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Bridging the Gap Between Personal Training and Group Fitness


Thanks to the increased focused that facilities have put on personal training and group fitness programming, the industry continues to see growth in both of these areas. It’s easy to define and measure success on these programs individually, but a key indicator that often gets overlooked is the synergy between the two programs that has an effect on the bottom line and the member experience. It’s important to remember the common thread that holds these programs together — providing a culture and services that make the member feel as though we are working with their best interest in mind, helping them achieve their results and foster a long-term relationship with them.

While most of the outcomes of departmental focus are positive, potential downfalls occur when programs become too separate. As the programs grow a part and the gap widens, missed opportunities occur for the personal trainer, the group fitness instructor, the member and the owner or manager.

Here are practical tips for each department to bridge the gap in your facility.

Group Fitness Instructor:

  • Consider getting personal training certified. Personal training is an opportunity to learn more about the body and how it moves, improve the quality of your instruction and better understand the other department.
  • Invite personal trainers to join your live classes to give them a taste. (The goal being that if they enjoy the experience this could be a prescription that they give their clients.)

Personal Trainers:

  • Offer 1-3 free 20-30 minute sessions to group fitness instructors so that instructors can refer the experience back to their class.
  • Consider a group fitness certification and start teaching to enhance facilitation skills with larger groups. Teaching group fitness classes is a great way to advertise your personal training and small group training business.
  • Attend group fitness classes and get to know fellow participants and the instructor. This is an easy way to prospect and build clientele. It’s much easier to make informed prescriptions to clients when you’ve personally experienced the classes.

Manager or Owner:

  • Reinforce the behavior we suggested above.
  • Learn about your staff — what their goals are, where they want to go and what they want to do.
  • Provide the “why” for both teams. Paint a picture and send the vision.
  • Give personal support to both departments by attending group fitness classes and participating in personal training. Be a part of the activities you manage.
  • Incentivize employees and reward high-performing staff by sponsoring their ongoing education.
  • Promote opportunities where group fitness instructors and personal trainers can get together (trainings, staff meetings, etc.) Bring in CEC training opportunities that you know both departments could benefit from.

While group fitness and personal training are individually important offerings, it’s the combination of the two that can truly retain a member for an extended period of time. Encouraging and participating in the synergy of these programs will benefit your staff and create a culture of community that supports the ongoing success of its members.


Sean Levesque is the director of strategic programming for Fitness On Request. For more information, e-mail media@fitnessonrequest.com or call 855-520-7501.

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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