Browsing Tag

Group Training

Best Kettlebells for Group Fitness Training

I’ve often said my most prized material possessions are the computer I’m typing on right now and my collection of kettlebells. I love kettlebells. I have kettlebells in my gym, basement, sunroom, and living room. At one time during my training for the RKC, I actually put a face on kettlebell and carried everywhere I went. It’s name was Ron. I have 3 kettlebell certifications just because I liked spending my weekend around people that loved them as much as me. I met my fiancée because of our shared obsession with kettlebells. I considered getting a tattoo of a kettlebell on my leg. I own over 100 kettlebells in various different sizes from various brands.


Meet Ron, the Face of Kettlebells


My point is that I’m qualified to talk about kettlebells, lol.

Today I want to talk about the best kettlebells I’ve seen for the money and why they are extra neat for group training. These bells are by for the best I’ve laid my hands on and are half the price of the other great brand.

Check these out….

That's a beautiful pair!
That’s a beautiful pair!


These new Perform Better Kettlebells are awesome, and here is why:

Texture: Some bells are rough so they tear up your hands, and if they are smooth they end up chipping. These bells are smooth and don’t chip so will last forever.

Size: They are the perfect size for fitness and strength training. The handle is a great fit for anyone yet still a great grip challenge.

No more rubber piece: I didn’t like that piece of rubber that was on the old PB bells. I don’t like the screw in the bottom that would sometimes come lose. We have rubber flooring so this was more of a hassle than a benefit.

Color Coded: This is one of the best parts!! I just bought a bunch of different color electrical tape to wrap around the handles of my kettlebells so clients could more easily identify the in hurry in group training, but this looks so much better and is more permanent and professional. As you can see each logo is a different color that represents the weight of the bell. As you know I’m really into color-coding systems. (Think bracelets and posters)

Sexy: These bells just look and feel awesome. Or maybe I’m just a little weird?

They may not have skull faces, cut outs, or any other fancy pants add ons, but in my opinion I like a clean, functional, intelligent, classic kettlebell and the Perform Better Kettlebells are the definition of all of that.

Check them out here:

Perform Better First Place Kettlebells


– Steve Long


Progress Tracking and Goal Setting in Group Fitness Training

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
  • Education
  • Accountability
  • Coaching

CFR Progress Tracker Sheet

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!

CFR Leader Board

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

Common Mistakes Trainers Make in Group Training Classes

Group training classes are all the rage right now, and if you want to know how to run them safely and effectively, you have come to the right place…the Smart Group Training website!

Steve and Jared are great friends of mine and they asked me to put together a video discussing common mistakes that trainers make when running group training classes.
Check out the video below:

Just to recap, these are the biggest mistakes most trainers make with their group classes:

1. They start off with exercises that are too intense.
When a client comes to you just to look good and feel good, it doesn’t take much to help them reach their goals. They don’t need a “Navy-Seal-Beatdown-Bootcamp,” and even if they did, none of them move well enough to be able to do advanced exercises anyway.

Group Training
Group Training

2. They don’t force clients to master the basics.
Similar to the mistake above, they don’t require that their clients master the basic squat, hinge, push, pull, and lunge patterns before progressing them on to more advanced variations of those exercises.

3. They don’t build a foundation.
Again, I feel like I am repeating myself, but it’s such a big problem! Your clients need a general foundation of movement and conditioning before they can be moved onto something more advanced or intense. A beginner (and everyone is a beginner until they prove otherwise), should never be thrown into a program where they are forced to run or row for miles at a time, or do dozens of pull-ups or push-ups with no foundation of movement or conditioning.

4. They do random exercises with no rhyme or reason to the program.
Many group programs focus on making people tired instead of making them better. There is a reason that programs designed to improve posture and performance use specific exercises performed for specific volumes, with specific loading parameters…because it matters! Teach your clients how to master the movement patterns listen above, and when they master those patterns, load them, and get them strong in those patterns.

5. They don’t have proper progressions and regressions outlined ahead of time.
You will always have clients who need an easier or a more difficult variation of an exercise and they will need it modified on the fly. Have your progressions laid out ahead of time so you’re not scrambling. Or you can use ours! (Our = myself, Mike Robertson, and Molly Galbraith). In our product, Bootcamp In a Box, we lay out the exact progressions we use with our clients, and then give you further instructions on how to progress or regress the exercise using load, volume, density, time under tension, and much more.

If you’re a Coach or a Trainer and you run group classes, consider checking out Bootcamp In a Box, where you can not only get 6 months of done-for-you programming, but you literally get an entire DVD of 80+ exercises with all of our progressions and regressions, exactly how we cue and correct those exercises, and the common mistakes we see with clients when those exercises are performed (so you know what to look for!). You basically get inside our heads and see exactly how we program for our clients.

Not only that, but you get tips from Robb Wolf, author or The Paleo Solution and owner of NorCal Strength and Conditioning, discussing how he gets his clients to implement nutrition and lifestyle changes for optimal results.

We believe that we and the guys at Smart Group Training are “ahead of the curve” when it comes to training groups of clients. So don’t be left in the dust! Get your clients amazing results, fast! And save yourself HOURS worth of precious time that you would normally spend programming. Check it out TODAY!