In order to encourage freestyle, Batuka uses intuitive instruction and a layering technique for choreography. Batuka provides all the layers, levels, progressions and regressions that the instructor needs. Over time, the instructors learn how to analyze movement so they can change the choreography.

Santander, a Grammy Award-winning musician, writes all the music for the classes so it fits with the choreography. Batuka sends instructors new classes quarterly, but instructors can receive mini updates every four weeks.

Of course, pre-choreographed programs come at a cost. Instructors often must pay a fee to get and stay certified. The club operators must buy a licensing fee and pay for new materials.

It is difficult to calculate the return on investment when classes are included in membership, but Russel says that the $10,000 per year that Spa 23 pays in licensing fees to BTS is well spent because it draws people into the gym, making them more likely to spend money on personal training, spa services and snacks.

The influx of group exercise companies has not radically changed prices, but Russel says that BTS aims to set itself apart by helping clubs successfully offer their classes with management coaches and an extensive library of downloadable marketing material. When new programs are released every quarter, Spa 23 uses these materials to launch marketing campaigns, something Russell says is impossible to do with freestyle classes.

Les Mills, one of the most established brands in the pre-choreographed market, also offers complimentary marketing and coaching services, says Steven Renata, CEO of Les Mills West Coast.

Les Mills is not overly concerned about the growing number of competitors in the pre-choreographed space.

“With new companies arising, new forms of exercise coming through, and a renewed focus on the consumer’s experience, it’s a great time to be involved [in group exercise],” Renata says. “The industry is responding to what consumers are after, and that’s vital if we’re going to get more people moving and motivated.”

Responding quickly to fitness trends introduced by other brands also is key to staying competitive in the expanding market. After witnessing the success of dance-based classes, Les Mills developed its own version. The company also is expanding into other markets, offering apparel, equipment and DVD workout programs for the home market in an effort to appeal to people who do not feel comfortable working out in gyms or other fitness facilities.

Pre-choreographed classes do not seem to be fading away anytime soon.

“I think it will continue to grow,” Davis says. “But I still feel that group classes where people are designing them themselves are also a mainstay in clubs. It’s just a matter of what the balance is in your club.”