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How To Take Your Group Training Clients Online

Getting Started
May 20, 2024
Tim Saye

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In a face-to-face environment, group training means the clients can train with other like-minded people who can become their friends, and be part of a supportive community.

Sometimes, both trainers and clients love fitness classes best for this social aspect of training.

You might find it hard to imagine how you could replicate a similar setup online with the same benefits.

Group training isn't an exception, and in this article, we'll try to give you a rundown of how you could transfer your group training clients online and how PT Distinction can make that transition smooth.

Benefits of Group Training

When seeing clients face to face, many personal trainers - rightly or wrongly - operate on an hourly rate.

But with group training, the cost of a session will be split between the group members.

If you train small groups, instead of one person paying you £50, maybe 4 of them will pay $15 each.

Or with a large group setup, you might charge £5 per session, but have 10-20 people attending each time.

Group training makes fitness more affordable for the individuals, and it's also better value per hour to the trainer and no extra work.

Since clients can get coaching for a lower individual cost, they can often afford more sessions a week.

If you offer several classes per week, you might already offer monthly memberships, making your transition online even smoother.

Working out with others creates a sense of friendly competition, pushing each person to work as hard as possible. That means results are better in a group too.

Benefits of Online Group Training

When you take your group training online, these effects are compounded. You're able to deliver outstanding quality fitness services and help your clients stay on top of their fitness even if they cannot get to the gym or work out in a group set up in person.

Your cash flow will also see the benefit as you won't need to be afraid of losing that income.

You can even consider moving to offer membership packages permanently. You'd have more certainty over your monthly income than you would if you were charging an hourly rate on the gym floor.

Predicting your level of recurring revenue each month creates the kind of financial security that means you are free to focus on growing your fitness business and helping more clients.

How to Take Your Groups Online?

There are multiple ways you can train clients in a group online.

Your clients' goals, the way they like to interact online and their thoughts about their needs will dictate which option is best suited for your business and clients.

Option 1. Virtual LIVE Group Training Sessions

If your clients appreciate your group classes' social aspect the most and feel they need that sense in the online space, running virtual group sessions online could be a great option to keep their momentum.

There are many video streaming software that can provide an excellent base for your service.

You can complement these sessions by creating an online community via Facebook or other platforms and publishing engaging and valuable content there regularly to keep the community vibe alive.

Option 2. Online Group Coaching with Individual Workouts

This option will only be suitable for clients who already take a great deal of responsibility for their progress and are happy to complete their workouts independently.

You could offer consultation via a video call to assess their goals, maybe even perform video movement assessments so then you can design a workout plan specific to their objectives and level.

You can then bring in group coaching elements by adding everybody to an exclusive group where they can ask questions from you anytime.

You may even run Q&A sessions, post coaching videos, add recipes, and add other valuable resources to aid their progress.

Your existing clients can start benefiting from online groups immediately.

Option 3. Goal Specific Programmes with Group Support

You have plenty of flexibility with this one based on what type of clients you intend to attract.

If your ideal clients are looking to lose weight, the plan you prescribe will be designed around that, if your ideal client is looking to improve performance in a certain sport then your programs and coaching are based around that.

You can set up coaching and programs so clients can access them on-demand, or set them out in a schedule so clients know what to do on each day of your program.

You then add the group support element on top of that in a group chat within PT Distinction.

Group Training As A Lead Generator

Running free or low-cost short term group challenges on social media is a great way to let people get a peek inside your coaching business, with the view to converting them to a paying client after the challenge is over.

Keeping the challenge on social media can be distracting, people lose interest, and there's no real way to measure their performance across the challenges duration.

Using PT Distinction's group feature could be a solution to show the prospect how you deliver high-quality coaching and how online training can be even more effective than face to face.

In particular, clients love using the app. It showcases the coaching experience as outstanding quality and makes people want to stay in the programme after the challenge has finished.

You're able to deliver workouts, habit tracking, and track performance markers in an efficient and scalable way.

And it contains communication with your group inside the app itself, so there are no missed messages scattered over multiple channels of communication.

How to Use PT Distinction's Group Training Feature?

Group coaching through PT Distinction is a potent tool as a coach. It gives you the capacity to coach groups but also create online challenges, offer limited time trials of your full coaching options, and sell pre-made training packages.

This provides you with an awesome coaching tool but also an outstanding tool for lead generation.

You can run these as paid, free, or low-cost packages, deliver your programme at scale quickly by copying all the content to all members of the group instantly and scheduling it to however many clients you have in the group.

You write the content once, and then "push" it to everyone in that group.

Bonus: Host a Virtual Fitness Challenge

A fitness challenge is when you set a specific fitness goal and encourage people to achieve it. 

It can vary in terms of type of activity, level of competitiveness and duration, but it usually runs for a given time period. 

The virtual nature of the challenge means that it is hosted online, and participants can join in from anywhere and at any time. 

Virtual fitness challenges have become extremely popular in recent years, and are definitely a trend worth tapping into.

There are many benefits associated with virtual fitness challenges for all involved. For the host, these benefits include:

  • Building relationships with existing clients and increasing engagement
  • Helping clients towards their fitness goals (leading to greater customer satisfaction)
  • Increasing brand visibility and reaching new audiences
  • Building Reputation
  • Giving a great focus on content marketing
  • Stimulating UGC (user-generated content, see this guide from Sprout Social for inspiration)

How to Host a Successful Virtual Fitness Challenge

  1. Find The Right Challenge
    This will be determined by your own area of expertise as well as your audience’s needs. What are your objectives in running a virtual fitness challenge – eg do you want to build your mailing list, or increase engagement?
    What are your clients’ fitness goals, and how might a challenge help them achieve these?
    Try and be as inclusive as possible, accounting for different abilities and fitness levels, and make sure the challenge is achievable. Think about how you can make things more fun and appealing, for example by offering incentives or prizes.
  2. Issue Clear Instructions
    Give detailed information about the challenge – what the goal is, what that entails, how to register, start/end dates if relevant, any rules, any prizes/incentives, how to share progress, etc.
    If the challenge has specific start and end points, flag these up ahead of time, keep everyone informed of progress, and share the results afterward.
  3. Promote the Challenge
    Plan how and where you will promote the challenge; the channels you use will depend on where you and your clients (and target audience) are currently most active. Try to generate a buzz in the run-up to the launch and get clients on board early.
    Do you have an existing online community that you can mobilize? Can you target any influencers to help promote the challenge?
    Make a hashtag and encourage others to use it, as well as using it yourself and adding links to the challenge in all of your communications.
  4. Create Engaging Content
    Use the challenge as a focus for creating and sharing engaging content that showcases your expertise as well as helping participants achieve their goals.
    This could include things like live or pre-recorded demos, Q&A sessions, motivational messages, nutrition tips, and so on.
    Encourage participants to post their own content too; share and engage with it, cheer them on, offer support and celebrate their successes.


Group training is an excellent part of coaching, whether it's face to face or online. With the group options available through PT Distinction, you save time and effort replicating instructions.

You can harness the power of competition to push your clients to achieve more from themselves and get even better results.

The sense of community you can develop online is essential, especially while people can't get to the gym.

Group challenges for consistency, step counts, meal tracking, habit-forming or even merely checking in and encouraging others can provide a much needed positive focus to help retain those online clients long term.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in January 2021 and has been updated to give you up-to-date information.

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