Boutique fitness studios have figured out how to acquire new customers at an astounding rate. Successful studios have three key things in common: they provide a sense of community, the classes are fun and effective, and they are innately trendy. Group fitness can and should be positioned in the same way.
When deciding which classes to offer on a group fitness schedule, management should pay special attention to the few providers that focus on specifically training their instructors to build community in their classes. Group fitness providers should offer training in engagement, in addition to form and technique.
Additionally, classes with brand recognition outside of the gym world can also act as an acquisition tool, and more often than not, come with a pre-existing community to leverage. Don’t get too caught up in what is already working in the gym. Instead, focus on what is going to bring in new people.
Studios excel at finding the balance between effective yet fun workouts. Group fitness programming needs to do the same. Offering classes that are smart, effective and push attendees to work a little harder will provide them with a sense of accomplishment. But keep in mind, even after the toughest workout, people should be walking out with a smile on their faces or they likely won’t be coming back again.
As long as group fitness classes are innovative, they can compete with the innately trendy studios. If a class is the same as it was 10 years ago, it’s time to find another provider of programming. Science evolves, interests change and bodies need to be challenged in different ways. One advantage community rec centers have over niche studios is the ability to provide a variety of classes that will keep an individual engaged throughout their fitness journey.
Studios may be the biggest disrupter in the industry right now, but community centers can and will adapt to thrive in this marketplace by focusing on their group fitness programming. With many competing providers out there, remember to find the classes that are innovative, inclusive, and inspiring.