Author: Matt Helland

The future of the personal training industry is changing. Here’s what most experts believe it looks like: one-on-one training will become an educational approach to fitness, teaching people about their bodies and how to maintain healthy habits even when they’re not working with a trainer. Small group personal training, meanwhile, will be where active living clients go to truly work out. Why? Simple. small group personal training programs offer some things the personal training industry has previously been missing. It provides a better evaluation process, for example, and provides workouts that meet the goals and needs of a wide selection of clients.

Here’s what you need to know about these changing tides.

Why Small Group Personal Training has Become so Popular

Small group personal training is like a fitness-focused coffee date with friends. While it’s small enough to offer quality and intensive focus, it’s also big enough to be fun and enjoyable.

For years, small group personal training has been increasing in popularity for a few crucial reasons. Not only is small group training affordable, but it’s also a fun way for clients to interact with friends or new people, learn something new from a personal trainer, and enjoy a workout group dynamic all at once.

In fact, small group personal training is particularly appealing for active living clients. Active living for seniors caters to their unique needs and avoids some of the particular pitfalls of larger group training experiences. Small group training doesn’t have the intimidating boot camp feel, for example. This makes it more welcoming for active living clients looking for an enjoyable experience.

What’s the Difference Between Small Group Personal Training and One-on-One Personal Training?

The most significant difference between small group personal training and one-on-one training is the attentiveness and focus of the coach. In one-on-one coaching, instructors are only there to focus on a single person. Small group personal training programs allow trainers to make personalized adjustments and recommendations based on the individual’s performance.

In small group personal training, meanwhile, the instructor is there to focus on about 3-10 people. While this takes down the individual focus just a bit, it still offers a high level of personalization and an opportunity for adjustments. This is part of why small group training is such a great fit for active living clients. Because injury is an increasing risk with older clients, small group training offers the dynamism of a group exercise experience, but all of the one-on-one focus and injury prevention of individual training.

When compared to boot camp or HIIT-style classes, small group personal training offers a much higher level of specific movement focus and finesse. In a HIIT class, the instructor’s goal is to give the entire class a “hard” workout, not to correct individual movements for active living clients.

5 Benefits of Small Group Training

Whether the exercise is twenty minutes or an hour, small group training is becoming incredibly popular at gyms and fitness centers around the country. Here are five good reasons for that shift:

1. Motivation

Small groups typically include groups of 5-10 people. This limited group keeps these classes accessible but ensures the motivation level remains high.

This is critical for people who find it difficult to get motivated to work out and will help ensure people generate the results they want from their workouts. Even if you’re not naturally a competitive person, working out with others is an excellent way to push harder and come out of your fitness shell.

2. Less Injury Risk

By definition, small group training is meant to cater to people with varying fitness levels. The benefit of this is that it decreases injury risk for people and helps everyone move forward at the same time. Additionally, since small group sessions include short training times, it’s easier for busy people to fit these sessions into their schedules.

Ideal for people who can manage about 30 minutes of a workout session, small-group and HIIT sessions are a great way to get incredible results, avoid injury, and stick to a schedule all at once.

3. Personalized Time With a Trainer

Even people who don’t partake in one-on-one training will benefit from the individual time associated with small group training.

By design, small group training focuses on providing each attendee with plenty of time to interact with and learn from the trainer. Whether the participant is learning to use a new piece of equipment or navigating around an old injury, this personalized time with a trainer is invaluable.

4. Lifestyle Maintenance

For active living clients, small group training allows them to continue the lifestyle they are looking for, like to play more golf, tennis, or play with kids and grandkids. This is a significant benefit for many such clients.

While HIIT or personal training can be too intense for many active living clients, small group training is an excellent way to support real lifestyle goals while also staying in great shape.

5. Building and Reaching Attainable Goals

A critical aspect of motivation for active living clients is goal-setting. These clients may not have the same goals as younger clients or endurance athletes, for example, but they know what they want, and they need a personal training program that will help them reach those goals.

Small group personal training does this. Because small group training offers these clients a chance to gauge their actual fitness level and work on ways to enhance their fitness while working in a fun and motivating group.  In this way it is a motivating workout environment in which to set goals and crush them. With the help of a skilled trainer, small group classes can set comprehensive, team goals and achieve them quickly and easily.

