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Group training is useless without these four magic ingredients
Group training has hit the big time this year. As a great tool to improve member retention, clubs and boutiques are using their class timetables as a way to differentiate themselves from the competition.
In a report by Club Industry, a study of more than 3,000 participants of group fitness classes from around the world found that more than 85 percent of class members visit their club twice a week solely to take part in a class. Whereas 43 percent of members visit their facility four times per week for this purpose.
Now that the importance of group training has been highlighted, the question is: is it enough to offer exciting group classes that will keep members engaged? And how much impact do the instructors have on the experience?
We explore this within the article below, with insights from Business Insider’s Retail Reporter Mallory Schlossberg and Escape’s Head of Programming and Education Tommy Matthews.
ONCE YOU FIND THEM, DON’T LET THEM GO
Group training has the potential to be a fantastic experience. For millions of gym users it’s not only a great social experience but an incredibly motivational way to achieve suburb results.
But no matter how good the programming and equipment is within a group training session, it’s the knowledge and ability of the instructor that determines the success or failure.
How many members have been to a group exercise class, only to leave feeling disappointed by poor instruction? This can be incredibly damaging for the club, driving members into the doors of competitors.
This is why every club has to invest just as much time and resources into finding and developing outstanding trainers for their group programmes. The best instructors are an integral part of group training experiences and ultimately they are the people that can give your club a competitive edge.
AN INSIGHT FROM BUSINESS INSIDER
We recently read an article in Business Insider which sums this up perfectly. The article, which was written by reporter Mallory Schlossberg, interviews Zumba CEO Alberto Perlman and brings to light some great points.
He says: “You’re seeing all these trends from boutiques to Zumba to CrossFit, and everything, because the fitness industry realised that it was about the instructor and it was the consumers who told the fitness industry that.”
A great example that is highlighted within the article is popular indoor-cycling studio Flywheel, who place an emphasis on hiring top instructors to represent their brand. Creative Director Danielle Devine-Baum looks for people who are motivational, enthusiastic, confident, and who come equipped with “athletic prowess”.
As Danielle realises, Choosing the right instructor for your club or boutique is so much more than reading up on their qualifications. Having the ability to motivate a room full of gym goers is a skill that should not go disregarded.
As touched upon in Mallory’s article, factors that make the best group training instructors include: choosing the right music, being able to ‘perform’ to a group with confidence and the ability to be personable and motivational.
It’s been recognised as such a vital feature in fact, that the industry awards held annually by the IDEA Health and Fitness Association dedicate an award for the ‘best group fitness instructor’ of the year.
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO GET THROUGH THE SOULCYCLE TRY-OUTS?
SoulCycle, located in the USA, promise to take members on a journey that will change their bodies, their minds and their lives. And with an intense instructor selection and training process, these indoor cycling clubs surely live up to this ethos.
All SoulCycle instructors are required to undergo a 10-week training program in the bright lights of New York City. As SoulCycle’s Chicago based trainer Kellen Townsend explains, individuals must first be invited to audition before even being considered for the training.
According to Kellen it was confidence, practice, trust and vulnerability that took him from spectator to superstar. He commented: “SoulCycle has taught me that limits exist only if I allow them to and that no goal is unattainable if you’re willing to do the work to achieve it.”
Enticing in celebrities such as Nicole Richie and Kelly Ripa, it’s SoulCycle’s vigilant selection of instructors that has contributed to their glowing success within the industry today. Online reviews from satisfied members have described some of their top instructors as “hidden gems”, “rockstars” and “the best spin instructor in the biz”. It’s safe to say that their 10-week programme is largely responsible for this feedback.
ESCAPE’S TRAINING PROGRAMMES GIVE INSTRUCTORS A WHOLE NEW PERSONA
Escape is a firm believer in the power of the instructor. Years of experience within the fitness industry have helped us to define what makes a club successful and what doesn’t. This is why we have created three exhilarating training programmes with the instructor in mind.
Our suite of group training programmes includes: MOVE IT, HIIT THE DECK and BATTLE FIT. Conscious of the fact that we don’t want to offer ‘just’ a programme, instructor training comes as part of the package (or as we like to refer to it a business in a box solution).
Each programme comes with online product training workshops and exercise libraries with coaching notes. Instructors can also choose to order in-club training from Escape’s Master Trainers, to receive more specific training on how to most effectively run one of our programmes.
BATTLE FIT is a fantastic example. Replicating the workouts performed by army cadets, the instructor can really bring BATTLE FIT to life with a few simple tricks and tips. As developer and creator Jon Reynolds explains in the how-to instruction tutorial included within the package, BATTLE FIT is best coached when taking on the mentality of an army officer.
ESCAPE DELIVERS TRAINING WORKSHOPS AT UFC GYM
‘Train Different’ is the philosophy UFC Gyms around the world live by. Escape have enjoyed a long working relationship with UFC Gyms and was thrilled to deliver a two day workshop in their California club back in 2014, to train their coaches and athletes on some Escape best-sellers.
UFC Gym trainers train and educate members in their facilities on how to use some of the best innovative functional fitness equipment available today. And because of this successful workshop, the products have been rolled out to more UFC Gym sites.
Our equipment now features in the club’s ‘Daily Ultimate Training’, a functional strength and conditioning programme designed to engage with members through small group functional training.
THE FOUR CHARACTERISTICS THAT MAKE UP THE BEST TRAINERS
Now it’s time to hand over to Escape’s Head of Programming and Education Tommy Matthews, to give us an insight into the four characteristics that he believes make effective instructors.
Professionalism. Take your job seriously, treat it as any successful professional would who does everything required to succeed in the task. Plan properly; prepare yourself fully; dress correctly; train and learn to better yourself. Do everything you need to do to be successful at your job. That’s what being professional is all about.
Inspirational. If you can inspire your clients, they will learn to trust you and aspire to be like you. Walk the walk and talk the talk and clients will look to you for advice. They will trust your methods and be more inspired to achieve their goals.
Motivational. You play a big part in pushing your clients to achieve their goals, and in finding the methods that make them tick. Your motivational skills will help to bring a group of people together to train hard.
Passion. If you’re not passionate about what you do, you may as well stop reading this, stop the job you’re in and do something else. Nobody ever achieves greatness if they are not passionate about what they do. Your passion for this job will project and exude to your clients and greatly change their training experience.
As a trainer, the above points can be implemented instantly. However, there is a lot more that makes a great instructor, and those skills will come as you learn more.
WHAT GUARANTEES A GREAT GROUP SESSION?
As a trainer you have to bring your ‘A’ game to deliver a good session. There is no place for an instructor to just stand back and watch. You need to be committed and ready for anything!
Creating a positive and friendly environment in your session is a must if you want to guarantee maximum enjoyment and ensure that clients come back again and again.
Interaction and motivation while you are leading your session can be achieved in a number of ways as detailed below:
– Smiling and making eye contact (two of the most powerful tools of communication).
– Being comfortable with your own personal style of instruction.
– Interacting and getting to know your participants.
– Enjoying yourself: instruct, train and coach with energy.
– The social interaction aspect of the session is not to be underestimated.
– Make it a fun experience.
– Communication is a sure way of ensuring your instructions are understood.
– Project your voice and give all clients attention, not just your favourites.
DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO RUN A SUCCESSFUL FUNCTIONAL GROUP TRAINING SESSION?
If you have questions about our group training programmes or instructor training courses please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
UK: +44 (0)1733 313 535
USA: +1 (614)-706-4462
Germany: +49 (0)2921 590 10 70