STAMFORD - At an hour when most alarm clocks and coffee pots are just coming to life, a growing group of people are getting the benefits of a personal trainer for free.

They meet at 5:30 a.m. one day a week at Underground Fitness in Stamford. Another group meets at the Stamford Athletic Club. Personal trainer and health coach Jill Franke leads, pushes and motivates them to complete the free, six-week "Lean in 2016" program. 

On the days that participants aren't in her class, Franke sends them messages about nutrition via email and social media.

"I start you out right. You get on the right path, and you're good to go," says Franke. 

Franke says she started the program when she became frustrated with misinformation in the health and fitness industry. She knows that her services are needed, but she understands that not everyone can afford a trainer.

Sandra Bonilla, of Stamford, is in Franke's program. Bonilla says she reached her goal weight after only a few weeks.

"It's not just about eating right or lifting weights or doing cardio," says Bonilla. "It's about a mixture of everything, and once you make that one step towards that lifestyle change, everything just kind of falls in place."

Franke plans to start the process again with a new group.