One on One Personal Training – A Dying Trend?

The small group training model is a phenomenon that has taken the fitness industry by storm.

With so many businesses and individuals embracing this new wave of training – from large club chains to small self-employed operations – fitness professionals all over the world are discovering that the small group training model is:

  • More attractive to their clients
  • Better suited to their business
  • And best of all it increases their bottom line

So the question presents itself – is one on one personal training on its way out?

The One on One vs. Group Training Debate

Many believe that small group training is the future of fitness, while others are yet to be convinced.

Group:
Small group training (also often referred to as “team training”) allows the fitness professional to earn more and provides a more affordable option for the client…which creates a win:win solution, correct?
vs. One on One:

However, there are some within the industry who believe that small group training takes away from the individual, failing to offer the one on one personalised approach that they feel clients need and deserve.

So in an industry where trends come and go and what once was right is now wrong (and vice versa), who is right – and where does one on one training fit in moving forward?

The Business of Training

  • First and foremost it is important to come back to the ultimate goal of running a business – to be successful.
  • And success in business is defined by what the owner’s ultimate goal, targets and dream is for that business.
  • Therefore anyone operating within their business goals and working successfully towards their dream are doing exactly what they should be doing. It is not for anyone else to say they are right or wrong.

So keeping that in mind…let’s break it down.

Hands Up for Small Group Training

Small group training is not just a phenomenon as previously stated; it is in fact a trend that appears to be here to stay.

And for the average fitness professional whose business goal is centred on earning money doing what they love, the one on one model no longer cuts the mustard.

It is important to remember here that having a goal or dream around money is not a bad thing! In reality, this is the primary purpose of most businesses today.

And when we’re talking about the business of businesssmall group training just makes sense – from a financial perspective, from a marketing perspective and from a time perspective.

Whether presented in a team training format, or a multi-client personal training format (the difference to be explained in an upcoming blog), small group training is all about bringing a group of people together and taking them to their goals in a fun and motivating environment.

Regardless of the fact they may not get the dedicated attention they would recieve in a one on one session, anyone being trained within a group format – chooses to do so.

Programs such as Les Mills’ classes and team training are popular for a reason. They have in fact paved the way for small group training. Within a group, people experience camaraderie and connection with their fellow “team” and are inspired and motivated to challenge themselves or be challenged. All the endorphins from fitness are enhanced within a group training format.

The benefits for small group training include:

  • Presents a positive environment, with motivation and support from within the group
  • More income for the trainer
  • More affordable for the client
  • Time efficient
  • Fun and interactive

This list could go on and on.

When the clients love it and it helps the trainer to achieve their goal of earning more – how can group training be judged as “wrong”? It can’t. In fact, it’s simply smart business.

So based on this…why would an individual want to continue to offer one on one training when small group training is so attractive?

The Place of One on One Training

Rest assured one on one or private training has – and always will have – a place in the industry.

The only difference moving forward is that with more competition and cheaper alternatives, it simply requires the person running this business model to work smarter.

“Work smarter” simply means that a personal trainer or fitness professional can no longer rest on their laurels.

With more and more trainers coming into the industry offering  lower price points, group training services, not to mention marketing superstars and industry experts who stand out from the crowd…a business that chooses to work within the one on one training model should fit within the following criteria:

  • The business’s ultimate goal is not about the money. When a trainer/business owner has the dream of taking individuals to their goals in a personalised format – the one on one model can always apply. This is because they do it for the love of it, not for the money. When you make money a non-issue, it sells itself and they can offer a competitive price point.
  • The business’s ultimate goal is centred on working with a high-end market. When a fitness professional, specialist or practitioner needs to work closely with a client, one on one training ensures that they offer focus and dedication to that client only, aiming for the best results possible. They may have a money focus/goal, however at their specialised level they are able to position themselves at a rate per individual that weeds out the non-committed and meets their target hourly income.
  • The business’s ultimate goal is about presenting a package/program approach. When a fitness professional thinks ‘outside the square’, a number of ideas will come their way. By offering a package approach (including seminars, assessments and a number of add-ons or “freebies”), they can sell a package of items to an individual, thereby getting their target hourly income while still offering a one on one model.

So…Back to the Question

Is One on One Personal Training a Dying Trend?

The answer is clearly no…and it will certainly never “die”.

There is always a market for clients who want the care and attention of one on one training. They may just be harder to find, and the trainer may need to target their market better.

Trainers working within this model will need to start working smarter, be clear on the ultimate business goal that they are working towards, and understand the model that best fits that goal.

Otherwise…they could well be left behind.

Shara Curlett
Shara began her career in the fitness industry at Les Mills Dunedin in 2005 and from there combined her passion for fitness with her strength in business to create a niche role for herself specialising in “the business of fitness”. Shara has consulted for gyms and small studios, developed an indoor cycling program, and continues to work one on one with fitness business owners as a sideline passion. As business development and marketing manager for HQH Fitness, Shara is focused on business development, company strategy and marketing and is passionate about helping business owners achieve their goals.


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4 thoughts on “One on One Personal Training – A Dying Trend?

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