Would you help me settle a bet?
Do (or would) Personal Trainers make good Indoor Cycling Instructors? I say yes, the coaching style of a Personal Trainer would work very well in an Indoor Cycling 2.0 classâ„¢. A Personal Trainer at my club says no, Personal Trainers should focus on individuals and leave the groups to us Instructors.
So I bet him lunch that I was right and I would let my community at ICI/PRO decide through this short 7 question anonymous survey.
My PT friend and I were discussing what we both agree is an invisible wall that separates Group Fitness & Cycling from Personal Training. It maybe different where you teach, but I don't see very many Personal Trainers teaching Aerobics classes or leading cycling classes. Other than small group /boot camp classes, I don't see much group interaction at all.
Why is that? Rather than guess I have an optional question on the survey where you can let me know your thoughts.
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Well, I have <> actual experience of attempts to encourage this PT to group ex. crossover.
Back when I was teaching down on LI, management at one of the gym chains that I worked for decided that it would be a good idea to have the PTs become familiar with group ex. instruction (with what I imagine to be the goal of squeezing us group ex. instructors out of the payroll burden) I suddenly had a whole slew of PTs in my classes in addition to them appearing in our training workshops.
It never took off.
There are likely multiple exceptions to my generalisation but I perceive what I’ve always called a “proximity bias” among personal trainers. It’s certainly not an invisible wall…….they stick to the free weights/machines etc and avoid any of the other equipment but for “warm-up” For the most part, the majority of personal trainers I know tend to be from the ranks of “weight training”, tend to call anything that resembles endurance training as “cardio” and generally dismiss anything of a group ex. format as beneath their dignity……until they find that they can’t hack anything that’s sustained for longer than a few minutes.
I think personal trainers are much more comfortable with one-on-one interaction and have a really hard time with being unable to microcontrol a group in a way that we take for granted…….or maybe it’s that they like to be able to tell without the doing. There’s a real big difference between demonstrating *a* squat or *a* push-up (and then checking your text messages) etc. and working along with a group to demonstrate intensity.
I think Vivienne nailed it John. When I was Chief Fitness Officer at Club One Fitness, we attempted to eliminate the boundaries between PT and GX for the obvious benefit of cross promotion. We even eliminated the term instructor and called everyone a trainer. You were either a Personal Trainer or a Group Trainer. The best and most advantageous to the company was someone who could do both. They could most easily take advantage of all the opportunities our club company could offer and build a lucrative career.
There were some trainers that emerged that were gifted enough to endure the academic rigors that many PT’s put themselves through while also being able to work with music, be comfortable in front of a room and learn the basics of indoor cycling. They were far and few between. The skill sets were too far apart. The notion faded overtime. The biggest deterrent was what you would imagine – working with 30 people at one time and making music an important part of the training session is different from what most PT’s would prefer to do.
In reality, I know more group ex. to PT crossovers than the other way around. NYSC (TSI chain) positively encouraged this….at least on LI……to the extent of subsidising NASM certification for every group ex. instructor teaching more than two classes a week.
In fact, all new hires had to take a “foundations” course. A whole weekend of seminar/workshop type of thing where the PTs were introduced to some of the group ex. formats and we did/received a bit of one-on-one instruction on the weight machines. Some of my group ex. colleagues were already working as PTs…..either at other gyms or with private clients…..and were able to take advantage of this crossover (I still had may practice at the time so wouldn’t have been able spare the time even if I had the inclination) Only one PT saw any opportunity for himself…..I don’t think the rest liked the indignity of sucking wind the way you do in, say, a group strength format (BodyPump-type class) where you’re using role model weight etc. He was actually my partner for the joint activities and had a background in dance anyway so it didn’t take too many hints from me that some group ex. classes would add to his financial bottom line. He never fancied tackling the IDC classes, though.
don’t think it’s an either or issue (black or white). it depends on the individual. IMHO – absolutely! reverse the question – can an indoor cycle instructor be an effective personal trainer? of course, why not?
I see 2 problems:
-First the compatiblitity:
Each one can do both “job” but for that theyr vision have to accept each other “job”.
How many PT just focus on weight and resistance training ?
How many Group exercise instructor admit that weight training and cardio training outside of a classe is a must be ?
None of them for the majority and for diverses reasons.
-Second money and profesionalism
To do both you need to have a lot of experience and skills.
Fitness industry for most of us do not rate really well. Most people working in the fitness industry do it as a second job or hobby. Would you spend more time in your second job or hobby than your the other one ? If you do so you can not stay competitive or are lucky to have a non demanding job …
Working as a PT and GInstructor requiere a LOT of time as the job are differents …
For those who work principaly in the fitness industry:
. is it duable to do both ?
. is it time effective ?
. is it financially viable ?
I do not thing so. Foccusing in 1 field you save time and energy so you make more income.
Now being good in both field is it possible ? Yes … No …
Why would someone do both ? That is the real question.
I must admit, Vivienne, Jim, Glenn and Pascal all make good points.
Vivienne points out that group exercise instructors crossover than the other way. That is my observation as well. Jim’s experience from the corporate view saw it as an experiment that did not work. Glenn rightly points out that there are some that can do both. Pascal ask’s why would someone do both?
The answer to Pascal’s question is – of course – to keep working. One can only teach so many IC or group classes a day. By sprinkling the far less physically demanding PT work into ones work day they can at least attempt to support themselves should they be among the few trying.
Yet this is not what we see. The obvious reason is that as a viable career with growth possibilities Personal Training or Group instruction just don’t measure up.
This is the industry we work in where the profits (if there are any) are going to those that took the risk.
So, John, that leaves your invisible wall. It seems obvious to me; they put the wall up to perpetuate and preserve their expensive relationship with their clients.
Lets face it John, if a PT sends their client to your IC class – which most likely cost the member nothing to participate in – and that client ‘likes’ it, guess what, the PT just lost a client to a ‘free’ class that provided sound fundamental instruction like heart rate training, power training and/or some cycle specific education. All at no extra cost to the member who can still go do lunges, pushups, pull ups, squats, bench presses and crunches on their own.
Sound like a really good reason to put up a wall to me. And that’s the way I see it.
I know a handful of GXIs (Group Exercise Instructors)
who are also Personal Trainers.
There are many talented people out there who can wear both hats. However I’m partial to teaching to a large group 18-30+
I tend to think that teaching to a roomful of folks is
MORE fun and over time, it’s second nature. Personal Trainers
are just a step from being GXIs. 🙂
Happy Holidays, ICI/Pros!!!!!