What is the perfect group fitness schedule? Does it exist? Is it possible to make all your members happy? A group fitness schedule is a living document — always changing and evolving. It is definitely the most challenging aspect of any group fitness director’s job. Here are some helpful tips to ensure some success:
1. Be sure that members are well aware that the schedule is subject to change due to poorly attended classes or an instructor or seasonal change. This should be done regularly in group fitness memos to members.
2. Always think about your members’ benefit first. Schedule first, meaning what classes should go where based on variety and member results, etc. Then insert the best instructor for that class and time slot. Many times we cater to instructors who can only teach at a certain time and it potentially ruins the ebb and flow of the schedule or, in creating the best schedule to ensure the best results for our members.
3. The schedule is a piece of art. It should look beautiful both on the website and in print. Make it fun to read, have positive information and a great vibe to it. Think about adding a guest pass to the schedule that members can cut out for their friends. It’s a great way to get a buddy referral. Make sure your descriptions are to the point and accurate.
4. Have a large size of the schedule posted at the door of, or close to, each group fitness room.
5. Mix up your schedule with plenty of variety and teach members the power and benefits of trying different classes. If there are different classes offered in the same timeslots throughout the week it will encourage members to experience different ways to train, and enhance their results. This should be discussed in the schedule and during group fitness orientations.
6. Sometimes less is more. Avoid overcrowding your schedule with too much. It will become too confusing for the members.
7. Try to brand some of your classes to associate with the name of your club and your logo. It will help differentiate your schedule and your club.
8. Ensure that your instructors teach more than just one format. It’s important that all instructors are able to chip in and sub classes. It is so important for instructors to take other classes on the schedule so that when they sub a class they are familiar with the instructor and their style. This will help to avoid member disappointment when “their instructor” has subbed out a class.
9. Constantly check in and assess your schedule and success. Take classes and see how it feels on the schedule and in that time slot.
10. Give ample time to change classes. On the hour is way too difficult. Give enough time for members to enter and set up and leave so no one feels rushed.
11. Short 20, 30 and 45-minute classes are hot right now. Go for it.
12. Get rid of the title, “Aerobic Schedule.” Those days are over. I would rather call it a “With Oxygen Schedule.” The 80’s are over people. We are not aerobic instructors and we don’t call it the “aerobic room” or “aerobic class.” Be mindful of the names of your classes and how they are perceived.
13. Finally, always survey your participants to find out what could potentially be missing or where issues may lie that you are unaware of.
Lori Lowell is the President of Group Fitness Solutions, LLC, and owns 8 Fitness Facilities in Virginia and Wisconsin. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.