Health club operations is a topic near and dear to my heart. Working in clubs for years and then working on the provider side of the industry has given me insight into not only the experience for the member, but for the staff as well.
An often overlooked member experience in our clubs is the one that is found in the Group X room. The group fitness space is one where a tremendous level of magic happens on a daily basis. People exceed lofty fitness goals in classes, they make new friends and most importantly, they feel like they are a part of something and build relationships — this keeps them coming back for more.
Members that participate in group classes are some of the most dedicated members that a club has. They are more devoted and consistent with their workouts than many other members, mostly due to the relationships they form in class.
How and why is this operational category overlooked? Maybe for a number of reasons — possibly a lack of understanding of the benefits group fitness programming can offer. Some operators might not realize how impactful this category is without direct experiences working in the department.
I recently shared in a Fitness Technology Trend report the ways that group fitness is being innovated by technology and how the category is evolving. An example of important innovation to follow is the “game effect” — making a competitive environment in group fitness classes by using heart rate tracking to display performance on a leaderboard.
Another option to be mindful of involves virtual training in your off-peak hours. Many people look at virtual training and think it is all or nothing. I’d suggest looking at virtual programming as a value-add to your members that cannot come in for a 5 p.m. class, but can come in at 3 p.m.
Now more than ever, clubs have a large assortment of options to choose from to implement in their clubs — looking at how your group fitness programs affect your operations as whole is an important part of club operations that must not be overlooked.
Lindsey Rainwater is a business consultant, leadership coach, writer and presenter to the fitness industry. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.