It’s no secret that people perform certain tasks better in groups. Sociologists have studied group vs. individual performance, and, more often than not, people in certain groups outperform those who participate individually. Group fitness vs. individual exercise is one example of this.
If you’re a gym owner who offers group fitness classes, you need to take advantage of all the benefits you may not even know you’re offering! To fully harness the power of group fitness classes in your gym, try these tips. Your members will be happy and your gym will benefit!
Participation in groups acts as a natural spur to increase effort. The presence of a group will also increase members’ energy, thereby sharpening mental and physical responses; however, these factors can either help or hurt group fitness classes.
A smart gym owner knows that competitiveness backfires when group members feel they are being compared to each other. Those who feel backed into a “me against them” corner will be less likely to return. If your retention in group classes is not good, it’s time to create a feeling of community.
This can be done by instructors who:
- Arrive early to class and stay afterwards to answer questions.
- Move around the floor during workouts and offer a quiet word of encouragement, praise, or a mild correction, all with a friendly smile.
- Verbally reinforce that each member is valued regardless of their fitness level and that success depends on mutual support.
- Know each class member by name and use their names once or twice per session.
- Notice people who miss class frequently and ask for feedback.
- Pay special attention to new members and engage with them after class to express interest in their fitness goals.
To revamp your group fitness classes, change it up. There are a couple of easy ways to do this:
- Self-analyze: are you stuck in a workout rut? Do you rely too heavily on cycling, yoga or Zumba groups? One way to excite interest in your gym is to tap into the national scene. Group classes change and evolve. People in your area are aware of the newest trends. They will be looking for gyms that offer cutting-edge workouts.
Cardio boxing and cardio kickboxing are great classes to offer! These classes are essentially martial arts without the “martial” aspects – students will kick and punch training bags, but they’ll never have to worry about sparring with other students. This makes them ideal classes for all ages, genders and fitness levels to work together in.
- Take a different route. A large part of your community is not served by the mainstream gym industry. You could try group classes for post-pregnancy women, children or seniors. A little creative imagination will reveal great opportunities for additional groups.
Offering a class for wheelchair users could be one way to set your gym apart.Do you know that almost 20 percent of the United States population is dealing with one type of disability or another? This is another large pool of untapped potential. You’ve got an entire population of individuals who would love to benefit from your gym. And don’t neglect professionals who serve those with disabilities; rehabilitation fitness trainers often partner with gyms to offer special group fitness classes. Your state’s Office on Disability and Health can provide resources to include individuals with disabilities in gym fitness groups. They can explain your start-up needs for widening doors and installing ramps. The cost is generally not prohibitive and you can recoup your investment through increased memberships.
Although all gyms want to generate new business and retain current members, some are surprisingly lax when it comes to using social media. If you aren’t comfortable with this venue, hire someone who can put it together for you. Blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and more are excellent ways to attract new members and provide valuable resources to your existing members. Finally, don’t forget to offer promotions periodically and advertise them on social media.
By using these simple tips, you will retain a solid community of group members, attract new people by developing popular group classes and draw attention to your gym through the use of social media. Don’t wait to power up your advantage over gyms with group fitness classes. Work your way to a higher level of revenue and build a strong fitness community today!