Functional Training Zones

Get Better Results and Be More Profitable with Small Group Training

By Tony Chemer, Lead Trainer/Sales Project Manager
Alloy Personal Training Solutions (

Tony ChemerIf you're a trainer, you've been there. We got into this business to help people reach their fitness goals, yet we ended up holding a clipboard, counting reps, while listening to every detail of Mrs. Johnson's vacation with her grand-children or the latest break-up between our client Suzy and her loser boyfriend. How did this happen? How did we go from "changers of lives" to psychiatrist and bartender?

Now, don't get me wrong! When I began, I built by business on private sessions and developed great, lasting friendships with my long-term private clients. But you can only go so far with this. There are only so many people willing and able to pay for private training. And, let's be honest. I know that we have some athletes and some really motivated people who get good results from private training, but how many? For the vast majority, private training is a paid date. Yes, they want to get a little workout in and  they're better for it, but they also want to share their lives with you for the next hour and that may not be what you signed up for. What's the solution? Small Group Personal Training (SGPT).

What if I told you it was possible to get your clients better results AND produce higher revenue by adding SGPT to your training offerings? Experience shows that clients who participate in SGPT are the most successful clients in the gym. On top of that, fitness business owners and trainers can make more money because they have more clients and are generating more revenue per hour. Pretty exciting, huh? So, what do you need to do to make this work?

Let's look at a few reasons why SGPT works so well. First, through sharing a trainer, we are offering a different pricing layer, which more clients can afford. Second, clients work harder in small groups. If one of my trainers took me through a private workout, I would work hard because I am a motivated person. But, if that same trainer took four of us through together, we'd work even harder. This is not rocket science, just simple human nature! Groups have more fun and motivate one another. Not only that, but if I skipped the next workout, the others in the group would be on my case, as well as my coach. The motivation, camaraderie and accountability are unmatched in SGPT.

We also know that functional training and compound movements are superior for getting our clients great results. SGPT keeps you in the functional training toolbox. You should be there anyway, but SGPT will force you to grab a bunch of kettlebells, some Superbands, a TRX and a sandbag and go beat up your group in the corner because you don't' have enough machines to accommodate four people at the same time, even if you wanted to! The members have a blast together. This is what keeps clients coming back to train and why our members who are involved in SGPT get the best results, hands down!

We know why, so let's look at some of the best practices to make this work. Consistent programming is key to growing SGPT in your business. We use template workouts so all clients can be assured that their training incorporates everything they need to get great results, including periodization and all the necessary movement patterns. You may have some diva in your gym who doesn't want to use a template because she has some super secret lunge that no one else in the world knows about. This is a good time to get rid of her. You want team players who care about coaching their clients to get great result.

Templates also help trainers share clients. The clients belong to the gym and can work with any coach on the schedule. They know that no matter who their coach is, the workouts will be consistent. This is better for the gym because you don't lose clients when a trainer leaves and it is better for the client because they can schedule workouts when it is convenient for them and not have to work around the trainer's availability. A coach can actually take a vacation and not worry that the clients aren't being serviced while they're away. And clients don't have to miss a workout just because their trainer is out for the day or two.

Most importantly, you need to have a good assessment process to level your SGPT clients. We have regressions and progressions built into our templates so we can train clients of different levels together in the same group. We can train a Navy SEAL and a grandma at the same time, but the two workouts will look entirely different because they are at different levels. The assessment process will give the trainer the information they need to apply the proper exercise level to each client in the group.   

We have installed SGPT systems in over 125 facilities worldwide in the last three years so we know these programs work to give our clients and our business the best possible results.

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(July 2014)