In part 1 of this series, we focused on answering the below questions:
- Who is your audience?
- What do they want?
- What do they need?
Answering these 3 questions can give you all the information required to establish your principles and training platform. It can provide you the information to create your training structure and problem solve any issues in your current program. Creating a profitable and productive Group Training Program (GTP) takes a lot of determined and directed work. However, once you have set up your GPT program properly, it will operate smoothly, which allows more time to coach your clients to success and enables you to increase membership.
In practice, uncovering our VALUES looks like this:
These values govern our way of being, the way we speak to our members, who we decide to work with or not, how we coach, how we program design, and the intensity we work clients at. Results for Life is our Mission Statement. It literally governs all of what we do.
Questions to consider when creating your Mission Statement include:
- What do you stand for?
- What do you believe in?
- How do you deliver this in a group setting?
Our Educational Pedagogy is clarified by the values: Integrity and Impact. The Fitness Distinctions are an educational guide for our Coaches to teach from. We teach from one playbook, educating similarly, supporting one another and staying on one message. Where many smaller studios struggle is in not training their Coaches to deliver the company message. If there are multiple messages and beliefs being discussed from different coaches in the same business, you are creating confusion for the members, not clarity. This leaves you susceptible to the member believing the most charismatic and authoritative Coach, not the message of the business.
The bottom line: One message.
Questions to consider when creating your company message include:
- What is your educational pedagogy?
- Do all your Coaches know it? Trust it? Deliver it?
For the training sessions themselves, delivering a variety of choices in a structured format provides the staff direction, allowing them to do what they do best: coaching and giving the members direction. Following a simple periodization scheme has enabled us to deliver a simple, yet very effective program that the Coaches and members enjoy, with each period lasting 3-6 weeks.
For us at Innovative Fitness Solutions, we utilize 3 different “Strength” periods and compliment them with 2 different “Body Alive” templates. Strength-PERFORM would focus on strength building (total volume, rep and set schemes, exercise selection) and introducing new exercises as well as working on fundamentals and/or challenging exercises for the individual client. This time may act as a reassessment opportunity to direct them on their needs or a way to enroll them in necessary private sessions.
Strength-BUILD focuses on muscle building, typically having members train heavier and harder than they are used to or typically comfortable with. It is designed to provide a necessary stimulus for building muscle and increasing metabolism, offsetting exercise acclimation and providing novelty to their program. It is hard work with proper progressive overload built in. So, if “PERFORM” taught them to do it, “BUILD” progressively overloads it.
Strength – BURN is where we focus on fat burning and increasing work capacity. This phase has more cardiovascular activity, focusing on calorie burn during the workout while also focusing on providing the stimulus to enable the member to train harder for longer. Often, this is where we have people get in good enough shape to get in better shape. By following a periodization scheme, you deliver enough novelty in training and can address multiple long-term needs that the client has. You keep your Coaches fresh and you are providing a space for enhanced learning.
Additionally, we deliver online and in-person sessions for food intake and goal-specific outcomes that complement the phase we are training. An example would be that we are focused on weight loss coaching during BURN sessions and/or wellness coaching during both BUILD and PERFORM. We hold specialized 4 to 6-week nutrition education or stress management programs throughout the year to allow digestion of material and allow a natural pace rather than constantly bombarding members with information overload.
Focus During Training
When it comes to teaching groups, simplicity wins. Developing clear and concise messages provides direction for the Coaches and members. Below you will find a slide that we utilize consistently as a reminder to our strength training participants. The lessons contained here help to calm the member out of a “perfectionist” type of attitude, allowing for the learning process to take place and reminds us all that progress takes time and is not linear in nature.
Beyond this, teaching the members to prepare both physically and mentally for their training sessions and how to help themselves create success is helpful. The next section is from our Membership Guidebook and contains considerations for both the member and Coach on choosing training plans and training sessions as well as describes what to expect from the training, how to prepare for each session, how to problem solve and how to ensure the member attains and maintains the results they joined for. In our guidebook, we cover topics such as:
1. Mental Preparation
- Attend your sessions mentally prepared. Come in to work hard and in your best mood possible. Be prepared to leave in an even better mood.
- Eat a snack or small meal 60 – 90 minutes prior to a training session and be sure to drink water before and during exercise. This will help to avoid energy drops and boost performance.
