What Is Semi-Private Training?
I will tell you now what it is not. And it is not a fitness class. By that, I mean that it is not a class where everyone shows up and does the same thing. By some definitions, some may call this semi-private if the classes are small enough, but I come from a private background working with people 1-on-1, so I take the "private" part very seriously. And a large class, or even a small class, of people following the same exercise prescription is simply not private.
Does this make a class system bad? No.
In fact, the class setting can be the perfect model for many. And it can certainly get the job done. But there is a trade-off in the value and individualization that a person receives.
A good way to look at this is by comparing a large public school to a smaller private school where the student:teacher ratio is often quite different. In a large public school, simply due to volume, you're going to get some students that excel. And they would have probably excelled no matter where they went to school, but they still stand out and make the school look good. Then you have a lot of the average students. Some may get a little more attention from the teacher, and maybe a little more individualization, and they end up being very good students. But the other half of the average students that never really built a relationship with their teachers continue to be average or not quite reach their potential. And then, most importantly, you have the students that really need the direct attention of the teacher. Many of these students have the potential, but they desperately need more attention and a more individualized approach to learning if they are going to discover that potential.
This is how group fitness classes often operate. Sink or swim. Not all, so put your torches away. But for many, this is true. And much like schools, it often comes down to the TEACHERS (or coaches/trainers in this case).
So let's take a deeper look into why someone should consider semi-private training.
1. Client:Coach Ratio
If you paid any attention to the introduction, this one should already be obvious. In a semi-private environment, there is a smaller ratio of clients to coaches. In my opinion, the highest ratio should be about 8:1. At Springfield Strength & Conditioning, we have a cap of 6 clients per coach. If this ratio starts to get much larger, the value and attention an individual will get begins to diminish greatly. We want our clients to feel valued.
2. More Individualized
Within my definition of Semi-Private Training, I believe that individuals should still be given an individualized approach. You can't put the word "private" into the title, and then make a generic program that everyone does.. At best, that is now small group training.
There are private applications that go into programming for semi-private clients. At Springfield Strength & Conditioning, we write each person an individualized program.
It is not fair for one person to be aiming to step on the bodybuilding stage, while another just wants to slip into a bikini for the first time in a decade, but for them both to be following the exact same exercise prescription.
So with us, you may have 6 different people, with 6 different goals, and 6 entirely different programs. And at times, you may share a very similar program with someone that has a very similar goal, starting point, and limitations. But in the end, we program for the individual. Not the group.
This is huge. One of the biggest drawbacks of 1-on-1 training is the lack of camaraderie. 1-on-1 is great due to the attention to detail. But at the end of the day, everything has a drawback.
I did my internship with a CrossFit gym in 2014, and some of the best relationships I have built since moving to Springfield are with the people I met at this gym, as well as others in the CrossFit community. You can mock them for kipping pull-ups. You can pick apart the programming. You can find whatever peeve you have with it, but you absolutely cannot deny the success of it. And if you've ever stepped foot into a CrossFit gym, you would quickly discover that the community aspect is the driving force behind its success.
It may not be the perfect fit for every person and every goal, but when you can create a community that people want to be a part of, this alone can be the deciding factor on whether any program will be successful or not. It breeds consistency. And I will take long term consistency over short term perfection any day. So I wanted to bring this same camaraderie to the table for the people that I work with.
In a semi-private setting, you will get to work amongst others, all reaching for a goal. Not always the same goal, but you will each be waking up every day, feet hitting the floor, and showing up to put in the work.
Also, within the Springfield Strength & Conditioning Wellness Model, there are 5 principles (Eat Well, Sleep Well, Move Well, Play Well, and Think Well). Being in a semi-private environment encourages the Play Well and Think Well of our Wellness Model. It encourages you to socialize. It encourages you to compete. For many, they will be right at home because they thrive in groups, but for others, it will be a challenge having to step outside of their comfort zone to train around others.
For myself, switching to a semi-private setting is a HUGE stepping stone in my efforts to be more social. I was very comfortable with 1-on-1 training. I thrive in that environment. But when I get into groups of people I don't know, and often people i do know, I find myself getting very anxious and uncomfortable. Since I'm a guy that likes to practice what I preach, I needed to overcome this in order to improve my overall wellness.
I previously mentioned a lack of community being a major drawback of 1-on-1 training, but another big drawback is the price.
The price alone is a huge barrier to entry in working with a trainer. The average price for a trainer is $50 per hour. However, this is largely dependent on location and the experience of the trainer. But I don't know that I've ever seen a trainer charge less than $20 per hour, and for many high demand trainers, this can be well over $100 per hour.
So if you ONLY look at $20 per hour, which is an absolute steal if the trainer knows what they are doing, and you decide 3 days per week is probably a good average commitment if you expect any results, you are looking at $240 per month! And believe me, good luck finding a career trainer providing a quality service for $20 per hour.
With Semi-Private Training, clients benefit greatly by the price coming down significantly. And in my opinion, while the price has gone down, the VALUE of their session has gone up!
They still get individualized programs. The groups are small enough that they still have a coach nearby to provide constant feedback and attention to detail. And they get the added value of working in a group setting, providing that missing link of community.
As much as I would like to believe that this is the perfect model for every single person that steps through our doors, I know that this is not the case. Some people will still need the undivided attention of 1-on-1 training. Some people could care less about an individualized program. They just want to walk into a class, break a sweat, maybe mingle a little bit, then go home.
At Springfield Strength and Conditioning, it is our effort to bridge that gap and bring the best of both worlds to our clients. And don't worry, we will still be offering 1-on-1 training, as well as a few group classes!