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Adding Workshops to Your Health Club and How to Get Started

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Staci Alden gives six reasons your health club should consider adding workshops to its schedule and how to get started.

Workshops are one-to-three-hour events that can happen once or over a series of weeks. They are meant to be an educational, intensive and interactive opportunity for members to learn more about what they are most interested in or seek help understanding better. 

Here are a few reasons your club should consider adding workshops to its schedule:

  1. Trial with Less Risk: Workshops are an opportunity for facilities to test if there is an interest among possible participants before committing to having it on the schedule long term.
  1. Build Community: Workshops allow members to meet other members who are at the same skill level and have similar interests.
  1. Help Beginners: Workshops are an opportunity for beginner participants to feel your club has offered something specifically for them to be in a safe space together as they learn more and feel more comfortable attending classes together.
  1. Satisfy the Advanced: Since so many of our offerings in person must be geared for all levels, having advanced workshops with a pre-requisite can help more advanced participants learn about what they are most interested in.
  1. Differentiate from Competition: While specialty workshops may include a format available at other facilities, they set your club apart. Depending on the instructor’s unique knowledge and experience, a workshop shows your facility has valuable resources and cares about helping members discover what they need.
  1. Provide Instructor Opportunity: With lighter fitness schedules, the talent we have held onto are seeking opportunities, especially opportunities to teach and share knowledge about the type of exercise they are most passionate. Workshops give instructors the chance to show off something special that only they have knowledge or skill. 

How to Format Workshops

There must be a handout of some kind for participants to take notes and refer back to. The instructors should also be encouraged to help participants feel comfortable getting to know each other and open the floor throughout the workshop for thoughts and questions.

Finally, at the end of the workshop, it needs to be clear where participants should go after the workshop for further resources. Give them information about experts and offerings so they know who to go to for additional help or questions.

When to Offer Workshops

Since workshops are longer and require a bit more focus and brainpower on the participant’s part, Friday evenings and weekends tend to be the best time to host a workshop.

For example, Saturdays or Sundays midday beginning around 10 a.m. and ending no later than 2 p.m. These times also encourage a nice mix of people to attend, encouraging members to run into other members they may not run into during the week.

Where to Offer Workshops

  • In-Person: Workshops can happen in fitness studios, outdoors, and for more educational workshops, potentially even an office meeting space.
  • Online: Livstreamed or pre-recorded. Pre-recorded workshops that continue as a series could also be drip campaign on your digital platform.
  • Hybrid (both in-person and online): Depending on the number of participants, I would recommend multiple instructors so they can distribute attention to both.

The possibilities are honestly endless regarding the type of workshops your facility can offer. I recommend working with your team to discover something special they might have knowledge or experience in that they would be most excited to share with your members and be unique to your facility.

Stay tuned next week for “Ideas for Successful Workshops.”

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Staci Alden

Staci is committed to helping group fitness managers elevate their programs, instructors and leadership skills through consulting, writing, presenting and her YouTube channel. For over a decade she has overseen a team of over 100 private Pilates and group fitness instructors at a luxury health club in Seattle, Washington. Get in touch with Staci through stacialden.com, Facebook, Instagram or connect on LinkedIn.

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