The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association is the fitness industry's only global trade association representing over 10,000 for profit health and fitness facilities and over 600 supplier companies in 75 countries.



From educational tools and events to promotional programs and public policy initiatives, IHRSA brings you success... by association!

Join | Renew
Pledge Your Support

Search IHRSA Blog
« Active Wellness Embodies the Spirit of #WhyGetActive | Main | 4 Health Clubs Share the Valentine's Day Love with Members »

Transform Your Gym’s Group Training into a Revenue Engine 

This is an IHRSA featured post, brought to you by EXOS.

How to introduce individualization to a class setting for greater results

According to the 2015 IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report, about 43% (two out of five) health club members participate in group training. That equals about 22.1 million members, and that number keeps growing for several reasons: 

  • The camaraderie and social support of group environments.
  • The increasing popularity of dance-themed classes and other fitness disciplines like yoga and boot camp.
  • The structure and timing of classes make it easier for people to commit to a scheduled routine.

Other factors also play a role—including popularity of the group trainer and other reasons that may be unique to your club—but group training is not only here to stay, it’s a tremendous opportunity to create more value for your members and increase revenue for your club.

With the rise of boutique group training concepts and independent boot camp offerings, it’s essential that today’s health clubs offer vibrant, popular group options to members. Sure, everyone’s doing it, but one way to beat the competition is to solve a problem that most group training concepts don’t account for: individualization.

Sounds challenging, right? Why bother? A class is a class. Tell that to a member who’s peeking in the window of a boutique club with a trendy group concept.

“The easy thing to do is to not do it,” says Cody Carter, manager of the performance innovation team at human performance company EXOS. “But as the market improves, you need to stand out.”

How? With data and tools your members probably already have.

Putting the ‘Personal’ Into Group Training

With wearable technology, group instructors are able to collect data on individuals within a group setting to monitor different stress levels and other factors to help members get the most out of each session.

“Creating individualization gets away from the one-size-fits-all concept,” says Carter. “In a boot camp class, for instance, some members are beginners, some are advanced. By using the appropriate data points, you can measure the stress loads being placed on different systems of the body and monitor fatigue in those same systems, allowing you to dial up or dial down for the beginners or advanced members to support their desired outcomes.”

This prevents certain people who lag in a class from being discouraged because they can’t keep up.

“You collect the most relevant data you can, based on their goals and determine a baseline to see where they are starting from,” explains Carter. “Sometimes the decision on which data points to capture are based on who are your early adopters, and who isn’t really interested in data. What you’re capturing shouldn’t interfere with why they show up to train each day.”

The individualized template can include such data points as adequate sleep levels and other health markers, not just standard training metrics.

“You don’t want somebody showing up who isn’t sleeping well. You need to dive into the data you have, so you can create a plan for the behavior upgrade associated with making positive changes, that’s why it is important to have a baseline on their sleep quality and quantity. Once they are aware of poor sleep habits, we as professionals can help them upgrade their sleep hygiene by educating them” says Carter.

Successful Outcomes, Happy Members

Carter has seen the economic return that a well-executed individualized approach in a group environment can deliver.

“Whether it’s boot camp or something else, you add much more value to what you’re offering,” he says. “Each person has a different goal. Once you establish that baseline, the data can tell you what steps the client needs to take to reach those goals. It brings context and clarity to behavior upgrades.”

Carter and the team at EXOS have developed a course to teach you how to do just that. “Using Data to Individualize Group Training” presents a step-by-step guide to using wearables to produce individualized results no matter what type of class you have.

The course explains how to:

  • Present a method for integrating data into group training without interrupting the normal flow of a session;
  • Identify types of data that can influence performance and session design;
  • Use data to track stress loads and functional states to modify training programs as needed;
  • Explain how clients can use data to improve training at home and during group sessions.

Bringing a personal touch to a group setting is the best of both worlds, and a key to keeping members motivated and committed. It’s the next evolution in group training, and something members will love.

Learn more about “Using Data to Individualize Group Training” and other courses in human performance training offered by EXOS.