I see gyms and group fitness businesses advertise ‘personal training included’ all the time. My question is just because there is a trainer available, does this make it Personal Training? The Summit Buderim is a specialist Personal training gym, we had over 2000 logged sessions last financial year, so I think we’re qualified to say that these types of programs are not Personal Training. To be classified as Personal Training I would argue that you need to be able to modify the session as you go. The session needs to be geared to the clients’ individual goals and current fitness levels. From my experience, you can do this with 2 similar clients at once but as soon as you have 3 clients at once you are conducting group exercise. You can still coach clients but your coaching efforts are diluted and you can’t possibly 100% tailor to one individual.
I have nothing against group exercise, I really enjoy teaching it, but it is not Personal Training. In a Personal Training session, you are continually analysing and modifying exercise. In a group session, you are worried about timing, flow and correcting poor technique. Correcting technique is not the same as modifying, as you are just managing risk. Quite often in Personal Training I invent ways to modify an exercise to suit a client. One recent example of this was teaching a client I’ve trained for a long time how to split squat. After watching her attempt this for about 10 minutes I used a 20kg Olympic weight and placed it under her heel, instantly she could do the split squat perfectly. I learned by doing this she didn’t have the calf strength to maintain her weight in the required posture. After a couple of weeks of strengthening she could complete this movement by herself.
Any exercise intervention is better than none and I encourage people to get involved in group exercise for many reasons but please remember if you need a more personalised approach for any reason, seek a highly qualified personal trainer on a one on one basis.