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.


#9 Successful Personal Trainers Maximize Their Time

One of the limitations of having a pay-per-service career is that there are only so many hours in a day to help people, and through that, make a living. Successful Trainers know that the one person/hour training is old school. While it may still be effective and rewarding, it isn’t always the most efficient use of our time.

Small Group Training (SGT) and Boot Camps have become more popular. in part because of the recession and their decreased cost per participant, but also because Trainers realized that by training more than one person at a time, they could increase their ability to reach more people and increase their revenue/hour.
Small Group Training may be equipment specific (i.e. a TRX or BOSU SGT) or it may be goal specific programs such as a ski conditioning, weight loss, or low back health SGTs. Personally, I believe that the more program specific your SGT (know your niche), the more specific/targeted your marketing can be. The groups typically range from 2 to 10 participants (at some point you have to differentiate what number is SGT and what is Group Exercise).

Group Exercise is an extension of SGT, allowing for more participants and, as long as it’s a pay-for service, greater income for the Trainer.

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Boot Camps have become all the rage with Personal Trainers and there are now many Boot Camp success “systems” being marketed. Boot Camps are, just for the record, Group Exercise classes with a particular style. Typically they require little equipment, can, and often are, done outside, offer a lot of variety, and have a participant expectation of “This is going to kick my #@*.” When people expect to work hard and do work hard, they see greater results. This helps feed the success seen with Boot Camps.

A word of caution, what truly separates the top Trainers from the rest is that, with more people in the mix, there is a much greater responsibility on the Trainer. You have to work harder to see and correct everyone in a group than you would in a one-on-one scenario.

Another way successful Personal Trainers maximize their time is by creating passive sources of income such as writing books, producing dvds, webinars, podcasts, etc. These sources, once produced, can keep revenue coming in with little to no additional work.

Successful Personal Trainers maximize their time by utilizing Small Group Training, Group Exercise, Boot Camps and through passive sources of income. Which ones are you currently using and which would you like to do? Let us know in the comments below.

Check out the full series.

Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #1
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #2
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #3
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #4
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #5
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #6
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #7
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #8
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #9
Top 10 Traits of Successful Personal Trainers #10

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