The plight of small group personal training in 2014

Small Group Personal Training (and I) Owe 2014 To You.

No, seriously.  Whether you’re currently a personal training client, boot camp or weight loss challenge participant or have been one in the past, you’re a part of the reason why we’re here today.   Even if you’ve just read some of our stuff, talked about us to someone or done nothing at all but read this far into this post, I mean it.  You’re helping create awareness with every workout, every mention, every activated neuron in that beautiful head of yours.

60 lbs weight loss

Sometimes weight loss results come from smart work, not just hard work.

Let me explain further why you’re to thank for small group personal training:

If you were once with us and left, that forced me to sit down and think deeply about why you did.  About what we could do to make Bonza better so the next person would want to stay forever.  When you stayed, that gave me the chance to show you different ideas, to brainstorm with you and let you them give me the thumbs up or thumbs down.  I’ll say it because you’re too nice to – it hasn’t been all smooth sailing.  We’ve gained some good people but lost a few as well.

It might be an exaggeration to compare running a personal-training focused fitness studio to a battlefield, but let’s put it this way.  Every time I look out at the clubs and studios that are making headlines, it gives me the strength to keep fighting.

Because Bodylab shut down.   They had a great nutrition program (like we do) and got great results (like we do) but couldn’t make it work.

Chi Fitness changed hands.  Became a house divided – where workouts once met yoga, the innovative concept eventually sputtered out.

Orange Theory Fitness grew exponentially but in a different direction than what made them effective in the first place.

All of these studios have or did have the chance to be game changers, but they all shied away from the small group concept  they were borne of and went with something different. The closest thing left to a dedicated small group training experience is Pearl Street Fitness (who do a great job – theirs is a little larger than our class sizes and with a different movement philosophy, but do a great job at what they want to be good at, which I salute).

Running a small group personal training fitness studio is worth every minute of effort.

liz smiling

This is Liz. She’s holding a ViPR. Just one of many functional training tools/devices of torture that took off in 2014

So don’t get me wrong, the battlefield I’m talking about isn’t with other studios.

It’s with the crystal clear view I see and the battle to get other clubs and trainers to save this concept before it gets overlooked altogether.

Which is that people need attention.

They need to be able to go to whatever workout they want to with whatever trainer is there and get a personalized experience.  Are we at a place where I’m happy with it yet?  No.  But I’m hard to please.  And we’re getting there.  We’re closer every month.

Sorry, where are my manners!  Let me get off my soapbox for a moment.

That’s better.  (deep breath)

Happy Holidays to you from Bonza and all of our personal training staff.

Of course, I’m hoping when you read ‘happy holidays’, you’ll insert your religious/seasonal/solstice-based celebration of choice to that, sparing me the awkwardness of getting it wrong and feeling angst about my ignorance when it comes to knowing what to say.  What’s that?  I know, right?  Thanks for understanding.

christmas tree zoomed

Tihis cool zoom out effect helps me understand what LSD must feel like…

So when I look back at the year that was, a lot seems to have happened.  It’s actually kinda dizzying, both for me personally as a personal trainer and fitness professional, and for Bonza Bodies as a club coming into a level of it’s own finally after many transformations and reorganizations.

We won a few awards for personal training, one for boot camp, spoke at a few events and got seen on TV about a million times it feels like.  The funniest thing is that the thing I’m most excited about is the place Bonza is at right now.  We’ve got members that have stuck with us, managers that have been resilient even when I’ve loaded endless projects upon their sh9ulders.  A couple of new faces and new game plans that have me giggling (yes, giggling) about what 2015 will hold for us.

So thanks.  For being a part of a movement to get clubs to pay better attention to you and not accept it when they say “Oh, you want personal attention?  Trainers corner is over there.  Don’t forget to budget the thousand dollars per month you’ll need to afford it!  PS Nutrition is extra”

We’re not where we want to be.  But we’re getting there.  And it’s in big part thanks to you.

Here’s to you – have a happy and safe holiday season, you butthead.

Be true to your goals,

Jamie Atlas

Sarah's new personal trainer Rex seemed adamant she finish her set before moving on.

Sarah’s new personal trainer Rex seemed adamant she finish her set before moving on.

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