Ask the Expert: Jon Baraglia
This month we sat down with Jon Baraglia, the regional director of operations and fitness at Fitness Formula Clubs, to discuss small group training (SGT).
Briefly describe Fitness Formula Club’s SGT offerings — what makes them stand out?
Jon Baraglia: We currently offer a HIIT-style SGT workout on our turf space called The FACTION. It’s a serious workout with coaches who motivate and inspire. We use Myzone for real-time performance feedback on screens, and we track progress through monthly performance testing. We use everything from kettlebells to TRX, Olympic weights to medicine balls. It’s an amazing community of all types of fitness levels who work together to get real results.
What are best practices for offering SGT programming?
JB: Have a monthly theme or focus, and test progress at the beginning and end. Members want to see results and progress, and this creates momentum to keep going. We organize special events for our FACTION members; this elevates the overall experience and sense of community. Leverage social media for communication and marketing. It takes a dedicated effort to grow participation; and think about a weekly or monthly newsletter.
What are some tips for selling SGT programming? How can you maximize your return on investment (ROI)?
JB: One of the ways we sell the program is by creating our own brand, The FACTION, with clear messaging to a specific audience. The FACTION has connected with a specific group among our current member base, and we are leveraging that. It’s $99 per month for unlimited participation. It’s an incredible value proposition for what you get, and a no-brainer for someone who wants a serious coached workout. We found when we had too many options it was difficult to communicate and difficult for our customers to make a decision. To help us maximize ROI, we are always monitoring class size and time of day. Our coaches are incentivized based on class size, so they are always working to satisfy current customers while driving new participation. This keeps our business growing, and makes the busiest coaches some of the top paid in our clubs.
Is SGT a program most clubs should consider offering?
JB: Most clubs should absolutely consider SGT. Logistically, it’s best with dedicated space and you are obviously competing with valuable real estate during prime time. However, there’s lots of different ways to make SGT work while leveraging an additional revenue stream at a great value to both your members and employees.