The Cupid’s Arrow of Programming
Creating a successful group fitness program can often resemble a game of match making: will the members be attracted to the format? Will the instructors be willing to commit? Will both parties be loyal and determined to stick through changes?
In order to blend a perfect potion that satisfies member and instructor alike, it’s important to make sure both sides get what they want, and will be provided with what they need.
Four key considerations for creating your schedule of classes:
1. What type of classes are currently sold out? Are they sold out because of the format, the time, the instructor, or all three? For example, if there are three HIIT cycling classes on the schedule Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the same time and only one is sold out, it’s your instructor. Or, if you have cycling classes at 7 a.m., 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. and only the 12 p.m. is consistently full, it’s the time. Finally, if you had a Zumba class at noon that was sold out, then you switched it to sculpting at the same time with the same instructor, and attendance plummets, it’s the format.
2. A good instructor can almost always overcome an unpopular format and time, but a good format and time with a poor instructor will never be sold out.
3. An unhappy member will speak 10 times louder and more often than a satisfied member. Be sure to prompt your members to give feedback at all times in order to ensure you’re getting an accurate summary of opinions.
4. If you have a talented instructor who is struggling to fill classes, try him or her at different times and with different formats to see if you can find a better match.
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to make your program unique. Instead of trying to replicate a competitor’s programming schedule, focus on the aspects that make your program better, not the same.
Allison Westfahl is the fitness director at Pura Vida Fitness & Spa. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.