As the fitness sector recovers from the impact of the pandemic and members return to the gym, group exercise will continue to be central to a fitness facility’s offering. Flexible use of space, an engaging training environment and well-planned programming will also be crucial for operators. In this latest blog post, we look at the drivers for small group training and the positive impact on your members, when done right.
A CONCEPT BACKED BY DATA, FACTS AND FIGURES
A successful group training concept should be developed in response to industry trends and demands:
Popular small group training
67.2% of independent and 76.2% of multi-site operators offer functional and athletic training
79.5% of independent and 90.2% of multi-site operators rely on group exercise
52.5% are circuit training-based programmes
The average age is 40.9 years
Staff training and education
92.6% of independent and 100% of multi-site operators have provided further training for their employees
74.6% in functional and athletic training
83.9% in group training
[Source: DSSV 2019)
By interpreting these figures and looking at what we expect to see from the future of the industry, we can form a number of conclusions for operators:
- Operators should offer small group concepts focused on functional and athletic training
- Operators should have a sound concept based on health and performance, in place.
- Operators must continue to be COVID compliant, and should further regulations affect the freedom of movement and group capacity size in the future, they must be able to adapt their offering and maintain the required safety distance between exercisers within the small groups.
APPROACH & IDEA
Over the years, we have listened carefully when operators have talked about the challenges they face with functional and athletic areas within their facilities.
In many cases, it was not due to the functionality of the barbells or weight plates that the classes had been more or less well attended. Running small group classes between strength training machines or in the back corners of the gyms did not prove particularly popular.
Poorly planned programmes without system and structure convey little competence, preparation has been neglected and the names of the workouts often do not translate the principles and objectives clearly to the target group.
Based on this, it quickly becomes clear that equipment without a comprehensive concept and programming quickly loses its appeal.
The result: empty racks and functional training areas!
A well-thought-out small group training concept should cover each of these pain points. It should be geared towards long-term success for operators, trainers and members, expand the competence of the trainers, enable improved care for the trainees and promote the formation of a community in the spirit of small group training. With and without COVID guidelines.
WHAT REALLY CONNECTS MEMBERS
Everything that the members can see, feel, and perceive triggers feelings in them – both positively and negatively. Members can feel motivated or unsupported depending on the environment they’re training in, and how the area is structured, what programmes are offered and what priority is given to these areas all make a difference.
Factors to consider when designing a small group training offer include:
- Design / space / lighting
- Equipment and quality of the accessories
- Concept and programming
By successfully combining the above, facilities will be able to deliver a positive, engaging experience for members.
‘THRESHOLD FEARS‘ DOWN, EXERCISER MOTIVATION UP
Threshold fears are an issue that have been around for as long as gyms have. Everyone knows it - sometimes it is difficult to enter new, unfamiliar territory. The goal for every studio / trainer must therefore be to make it easy for the exercisers, and two things significantly promote the reduction of fears - communication and structure.
Both factors significantly impact the certainty of expectation, which minimises the barrier of the unknown.
In relation to a group exercise area, clear structure could be as follows:
- A defined training area
- Clearly identifiable stations
- Techniques are trained
- Workout takes place according to a systematic structure
This way, both coaches and members benefit from a clear concept. Orientation and recognition provide the necessary security on both sides, despite a lot of variety in the sessions.
Furthermore, clients learn more complex movement patterns from programme to programme, which they can also apply in other areas of the studio and which enable them to increase their self-efficacy and understanding of movement and sport.
A good concept includes these elements and gives staff the necessary tools to run programmes successfully in the long term, and to build a trusting bond between trainers and clients for a long-term, successful relationship.
Tools that can help to run consistent programmes longer term include:
- In-house or online training
- PDF handout (Trainer Guide)
- Video sequences
- Session plans
Through this subjective perception, the value of the course increases in the view of the participants individually.
Note: The greater the subjective evaluation, the higher the customer loyalty.
To ensure this quality, exercisers should be offered workouts with different focuses, each containing progression and regression as exercise alternatives.
So through these opportunities, we are not only building clients' performance and self-confidence; the synergy effect also takes place with the trainers. Through the regular, practical application of the movement preparation/workouts/mobility drills, the trainers also learn and can transfer this knowledge to other areas of the studio.
With gyms closed as a result of Coronavirus, we were forced to evolve and adapt our training methods. But regardless of where we were now exercising – at home or outdoors – we still sought connectivity and engagement with others, from online instructors to friends in the park. And this is why group training will return post-pandemic, stronger than ever.