You have questions, we have answers. This month we spoke with Lisa Lipscomb, the vice president of fitness at Vida Fitness and Aura Spa about small group training and its challenges.
How has VIDA benefited as a business by offering small group training (SGT)?
LL: SGT has helped us connect with more members than just offering private one-on-one sessions. I think it really bridges a gap between group fitness and personal training. We have a variety of SGT offerings, such as TRX, TRX Yoga, Pilates reformer, belly dancing, boxing and more.
What’s the biggest challenge to offering SGT programs, and how are you overcoming that challenge?
LL: The biggest challenge is finding instructors or trainers who really want to put forth the effort to follow through with a program — start to finish. Instructors and personal trainers all have potential and great ideas, but it seemed like no one knew where to start or how to follow through. We have some amazing managers at VIDA who identified the problem and turned it around. We now have a system to take the interest of the trainer or instructor and turn it into a class they want to teach. Then we have an open house for several programs at a time to create a buzz and foster interest. The interested members RSVP for a spot in class and then if a class fills up, there is a wait list for the next open house. Then we follow up to see how they liked the class.
What characteristics should operators look for in a SGT trainer or instructor?
LL: Personality, grit and social media presence. The trainer or instructor should be consistently dynamic. They can’t just phone it in, get subs or do the same workout over and over. The trainer or instructor must be dedicated and passionate about the format they are teaching. Members feed off of that energy, and it shows in the retention and longevity of the program. This means the trainer or instructor intentionally programs, posts on social media pre- and post-workout, takes an interest in the well-being of every participant, and connects them to each other at every chance.
A lot of your SGT programs have incorporated Myzone. Why was this important for your SGT programs?
LL: Myzone gives quantifiable feedback, helps people train at their own pace, and connects people —everything we are trying to do.