Can the Personal Training Model Work in Group Exercise?


As one of the number one revenue streams for most facilities and fitness professionals, personal training has provided unprecedented results to many. But can the personal training program model work in the group exercise department? If you know what makes personal training so successful, then yes, it can work. Here is how to take personal training and bring it into the group exercise room to generate amazing results and huge profits:

1. Create a baseline

One of the most effective tools we can extract from personal training is the implementation of a baseline to measure results or conduct assessments. When you are creating revenue-based, group exercise programs, including assessments will do several things. First, they will add value to your program, which will help justify the monetary value placed on the program. Second, assessments will provide a baseline in which your customer can measure their results. Nothing is worse than paying for a program or trainer and not being certain if there has been a change. When assessments are implemented, data is received, and you can show proof to your customer the change which has occurred. This will ensure they sign up again. And lastly, assessments will allow the trainer to understand the starting point of each customer enrolled in the program so they can meet them on their level.

2. Continue to educate

The goal of any trainer should be to move their clients to the next level of their fitness and wellness. Placing them on a treadmill and teaching them how to squat is definitely part of the fitness goals, however educating the client is the key to their success and yours. When leading a large, fee-based class in the group exercise department, tell the group why the squat is important. Show them where their quadriceps are and how they move. And, explain to the group how this exercise will benefit them personally. When the customer feels you are sharing knowledge, they begin to trust you. When they trust you, they will come back and bring a friend.

3. Connect with clients

Many personal trainers complain their clients use them as therapists or counselors. This is a natural occurrence due to the strong connection between trainer and client. When working one-on-one with someone when they are in pain, pushing themselves to their limit or just feeling weak, they tend to share their innermost thoughts, concerns and beliefs with the trainer. This is the type of connection that needs to be emulated in large, fee-based programming. In order to connect with 20 people, take some extra time with them by arriving before the session and chat with clients. This will give you a chance to converse with one or two people at a time and build connections. Another method to connect is by spending time with the client outside of the program. Send an email or text message to check in with them. Ask open-ended questions to help understand why your clients are in your program, such as, “Why is wellness important to you?” or “What is your motivator to make change?” Understanding their motivation better will help you connect with them.

4. Help them make a commitment

One of the most powerful components which make personal training successful is the adherence to the trainer and program. When a client pays a large monthly amount for a service, chances are they are going to use the service. While we know money is a powerful motivator to adhere to a program, there are additional strategies you can implement to achieve commitment. First, create a team camaraderie that demands commitment. When the whole team calls or emails a team member for not showing up for the workout, there will be great adherence to the program. Second, use social media to create a group for your members. This online camaraderie will allow them to build stronger bonds and for you to motivate and encourage them. Lastly, reach out to each team member personally and check in. This is the personal part of personal training that is easy to emulate in a large group training environment.


About the author:

Lori Patterson, owner and CEO of VicteliB LLC, is the creator of successful fee-based programs that include Boot Camp Challenge and Kids Kamp Challenge. She served in the U.S. Army and has been in the fitness industry for 27 years. You can reach her at [email protected], at 636-734-8594 or through the website at

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