Group Fitness for Personal Trainers

For the longest time, personal trainers have always looked down on group fitness (GF) instructors. Maybe because the certification process (if they even bothered to get certified) was much less rigorous than that of personal training certifications. Or, maybe, the trainers didn’t believe that the “aerobics” classes were as demanding, or as technique driven, or as… personal and therefore less effective. I’m writing this as someone who has been teaching GF as long as I’ve been a personal trainer (38 years) with the hopes that I might change your mind about group fitness and even convince you of becoming a GF instructor.

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Me teaching MOSSA‘s Group Power.

Let’s start with the benefits of GF.

 

  1. Variety – GF classes come in all shapes and sizes. Participants can choose the type that they like the most, which will also keep them coming the longest.
  2. Social – One of the greatest draws to GF is that participants can meet new people and make new friends.
  3. Motivation – Participants will work harder when those around them are working hard.
  4. Accountability – Not only will the instructor keep you accountable for showing up to class and working appropriately hard, so will the other participants.
  5. Misery loves company – Well, not misery exactly, but when working hard, sweating, maybe a little grunting (or a lot), it always seems a little better when there are others, working just as hard, right there beside you.
  6. Correct form demonstration and coaching – GF classes have instructors there to show you how to perform movements, correct your form, and offer regressions and progressions.
  7. More affordable than personal training – This is one reason that some people will choose GF over PT (It’s one of the reasons that small group training draws people too).
  8. Great results – Beyond all of the previously listed benefits, GF can also deliver the results the participants are looking for. This is another reason they will keep coming back.

So, you can see from this partial list of participant benefits that group fitness is an important piece of the health and fitness solution. What about the benefits to a personal trainer who choses to teach GF?

  1. Benefiting others – You get to help impact the health, fitness, and lives of more people when you teach GF.
  2. Better verbal cueing – You learn multiple ways of verbally cueing the same exercise (to accommodate a diverse group ) as well as becoming more verbally descriptive. This can carry over as a benefit to your personal training.
  3. Better public speaking skills – Public speaking is a great way to build your business and GF is a great way to start to hone those skills.
  4. Gain personal training clients from the class – Many times you may notice participants that need extra help and you can suggest adding personal training to their program or, they may decide they need extra help and come to you for personal training on their own.
  5. Referrals – If your people love you, they will refer you. They will refer others to your class and to you for personal training (as long as they know you’re a personal trainer… make sure they know you’re a personal trainer!).

I know that many trainers are adding small group training as one of their services. Small group training is actually more like GF than one on one training and you’ll need those GF skills to succeed with small groups. Also, personal trainers don’t typically hesitate when it comes to teaching a boot camp. Guess what? That’s group fitness!

The point is, group fitness is good for participants, good for personal trainers, and it’s time to jump on the proverbial band wagon and start teaching classes.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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Hiring Star Power

I just read an article on the Club Industry site, Should Your Fitness Studio Be Dependent on Personalities or Programs?, and thought that it is an issue worth discussing. Who should we be seeking out as new employees? Should it be a local “star” or an unknown?Star trainer

Let’s check out some pros and cons of hiring a star.

Pros:

  1. They are a known entity. They have a proven track record of success.
  2. They may bring in their own clients from another facility (which means more revenue for your facility).
  3. Their fans (clients/members) will tell others how good they are and help build their classes or programs (more revenue).
  4.  They may bring a special talent or skill that you do not yet have at your facility (potentially more revenue).

Cons:

  1. I’ve seen trainer and instructor rock stars from one facility completely flop in another setting. Their star power may not transfer.
  2. If they brought their client’s with them to your facility, what’s to say they won’t turn around and take them out of your facility along some of your regulars?
  3. They may expect higher pay than others which, if you pay it, can create bad team feelings if others were to ever find out.
  4. They may feel that they are above the standard policies and procedures of your facility. Noncompliance is a recipe for team disaster.

SuperStar_2013_logoI believe that the answer is not a simple yes or no. Here are my thoughts/recommendations on hiring a “star”:

  • Don’t hire anyone that isn’t excited about being part of your mission. Everyone from the cleaning people to the superstar trainers need to have the passion to work as part of a team that can create or provide something special.
  • Treat all of your employees like superstars. Pay everyone well and consistent for the position that they hold (everyone that has the same position receives the same benefits and pay). Give everyone the respect and kindness that we all deserve.
  • All employees are held to the same rules. Inconsistencies in how rules are enforced will create questions and confusion. Not enforcing rules is condoning the breaking of rules.

The question of whether or not to hire a superstar employee should be less about the star power that they may bring (although it can certainly an added bonus), and more about if they are a star fit into your company.