I’m proud of the way we train our groups.
I know that we do a great job of getting health history, workout history, goals, FMS, designing a program, and implementing workouts that have amazing exercise selection and beautiful form. The screening and training process is spot on.
There is a part of our large group training that keeps me up at night. I don’t think there is a day that goes by that I don’t think about ways to easily improve the thing that certain people need the most from a personal trainer, accountability.
Obviously, the biggest issue with group fitness training is that with more people working with a fitness pro, each client gets less personal attention during the training session. With private personal training, I can use time during the training session to ask my client questions, educate him or her, talk about nutrition, etc. With a group of more than 3 or 4 it gets harder, and even harder with groups of 20.
I know that working with a fitness pro should be more than just great workouts. I know people need things like:
- Progress Tracking
- Regular Goal Setting
I know that since it’s impossible to easily do this when your client load gets high you need to have great systems to make sure you can keep up with all of your clients needs. Honestly, we have some pretty great systems at Complete Fitness Results. Currently, and in the past, we have done things like:
Members Only Websites – We have had sites that have off day workouts, educational materials, recipes and more. We got away from it when we started focusing more on facebook groups, but this is something I want to revisit.
Educational Workshops – We still do these, but not as much as we should. This is a great way to educate many clients at once and have a chance to talk shop before and after.
Check in Calls – We suck at this, period. It’s tough with 300 clients, but that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be done. You just more voicemails than anything, and sometimes calling people can be very inconvenient for them.
Off Day Workouts – You have to make sure people are taken care of with a plan when they aren’t in you gym.
Client Events – BBQ’s, Trivia Night, Pumpkin Workouts, Tasting Events, etc. This is a great way to spend some time with your clients without being in “coach mode”.
Blog Posts and Handouts – I feel this is a necessity to make sure you are educating your clients. Write blogs and have a newsletter, and print those out and hand the out after workouts.
Goal Board – This idea didn’t really work for us. We made a big board with people names and told them daily to write their goal on it before or after class. About 10% of our clients actually did it. They don’t have goals. This is the problem!
Challenge of the Week – This is something we would ask our clients to do outside of the gym in order to learn or experience something new that could possibly help them grow.
Education Lessons in Class – You’re not just a coach you are a teacher. Use the time when teaching a class to do more than just yell “good job!”, and tell some stories that have a point.
Our Current Solution
Although we still do quite a few of the things I mentioned above, I know we need to do more. Here are some thing we are recently added in the last few months.
Results + Program – What really pisses me off is racking my brain trying do all of this extra stuff for people that don’t even give a shit. That is why I’m going to start charging people a small fee of $50 per month to join our Results+ program. If you are in the program we know that you want more attention, if you aren’t, it means that you at the gym for great workouts only. I don’t know if this will be a profit center, but it do know that it will allow us to do a better job with the people that need it, and at least be able to identify who want a check in call or who will be annoyed by it. This program includes:
- One Monthly Small Group Nutrition and Accountability Session
- One Monthly Check in Call or Email
- Unlimited Email Support with a Wellness Coach
- Access to our Online Results+ Support Group
- Weekly Nutrition Lesson via Email
- A Little Extra Attention from our Training Team
This program starts in a few weeks. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Leader Board – This is for our competitive people or people that don’t have aesthetic goals. Personally, I’ve wanted to do this for years, and I’m so glad that we finally have one!
Daily Recall – Just having our clients fill out a recall sheet has been huge. We are now starting to get in the habit of having our semi private clients fill out a recall sheet before each workout. That way we at least have a glimpse of what they are eating, how much water they are drinking, and how much sleep they are getting. It also makes them stop and think, which sometimes can be the only time they actually think about what they have been doing.
Progress Tracking – A lot of the same things that are on our leader board we track in our client’s files. We pick 3-5 indicators to use to track clients to make sure we know they are progressing. We make sure we do progress checking at least monthly. This includes body comp and FMS, all the way to performance tests like vertical jump and 20 yard dash.
I know this is decent system, but I still feel that people will fall through the cracks. I know people will always fall through the cracks at times, but those are the clients that keep me up at night. Not the assholes that complain about everything, but the people that need more help than we have time to give. I know I could help, but there is just too many people.
That’s why I am genuinely asking for your help. For my clients and the clients of everyone reading this post. Smart Group Training is more than Jared and I telling people that we are smart and cool. It’s about finding what works in group training better than what we were doing before and sharing it with everyone possible in order to make the group fitness training industry better. To help make people better. To help make the world just a little bit better.
So please share! What are you doing to help bridge the gap between private personal training and group personal training in the world of goal setting, progress tracking and accountability. Lets do this together! What works for you? Please share below.
My personal favorite idea will get a free SGT product of your choice, AND the feeling of helping make the industry better. And that will help me sleep at night.
– Steve Long CPT, FMS, TPI