Insight on the Direction of Group X Programming
Group X is a staple of the fitness industry. Pretty much every successful health club offers Group X in some capacity and uses this programming to help members reach their fitness goals in a community of likeminded peers.
Just like the industry itself, Group X is constantly evolving, and the ways it’s offered to members might look drastically different five to 10 years from now.
To give a clearer picture of the direction Group X programming is headed, Mo Hagan, the vice president of program innovation and fitness development at GoodLife Fitness and Canfitpro, shares her insights on growing trends and developments in Group X.
CS: What Group X trends are you seeing?
MH: Canada’s latest fitness industry survey revealed the ability to move optimally for everyday life is more important than ever. These are some of the programs most popular among health club members:
- High intensity interval training (HIIT)
- Older adult fitness
- 30-minute express workouts
- Active recovery exercise — foam rolling, Yin Yoga, etc.
- Branded group fitness — Les Mills, Orangetheory, Zumba, etc.
- Fusion-style group fitness — merging different workouts like Strong by Zumba, ZEN-GA, Piloxing, NEWBODY or Fusion Fitness
- Bodyweight training — using your bodyweight to create resistance
CS: How has the Group X landscape changed in the past few years?
MH: IHRSA shared the latest “Fitness Training Report” in their CBI April 2018 issue, stating that small group training (SGT) continues to be a growing fitness phenomenon. Spin and yoga studios have been creating this community buzz for quite some time, and now other branded fitness studios are beginning to do the same. Consumers appear not to be turned off by the higher rates as they feel they receive great value for their money.
While equipment contributions are plentiful and diverse as ever, wearable technology and technology gamification is growing its presence — a great example is MYZONE Effort Points gained for working out. Small portable equipment continues to grow in popularity, and offers instructors plenty of options to remain creative in their program design.
Group fitness class participation is also being measured differently in facilities today, where SGT and virtual fitness — live streaming or video projection — are being integrated into the group offering. Live-streaming of group fitness classes with a club’s rock-star instructor is taking off, with 50 percent of the members using more than one exercise app, in addition to their club membership.
CS: How can club owners best act on Group X trends to enhance the member experience?
MH: Group fitness will remain a key retention tool and offering within facilities — however, it is my belief the way group fitness is presented in a facility will evolve both within and outside the four walls of the group fitness studio. I would encourage club owners and operators to keep an eye on the various forms of HIIT and circuit training programs, barre concepts, fusion (mix of fitness concepts in one workout), virtual and live streaming programs, and functional fitness based class concepts. Club owners and operators also need to keep their eyes open and ears to the ground so they can recruit and retain the most talented trainers they can find.