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Five Tactics to Help You Successfully Reactivate Group Training

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Rebecca Cofod and Amanda Brush of Matrix Fitness shares five tactics on how to refuel the community-building aspect of your group training offering.

Social fitness remains a driver of member engagement and satisfaction. Preparing your space and programming for the new club climate is essential to achieving your engagement and retention goals. Returning members are eager to interact with staff and other members after prolonged social isolation. Educating your staff and trainers on new procedures is crucial to member perception when reactivating your group training offerings. Consider these five tactics:

1. Adjust the Business Model 

When you restart group training at your facility, you will need to adhere to new regulations. Modifications to the business model include reducing the number of participants, adding a registration system and reviewing the fee for the class. Your pre-shutdown price point can be offset by offering a “welcome back” discount for a month or two to help entice people to return without diminishing the value of the program. 

2. Prepare the Space 

Be sure to adhere to local regulations for capacity and distancing when preparing your space. Strategically place equipment and sanitization supplies. Keep the programming simple. Circuit training can be done in zones with designated equipment for one person. If sharing equipment, transition times can be extended to ensure all equipment can be cleaned. Trainers can also integrate more bodyweight movements to decrease the amount of equipment needed. Avoid member confusion by reviewing the new protocols and educate participants on how the program will run before class begins. 

3. Practice with Staff Before Reactivation

To help trainers get comfortable coaching classes with new regulations, run trial classes with staff. If masks are required, have all staff wear a mask during their practice sessions to see how the program feels so they can relate to participants. It may be helpful to shorten intense intervals and increase the recovery intervals. Masks can also impact participants’ ability to see their feet, so trainers should be mindful of this when choosing exercises. Testing virtual classes before going live will also help trainers see if there are challenges in equipment cleaning or transition times, and they can adjust accordingly before welcoming participants back. 

4. Be Cognizant of Differing Fitness Levels

Many participants are returning to your facility after months of limited access to exercise equipment. They may have increased their exercise routine, maintained it, or were unable to maintain it during stay-at-home orders. You are likely to see a variety of fitness levels returning or joining your classes for the first time. Take note that heightened anxiety can result in a higher heart rate and lack of focus, so complex movements may be challenging. Trainers are advised to ease back into the program and share modifications for differing intensity levels. 

5. Encourage Safe Connection

Be creative with new strategies to reconnect with members during class. For example, trainers can have fun in a workout by saying, “If athletic wear was your stay-at-home dress code, one-minute jump rope; if pajamas, one-minute speed skaters.” Promoting safe, light-hearted interaction and fun will refuel the community-building aspect of your group training offering.

Utilizing these five tactics is crucial to member perception when reactivating your group training offerings.

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