Not Another Group Class?
Stand out from the competition with group sessions that feel personal and get real results!
Group exercise is a great way to reach more clients and make a broader impact in your community. But with most gyms offering an endless parade of overpacked classes, how do you stand out so your sessions don’t get lost in the crowd?
Classes are an accessible way for members to start working out, but risk losing the customized adjustments that make personal training so effective. With a proper game plan for your sessions, you can bring your signature coaching style into a group setting, creating a next-level experience. Follow these tips to streamline your group training style so your clients get the most out of their workout.
1. Introduce yourself to new attendees and keep an eye out for them.
New members will probably need some extra individual attention, while returning clients probably have the hang of following along. Introduce yourself and let newcomers know you’ll be coming around the room and making adjustments, so they’re prepared and comfortable with it.
Keep new members together at circuit stations so you can help them at the same time, instead of bouncing all over the room. The last thing you want is for other clients to need to play trainer because you couldn’t help someone out.
2. Make sure your members know got their back.
A confident attitude and communication let your clients know they can trust you. If they feel like they’re in good hands, they’ll keep coming back for more. Don’t wait for clients to approach you- put yourself out there. Encourage them to ask questions and request help.
Check in with new gym members before or after sessions. Make sure they know their way around the facility and what to expect from class. Supporting clients in feeling at home at the gym is one of the best ways to encourage them to stick to a new program.
3. Prepare your program and modifications in advance.
Plan your sessions in advance and take the time to review them before class. You don’t want to get stuck stumped for the next exercise or end up with an imbalanced workout.
A group format means you’ll have people of all ages, strength levels, and fitness backgrounds. You’ll always have members who need modifications. Make sure you have those programmed in advance and any necessary props already set out so you don’t lose the flow of the class. Be prepared to demonstrate all movements, and to help attendees figure out how to set up any equipment.
If you have some more advanced members, you can also add some progressions to add a challenge. Keep an eye out for anyone attempting a variation beyond their skill level and help them adjust to the appropriate version.
4. Don’t trap yourself front and center.
Move around the room! You probably aren’t observing the room as well as you think you are from the front. I’ve had members tell me they’ll slack off when they think the trainer isn’t watching. Cover all your bases and keep your group motivated.
Being more involved with the entire room creates a stronger sense of connection with you as a leader. It shows that you’re involved and creates rapport when you can’t talk to each client individually. Plus, demonstrating exercises from different spots helps everyone get a closer look.
5. Program efficiently.
A group is way more hectic than a one-on-one session. You’ll have a whole room of people to keep track of- so keep it simple! Make sure you don’t intimidate newcomers away because the moves are too complicated.
Be careful with jumps or moves that get up and down off the floor- always offer low-impact variations. This keeps the workout safe and accessible for beginners and older members. You also want to watch out for moves that require extra mobility or balance. Focus on foundational basics and move up from there. Take note if any exercises tend to give a lot of members trouble- you may need to swap those out for something more accessible or take extra time to demo in the future.
These tips might seem simple, but many group exercise instructors aren’t using their full powers of observation or bringing a critical mind to programming in the same way a personal trainer does. Gym members know when they’re getting a quality experience, and that keeps them inspired to show up week after week. Treat your group sessions with the same care as your one-on-one clients, and you’ll make a powerful impact for even more people. I’ll be exploring the specifics of how to coach groups more in depth in future articles, so keep an eye out for part two!
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