Vicki Hatch-Moen, the group fitness coordinator at The SeattleGYM in Seattle, Washington, recognized that one of the reasons people join gyms, and stay at gyms, is for the group fitness classes. “Group fitness gives the member a community feeling,” said Moen.
That is why she and her business partner, Autumn Skeel, created two models for the Tabata workout at their gym. The first model is for large group fitness and the second model is for small group training sessions capped at four to eight participants. Moen explained both models are based off the Tabata protocol of 20-seconds hard workout, 10-second rest for eight rounds.
Tabata and HIIT style classes have increased in popularity, due to the results they can provide. In fact, even though The SeattleGYM charges extra for the small group Tabata class, it has proved to have staying-power. “We created a small group training program so we could offer more fitness options for our members, reducing their need for multiple gym and studio memberships — one for barre, one for Pilates, one for bootcamp, etc. — saving them money, and generating revenue for The SeattleGYM,” said Moen.
Ultimately, the small group opportunities allow The SeattleGYM to offer their clients more variety in their workout programs. Not only does that keep exercise exciting, but Moen said it also reduces the risk of injury and boredom.
As for Tabata, Moen said people are attracted to it because it’s just an efficient workout. “Members love it because there is no time wasted with our class design and interval timed music,” she said.
In addition to following the traditional Tabata regime, through her Total Body Tabata program, which she is the co-founder and master trainer of, Moen has introduced strength work to the workout. So it’s common to see members doing push-ups, or even see dumbbells on the ground as you step into the small group studio room.
The club has even programmed the music to follow the Tabata count. So there is no intimidating clock in the room, counting down until the next rest or the next workout. Instead, the music tells you when the next workout has come. “We’re not using a stopwatch, the music is telling us when to start and stop. I would say it is one of the most popular programs at our gym,” said Moen.