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In Print The Essentials

How to Test a New Program

How to Test a New Program

Looking at our group fitness studios we often see packed classes. The caveat is our classes are normally packed with women ages 35-plus, and we are not a women’s-only facility. So we started to question whether we were positioned to retain our male and millennial members, and also: Could we attract them to our club with boutiques popping up? And so The Back Gym was created — a program created specifically for this population.

Human resources, which I have a background in, is all about creating a great experience for employees, just like fitness is about creating great experiences for members. In my past life I followed a mix of the old-school ADDIE (Analysis > Design > Development > Implementation > Evaluation) & RAD (Rapid Application Development) models when creating trainings. When we create new programs in our club, I often follow these same models in an informal way.

Analysis: 1. Brainstorm with all involved individuals (no more than 7-10 people) to clarify the problem or “gap” in your program offerings. 2. Define the audience and their characteristics you are trying to attract. 3. Set a target launch date.

Design: 1. Outline the program objectives. 2. Determine the subject matter experts to develop the program. 3. Conduct research (in-person, surveys).

Development & RAD Step: 1. Test classes and gather instant feedback. 2. Develop the program based on the analysis and design phases. 3. Use this opportunity to connect with raving fans of your club by inviting them to these classes. 4. Video and photograph for social media to provide a “sneak peek.”

Implementation: 1. Train multiple instructors on the new programs and have them perform the classes for your “test” groups. 2. Purchase all equipment/supplies needed. 3. Update the space you will utilize to ensure branding is aligned. 4. Create a marketing plan to include anticipation before launch, and post follow-ups to sustain excitement.

Evaluation: Measure success through surveys and other data-driven metrics.


Kate Golden is the director of people/fitness operations for NAC. Email her at kategoldennac@gmail.com.

Kate Golden

Kate Golden is the Director of People & Fitness Operations for Newtown Athletic Club.

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