Group training claimed the sixth spot on the ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal’s most recent worldwide survey of fitness trends. And while group exercise training programs certainly aren’t new, this was the first time in the survey’s 11-year history that they claimed a top 20 spot. The takeaway for forward-thinking fitness businesses? Not only is this trend one to watch, but it’s one to feature in your lineup. 

Here’s a closer look at the group training phenomenon, along with tips for optimizing your group training classes for member retention and recruitment. 

The Allure of Group Fitness

While ACSM’s survey highlights the growing appeal of group training, it doesn’t address the reasons for the sudden spike in popularity. In declaring group fitness classes as “the backbone of the fitness industry,” IDEAfit proposes, “Group fitness arouses nostalgia and feels like ‘home; for many exercises, both avid and novice….People love exercising to music and sharing endorphins.”

At the same time, however, offering up the same-old group fitness classes is unlikely to meet the wants and needs of rapidly changing consumer demographics. All of which begs the question: What are you doing in your own fitness business to capture your share of the growing demand for group fitness? In other words,  asks IDEAfit, “What programs, equipment and trends are making people of all ages and abilities jump, stretch,  lift and smile?”

Winning with Group Fitness

For starters, the words “group training” may be a bit of an oxymoron in the current fitness center climate. Why? Because while the classes may be taught to a group, the mandate to deliver a personalized experience is greater now than ever. Participants aren’t looking to be nameless faces in the crowd. Rather, they’re looking for an experience — and instructors — who will help them meet their own unique fitness goals.

The social aspect is also paramount.  Sure, people may be taking group classes because they’re less expensive than personal training sessions, but many are also looking for opportunities to interact with others. Are your classes cultivating feelings of camaraderie and connectedness among attendees? 

Again, the right instructors can be the differentiating factor. In addition to paying equal attention to all participants, cueing competently, and learning how to curtail excess conversations to keep the class moving, “soft skills” like a sense of humor, a positive attitude, and charisma all add up to group sessions that keep satisfied members coming back for more. 

Convenience, too, remains imperative. From accessible class times and reasonable prices to the ease with which participants can sign up for a spot in the class, these factors may seem trivial, but make all the difference when it comes to facilitating positive member experiences. 

Integrating the Trends

Also worth keeping in mind? Fitness trends don’t exist in a vacuum. In fact, many go hand in hand. The takeaway? Tailoring group classes to include other top trends, including everything from body weight, strength and HIIT training to yoga, weight loss, outdoor activities, and functional fitness can help you maximize the potential of your group training classes.  Themed classes which incorporate some or all of these elements may be especially appealing to members looking for something new and exciting to add to their fitness regimen. Fitness business

Wondering what trend claimed the number one spot, meanwhile? Wearable technology. It’s hardly a surprise, then, that activity, fitness tracking, and metrics were identified again and again by fitness experts in IDEAfit’s roundup of group fitness predictions for the future.  

If your fitness business hasn’t yet embraced fitness monitoring, you may be falling behind the competition — both when it comes to your group classes and to your business at large. Request a demo today to learn more about what the Accurofit System can do for you.