CONTENT BROUGHT TO YOU BY: Power Systems
The language of fitness is changing. People don’t just work out anymore. They train. And personal trainers don’t just train anymore. They coach.
What is the difference between a coach and a trainer? In the fitness industry, those terms are often used interchangeably; however, if you ask 10 people to explain the difference, you would likely get 10 different answers. Perhaps the most obvious difference is in association: A coach is to sports as a trainer is to fitness. But among the rapidly growing trend of “the sport of fitness,” more trainers are coaching groups of everyday athletes to maximize their potential in pursuit of fitness goals.
Small- and large-group training is becoming more of the norm in health, fitness and recreational facilities. These groups start to take on the look and feel of a team in training as they motivate each other. Group training can enhance participant experience by providing consistency and an additional level of accountability. Whether you are participating in, leading or supporting a training group of any size, you will undoubtedly be enlightened and energized by some of the large group training that goes on in the industry.
Here are three tips for becoming more comfortable and effective in your group exercise programming.
1. Give your group a name, and give the members ownership.
Naming your group makes the members feel like they are part of a team. Simply referring to the group as athletes can build their confidence and motivate them to push themselves and each other. For example, Bennie Wylie Jr., who owns The Performance Lab in Abilene, Texas, refers to everyone at his facility as athletes, or more affectionately as the LabRats. This team environment thrives on the athletic coaching principles Bennie and his staff coaches apply to this group.
2. Increase retention by raising coach and participant awareness.
Using the similar programming schedules from his experience in professional and collegiate athletics, Wylie and his team start to speak the same language. For example, each week of a three-week training cycle is referred to by coaches and athletes as the learn it week (week one), know it week (week two) or own it week (week three). Developing awareness and visibility of the training cycles within your group can increase group member retention, as the athletes begin to understand that each week has a focus and purpose that drives them closer to their goals.
3. Grow your circle of influence from two people to 20 people by implementing large group training circuits.
For group training regulars and those considering joining a group, barriers to entry into group fitness classes include adequate space and equipment. As you start to grow your small group to a large group, be prepared to invest in more quantities of versatile training tools, such as kettlebells, medicine balls, mats, dumbbells and resistance tubes.
Increasing your equipment inventory from two or five of each piece of equipment to eight or 10 of each piece will ensure none of your members will ever experience the “odd person out” feeling, and everyone will have everything they need to be successful. This investment will pay for itself quickly, as your circle of influence grows like a ripple effect. Group members who attend regular sessions will see results and be eager to share those with their friends both in person and on social media.
Elisabeth Fouts is a PowerWave Master Trainer and an ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor. In addition, Elisabeth holds a bachelor’s in Exercise Science and has more than 12 years of experience in the fitness industry from personal training to regional-level fitness management. Elisabeth is also the author of numerous articles on personal training and group fitness programming and currently serves as the Education Coordinator and primary content contributor for Power Systems.
As the sport of fitness grows, so does the "#FitFam" social media community of people who gravitate toward others with common interests and goals. Whether working individually or together, this group thrives on the motivation from their peers during their workout or from reading their "#FlexFriday" posts. For more detail on how to mobilize and motivate large groups of people towards their goals, here is where you can learn more about Wylie's next education session, “Coaching vs. Training, How to Design Athletic Based Circuits for All Clients," at the Club Industry Show at the Hilton Chicago, October 4-6.