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“If You Build It, He (They) Will Come.”

If You Build It, He (They) Will Come.

A famous line from the movie Field of Dreams. If you are unfamiliar with it, you are missing out:

The last scenes from the movie are the best, but I won’t spoil it. Beneath one of the greatest sports movies is a great life lesson: believe in your dreams. I think it particularly relates to those of us growing our own business. As fitness professionals, we need to be on our toes, constantly thinking of innovative ways to get people to move.

They Will Move!

Wouldn’t you like to get parents and children to move? It is a family unit after all, and studies show that people are more successful at weight loss if their support system is “on board!” Does your facility have any personal training programs for youth and parents? Had you ever considered this idea?

Suggestion: If you have an idea, plan it out, present it to your club manager, take initiative, and see if it takes off. Here’s your opportunity. Grab a pen and paper. Think of some programs you do not offer. You have 30 seconds to write down some class names, GO!

Personal Training for Youth & Parents

Time is up! What did you come up with? Mommy & Me (for babies), Boot Camp Buddies, Teen Torcher, Family Fitness, etc. Any of these can become small group training classes (6 – 8 people) or a fitness class (8+ people). If it takes off, you will gain at least one parent and one child per class, and extra revenue!

There are many formats to teach these classes. Consider the following styles when creating your classroom:

  1. Personal Training – Any format goes, but one-on-one attention is best. This works great for small group training sessions.
  2. Partner Training – Maybe the family wants to work out in a more personal environment. Offer parent/youth partner sessions at a special rate! If you have a private area of the gym, use it!
  3. Circuit Training – This is a timed format that could include Tabata style training. It could also include staying at one station for 1 minute, followed by 30 seconds rest. This is great for medium size classes, but can be harder to manage in larger groups. Consider drawing exercises on construction paper at each station.
  4. Boot Camp – Every person will participate in exercises at the same time, or in teams. It could also include newer exercises that are “flashier” like kettle bells, tire-flipping, or ropes.
  5. Sports Conditioning – These types of classes include sports movement with sports props (ladders, hurdles, tires, kettles, weights) and incorporate agility, power, balance, as well as many other forms of functional training. You may even provide a scrimmage at the end of this class. Parents vs. Youth, anyone?!
  6. Teacher Lead Choreographed Instruction – Most often thought of as a group exercise class, with you providing a choreographed or free-style workout, to the beat of the music.
  7. Student Lead Instruction – How about making it more interactive where the youth get to learn a little about fitness! Have youth or parents who want to lead an exercise do so, and the other participants can choose what body part you are working.

No matter which style you choose, remember to provide an appropriate warm-up (dynamic in nature), cardiovascular and strength components, and a proper cool-down (3-5 minutes), followed by some static stretches during the recovery!

Setting Prices & Schedule:

So you have your idea, now it is time to figure out rates and schedule. Typically price depends on the amount of people you are training per hour. The more people participating, the cheaper you can offer your classes. Partner training and small group training rates should almost match personal training rates. Feel free to offer a small discount for first time sign ups to get people through the door (5-15%). Offering a greater deal only decreases the value of the other services you offer. As for schedule, remember that you are working with students. After school (2:30pm – 7pm) or weekends are the best time to offer these types of sessions!

What are you waiting for? You determine your clientele. Be W.I.T.S., be innovative!

Paulette Kowalski, MS ATC cPT



  1. movie: Field of Dreams, 1989.
  2. Carol Kennedy-Armbruster and Mary M. Yoke, Methods of Group Exercise Instruction, 3rd Ed., Human Kinetics, 2014. Chapter 4.


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1 thought on ““If You Build It, He (They) Will Come.”

  1. Wow this is exactly the kind of detailed information that we all need to reformulate our approach and business model. Childhood obesity needs us to step up and engage. Let’s go….

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