The relationships and results produced by group fitness programs can keep members coming back to your health club.
Sweating together in group training sessions creates a bond among regular participants that will keep them coming back. Photo courtesy of KettleWorX.
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Member retention, which is one of the most critical elements in the success of a fitness facility, is not developed through machines or dumbbells. It happens through relationships and results—two things that can be developed through group fitness.
When members work out with a trainer or in a group setting, they develop a relationship and rapport with the trainer and other regular participants that make it far less likely for them to leave. People who sweat together in these classes build relationships because they are all struggling to meet a consistent goal—which is to get more fit. This camaraderie offers them peer encouragement to come back and do it again. And when people see the same faces of people who become friends in their class, that class becomes a part of those members’ routine.
Once the class becomes part of their routine, it becomes much harder for them to give it up. Unlike members who only use equipment at the club, the connection the group creates will keep people coming back week after week because it is not something they can purchase and simply do at home.
Just like everything else, people want options, so it is important to offer various group training formats because that increases a facility’s ability to attract additional members and retain current members.
One crucial aspect to support successful group training classes is offering classes that feature the most up-to-date training techniques and meet the demands of members. Today, people juggle full schedules and are crunched for time. They want workouts that give them the biggest benefit for the amount of time spent. Traditionally, workouts such as personal training, group training and group fitness lasted one hour. Now, fitness facilities are experiencing demand for shorter group training workouts and for classes that incorporate cardio and strength training because combining the two offers the potential to burn more calories in a shorter time frame.
For example, classes such as kettlebell training that feature three-dimensional movements (using total body movements rather than single plan isolation movements) are being used more in group training classes. This is because kettlebell exercise moves assimilate moves that people make every day and recruit more muscles for each exercise while strength training.
Also, classes that use compound exercises (training several muscles at once) again engage more muscles, causing the body to work harder during each exercise while simultaneously increasing the heart rate. This combination allows participants to get a full workout in half the time.
Gyms are seeing an increase in popularity in group training classes that feature plyometric movements or moves that incorporate strength training and cardio because they have the ability to deliver intense workouts in a condensed amount of time.
Another crucial element to creating a successful group training program and creating bonds that will retain members is hiring trainers with dynamic and engaging personalities to lead your group training programs. For successful workouts and programs that retain members, instructors must have outgoing personalities and must be passionate about their training programs. Instructors that engage participants create a relationship with them that helps retain them.
The next step is ensuring that trainers and group leaders know the proper technique before teaching a class to ensure the safety of all members. Then, you need to get people to try the class. If the training techniques are sound and the trainer has an engaging, fun and motivating demeanor, the rest should take care of itself.
Laura Wilson, elite trainer and director of programming for KettleWorX, has been in the fitness industry for more than 12 years as an instructor, fitness manager, personal trainer and club owner. With a master’s in curriculum and instruction from Purdue University, she has developed freestyle programming and pre-choreography and designed and structured fitness programs at the club level. Wilson currently owns and operates Kiwi Fitness in Indianapolis. For more information on KettleWorX group training programs and how to secure KettleWorX in your facility, visit KettleWorX.com.