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I want to preface this article by saying that I am by no means a group exercise expert.  With that being said, I do have many years of experience teaching classes within my realm of expertise.  While, I could never teach a dance-based or choreographed style class, boot camp, body pump and strength-based classes are more my style.  Whether it is one client or an entire class full, it can be difficult to motivate and keep clients coming back for your classes.  In this article, I will highlight tips for keeping your classes full of happy clients.  

Research your market

One of the most important tips for class retention is to know the market and clientele you are trying to serve.  Depending on your gym or fitness center location, there could be a few or even a dozen other facilities all competing for the same clients.  I suggest researching what other facilities are offering and don’t forget to look for specialized boutiques.  

In order to be competitive, you need to offer classes that meet the client’s demands and be ahead of the curve.  Instead of offering what everyone else offers, why not blend two trends together to create your own unique combination?  After all, your clients have probably done more than their fair share of spin, step and body pump classes.  Another idea is to research popular sports, hobbies, or outdoor activities around your area.  If mountain biking is popular, why not combine spin and strength training for a “Mountains and Muscles” class to get your clients ready for the trails.  Anything can become a class as long as it meets your client’s needs and has a catchy theme. Setting yourself and your facility apart from all the other “dime a dozen” facilities will keep classes full and clients coming back for more.  

Class timing and duration can be just as important as class content.  You may have created the most mind blowing spin class, but if it doesn’t fit into a client’s schedule then they will never attend class.  If you are trying to attract the early morning crowd, a high intensity 30 minute blast may be more effective than a gentle one hour yoga at 6 am.  Longer classes may be more appropriate during the lunch hour for stay at home moms who are looking for a workout and social hour.  

Keep it fresh

Creating and maintaining new and exciting classes can be difficult with so many options to choose from these days. I myself enjoy taking classes at many different studios when I need inspiration for new group exercise classes.  I always try to keep an eye out and search social media for the most popular fitness trends in my area.  When Olympic lifting became trendy with all the CrossFit studios popping up, I created an intro to Olympic lifting class.  This became wildly popular because my clients wanted try do what all their friends were talking about.  I see fitness as being very similar to fashion, what goes around will always seem to come back around.  When the kettlebell craze exploded, I found it intriguing that a funny shaped dumbbell could be the basis of an entire studio.  A brilliant idea to take all the basic exercises, modify the tool, and create a hot new trend.  Research the trends, anticipate future trends, stick with the old-faithfuls and you’ll pack your classes every time.

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