Small Group, Big Engagement

small group

If you’re looking to increase member engagement and retain clients over the long term, then you owe it to yourself to look into small group training. Although this style of training is often thought of as similar to a traditional boot camp or group fitness class, there are many differences that set small group training apart and make it a unique driver of member engagement.

Small-group training programs last for a set length of time, and typically have a theme, such as weight loss, learning how to use a piece of training equipment, or training for an event. 

When a person goes as far as paying for a specific program that will last for a number of weeks, they are making a commitment to fitness for at least the duration of the program. Plus, when training in a small group of five to 10, other members of the team can provide a huge amount of motivation, either through friendly competition or by simply sharing in the experience of adopting a healthier lifestyle. Group members may find additional ways to connect, such as a discussion forum, Facebook page or group texts, which can be helpful for sharing their challenges, triumphs and keeping up their motivation.

For participant adherence, as well as your financial peace of mind, it’s recommended to limit the program to four to 12 weeks, but it really depends on your theme. Twelve weeks of learning how to use a new piece of equipment might become monotonous, while a four-week weight-loss program may not be long enough to produce significant change.

To meet the needs of participants looking for short- and long-term programs, consider offering a specific program for six to eight weeks, taking a one- to two-week break and then beginning a new program with a similar theme (or a completely different theme if your clientele responds favorably).

Small-group training programs can grow your business. 

Small-group training programs are a platform that can include Facebook groups, team T-shirts, educational sessions and group forums that promote discussion and sharing of information that can also market your club for free. The bonds that often form from these training programs can build loyalty and keep members coming to your club for a long time.

Are you convinced? There’s never been a better time to start developing your own small-group training program at your facility. The goal is to find ways to help members achieve their goals and grow your bottom line. Adding in small-group training programs is a way to do both.

Jacque Crockford, M.S., C.S.C.S., is an ACE certified personal trainer, ACE exercise physiologist and education specialist. For more information, visit acefitness.org.

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