CONTENT BROUGHT TO YOU BY: Star Trac
Group exercise. Inspirational music, classes full of people with common goals and best of all—variety. It is what keeps people moving, and the demand for fresh, exciting classes is only growing stronger. With all of the programming options available, it is hard to know which trends will catch on and which ones will have five minutes of fame. As a facility owner, it is important to stay on top of trends without making poor investments. There is a solution: Revamp your existing equipment for a fun, invigorating class that will have people training like pros.
Which existing equipment are we talking about? Only the most common cardiovascular equipment on the market—the treadmill. Treadmills continue to be a staple on any cardio deck, taking up more space as a single product category than any other type of cardio. Everyone knows how to run or walk, which makes the treadmill an approachable product for exercisers of any level. But, far too often, exercisers push "quick start" so that they can get running when there are so many innovative features that can help achieve better results. It's time that we get more out of our tried and true treads.
Treadmill classes are regaining popularity in boutique and full commercial facilities after their first initial phase of interest in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Exercisers of all fitness levels and abilities are able to participate in treadmill-based classes and are able to maximize the time they would normally spend in the cardio room. Not only will your members be engaged throughout the class, but they also can take what they learn and apply it the next time they are in the cardio room outside of class. Treadmill-based classes teach members to go beyond quick start and understand the benefits of intervals and incline.
It is important for the treadmills dedicated for the classes to have speed keys on the display. We have all been there, pressing the up or down button like mad to change speeds. In treadmill-based fitness classes, changing of speed is key and happens often throughout class. Speed keys on the display make it easy for both the instructor and the participants to change speeds at the touch of a single button making the class run extremely smooth (pun intended). Are personal built-in fans on each unit a must have? Ask a class participant half-way through class and they will say, "Absolutely!" Find a manufacturer who believes that built-in fans are standard for your treadmill-based classes, and your members will thank you.
Your facility may already be perfectly set up to house treadmill-based classes. Most cardio decks have a line or two of treadmills so all you have to do is dedicate a group of treads to be used for classes and make sure there is ample room for the instructor to walk in front of and in-between the treads so that each participant gets some one-on-one attention. The ideal size for a treadmill class is less than 20 students. It is important for the instructor to understand the fitness levels of each participant and keep a watchful eye throughout the class for participants who may be lost or struggling.
Most classes are 30 minutes long, which is the standard time limit on cardio pieces during peak hours so classes would not be interrupting usual traffic. Just be sure to have good signage for your members. There is a strategy behind scheduling your group exercise classes. Spend time looking at the traffic patterns in certain areas of your facility.
Do you notice early morning cardio moms coming in for a mid-day yoga class or heavy strength traffic when school and work hours are over? It is best to match up classes to the traffic flow. The key is to make it easy for people to join in on a class, not have them rearrange their schedule to attend the class.
There are a few times a day when treadmill-based classes would work best: early morning for people to start their day on track and after work hours for people to run off the stress of their day. Scheduling the classes during these times will make it convenient for members to sign up and maximize their cardio workout.
Encourage your members to continue on their fitness journey by providing them with new classes on familiar equipment that boost them toward their goals.
Sonja Friend-Uhl is the lead master trainer of Star Trac. She can be contacted at 800-228-6635 or by email at [email protected].