As a personal fitness trainer, I try not to have just one person for the hour. Depending on the circumstances, I prefer 3-5 clients during the same hour. Here’s why.
How One-on-One Training Actually Goes
Clients sometimes want to have the exclusive attention of their trainer for the full hour.
This can be for many reasons. It could be that the person doesn’t want to get paired up with an annoying person or that they have special needs. Or they could have some wicked insane goals that need to be met.
The “special needs” category could be a person without a limb, someone recovering from surgery and just getting back into the gym, or any variation of medical problems that would necessitate constant supervision.
But usually it is just a wealthy individual who doesn’t want to be paired up with an annoying person.
Sometimes this works out if the trainer and client get along well. Sometimes it is like pulling teeth for the trainer. For me, it is like operating on two cylinders when I’m capable of twelve.
The Good Things About Having One-on-One Training
From a trainer’s perspective, there are benefits to having a one-on-one session.
If you’re a new trainer, this gives you a correct learning gradient. You’ve got to learn how to deliver one good training session before you deliver two at a time.
You’re able to get in touch with the individual. Talking is important. Sometimes you both need to just talk for awhile and things will come up – like the fact that they hate it when you have them do a specific exercise. People are funny and don’t always communicate things. You’ve gotta pull it out of them sometimes.
You can stretch them at the end of the session. Not all trainers like to stretch their clients for one reason or another. I don’t mind it if I have nothing else to do. There are a lot of benefits to getting stretched by a personal trainer. Clients always leave feeling happy.
Close supervision. When you’ve only got one person in front of you, you can take the time to observe and give great instruction. With experience, a trainer can spot something off from across the room and out of the corner of his eye. But you don’t just get that way because you have a certification.
So, those were the good things…
The Bad Things About One-on-One Training
Once again, from a personal fitness trainer’s viewpoint, here we go…
For me, the biggest thing is that it can get boring. I can handle a lot more than one client at a time, especially if it is a regular person that I’ve been training for months. If I had the choice, I would rather be swamped with fifty clients throughout the day as opposed to ten one-on-one sessions.
Another point is that the trainer gets less money. I can simply make more money off of multiple clients than I can one person. You could say to just charge 5x more for that hour, but charging over $200 per hour for one person seems a bit steep. I’ve done it, but it is kind of ridiculous.
Rescheduling can become a problem. If the person then wants to change their time with you by one hour, it becomes a problem. They are paying you so much that you don’t want to tell them “No.” But you also don’t want to have to reschedule the three clients that you are bumping for that hour.
It takes away from the gym community. I am big on the gym community. If you come to my gym, you’re part of the team. Having a one-on-one training session kind of excludes the trainer and client from everyone else.
It makes me unapproachable. I’ve always made a point to never turn away anyone who wants to talk to me. But if I’ve got someone next to me saying (or thinking) “I paid this guy over $200 for this hour and he’s helping someone else?” then it gets weird. I prefer to have an open line to anyone who’s got a question. I may tell them to give me twenty minutes, but I’ll always make sure to help them.
How You Can Make One-on-One Sessions Work in Your Gym
Since there are clients who request one-on-one training, I’ve had to work out some solutions. Here are my secrets.
Designate a single trainer for these one-on-one sessions. It doesn’t have to be your best or most experienced trainer, just a qualified trainer. It is best if they aren’t as known as the main ones in your gym.
Usually this works out great for an up and coming fitness professional. They make some sick money for one hour of training and the gym doesn’t have to turn away a client. This trainer doesn’t even have to be a regular at the gym. He or she can just be called when you’ve got someone rich enough to afford the high rates.
I’ve had some really awesome operations come to a crawl when I’ve accepted a one-on-one client. As trainers get more experience, I have seen them tend to move away from one-on-one training.
Maybe there are trainers out there who don’t really want to work that hard and would see this as a dream opportunity. People want what they want.
All of this should be taken in the context of a nice gym that delivers a great product to their clients. I’ve always worked at gyms that have an awesome sense of community. The salesmen, receptionist, trainers, managers and owners all need to get along and be friends.
Outdoor workouts at the park, weekend get-togethers and a surplus of people signing up should be standard for any gym.
If you want my advice, don’t work for a gym where people don’t talk to each other. These small little cliques hinder growth.
Build a gym and an environment that encourages communication. Not exclusivity.
If you do have to deal with and accept these requests for one-on-one training, work it out in a way that it is away from the main area and doesn’t detract from what you’re trying to create.