CONTENT BROUGHT TO YOU BY: Power Systems
Summertime. School is out, members are between vacations and you have probably noticed the average daily check-ins are down. Perhaps even your most popular group fitness classes aren’t pulling the same numbers as they used to. Although it is tough to compete with long summer days and the peak vacation season, there are still some adjustments that can be made to not only get your group fitness regulars excited but also to recruit some new attendees.
I know what you might be thinking: “Group fitness regulars don’t like change – AT ALL!” Although that might be true, if you let them know that change is coming and it is only seasonal, then they might look forward to what is in store. Also, remind them that changing their regular routine is great for achieving fitness goals. The summer months can be a good time to make a few adjustments to your group fitness schedule to increase attendance and maximize the group exercise studio’s space and time.
First, check out your average class attendance. Although you won’t want to disturb the most popular classes, look for the opportunities to turn a low attended time slot into a more popular class. It might even be as simple as changing a 60-minute class to two 30-minute back-to-back sessions that complement each other. (Read on for more details.)
Now that you have identified the areas of opportunity, check out the layout of the schedule.
The early-risers love a great 60-minute cardio class. Whether it is an indoor cycling class, a cardio boot camp or a high intensity step class, they will show up early and on a regular basis to get their sweat on. However, in an attempt to draw in a few people who might prefer an early morning 30-minute workout – so they can sleep in just a little - try a 30/30 split format class.
Cardio & Core, a 30-minute high intensity sweat session followed by 30 minutes of core training is one example. Another great back-to-back combination is cycle followed by yoga. What a great way to start the day. In either case, your regulars will still get the cardio they are looking for paired with a bit of strength or cross training for a great comprehensive workout.
Twenty and 30-minute classes are ideal for the lunch crowd. Start the classes a little before or after the hour to accommodate lunch schedules (i.e. 11:45 a.m., 12:15 p.m.). A cross-training circuit class is perfect for shorter class times to offer a one-stop solution for cardio, core and strength training. Consider staggering an express circuit with 30-minute yoga or Pilates sessions to promote active recovery between high-intensity workouts. For example, offer a cardio boot camp on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with an active recover option on Tuesdays and Thursdays with express Pilates or yoga.
Now you have a tool to recruit new attendees by advertising your new Fast Fitness Lunch Schedule"to nearby businesses. Take a walk around your neighborhood and stop into local office buildings to offer a personal invitation. Let them know that the new lunch fitness schedule was designed specifically with them in mind.
We all enjoy the extra hours of daylight in the summer months. Some people rush home after work to spend time outside with their families or to finish the yard work. This is another opportunity to look at the schedule to see where you can change a 60-minute evening class with low attendance to two 30-minute classes. Doing so will accommodate people who still want a quick, structured workout before they run home to take advantage of those long summer nights. Members who love the 60-minute time frame will stay for both classes and might even enjoy the new lineup.
If you aren’t quite ready to make changes to the schedule, there are still a few more things you can do to drive people to a class this summer.
- Family Class Pass. Allow school-aged children to attend classes with their parents for free during the summer months. Check your club’s minimum age requirement before advertising.
- Fun Fitness in the Sun. Start an outdoor boot camp on Saturday mornings or even early hours during the work week. Doing so will increase visibility of the activities offered in your club. Hosting the outdoor classes in the mornings before it gets too hot will be appealing as well.
- Summer School Class Pass. Offer a free week pass to "summer school" at your facility. Reach out to local businesses and leave copies of your current group fitness schedule or your new Express Lunch Fitness Schedule.
Increase group fitness class attendance this summer by offering seasonal options to meet the needs of your members and guests. Talk these ideas over with your team and see which ones might work best for your facility.
Elisabeth Fouts is a 10-year veteran in the fitness industry. She has served many roles from personal trainer/group fitness instructor to regional fitness manager. During that time, she also was responsible for hosting staff trainings on a variety of topics including membership sales and personal training programming. Fouts has a bachelor’s degree in exercise xcience and actively teaches four Les Mills group fitness programs. She serves as the education coordinator for Power Systems and is a senior coach/master trainer for PowerWave.