Small Group Training: Reaching the Silent Majority

small group training

First responders will tell you that it’s not the people shouting for help that need your immediate attention, but the quiet ones. Fitness providers could learn from this approach. All fitness facilities have a group of loud “alpha” exercisers, and it’s easy to focus on them when structuring timetables and designing facilities. Unfortunately, this can leave out a silent majority whose needs and goals are misunderstood or ignored. Done well, Small Group Training (SGT) is a solution to connecting with this silent majority.

With small groups of just 10 to 12 participants, each participant gets more direct attention and personalized coaching from the instructor. This will keep them engaged and on track for better results, in addition to making them feel like the time they have invested has been worth it. What’s more, their immediate feedback can help instructors refine programming so that everyone gets more out of SGT.

Participants will also enjoy an element of camaraderie that can’t be underestimated or underappreciated. As they get to know like-minded people, they’ll forge friendships and develop a sense of accountability, both of which make it harder to skip a session. They’ll also cheer each other on during training sessions, creating the kind of team atmosphere that helps everyone achieve more.

SGT also puts a laser-like focus on results. It’s easy to scale SGT to different goals and fitness levels, and this helps participants of all kinds shatter their limits and transform their bodies in ways that make them proud. As any fitness provider knows, nothing keeps exercise enthusiasts coming back like results they can see in the mirror.

Interestingly enough, the combination of improved engagement, strong camaraderie and tangible results combine to offer yet another benefit for your facility’s acquisition and retention reports. Fresh, exciting SGT opportunities will create a buzz on campus. Participants will bring friends, and even more students will sign up and show up thanks to word-of-mouth and referrals.

But SGT isn’t just engaging and effective — it has become extremely popular, too. Since 2010, the IDEA Health & Fitness Association has charted the rise of over 60,000 boutique studios in the U.S., many of which focus on SGT. Larger fitness facilities including major health club chains have taken notice of this competitive new market element, quickly making SGT a staple of their offerings as well.

When implementing SGT, the campus community can learn from the success of the boutique industry. Instead of inviting students into your rec center with limited instruction or training, promoting SGT can engage them immediately and make your rec center the centerpiece of their fitness routine.

With fresh, engaging SGT, you can connect with the silent majority in a way that drives attendance without alienating your alpha exercisers.

Steve Barrett is the director of global group education and exercise for Johnson Health Tech, the parent company of Matrix Fitness. He can be reached at

Steve Barrett is the director of global group education and exercise for Johnson Health Tech, the parent company of Matrix Fitness. He can be reached at

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  1. Pingback: Inside the Rise of Michigan’s Fitness Programs - Healthy Body Culture

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