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Small Group Training: Personal training experience with a smaller price tag
Betty Conklin was already working out with personal trainer Sharon McGuire when she signed up for McGuire’s small group training class, “Better Bodies.”

Conklin, a 59-year-old retired teacher, still gets personal attention on form and physical challenges. The difference is the camaraderie.

“In a small group, when she says, ‘This is what we’re going to do now,’ you can say, ‘Oh really?’ and laugh, and you’ve got other people to laugh with you,” Conklin said. “It’s fun.”

Small groups are more affordable than one-on-one personal training, said Carol Teteak, fitness coordinator and personal trainer at Edward Health and Fitness. Members can save one-half to one-third of the cost by going with small group training.

“In the last five or six years, small group personal training has skyrocketed because the trainer is able to bring their expertise to more than one person, but the group is still controllable,” Teteak said. “It’s not group fitness, where you’re in my class on a Saturday morning and there are 80 of you.”

Rebecca Cremin, 47, a community college library coordinator, said she feels other people in the group are rooting for her. She also likes the variety of exercises, taking strength training all over the gym and incorporating cardio workouts.

She has taken “Better Bodies” for five years and leaves each class feeling stronger.

“I started doing plank” – non-yogis, think of staying in the “up” position of a push-up – “which is not my favorite thing because those exercises are hard, but I can do them longer than I used to, and I can do more,” Cremin said. “And as much as I hate them, push-ups, too – I can do more of them.”

McGuire said she started “Better Bodies,” a class for women only, because her personal training clients would say they felt intimidated by the weight room. If they made it in, they weren’t sure they were doing the exercises right.

In class, McGuire shows them how to use the free weights, strength bar, BOSU, TRX and more, and they often work in pairs. Then they get homework.

“Right now, it’s one day a week,” McGuire said. “I tell them, ‘You need to come back to the gym at least one more day a week.' … A lot of them will do this. They’ll come back, they’ll repeat what they did, they’ll have their worksheets in a folder, and they really like that.”

Ultimately, small group training familiarizes members with what the gym offers and what they’re capable of doing.

“They’ll come back and say, ‘I’ve never been in the weight room before, and now I’m not afraid to go in,’” she said.


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801 S. Washington, Naperville, IL 60540 • (630) 527-3000

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