- Take care of your basic needs like taking a Multivitamin, ensuring adequate rest and recovery, thinking positively and reaching out for support when needed.
- Arrive 10-15 minutes early for the sessions to warm-up by using the cardiovascular equipment and to perform light flexibility exercises.
- Having an open dialogue with your Coaches and fellow members is imperative to you getting what you need to be successful. Informing your Coach if you are struggling during a workout, having a tough day, have a new pain or need modifications are all important aspects of ensuring your safety, helping to create a fantastic experience every time you are here and maximizing your time. Not communicating simply makes our job (and yours) to help more difficult and your experience gets lessened.
- Monitor your well-being during fitness sessions, communicating with the Coach if you feel faint, overly fatigued, dizzy and/or nauseous.
- Work up to your current skill level and physical ability. Be intelligent about your exertion and push yourself, but do not put yourself into a position of potential injury.
- Coaches should encourage the members to ask questions. “Are you unsure of what weight to use?” “Have a nagging “tweak” that is bothering you?” “Feeling a little run down?” Encouraging and responding to these types of questions builds value to the GPT program.
- Recovery is an imperative part of a fitness lifestyle. If you do not recover from training, you create difficulty in attaining your goals.
- Train as intensely as you are able. When you require rest or your form begins to degrade, rest. When you are recovered, begin again.
- Coaches should make as many modifications as necessary. Programming workouts for a specific stimulus, at a planned capacity, for a specified amount of time is wise. Having modifications to meet the clients’ ability is a must.
- Put form before all else. Put your time and energy into perfecting your clients form and their overall potential to increase strength while staying safe. This is a critical component of relationship building and building value to your GPT program.
- Look to improve daily. Practice equals progress. Pick a skill and make it your prerogative to get good at it. Dedicate a few minutes before and after a session to develop this skill and before you know it, you will own an additional strength.
- Do your best. Give your best effort every single day. You will feel like you can take on the world some days, and others, not so much. The days that you do not feel like exercising, it is important to show up and do what you can. That effort will always trump not showing up.
Consistency and Social Aspects
Don’t let life get in the way - On the flip side, don’t take too many rest days. We don’t want to get into the habit of making attending sessions an intermittent occurrence. One or two days on followed by five or six days off will interrupt the workout routine you’ve worked hard to establish.
Make friends. As a coach, we are present to create a positive, supportive environment to keep clients accountable and to get results. So, say “Hello!” to the newcomers and stick around to stretch and converse for a few minutes after class with someone new each day. By the end of each month that will give you at least 20 new relationships.
Be on time - From time to time, life gets in the way and lateness cannot be avoided. However, consistently arriving 15 minutes prior to the start of the session is a terrific way to mentally prepare to be at your best and physically prepare your body via properly warming up.
Always finish your workout - The only thing between you and finishing a workout is the little voice in your head telling you, you can’t. Your Coach will modify anything that needs to be, to keep you safe and progressing, but copping out and cutting things short only hurts your results.
As you read through these suggestions for preparing your clients for success, you can see how each of these points also could not only pertain to clients, but for the Coaches as well. If you do not currently have a membership manual, I implore you to create one as soon as possible.
Questions for reflection and for future planning:
- How do you create your programming?
- How do you prepare your members?
- How do you assess and measure their success?
- “One voice”. The Coaching staff must be trained to deliver the values and principles of the business. They must educate from the core beliefs of the business and they need to collectively work to deliver an exceptional experience for the members.
- Utilizing a periodization scheme allows for enough novelty to prevent boredom and work on long-term needs of the clients, educate them on multiple techniques and focus on their form while expanding their thought process as to what fitness can be for them and what it can add to their life.
- Similar, but different. Circuit training has many names and the styles are more similar than they are different. Overlaying different sets, reps, total volume and exercise order can not only deliver a differ stimulus, it also prevents boredom.
- Deliver results-driven programming, not workouts. Workouts make up a part of the program, they are NOT the program. High-intensity, heart-pounding and “boot campy” type workouts have a place, but typically fail miserably for the long-term.
- Know why you are doing what you are doing.
- Have a consistent method to welcome new members.
- Plan your programming at least one month in advance.
Part III will deliver the workouts and methods that make up a highly successful program. Thanks for reading.