Making Money Through Group Exercise
Group exercise is often the subject of a great debate between fitness professionals…
On one side, you have the trainer that thinks that it’s a great way to motivate and encourage the exercise novice and that it’s a fun and motivating workout.
On the other, you have the personal trainer that feels that designing a general workout choreographed to music does not help the individual achieve the desired results that he or she may be expecting.
Regardless of your stance on group exercise, the facts are undeniable, attendees love classes and can be some of the most dedicated members that you will find.
Remember interaction is the key to getting new personal training clients! This is a great way to get exposure to an audience that may not know you.
Also, many attendees of group exercise classes are intimidated of the weight room. Having a personal trainer teaching a class is a great way to encourage and educate this person as to why weight training is critical for everyone.
Just like training clients with specific needs or goals, you never want to train outside your knowledge levels or realm of expertise. Take a few different types of classes to see what style you may want to teach.
There are traditional cardio oriented classes like high/low, step and cardio kick box. Strength classes could include total body, abs and core. There are also just basic stretching and flexibility classes. All of these do not require certifications or extensive hour requirements like yoga, Pilates and spin.
See which of these classes comes natural to you and look into what requirements your establishment would require of you to teach these classes.
AFAA, The Aerobics and Fitness Association of America have a great group exercise certification. For a more intensive certification you may want to look into Les Mills.
Once you have met all the requirements to teach a group exercise class there are a few things that you can do to actively pull clients out of your classes and increase your private training clientele.
At the beginning of each class you should welcome all new attendees and thank anyone that is returning.
After this, you should take 15-20 seconds to introduce yourself. What you say here is critical. Introduce yourself as a personal trainer and tell them what you do.
Then, immediately tell them what the class will entail. Ask if anyone has any injuries that you should know about. Let them know that you will be offering modifications during the class if needed and that they can see you after class, where you can help give them some pain reduction strategies.
The goal here is to show them that you are more knowledgeable than the average group fitness instructor and that you specialize in helping people get results.
A sample script could look like this.
“Hi, thank you all for coming today. For those of you that are attending for the first time, I want to welcome you to the class. My name is Julian. I am a certified personal trainer here at the facility. I have been a personal trainer for 10 years helping people thousands of people achieve their fitness goals. Some of my specialty areas are designing weight loss programs, post rehabilitative work and kettlebells. For those of you coming back, welcome back. This is a total body strength class mixing strength training, core stabilization and metabolic cardio intervals. You will need a barbell and dumbbells with light, medium and heavy weights and a mat. Please let me know if anyone here has any injuries. If so, I will offer exercise modifications during class. After class, I will be available for 10 minutes to answer any questions as to why you are experiencing pain and I can offer you some strategies and techniques to reduce and possibly fix the underlying issue. So with that, let’s get started!”
This let’s them know who you are, what you do and what they can expect. This way now they may feel comfortable to ask a personal trainer (you) a question that they may have felt embarrassed or afraid to ask.
Now that they had a great workout it is your time to move in. You have shown them that you can give a great workout and they’re now open to hear how you can help them achieve the results that they have not been seeing.
This can be done during the final stretch or as everyone is putting the weights away. I recommend doing it during the stretch when you have them hostage. You will have to talk and change stretches at the same time.
Remind them again of what you do as a personal trainer and if they are not currently seeing the changes in their body that they want, that YOU can help them. You can help design a personalized program in addition to the class that will help them get the results that they should be getting.
Here is a closing script that works great.
“I want to thank you all for coming today. Group fitness is a great way that we can all come together and workout as a team, but unfortunately some of us have unique and personal needs. I design personalized programs for my clients, finding out if there are any postural deviations or movement pattern distortions, what their schedule will allow and what their current fitness level is. If you are not getting the results that you’re looking for, come see me after class to set up a time where we can come up with a plan of action for you. There is a reason why your body may or may not be changing and it’s my job to help you find answers and get to where you want to be.”
This script is motivational and informational. It reminds them that group fitness is great but there is more out there. This also may help them break their fear of stepping out into the weight room.
I have one last little tip for you. Bring consultation forms. If your health center does not have one, make a form that states the client’s name, phone and email and what their goals are. Hand these out at the end of class.
As you are handing them out let them know that you are going to extend a special offer to participants of this class only. It could be a complimentary fitness consultation, body composition check or even something like a unique demo (TRX or Kettlebells).
Let them know that they can fill out this form and hand it in to take advantage of this PRIVATE offer.
That is just one of the many simple techniques you can use to increase you contact base.
Remember, group exercise has it’s positives and it’s negatives, but the name of the game is exposure. Meeting as many people as possible. Do not miss out on this huge demographic!
Stephen Cabral, CSCS, CPT, NS
“2011 Personal Trainer of the Year”
Health Contributor for MTV, Men’s Health, NutritionData, Maxim, Dietcom, Gather, SELF
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