Operations: Don’t Be Afraid of Programming Adjustments

shutterstock_114481309Programming can make or break a fitness facility. The challenge is to evaluate the membership base and implement programming for both group exercise and small group training that will not only keep the members enjoying their current fitness routine, but also spark interest in new styles of fitness.

It is our job as fitness professionals to be on the lookout for new and fresh programs that keep the atmosphere exciting, while generating new memberships for the club. This process is much more difficult than it seems. In theory, if there is a new fitness trend, you should be able to find a program that is based around that trend.

For example, Zumba took the world by storm and that spawned hundreds of other “dance” oriented fitness classes and styles of training. The difficult part of this process is knowing which programs would be a good fit for your club and which programs are best left for others to experiment with. It is understandable that when polling the members, you are inviting a whirlwind of complaints and suggestions that are impossible to accommodate, but it also gives you a glimpse into what the members are talking about with each other and the community.

Think about introducing master classes into the group exercise schedule monthly. Research which new programs are having success at some of the top facilities in the nation and invite guest instructors to showcase the latest trends, making sure to get participants’ feedback.

Do not be afraid, and be willing to make adjustments to your schedule that will allow for new programming. A stale and unattended group exercise or small group training schedule can lead to disinterest and translate into retention issues as members start to perpetuate that “blah” attitude towards the programming offered.

Be adventurous, try different times for classes and most of all, take risks.


Gavin Reath is a personal training director for Meridian Fitness & Wellness.

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