Ask – on a scale of 1-10 (where 1 is the least, and 10 is the most) how satisfying was that exercise/session/program for you?
- Does your client leave the session differently to how they entered it?
- Do they actually want more session with you or have they made workout buddies with members of your group?
- Ask – what are your most enjoyable aspects of this group? And what are your least enjoyable aspects of this group?
Continuous improvement benefits you and your members as you build the energy within each session and facilitate connections within the clients in the group.
By collecting information with the PTA Global sciences, systems and tools about each of your clients, their experiences and their lifestyles, you can take individuals into the group environment with ease. By utilizing the basics for success - marketing/advertising, motivation system, personalization, team building and feedback – you can create a successful environment for Group PT.
McCall, P. (2016, November 10). Health and Fitness Trends You'll See in 2017. Retrieved from https://www.acefitness.org/blog/6158/health-and-fitness-trends-you-ll-see-in-2017
O’Dwyer, I. (2012). PTA Global Online Group Training Solution: Program Design Part 4. Retrieved from www.ptaglobal.com
Twist, P. (2012). PTA Global Online Group Training Solution: Facilitating a Group. Retrieved from www.ptaglobal.com