Does Two-Brain Make Everyone Sell Personal Training?

A personal trainer works with a client performing a lunge in a gym.

I want gym owners to make a great living while delivering the best service to clients, so I talk about one-on-one coaching a lot.

The short version: Personal training is a high-value service that gets clients the best results in the shortest amount of time, boosts gym revenue and improves client retention.

But some people really want to focus on group training, so I get this question at times: “Does Two-Brain want every mentee to sell personal training?”

Here’s the answer: I have data that shows one-on one coaching can be a key part of successful gym, but we never force a business model on a gym owner. If you’re adamant that you only want to train people in groups, you can do that.

But I want you to think about this:

Coaching gyms should offer one-on-one training because not offering it actually drives high-value clients and prospective clients away. At minimum, you should use a one-on-one on-ramp to get clients ready for group classes.

Again, you don’t have to do any of this. But I want you to have all the info so you can make the best decisions.

The Value of One-on-One Coaching

Group training is amazing. I remember when I first started coaching CrossFit groups. I was so thrilled that I told another coach “this is all I want to do for the rest of my life.”

I haven’t forgotten that group classes staffed by stellar coaches allow people to receive small amounts of one-on-one attention in a program that’s economical. And I haven’t forgotten the energy and camaraderie that make group classes very special.

But I have data that clearly shows the effects of one-on-one training on key gym metrics, and I know one-on-one training in an on-ramp program is the best option for most new clients even if they eventually plan to join group classes.

Here are the numbers: People who join group after a free trial stick around for about eight months on average (if they join; they often don’t). An on-ramp pushes that number to 14 months, and if you can get a client to 14 months, they’re twice as likely to stay for two years. Those are huge numbers—for the client and the gym owner.

On-ramps—aka, personal training before group classes—better prepare clients for group classes and give them more options.

For example, a group client who came in through an on-ramp knows one-on-one training is always available if he wants to make progress faster. If group classes are the only option and that client isn’t getting results, he’s likely to quit fitness altogether or sign up for PT in another gym.

Top athletes? They need personal, direct attention more than anyone else. Any gym owner who’s dealt with upper-tier athletes in a group setting will confirm that they’re quick to demand more personalization and attention than a coach can give them in a group. So one-on-one training is a great option for them, too.

Finally, think about a group client who needs just a little more help than you can provide in that setting. Group training plus personal sessions solve the client’s problem and drive up your average revenue per member. We often call this a “hybrid membership.”

The Model That Works for You

With all that in mind, it’s clear that I think gyms should offer one-on-one coaching. But we’ll never force a mentee to do anything.

In fact, we have a spreadsheet-backed business model that shows exactly how a gym owner can earn $100,000 a year serving 150 clients in group classes. But we still include five $300 on-ramps per month in that group-only model.

Why? Because we know that one-on-one on-ramps aren’t a barrier to entry. They are a barrier to exit. Clients who come into group classes through on-ramps stay longer and get better results—which is good for the client and the gym.

We’ll never force a mentee to do anything. But we’ll always tell you what the data says. In this case, the data is clear: Even if you want to run the group-only model, a one-on-one on-ramp will make it work much, much better.

And if you want to focus on group classes but add in a significant amount of PT, we have a model to help you do that, too.

Our new guide is now out: “5 Gym Business Models That Work.”


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.