How Small Group Personal Training Works to Make Studios Better

As a general rule, small group training establishments have less than ten people per group, and the instructor does not actively work with active living clients. This is where these programs split with traditional group fitness classes.

In recent years, gyms have seen an increase in large boot camp-style fitness classes, where instructors teach 30-30 people at any given time. While these classes are popular, they typically draw instructors who have less refined skills where movement, teaching, and problem-solving are concerned. In a large class like this, there’s no reason to correct movement quality.

That all changes in a small group personal training setting where every person matters. Instructors in these groups must pay careful attention to the movements of each participant, and ensure that the movements taking place are correct and that they’re not placing active living clients at risk of injury.

In other words, small group classes are, in many ways, higher-quality than boot camp-style workouts.

What’s the Time Frame on Small Group Programs?

Small group personal training programs run for different lengths, depending on their goals and objectives. As a general rule, most small group personal training programs last between four and six weeks, although some are larger or shorter. This is ideal for active living clients, as it provides enough time to see results, but is not long enough to impede other responsibilities or commitments.

In some cases, small group personal training programs may run even longer. This is typically the case if the program is preparing clients for a specific event, or has a particular fitness goal in mind.

What Should Active Living Clients Look for in Small Group Personal Training Programs?

By 2030, Baby Boomers ages 65 and older will make up 21% of the U.S. population. Right Now, that number hovers around 15%. Either way, it’s clear the number of older adults in the country is growing, and that many of them are searching for ways to remain active and fit. If your gym wants to cater to these active living clients, you’ve got to consider their unique needs and requirements. These include the following:

  1. Health History. Before you begin a small group training class focused on active living clients, you’ve got to take full health histories. These health histories should scan for old injuries or any pre-existing conditions that may keep them from participating fully in your course. 
  2. Perceived Limits. Some active living clients have boundaries that they want to stay within. With this in mind, you’ve got to understand what’s reasonable and unreasonable to expect from these clients and develop a plan for staying within the lines. While you can help them expect more from themselves, you can’t treat them like 25-year olds. 
  3. Modifications. If there are old injuries with your clients, it’s your job to help them find modifications to work around these things. Adjustments are simple ways to make specific movements more comfortable or accessible for some seniors. 
  4. Cardio and Strength Training. Cardio and muscle mass development are both critical considerations for people who enter your personal training classes. Sine muscle mass and balance both decrease with age, active living clients, will benefit massively from a focus on both these things. 

How to Market Small Group Personal Training

Once you’ve established a small group personal training program, your next responsibility is to market it. How you sell the program makes all the difference where efficacy is concerned. If you’re targeting an active living clientele group, this is even more important. If you want to course to succeed, you’ve got to invest the time required into creating a compelling description, title, and price structure.

If you don’t already have a system for doing these things, something like Alloy can help. Alloy is committed to comprehensive approaches, which is why we equip each of our training partners with the following:

Franchise Start-up Guidance, Initial Training, Ongoing Support, And Refresher Training

We will never stop giving you the tools you need to thrive within your Alloy personal training franchise – from guidance on setting up your franchise location to business management training before you open your doors, to on-site visits and remote support when you need it.

Equipment, Technology And Operational Tools And Operations Manual

You’ll have access to pre-approved suppliers and vendors, and you’ll leverage useful technologies such as accounting software platforms, a unique CRM system including KPI measurement tools and other reporting functions via our exclusive Alloy dashboard. PLUS, you’ll have access to our confidential and detailed operations manual that will help you run your business from day one.

Sales And Marketing Programs And Materials

You’ll have access to a range of materials and tools that will assist in the promotion of your local personal training fitness business, including membership retention initiatives, templates for ads, website presence, and more.

Of course, nobody will know how groundbreaking your new small group training program is unless they sign up. With the help of Alloy, you can create and market a compelling small group training program that helps your gym stand out from the crowd.

Building Your Small Group Personal Training Program

Now that you know small group personal training is such an excellent fit for active living clients, it’s time to establish a program at your gym. Whether you have a plan already in operation that you want to improve, or you’re building one from scratch, this is a critical consideration for any gym that wants to cater to the changing needs of its clientele and keep growing, well into the future.

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