Back in the day, working out was viewed as a pretty solitary activity. Most people would go for a run, ride their bike, do some calisthenics, and so on by themselves, then get back to their daily routine. Then, in the 1960s and 70s, dance aerobics and Jazzercise made a splash that soaked the industry and catapulted group fitness to a new level.
Today, group fitness is as pervasive as ever. Boutique fitness class studios are popping up on every corner and big box gyms are building expansive spaces for group training to keep up. You may be wondering whether it’s worth it for your gym to get on the group fitness bandwagon too. The answer?
A resounding yes.
Why People Love Group Fitness
To understand the value of offering group fitness opportunities at your gym, it’s helpful to first understand why they draw members in the first place. There are a wide variety of reasons people love to get active in a group. Here are some of the biggest:
- Motivation and Accountability: Signing up for a workout class is a commitment to show up not just for you, but for others too. It’s easier to get yourself to the gym when you have a scheduled workout slot. Then once you’re there, you get in a better sweat as you feed off the energy of the instructor and those around you.
- Stress Reduction: In 2017, researchers published a study in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association that found that medical students who participated in group fitness classes experienced a significant decrease in stress and an increase in physical, mental, and emotional quality of life. The support and encouragement of a group environment combined with the cortisol-lowering endorphins from exercise are a powerful cocktail for stress reduction.
- Improved Fitness: What sounds more fun, 45 minutes running alone on the treadmill or 45 minutes in a high-energy spin class? For most people, it’s the latter. Group fitness workouts are typically more fun and interactive, making members more likely to stick with a program long-term, and thus get in better shape and reach their fitness goals.
- Social Connection: Attending a group workout class is a great way to meet new people who share similar interests and goals. The sense of community alone is often motivation enough for members to hit the gym on a regular basis.
How Group Workouts Can Help Boost Member Retention
By capitalizing on the group fitness workout trend, you can facilitate a serious boost in your club retention rates. How so?
Engage and motivate members.
Group classes are a great way to diversify workouts for your members and keep them engaged in their fitness journey. Going to the gym to do the same cardio and/or strength routine every week can get boring and lead to a decrease in effort and motivation. In a fitness class, members get inspired to work harder by the “all in this together” attitude. They’ll get a better workout and leave your gym feeling accomplished and driven, spurring a positive cycle that keeps them coming back for more.
Create a fitness community.
After last year’s lockdowns and months of isolation, people are craving community more than ever. In IHRSA’s 2021 Media Report, 42% of gym members said they miss working out with other people. 36% of members also miss their gym’s sense of community. Gyms that offer group workouts can foster a stronger sense of community. Members are able to connect more with each other and your staff. As those connections develop, they’ll drive retention and loyalty in members who come to your gym specifically for those relationships.
Make training more accessible.
Instructor-led fitness classes are a more affordable way for members to work out with a professional trainer. Some members may even begin taking classes with a trainer and then decide to sign up for individual sessions with them, increasing your revenue and strengthening their relationship to the club. Group fitness also allows instructors to work with more than one person at a time and at various times throughout the day, making them more accessible to members from a scheduling standpoint, too.
Expand your offerings.
There’s a lot of opportunity to get creative with different types of group fitness classes. The more variety you can offer members in their workouts, the more value they’ll feel like they’re getting out of their membership. Having different group workout offerings will also be a selling point to engage with new prospects too. When your gym has something for everyone, you’ll see a boost in acquisitions, engagement, and retention.
5 Group Workout Trends to Try to Boost Membership & Retention Rates
There are plenty of group fitness programs you can implement at your gym or even use for inspiration to create your own classes. Here are some trending group workouts to consider offering for your members:
POUND is a creative high-energy workout inspired by drumming. Participants use weighted drumsticks to jam out while burning fat, conditioning their body, building strength, and burning cardio-level calories. Your instructors can train and get certified in the program online.
2. Dance Cardio
Combining the fun of upbeat dancing and the caloric burn of aerobic exercise, dance cardio has been a popular group workout for a long time. Rather than go out of style, it just continuously evolves. There are many variations of dance cardio being used in gyms and that have inspired specific brands — e.g., Zumba, 305 Fitness, belly dancing, and so on.
Pilates and yoga have been reigning group exercise trends for many years, and PiYo combines the best aspects of both. PiYo is a low-impact workout focused on strength training, core, and stretching, but also designed for calorie burn. Choreographed sequences or circuits are sped up and completed to upbeat music, infusing a new energy into two classic slower-pace workouts.
4. Combat Classes
Combat-style workouts have been taking the fitness world by storm. Group workouts like kickboxing, Les Mills BODYCOMBAT, and other martial arts-based classes get members’ adrenaline pumping while working on balance and agility. These cardio and strength combos are great interactive stress relievers that help keep busy professionals coming back to the gym.
HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a type of workout that alternates between short periods of intense and moderate exercise. Participants go from cardio and peak heart rate back down to fat burning zones to kill the most calories in a shorter time period. HIIT is often combined with strength training in popular programs like Orange Theory and Barry’s.
Maximize the Impact of Your Membership Acquisition and Retention Strategies
Group fitness is one of many solutions your gym can use to gain new leads, convert them to members, and retain them long-term. If you want to make the most of your group offerings and the efforts to grow your gym, you need a marketing plan that delivers. Club OS software can streamline and optimize your club’s marketing with easy-to-use features like text messaging, email marketing, analytics reporting, and more.
Once our CRM gives you all the tools you need, get more ideas on how to market your gym by reading the Club OS blog today! Ready to jump in and experience the power of Club OS at your club? Get started today by scheduling your complementary demo and start the New Year off right!