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Group Training Versus Personal Training!

Updated: May 23, 2021

Summer versus winter

Capitalism versus communism

Carlton versus Collingwood

Atheism versus religion

Group Training versus Personal Training

Whilst I’m certainly not qualified (or interested) in dissecting the first four topics on this list, I definitely feel qualified and informed enough to answer the final one.

I first started training people ‘one-on-one’ in 2006 after leaving an eight year stint in the Army, the final three years of which was as an Army Physical Training Instructor (PTI).

My Personal Training days where I exclusively spent my time training one-on-one clients went from 2006 - 2013. It was a time of great learning for me where I underwent continuous education, both formal and ‘in the trenches’ with the great learning that comes from training clients day in, day out.

It was in that time that the large group training model really evolved. It went from a choreographed, Les Mills type base (Spin, Pump and Aerobic class style), into more of a quasi Strength & Conditioning style product.

This was actually far more in line with what I had done with most my coaching hours as an Army PTI.

In that role we were responsible for the physical and psychological preparation of soldiers, getting them ready for the rigours of the role they had to serve in both peace and war time.

95% of that training was done training groups of 20-30 soldiers at a time.

Being so well versed in the delivery of group training protocols, I watched keenly as the movement gathered momentum on ‘Civvy street’ (that’s the civilian world for non military types who don’t understand that term). I knew that this style of training had great utility for many people.

Provided that the trainee is starting from a point of being relatively un-injured and not too deconditioned, there’s so much you can do and so much value that can be delivered.

Had I of been more business savvy at the time maybe I would’ve capitalized on the massive untapped potential that particular business model had that others smarter than I went on to make a fortune from.

Unique Value Proposition (UVP).

UVP is a business term used to describe essentially ‘what’s good/unique about the thing you sell’.

The UVP for group training programs was/is that it leverages the fact that one-on-one Personal Training has a fair bit of redundant time and lots of small talk between sets.

It allows a group of people to train under the supervision of a Personal Trainer, without paying the same hourly price tag, and lets them access more frequent training for less investment of dollars.

For many, many people this is a great equation.

Personal Trainers on average will charge anywhere between $75-$150 per hour.

To get best results, you need to be seeing your trainer a minimum of two sessions per week (and then doing more sessions on your own that they’ll prescribe).

This can obviously add up to a ‘fair whack of the wallet’.

Now for the person that’s looking to train 4-6 times per week, preferably with a trainer and who has no ‘issues’ that would require on-on-one attention, groups are a great option.

You essentially get to do a full week’s worth of training for less than the investment of just one single PT session.

(It’s at this point that all the PT’s who do exclusively one-on-one sessions will be yelling the house down with all the stuff you DON’T get in a group training environment).

Yeah, yeah, I get it.

I too was a one-on-one trainer for a long time and I definitely see the value. All things being equal in the skill set of the trainer and money not being an issue, Personal Training is definitely a superior product.

The PT will individualise your program, you’re getting their undivided attention, they can work with you more closely on your nutrition and attendance and the whole experience is all about you.

It really is the ‘Rolls Royce’ of fitness experiences and if budget ain’t an issue for you, then I’d definitely recommend it.

But, if budget is an issue and your driving need is for a good daily movement practice.

To keep you fit, lean, strong and healthy.

Something that’s structured and supervised.

Something with progressions programmed in for long term improvement.

Something that’s motivating and fun.

Then group training programs are a great option.

The finer details you’ll get when you do PT are obviously not quite there, but neither is the price tag.


Both of these fitness products are well worth the respective price tags they carry. Both of them can be a good solution to the problem you may need solved. In deciding which one will work best for you, it’s worth working out EXACTLY what your problem to solve is. Do you need the one-on-one accountability, planning and expert guidance that comes with having a PT? Or do you just need a motivating and challenging workout each day that can be achieved via a group training program? Answer these questions and you’ll be well on your way to answering the headline of this blog.

About the Author

Daniel Lowry is the owner and operator of GTT Performance Centre. He has nearly 18 years industry experience both as a one-on-one Person Trainer, and also in designing and delivering group training programs. He believes in a training approach that reduces risk factors for chronic disease, and improves quality of life along the way. Dan has mentored and developed hundreds of Personal Trainers as well as working with thousands of clients. He believes passionately in the value of regular folk working directly with a PT, regardless of if it’s one-on-one or part of a group training program.

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