Group Training with Boomers and Seniors
Group Training with Boomers and yes Seniors too
The Boomer and senior market will be the fastest growing “niche” if you can call the soon to be dominant market a niche in the fitness industry. Boomers are turning 65 every day at an alarming rate! I won’t bore you with stats on how this population segment is exploding, since for this post I want to focus on how small group personal training is very successful currently in our studios for clients over age 50.
I often get the question from younger clients, ones in their 30s and 40s…..”So how do you train people of different levels and you aren’t going to stick with me with old people are you?” I try not to laugh, but can’t hold back a smile when I say I tell you what we will put you in training groups appropriate for you, and then as you are ready to move up we will look at moving you into more challenging groups. Then I ask so do you think you can do 30 pushups on your toes, with good form and no rest? One of our 82 year old….and female clients in small groups can do that? The reality is our small group clients in their 60s, 70s and beyond are inspirations to all the clients younger than them, and actually create a more relaxed non-threatening environment for all those younger women who honestly are terrified of a gym, a bootcamp or a training facility. They see women older than them and realize good grief if they can do it, and kick my butt doing it…..I gotta get going.
Small Group Training for older clients works very much the same as for younger clients. Now we do have to be selective on some groups and it is more beneficial to put several over 70 clients in a group together at their pace. But we certainly have many clients in their 50s and 60s that can hang with the younger crowd just fine.
The biggest difference is simply being a little more aware and a little more prepared with modifications. With a small group made up of all clients over 60 you are bound to have some knee, hip or shoulder issues so you have to be prepared with several modifications. Burpees, Squat Jumps, Mountain Climbers will probably not be your go to exercises with these groups. But there are many great exercises you can do and incorporating some more balance and mobility focused ones works well also. Lunges and Squats are still great, Total Body Extensions (Squat Jumps without the jump), Step Ups, many different forms of pushups ranging from on the wall to a bench to on your knees to the full toes can all be incorporated.
Of course for our facilities our entire focus is on the 50-65 year old female client, so small group training is what we have designed and planned with them in mind. Do we occasionally get a new client in that isn’t ready for small group because they have too many joint issues and too much deconditioning, yes that does happen and then we require they go through 1-2 months minimum of 1-1 training to be prepared for small group training. Of course this is at a much higher price point. And we do still offer 1-1 training long term if people really want that, but we try to steer most people into small group training since it is much lower cost to them and much more profitable for us.
We have found that by being singularly focused on the 50-65 year old female we attract men 50 and over easily because we simply don’t have the no-pain, no-gain, yelling and screaming testosterone pumping environment. It also immediately becomes a place where women 30-50 feel comfortable with their weight loss struggles. Do we struggle to attract the super fit, super buff young males and females…..yes we do, but that is okay because we don’t want them anyway!
The final benefit is the small group training to the older clientele fills ups your days. We have group training at 9am, 9:30, 10, 10:30, 11am, 1215, 1, 130, 3, 3:30, 4, 4:30…..and of course all your early morning and evening times for working folks. These older clients allow us to have a group training schedule that keeps trainers training all day long. If you aren’t thinking about the boomer and senior market it is time you woke up to the next big thing in the fitness industry. These older clients have the financial resources and the physical need; they will be the dominant force in the fitness industry.