Fitness operators have experienced a sudden surge and change in the industry that is creating a rapid change in how fitness consumers interact with their group instructors and personal trainers. The past five years have been exciting and seen many changes and brand new programmes/exercise formats. But there has been one that has been consistently growing in popularity, and that is group-based workouts or group-based classes. These range from Zumba right through to CrossFit and indoor cycling and have seen a mass increase in individuals signing up and attending every class due to their main formats being fun, challenging, exciting and incredibly motivating.

In a previous article, we have already explored the many aspects and benefits of small group training, and it is abundantly clear that this type of training is here to stay and is currently having a mass impact on how fitness services as a whole are being delivered to participants.

Not only is it clear that group sessions have had a mass impact on the industry but it now to a point where health clubs and gyms are changing their business plans to incorporate and feature small group training solutions. But, this has led to an all-important question being asked by everyone in the industry: Is small group training going to replace the more traditional style of one-to-one personal training?

In one word ‘YES’.

To explain further; one-to-one training will carry on being on offer from all providers for customers whose preference is to train on their own with a fitness operator and are able to afford the fees. But small group training will undoubtedly become the primary method of training that participants will use on a regular base. Four reasons have been identified as vital components of how fitness is delivered to average customers.

Four reasons:

  1. One of the reasons falls to the current economic environment, and many instructors are primarily offering small group training sessions and can charge less money per person. This increases the amount that providers can make per hour. For example, instead of a standard price of £60 per hour for a one-to-one session, they can charge £20 per person to participate in a small group session of six or seven people, which then enables the instructor to double their income by working with a small group nearly. This allows every participant to receive all the benefits of working with a qualified instructor but at a much more affordable price.
    Larger chains of health clubs and gyms in the industry can then feature monthly membership charges that fall below £40 and therefore small group training then become a much more cost-effective choice for participants interested in gaining support to achieve their health and fitness goals.
  2. The human race is an extremely social species, and we love being part of groups with other like-minded people. We are aware that to achieve our goals, such as the highest level of fitness and health from our bodies, then we need to exercise on a daily basis. This can lead to a very challenging situation on how we are able to start to maximise our time available to be able to achieve the fitness and health goals that we want, while still being able to interact and be social with friends, and other people. This is where group training comes into play, the social aspects and the small training groups link as one, meaning that the sessions aren’t as lengthy as one-to-one workouts and as a bonus, numerous participants have the same or similar goals to meet, make a friend or two and motivate each other.
  3. The third important reason is the customer engagement and customer retention linked to group sessions. Operators have started to see patterns in working with a customer on a one-to-one basis is primarily based on creating and managing a relationship with the customer to ensure that you have transparent customer engagement and the customer continues to return for sessions. This then creates an issue where the customer becomes extremely loyal to a specific instructor and should the instructor leave the gym or health club the customer tends to follow the instructor and the fitness centre then loses a customer. Due to the majority of instructors being contractors to that specific gym or health club, they, therefore, own the rights to those particular clients. To enable health clubs and gyms to take ownership of client relationships, they are offering more small group sessions where different instructors are therefore involved in delivering the sessions. This then results in the participants having links with a variety of different instructors while at the same time building social connections to other members that then keeps individuals engaged with the facility.
  4. Lastly, we come to options. Many trainers specialise in one specific area, and this results in their session programmes to be designed primarily around their comfort zones of expertise. There are some trainers that are good at learning new skills and then delivering these in different sessions with clients, this enables them to meet a clients individual needs. All customers however prefer to have options displayed for them to decide on the best course of action for their personal goals in health and fitness. A variety of different classes is then needed to ensure that you can maximise each class, and maintain customer retention so therefore all instructors should start

One-to-one sessions are incredibly beneficial, and that will never change, and every fitness establishment will always continue to offer this service to customers. But it is a firm belief that all fitness organisations in the industry will move across to the idea and realisation to offer small group programme solution to its customers.

If you are an instructor and you aren’t delivering group sessions yet, it is highly recommended that you start to become comfortable in expanding your skillset because this will develop your career into the sections of the industry known as small group training.