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Entries in exercise classes (4)


This Week in the Fitness Industry: 700 Anytime Fitness Gyms to Host Free Outdoor Workouts

700 Anytime Fitness Gyms to Host Free Outdoor Workouts
Hundreds of Anytime Fitness gyms will host free outdoor exercise events nationwide, according to a release. The “May Free Workouts” began in 2015 as a grassroots effort by a few Anytime Fitness gyms, and has grown into a nationwide campaign to promote physical activity. About 700 facilities are expected to participate, hosting activites such as yoga in the park, Zumba classes, kickboxing lessons, and tug-of-war competitions. “We believe a healthy lifestyle is achievable for anyone,” said Chuck Runyon, co-founder & CEO of Anytime Fitness. “May Free Workouts are designed to encourage community members to get up and move in an active, motivating atmosphere. Because when fitness is enjoyable and done in an encouraging, fun environment, it becomes easy to reach your goals.”

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Group Exercise Tied to Higher Member Retention

Health club members who participate in group exercise are more likely to retain their membership than those who only use gym equipment, according to a The Retention People (TRP) study.

For the study, researchers analyzed survey results from 10,000 UK health and fitness members and followed up with them at regular intervals to measure changes to their habits and membership behavior. They found that 48% percent of members reported just one activity as the usual reason for a club visit, 32% reported two and, 20% reported three or more.

Attending for a gym workout only was reported by 40% of members, with nearly a fifth of members reporting a combination of gym and class. Just 13% of members reported visiting their clubs for a class only, with 57% of class-goers also reporting they visit the gym.  

To best study the effect on group exercise on member retention, TRP honed in on two groups: 1) those who report using the gym only and 2) those who report their usual reason for attending is group exercise alone or in combination with another activity.

Their findings showed: 

  • Women more frequently reported group exercise than men, and the reverse was true for gym workouts.
  • Gym-only members tended to be younger, while the proportion of members reporting group exercise increased with age.
  • Longer-term members were less likely to report gym-only and more likely to report group exercise compared to new members.
  • Members who have belonged to multiple clubs are more likely to report only working out in the gym compared to members for whom this is their first ever club.
  • There is very little difference in visit frequency between the two types of members. 

Ultimately, the report found that 88% of group exercise members retained their membership during the duration of the study, compared to 82% of gym-only members. The risk of cancelling was 56% higher in gym-only members compared to group exercisers.

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IHRSA 2015 Would Not be Complete Without the Very Best Workout Opportunities 

Convention and Trade Show attendees can participate in cutting edge, trendsetting exercise programming  on Thursday and Friday at the JW Marriott. 

 These high-energy classes offer the most innovative programs. For the complete schedule view the IHRSA 2015 Thursday and Friday Exercise Tracks.

All Exercise Classes will take place at the JW Marriott. 

Sponsored by: ActivMotion BarTM, Balanced Body, bootybarre®, Jumpsport, Inc., Merrithew Health & FitnessTM, PILOXING®, Polar USA, SPRI and Xercise Lab.


What do you do when members are shut out of classes?

This week's Best Practices question is a problem every club would like to have - demand for classes are so high there is an overwhelming waitig list.

The experts - Jason Mason, Laura Wilson and Anthony Wall - offer a wide range of answers, among them charging for preferential sign-ups, leaving spots open for special circumstances and looking to expand the class to another spot in the facility.

 Q: "We offer Zumba classes that have become so popular we added more classes and even require a sign-up sheet now since the classes always fill up.  We are trying to add more classes, but until we can, many members have complained that they are still unable to get into the Zumba classes - even after they have tried to sign up a week in advance.  Do you experience this at your club?  Do you have any suggestions for a better system or how to please our members in this situation?"

A: We had the same problem with our Spinning classes, when we added more, it seemed to help a little but during the busiest times of the year, all of the classes still get booked in advance! Here are a few of the things that we've done to try to keep the members/participants happy:

1. Online sign ups open 24 hours in advance of the class time. This has helped prevent the same people from booking weeks in advance & allows a new opportunity each day for individuals to sign in for sessions.  We had an issue with people booking for weeks at a time, only to cancel right before class, leaving us to scramble to find those on the wait-list. 

2. Have a wait list & encourage timely cancellations so you have time to fill those empty spots.

3. Leave 4-5 spaces open for members that are only available 30minutes prior to class and can only be reserved in person.  That way if you have a new member or a prospective member that wants to try class out, you have the ability to put them in and members who are in the club have a chance to get a spot!  

Laura Wilson
Director of Fitness & Programming
Commonwealth Sports Club


A: We have this problem with other classes such as RPM, CXworx, and BodyPump. We have not experienced it with Zumba. One way we have alleviated the problem is by offering other great classes with dynamic instructors at the same time or paid programs. Sometimes it is the instructor of your Zumba or other classes that draws the attention besides the normal prime-time influx. We have not done so yet, but have toyed with the idea of having a VIP sign-up where members can either pay a monthly fee or per class fee giving them a select position in the room. (Great way for additional revenue.) We also open the doors to all of our classes 15 minutes before hand with music playing and the instructor in the room so they can meet and greet each member allowing those who really want a spot to be there. For those who missed we try to direct them in the right direction, introduce them to a personal trainer, free comp sessions into a paid program.  We look at it as an opportunity to talk about the other great things we have at our club and explain how switching up their program can increase their results. In the end we want all of our members to be happy and get results; which means they will be with us longer. We lose very few to not having enough at this point or complaints as we will find something the member enjoys! It comes down to communication among all departments within your facility. Communication is key when you have a facility that is filling up classes and having others from each team look at it as an opportunity!

Jason Mason
Fitness Director
Beverly Athletic Club


A: From a business perspective, this is a good problem to have – the demand is exceeding the supply! Of course this does create additional issues around meeting member expectations and trying to balance the demands for the new classes with other classes that are still popular. Often the root of this issue is a lack of space or physical resources. If this is the case the first option could be to assess any other areas within the club to determine whether they can be used part time to hold the classes. In one of my clubs we used a general training area for classes a few times a week. We kept that space more open for small group training and other PT activities the rest of the time – creating additional value for those two services. Another option is to look at any neighboring outdoor venues or buildings that can be leased to teach the classes. One of the benefits of Zumba is that many of the classes don’t require much or any equipment so they can be lead in non-dedicated/non-traditional spaces. While not the best solution I have seen classes lead in parking areas. Lastly work with your group fitness staff and fitness team to educate your members in the value of balance in their training. Because the classes are new you may see a swell of people attending 3+ classes a week. Many of those members were probably only averaging 1-2 workouts a week before that. A jump like that isn’t sustainable for most participants. Overuse injuries are something that they may not be considering. This could be an excellent opportunity to hold some free seminars on training, overuse injuries and smart training – while at the same time acknowledging the problem with not enough classes. In general members are much more tolerant if they see that the management is actively working to find a solution to the issue. Good luck.

Anthony Wall
Director of Professional Education
American Council on Exercise (ACE)