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Personal Training The Pulse

The Overall Benefits of Group Training


webWith the growing popularity of group training inside fitness facilities throughout the U.S. and worldwide, I was interested to speak with an expert in group fitness, personal training and an owner of a fitness studio devoted to personal training and group training. Mike Jett, MS, CSCS, co-owner of Pure Fitness Training and a professor at The University of Louisville in Louisville, Ky. shared his professional insights on the growing trend and why group training is great for your clients, and overall business.

CS: Why do you believe group training has become more mainstream?

MJ: I think there are a few reasons why group training has become more mainstream. First, it’s affordable. All the deal-of-the-day sites have made it so that a business must offer value, and group training is a lower price point that more people can afford, compared to one-on-one training. Second, it’s becoming more accepted by trainers. It used to be that a trainer felt that in order to keep a client safe, the trainer had to keep an eye on the client non-stop. But, as Alwyn Cosgrove is fond of saying — if martial arts, swimming lessons and firearm training can occur in groups, why not fitness! Finally, I would say that it is more fun. People like to do things in groups, and they are more likely to have fun and keep coming back if the training is made more enjoyable by having a bunch of buddies around.

CS: Why has group training become a successful business model over one-on-one personal training? Or, do you believe it’s just another piece, but a business must have both to thrive?

MJ: Small group training has become very popular, and appears to be sustainable, for the reasons I listed above, but I do think that there is still room for one-on-one training. Multiple profit centers are an absolute must for a thriving business, so it would be foolish, in my opinion, to eliminate one-on-one training completely. It might be saved for special situations, for instance, working with an individual post-rehab, or with someone with a very specific goal.

CS: As a trainer, why do you enjoy group training?

MJ: I enjoy group training mainly because it eliminates the downtime. With one-on-one training, a trainer can spend a lot of time small talking. Now, this can be okay, but conversation is not the reason why I train people. Training a group, be it large or small, allows the coach/trainer to spend more time correcting, coaching and managing, versus discussing the weather and last night’s television highlights. It is a more high-energy atmosphere, which I like, and the clients seem to like it as well, and we all do a better job. Large group training provides a unique experience for me, one in which I feel like I am hosting a party — a fitness party — and I have a lot of fun doing it!

CS: How do you incorporate the one-on-one feel into group training?

MJ: Personalizing group training can be difficult, but there are some easy tricks one can employ to overcome this. First and foremost, learn the names of each client and call him/her by name as much as possible. This may seem obvious, but it goes a long way towards forging a good relationship with clients. Secondly, the trainer must move quickly and provide instruction to each person. It is rare to find a client who does everything perfect, so there is always a little correction that can be made — just a tweak here or there to make sure each client is getting the attention they need. Finally, I like to joke with clients, provide encouragement, maybe about how good their triceps look while doing push ups. In a smaller group setting, maybe ask about a recent vacation. The bottom line, everyone gets spoken to multiple times during the session!


By Tyler Montgomery

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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