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Exercise enthusiasts coming to your fitness facility no longer seek to blend-in to the back of a large group exercise class in one multi-purpose room. According to Elsa Williams, the director of membership and engagement at the YMCA of Greater San Antonio, space for functional fitness training is the key to accommodating all fitness levels.

“There are many health-seekers and fitness enthusiasts looking for an environment and workout similar to what can be found at a CrossFit center, without the competitive aspect,” said Williams. “Small group activities foster a team approach with a tribe mentality.”

Supplying members with this environment and enabling them to develop a tribe mentality results in numerous benefits for not only members, but for your community rec center as well. It encourages member retention, as well as fulfills what your rec center sets out to provide — which is a place for healthy living.

Within functional fitness training classes, it’s important to be mindful of varying levels of fitness, ages and genders. “The break from traditional training toward functional fitness through small-group and group exercise is encouraging and indicates a more savvy clientele,” said Williams. “Active older adult group fitness is on the rise as the boomer-plus populations increase in size.”

In order to be inclusive to all, Williams emphasizes the importance of having a variety of classes at all times and days of the week. “That yoga is still on the rise is surprising and another indicator of the staying power of formats that are inclusive and accommodating,” she said.

To refresh your programming, you don’t always need to start over or completely renovate. Williams offers reasonable solutions to keeping up with fitness trends. “Rethink the use of your indoor and outdoor space to host different classes and repurpose or acquire equipment that can be easily installed or transferred,” she suggested.

At her Y, Williams has enjoyed an overwhelmingly positive response to the shift to this type of fresh and creative programming. “It is encouraging to see classes address the needs of our entire member base comfortably, while also providing a setting for relationship building,” she said.

Brittany Howard

Brittany is the editor of Community Rec Magazine. Reach her at brittany@peakemedia.com.

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