CONTENT BROUGHT TO YOU BY: Core Health & Fitness
The popularity boom in high-intensity interval training (HIIT) should be encouraging for facilities that have recently just adopted HIIT or are looking to host an original HIIT program. Tapping into the HIIT market can be a great source of revenue. However, the rise in HIIT programs also means it is more important than ever to distinguish yourself against a backdrop of hundreds of similar programs.
The key to engaging members and carving out your space in a competitive market may just be the competition itself.
Member engagement is the lifeblood of a fitness facility. It improves retention and member satisfaction, creates positive interactions between members and staff, and can significantly boost word-of-mouth recruitment of new members. When done properly, HIIT programs have been known to successfully engage members in a way that exceeds many other forms of programming, as is evident in the rise of CrossFit and similar gyms. Understanding the qualities of a good program that contributes to member engagement can help you create a successful HIIT program.
Competition is an incredible tool that, for members, can encourage goal setting, progress tracking, accountability and offer positive reinforcement to keep them returning to better themselves. Few things get people fired up as much as good competition, and there are many effective ways to add competition to your program in a manner that excites and motivates members, builds community and allows members to track and visualize their progress. The intensity behind HIIT workouts lends itself to competition. If that wasn’t evident enough, CrossFit started as a simple fitness methodology, and from that came an entire sport with its own televised international championship.
The simplest form of competition that can be utilized in HIIT is encouraging participants to compete against themselves. Use markers, score boards, fitness trackers or whatever tools you have available. Just make sure participants have a visible and accurate means to keep score and record themselves.
When programs emphasize measurable results, any athlete who is repeating a workout will be competing with their score from the previous time they performed the workout. An example would be the classic CrossFit workout Fran, which is 21-15-9 reps for time of pull-ups and 95-pound barbell thrusters. The workout is timed, and when performing the workout, an athlete will compete with themselves to beat their previous time.
It is important to foster a class community that pushes all members to reach personal bests, as well as recognizes the achievements of each member. This is regardless of how small the achievement. Recognition from instructors and fellow classmates encourages and motivates members, fosters community and promotes communication. This makes the course rewarding for the participants, and they will keep coming back to try and beat their previous scores.
Sometimes just performing exercises in a group environment can evoke a form of competition.
If all athletes are performing the same workout at the same time, they will purposely, or inadvertently, be competing with one another. Using Fran as an example again, one athlete performing the workout next to another athlete can see when they are transitioning exercises and may push themselves to either stay with or beat the other person in the class. Many athletes will find someone that closely matches their fitness level and perform the workout next to them so that they will push one another.
Individual scores can also be used to fuel competition between class participants. However, more care is required when structuring a class this way. Understand that not every participant will be at the same fitness level. If handled poorly, pitting participants against each other can be a deterrent for some. Save this type of competition for more advanced programs, or advertise and structure a separate class specifically for this type of competition.
The last and possibly most powerful form of competition is group competition. By creating teams, skill and fitness levels can average out, allowing for closer matches. The desire to help the team gives members the external motivation to work hard and stay engaged. Team-based competition encourages interaction between members that helps build community within the facility. When members create bonds and give each other positive feedback, it dramatically improves their experience and, consequently, improves member retention.
For larger teams, workouts can be structured so that one athlete has to perform the task at a specific station before the next athlete can start that task. The team would move sequentially through the stations until everyone completes the prescribed work. An example workout could be 25 box jumps, 25 calories on the AirFit, 25 sit-ups and a 25-foot walking lunge for time. A team of four would need to complete the workout sequentially. Team member No. 1 would start at the box jumps. After completion, they would move on to the AirFit. Team member No. 2 couldn’t start the box jumps until team member No. 1 had finished their 25 reps. All team members would move through the workout in this manner until all four had complete the 25 reps at each station.
HIIT is a competitive market. However, by providing a fun, engaging and competitive HIIT environment for your members, they will not only return week after week to participate, but they also will bring their friends, their energy and help build a powerful HIIT community at your club. These benefits are a win for both the facility and the participants involved.
Core Health & Fitness is the world’s fifth-largest marketer and distributor of commercial fitness products to health clubs, community recreational centers, hotels, government, educational facilities and more. Core markets its products under the Star Trac, StairMaster, Schwinn and Nautilus brands. Headquartered in Vancouver, Washington, Core employs more than 400 people worldwide and serves a global customer base. Core maintains sales and engineering service offices throughout the United States (Vancouver, Washington; Irvine, California; Independence, Virginia, as well as in the United Kingdom (High Wycombe); Germany (Munich); Spain (Barcelona); and Brazil (Sao Paulo). Core operates its primary warehouse locations in the United States, the Netherlands and China. For more information on HIIT programming solutions, visit www.corehandf.com/SHIIT.