Health & Fitness Tips from Australia's Personal Training Professionals
Group Training

Group Training

Annie Crawford

“Everyone is motivated by different things. Group training is a big motivation, with lots of people around you with a range of abilities who are supporting and pushing you.”

Group training is different to training individuals on a one-on-one basis. Those who train others in a group often report that working in a team can really help to motivate their clients because of the combined vibe. When training in a group, encouragement from a specialised personal trainer or workout mates can be a key factor in keeping people on track.

Annie Crawford knew all about the benefits of group training sessions, so in 2003, she decided to do something different with her life set up Can Too, which is a business helping people to get fit and healthy, whilst raising money for Cure Cancer Australia.

Can Too is a place that provides a fun and safe environment to train in, with lots of support along the way. Participants in these group training sessions get professional coaching to help them to meet their goals, with advice on everything from training and nutrition to gear and race strategy.

Through group fitness, Annie continues to believe in her dream of fun, fitness, friends and fundraising.

1 What inspired you to start a business focused on group training?

I wanted to combine my passion for health and fitness with an opportunity to give back to the community. My father died of cancer when he was 51. I felt that it would be wonderful to raise money for cancer prevention so that others may not lose their parents in the say way I did.

2 What did you study and how has your career path evolved?

My career path has been a little mixed in some ways as I initially studied social work at Sydney University. I followed this through to a career in mental health, sexual assault counselling and domestic violence before moving to Switzerland where I taught English as a second language.

I moved again, this time to the USA where I studied human resources. However, after moving back to Australia about 10 years ago, I set up a place for group training, Can Too. I have learnt so much about all aspects of running a business from the ground up. It’s also amazing to see it grow from one small training pod of seven to thousands of groups all working towards getting fit and healthy.

3 How does group training help to motivate people?

With group training, you can still enjoy physical exercise within a group, which helps to challenge you both physically and mentally. Group exercise is also more fun than exercising alone, allowing you to make friends along the way.

4 Do you find the added incentive of raising money for cancer also keeps people motivated and inspired to get fit?

Everyone is motivated by different things. For some people, raising money is clearly a reason as they feel accountable to the people who have sponsored them. However, group fitness is also a big motivation, with lots of people around you with a range of abilities who are supporting you and pushing you on throughout your training.

5 What does group training usually consist of?

Run program – We run two professionally coached group sessions per week, one at the track where we practise interval training and test core strength, followed by a distance run on Saturdays.

Swim program – We have a group pool session midweek and a surf session on Saturday, which teaches you about techniques for open water swimming.

Triathlon program – We hold four group sessions per week, which includes bike, pool, open water and track sessions.

6 What characteristics do you look for when employing a fitness professional?

We need people who have lots of technical knowledge and fit into the group training culture to inspire, motivate, empower and support people.

We also want people who have the ability to understand that everyone’s goals are different, which will help motivate and support them to achieve their best. For some, their goal will be to get faster, fitter, stronger and to beat last year’s time.

Are you interested in getting into the fitness industry? Hear more real life stories from industry professionals here.

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Jess Robinson

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Phil McKay