If you haven’t seen it already, take a second to check out my latest article on Fitness Professional Online: 3 Steps to Implementing 30 Minute Sessions.
Running a business is about being efficient and cost effective. If we take a step back and look at how the average personal training business is run, is there a way we can make them more efficient and cost effective? Yes, it turns out there are probably hundreds of ways to do so. This article will show you one of my favorite ways to program for clients so that they can get excellent results while you work efficiently at the same time.
Metabolic training is a hot term lately. It can stimulate exceptional results in clients that you prescribe it to. In this article, I’ll show you how you can incorporate high intensity metabolic training into your programming by appropriately manipulating your client’s volume of exercise. This little known and used methodology can result in big pay offs to you as a fitness professional.
My friend, Dr. Paul Kennedy, once told a story of how he timed the duration of a personal training session he was observing in the gym. He said it was an hour long session (57 minutes to be exact) and he used a stopwatch to record only the time that the trainer was having the client doing actual work. The actual work time ended up being only about three minutes. Three minutes of actual work in what is supposed to be an hour long exercise session! That’s horribly inefficient.
Let’s face it, there is a lot of wasted time and inefficiencies in what we do. Don’t believe me? Let’s just run some rough numbers. Let’s say you have a client do 10 exercises per workout. Not even multiple sets, just one. If the client rests only three minutes (180 seconds) between sets, that’s 30 minutes of wasted time right there (three minutes x 10 exercises = 30 minutes). It’s hard to imagine, but it’s true. Now, if you let the client rest and talk for five minutes between sets, it’s easy to see how you could be wasting as much as 50 minutes or more in every workout. Below are 3 steps you can take to solve that problem and implement an effective and efficient 30 minute session for clients.
1. Cut down on talking, stretching, and warm up. We already talked about not wasting time, however short it may be. But, a lot of trainers put too much emphasis on some big, long, extravagant warm up process. It’s not something you want to neglect, but you know from your own experience, it only takes about 30-45 seconds to get warm, lubricate the joints to be worked, and maybe even to start sweating. There’s no need for a 10-15 minute treadmill marathon. Just use the first few reps of the first exercise, maybe at a reduced weight, to get them warm, primed, and ready. After a good effort on the first exercise, they should be pretty well warm all over their body and ready to go.
Similarly with stretching, it only takes a good 20-30 second static stretch of the muscles just worked after the set is completed to be effective. Make it 30-40 seconds per muscle group if you want to make it developmental and enhance flexibility, but the point is that you don’t need another 15-20 minutes for stretching alone.
2. Go for quality sets rather than volume. There is a lot of information that shows it’s the quality of the effort that counts, not how much of it we prescribe. So shoot for prescribing clients one good quality set per exercise and move on. If you feel they didn’t give it a good effort, follow it up with a quick advanced technique or two. This alone can cut down on time by 2/3 if you’re used to waiting around to perform 3 sets of each exercise.
3. Move the client quickly between exercises. Here too, the quality of the effort is what counts. It might seem intuitive to want to stop and rest to be ready for the next exercise. And that may be true in some cases, but there is a lot of information out there that shows that the cumulative fatiguing effect from the previous exercises actually contribute to the effectiveness of the succeeding exercises in a routine even though less resistance and reps may be performed. The intensity that comes from this is excellent metabolic and cardiovascular stimulation too. I’ve plotted client heart rates during a circuit like this compared to a SPIN class and you cannot tell the difference.
Here’s the best part. You can still charge the same per session rate. Don’t charge per hour! I’ve been doing this for well over a decade and have never performed an hour long session except in the case of a client who is disabled. That’s what business is about, identifying your inefficiencies, correcting them, cutting costs, and widening profit margins. Programming with 30 minute personal training sessions can allow you to do that.
You can train a client’s full body, address metabolic and cardiovascular conditioning, and enhance their flexibility all in one shot. Chances are, even though the total duration of the appointment is less, they may end up doing more work in less time which leads to higher intensity of exercise and better results. Not only are you providing a better service now, but you just opened up a bunch of slots to take on more clients. If you do this right, you could double your capacity and your income. Put the powerful 30 minute personal training session in your arsenal and eliminate the wasted time and inefficiencies that might be permeating your service.