How to Create a Group Training Program
For Gym Operators
How to Create a Group Training Program
Group training is an exciting way for your facility to create new revenue streams, retain and attract members, and invigorate your staff. It is defined as a coach-led training environment wherein one fitness professional guides multiple exercisers through a motivating and personalized fitness experience.
To bring a group training program to life in your facility, you need six core components: vision, program, marketing, people, experience, and easy sign-up. When planned thoroughly and thoughtfully, you will be able to design the optimal business model that works for your facility. If you’re interested in launching group training programming, we invite you to take a look at each of the key factors below to get started with your planning.
The first major step of creating group training programming in your facility is to decide on your vision. What features make up your unique offering of group training? What do you NOT want your group training to embody? Many facilities have struggled to launch or sustain their fee-based group training due to a myriad of reasons – trying to appeal to everyone while lacking a defined identity, not matching the demographic within the facility, or offering group training that does not feel “premium” or inspiring, to name a few.
Determine your vision by working with your facility’s key program stakeholders, such as facility leadership, the marketing team, and business-minded trainers. You’ll want to assess trends among your member base such as peak usage hours, member preferences, and age demographics as exercisers visit throughout the day. Perform an analysis on your current programming and secondary revenue offerings, like specialized classes and personal training. Research what your competitors are doing, taking note of how your facility can differentiate or build upon their offerings.
When setting your vision, consider your primary objective for offering group training, what your revenue expectations are, who you want to appeal to, what industry trends are represented in the program, who and where you’ll run the program, and what equipment you’ll need to accomplish it. When all is said and done, you’ll know your vision is strong and concise when each employee in your facility can clearly articulate the program’s value proposition, and customers describe the training in a way that matches your vision.
Your program describes the variety and sequence of workouts that make up your group training offering. Workouts need to be effective, progressive, and desirable, matching the vision that you’ve set up. You’ll need to figure out whether you want the group training program’s workouts to be centrally managed by a developer at the facility, purchased through a third party group training service, or created by trainers.
Equally important is to figure out the style of class you want to create. Will it be a true class, where everyone is doing the same thing, or circuits, where participants spend a fixed amount of time at each station, whether within a small group or not? This may depend on trainer and equipment availability, and class size.
The training environment will set the tone for your program. Holding your group training classes in a dedicated location away from the gym floor and group exercise room creates a desired exclusive space, giving you the chance to command a higher price point. The types of equipment you use should reflect your program’s vision, and need to be versatile, fun, and easy to use.
Clear and compelling marketing messages can help your program by gathering interest, driving members old and new to sign up, building your brand, and drawing people to other services offered by your facility, such as personal training. In order to have effective communication, you need to figure out the best way to interact with your members: flyers, social media, emails, gym staff, or through other means.
Thinking outside the normal marketing channels can also result in some strong engagement with your group training program. Consider offering free sessions at the launch of your program, promoting through engaging videos and storytelling, or getting your staff involved with reaching out to clients.
You should also be sure to market to your local community, if it aligns with your vision. After all, the greater community creates a whole new market for your facility’s services, and can be a great way to increase interest in your group training program. Hold a campaign to boost awareness about your offerings, and make sure you promote it across your website, social media, and with local media outlets. Holding an open house can be ideal for getting potential new members in the door to experience your group training program and facility.
Our checklist ensures that your marketing efforts stay in-check before and after the launch of your program.
Even if your group training program has the best vision, program, and marketing behind it, it takes the right staff to truly bring the program to life and to create passion and excitement around it. Choose a group training staff who will motivate members with their infectious personalities, while still managing to keep the class running smoothly.
A good place to begin your search is with your current personal training and group exercise departments, although note that training styles differ between the personalization and camaraderie of one-on-one training versus group training. Consider holding auditions for trainers, keeping a lookout for those who will go above and beyond to sell the program during and outside of class, through their attitude, enthusiasm, and know-how.
To ensure that your group training program is living up to its vision, observe a class in action or even participate! Follow up with any feedback to the instructor, and also seek feedback from participants.
Exercisers are looking for premium workout experiences in motivating settings, surrounded by a sense of community. In order to create the most impactful experience that will keep members engaged and excited, focus on the following features:
- Music: A good beat sets the mood and rhythm of the class. It drives energy for the exercisers and training staff.
- Lighting: Another feature that sets the mood, lighting can be used to transform the room from a high-intensity session to a relaxation session. It can create confidence for participants by lowering intimidation.
- Headset: Make sure participants can hear the instructor over the music. Headsets allow for hands-free coaching by the group trainer and enable them to make their way around the room.
- Premium touch points: Make your group training experience as meaningful as a fitness studio’s. Offer perks like complimentary infused water, scented towels, and dedicated check-in staff or a kiosk that makes it easy to engage. Having dedicated space for exercisers to hang out before or after class builds a sense of community.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure that the unique experience features you offer align with your program’s vision.
Make it easy for prospective participants to know how much it’ll cost to participate in your program. Again, you’ll want to consider your vision: who are you trying to bring in with your program, and what are they likely to pay for services?
Consumers of today increasingly look for options to sign up online or through an app. Even though this minimizes the chance to build a relationship face-to-face and more thoroughly explain your facility’s offerings, it has a better chance of reaching those who are wary of “being sold” on a program.
Pricing will depend on your vision, region, and member demographics, to name a few. The larger the group size, the lower the price per session. Are you going to require participants to commit to a four-week long session, or will you have a drop-in pricing model? Will your target audience be likely to pay for an annual membership in addition to their facility dues?
Launching a group training program in your facility is an exciting business opportunity. It can create excitement and community among your current members, plus attract new members to your facility. Thorough and thoughtful planning will help you design the optimal program and business model that will contribute to a successful program launch. Be sure to keep up with industry changes and your customers’ training preferences and desires to ensure the growth of your program and that it is staying relevant over time.
For in-depth information and worksheets that expand on the six core components above, download our Group Training Business Manual.