Why I’ve (mostly) moved away from 1-on-1 Training

Personal Training comes with a lot of learning curves. Thankfully, I’ve had some wonderful mentors in my career who have helped me overcome a lot of the challenges that come with service based business. Without them, I’m sure I would not be where I am today. Now, I do my best to pay it forward with my own students who I certify to become personal trainers.

When potential clients contact me, I spend some time chatting with them to learn about what their goals are, what their life looks like, what they can commit to time wise for their exercise routine and what they can commit to financially. All of these factors are what combine to show me the whole picture so that I can create a plan that sets clients up for long-term success.

Now, that being said, I’ve certainly learned a lot of about human nature over the years. Why do people want to hire a trainer? Well, the number one reason in my experience is that they need the accountability. They might not have that innate desire to move their body. They may be too overwhelmed with everything else in their life, so they want to come, have someone tell them what to do and how to do it and then get on with the rest of their day. They may want to lose weight, decrease blood pressure, strengthen, or just simply feel good overall. The majority of people who hire me, say they simply won’t stick with it unless they have that appointment. Its awesome when people acknowledge this but my goal is always to get people to a place where they can commit to themselves without me. It takes time, but it happens and for me, its so gratifying.

I have trained so many people in so many different capacities over the years. I can say without a doubt there are two main factors that lead to success when working with a trainer.

Number one: Money. Yup – its true. Money motivates. Over the past two years, I have finally gotten to a place where I will not bend on payment. This may sound a little crass – but stay with me. In the fitness industry, often clients will start out strong but then after time goes on, they waiver on commitment. This leads to cancelations of sessions. Over the years, to my own detriment, I have been way too lax with clients on this. I have always had a 24-hour cancelation policy in place. But, life happens and I totally understand when a kid is sick, someone has a migraine, or whatever. But, I’ve definitely been taken advantage of. This is true for all trainers, especially those of us with a soft side. Its unfortunate and its uncomfortable for us. This is our career – our source of income. When you cancel a session last minute we lose our income. I was given this advice by another long-time trainer and it works. When clients are asked to pre-pay for sessions with no room to cancel – they stay committed. All of a sudden, the excuses to miss become zero. Money motivates. I’m no different! If I pay for something – I damn well better get my moneys worth!

Also, in terms of money, semi-private and small group training is much more economical for most people. You truly get all the benefits of a personal trainer at a lower cost. Lets face it, everything costs money. However, this is an investment in your health. Both short term and long term. We need to change the way people look at investing in health. How much money do we spend on things such as hair appointments, nail appointments, lash appointments, coffee and dinners out, wine (hello me!), massage, physiotherapy, chiropractors, acupuncturists, etc. Its preference, its priorities. For me, my mental health and physical health are number one. I pay for subscriptions for my bike, for my nutrition and for my mental health. They add up. But they come before a dinner out. I can guarantee without a shadow of a doubt, when you invest into exercise and fitness, you’ll need to spend less on all the other stuff. Your body works better.

Number two: Camaraderie. In my experience from DAY 1 – where clients have pre-paid for a series of group sessions, they very rarely miss a session unless absolutely necessary. Often times, people sign up solo or maybe with a friend, but then over time, their fitness group becomes a little family. Its truly a community that develops even in the smallest groups. We celebrate each others success, we stay motivated because lets face it – our competitive nature comes in to play as well. If three people get two extra workouts in – they will likely gain some progress on you! Our egos don’t like that! Its completely natural. These groups are also social. They give us a really uplifted feeling even on really hard days. The key is to get there, then the rest just happens and takes care of itself. I have never once had a person leave wishing they hadn’t come.

Its no surprise that the largest growing trend in fitness right now is small group training and other exercise trends such as spin and yoga. Have you heard of Orangetheory fitness? I LOVE attending their classes when I’m in the city. F45? This is one of the fastest growing fitness franchise’s in North America right now! Bob’s Bootcamp, Soul Cycle and more. Some of these chains are charging as much as $40.00 per class! Why are people paying? Because of the community that is being created and the competitive type atmosphere. Its all about the energy in the room.

Aside from those two main reasons, there are a couple other reasons I prefer small group training and semi-private training. Personal trainers are not qualified counsellors. However, we totally get that people need to vent some times. But again, through a lot of experience, I have noticed that some personalities just like to vent all the time. This can be very unproductive for the client and the trainer. Trainers are taught to refer out when they see mental health issues on the forefront. Its not an easy thing to broach but its very necessary. We look at health from all angles not just physical health. We want our clients to be mentally, physically and emotionally healthy. We can motivate and lift people indeed but only to a certain extent. I find that semi-private and group training allows for a more positive experience for myself and my clients. There is very little complaining or venting or when there is, its in more of a casual way where the whole group gets a really good laugh. We all bitch sometimes! Our spouses didn’t do the dishes, our kids left their rooms a disaster, our boyfriend came home drunk last night… whatever… its also a safe place… what happens at our sessions, stays at our sessions!

I’ll add to this that I have a very special talent for picking up on my clients’ energies. I’m an empath. So, sometimes when people come in, I will quickly pick up on a “down-day”. I take time to personally message clients to see if everything is ok and if there is anything they want to chat about or confide. This gives me the room to help direct them. Maybe its just a bad day, maybe its something more. I’ve built up a lot of connections and helpful resources over the years so that I can get people the help they may need outside of their training sessions. Fitness doesn’t work as a solo venture. It has to be a whole package.

I started out in the fitness world as a group instructor. I loved teaching large groups but it always pained me when I would look in the mirror to the back of the class to see someone with improper form. In the large group setting, you can give subtle cues to the whole room in hopes that the one person you are looking at gets the correction but often times, this doesn’t happen. You can also ask to see them after class to help them correct a movement. However, often times, an incorrect movement is coming from an incorrect movement pattern stemming from a dysfunction somewhere in the body. This needs more attention than just a five minute chat after class. We only get one body. We need to its going to last us a very long time and that they are as strong and mechanically correct as possible. Small group training allows trainers to keep a close eye on each client. We can watch and learn about each individuals body and then work with them outside of sessions by giving homework and suggestions to help correct any deficiencies.

I have lots of really exciting things coming for 2020. One of my most exciting is building our new team at The Den Performance Training Centre! We will have a new location early summer, which has been a huge challenge and a ton of work but super exciting. I love that we are building a solid team of trainers who share very similar philosophies on health, wellness and fitness. We are offering tons of semi-private options and small group training options that cater to a wide array of audiences. We are working to ensure that we have a strong standard of training for all of our clients. You can learn more about that through our website and social media pages.

Oh one other thing… I’m not one to brag about myself. But I’m going to brag a little. Turns out, people like to train with me. I guess that means I’m kind of good at what I do. I think that’s because I really love what I do and I love connecting with people by sharing my passion of health and wellness in a way that is real and sustainable. I like to be transparent. I love to share my energy and knowledge. I’m honest. What you see is what you get with me. From experience, I know people trust me. Semi-private and small group training allows me to connect with even more of you. That is actually another huge reason I’ve moved to mostly semi-private and small group training.

I hope that you will join us in our temporary location in January for some of our programming. You can be a part of what is to come at The Den in 2020! We would love to help each of you achieve your best health and best life.


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me!