20 OnSite Fitness | GroupEx                           Group exercise for                          growth and strength  The...
GroupEx | www.onsite-fitness.com 21                                                      In short, group-exercise members ...
22 OnSite Fitness | GroupEx      • Recruit and develop great instructors. A single great        teacher will attract and r...
GroupEx | www.onsite-fitness.com 23                                                                  try our other fitness...
24 OnSite Fitness | GroupEx  Group fitness also accounts for over 30% of all exercise visits           and culture that ha...
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Group Exercise growth in 2012


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Group Exercise growth in 2012

  1. 1. 20 OnSite Fitness | GroupEx Group exercise for growth and strength There’s a secret to growing stronger bonds with and among your members – and to growing membership by an average of 500 people per facility. By Phillip Mills CEO of Les Mills InternationalW When you ask people what they want when they join a gym or attend a recreation center, you commonly get answers like “to lose weight,” to “to get in shape” or “to improve my health.” In other words, they want results. But people know they can Building bonds – making exercise social – is one of the most powerful motivators. Anything you can do that gets people working out with each other or with your staff builds strong exercise adherence. get results from almost any type of exercise – by walking Personal training, small-group training, clubs within your club around the block or working out in their living room, for like sports training, hiking, even purely social activities like example. So why do they come to us as exercise professionals? book clubs or wine clubs keep people coming back again and again. We are social creatures. The answer is motivation. People hope and expect that in the environment of an exercise facility they’ll be inspired and We’ve tried everything along these over 40 years in my family’s enabled to achieve more than they can on their own. gym chain in New Zealand. We have as many as 90 personal and small-group trainers per facility. We have spent many There are some simple tools for motivation. Providing thousands of dollars per facility on audiovisual systems to an attractive, enjoyable facility is one. Education and create great workout environments. And we’ve created dozens communication help, as they leave people feeling of internal groups where people do everything from learning empowered and involved. healthy cooking to running triathlons to speed dating.LesMills.indd 20 4/4/12 12:31 PM
  2. 2. GroupEx | www.onsite-fitness.com 21 In short, group-exercise members attend more often, have higher retention, generate more referrals, are prepared to pay more and won’t leave your facility for a budget club down the road. The same research shows that facilities with world-class group exercise have 500 more members per club than the global average. It’s so powerful that we’ve trademarked a name for it: “The Group Effect™.” Here are some of the things you can do to build a great group-exercise program: Among everything we’ve tried, the activity that has worked best over all of those years is group exercise. That’s the reason we started our global group-exercise business in the first place: it is the most effective way to get the maximum number of people exercising regularly. For me, attendance is the most important metric in any facility. A lot of people focus on sales, but that yields only short-term success unless you also have good retention. Many of us measure retention, but often without knowing how to do much about it. Our research of many years shows that attendance is the key measure that drives retention. It’s as simple as it is obvious: members who come often are much less likely to cancel. In fact, attendance also drives sales, via increased word-of-mouth referrals. Even the most successful facilities drive perhaps 10% of their attendance through personal training and 3% to 4% through small-group training. On the other hand, facilities with even moderately successful group exercise programs achieve 30% of total visits for group exercise, and up to 50% and more in some cases. Just as important as these overall numbers, excellent group exercise gets individuals coming more often. Our independent research commissioned from companies like Nielsen consistently finds that people attending Les Mills classes use their facility more than three times per week, compared with industry averages between one and two times per week.LesMills.indd 21 4/4/12 12:31 PM
  3. 3. 22 OnSite Fitness | GroupEx • Recruit and develop great instructors. A single great teacher will attract and retain hundreds of members to a club over time. • Support your teachers with a great training and development plan. • Work with your instuctors to set attendance goals for each of their classes. Publish a scorecard of class sizes with recognition and reward for the biggest classes, fastest-growing classes and so on. • Promote individual classes among members, and spice this up by regularly offering new classes. The latter can be popular branded classes like Zumba or BODYPUMP®, or can be new classes your teachers create in-house. It’s always an important decision whether to develop your classes in-house or to invite a third-party partner to help. I am biased, of course! I encourage you to ask yourself some questions. Perhaps you already have a great group-exercise offering. How do you know? Do you count your weekly group attendances and benchmark them against industry standards? Do you design your timetable to maximize attendance and minimize cost per head? Do your teachers use the best choreography and the most popular music? Is the music legally licensed in all respects? Do you benchmark your instructors against the world’s best and provide inspirational training and development to grow their skills? Do your members regularly refer their friends to classes and do you have an integrated sales and marketing system that promotes your group ex program for greater member- ship sales and retention? We encourage you to have a look at your group exercise offering. If it’s not yet at world-class standard, an upgrade might transform your facility and your community. Les Mills is the preferred group fitness provider of the Jewish Community Centers Association. Les Mills pro- grams are offered in over 300 YMCAs across the US as well as college gyms and community centers. Les Mills of- fers ten different group-exercise programs, each of which is renewed every three months with new choreography, music and instructor notes. Its programs are licensed in more than 14,000 facilities in 70 countries, and are taught by 90,000 instructors to millions of people each week. www.lesmills.com OSFLesMills.indd 22 4/4/12 12:31 PM
  4. 4. GroupEx | www.onsite-fitness.com 23 try our other fitness offerings.” In its first six months, BODYPUMP® almost tripled the number Groupex builds of members participating in group fitness, while also increasing the average number of times they attended each week. Baltimore’s JCC Now the two JCCs offer four more LES MILLS® classes – BODYFLOW® (mind-body), BODYSTEP® (step aerobics), BODYATTACK® (high-energy fitness), and SH’BAM™ (simple community dance fitness). LES MILLS® programming occupies 44% of all slots on the groupex schedule at the two gyms. Group exercise is drawing more and more people into exercise at the JCC of Greater Baltimore – and encouraging them to try other forms of exercise, too. “Group exercise has become a touchpoint between members and our Centers,” says Amy Schwartz, Fitness and Wellness Director. Groupex participation exploded in late 2007 when the facility introduced Les Mills’ barbell class BODYPUMP®, says Amy. She runs fitness programming at two Centers – the religiously conservative Weinberg Park Heights JCC in central Baltimore and the suburban, eclectic Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC. “We have created an atmosphere that fills the classes,” she says. “And we’ve found that the more often people come to the Center, the more likely they are to remain members and toLesMills.indd 23 4/4/12 12:31 PM
  5. 5. 24 OnSite Fitness | GroupEx Group fitness also accounts for over 30% of all exercise visits and culture that has strengthened our instructor to the two facilities – up from 15% in 2007. “The classes are team enormously.” wonderful,” says Amy. “People love them.” • “We designed our group fitness timetables (since we The figures tell the story: of 1550 adult members who use the have two facilities) in response to the requests of our Centers daily, 500 attend a group exercise class. members – not where instructors fit. The LES MILLS® programming makes this easier: since more than one Amy shares a number of keys to success: instructor is trained in each class, we have much more • “We made Group Fitness classes free with JCC flexibility to meet members’ needs while also working membership.” Previously, members had to pay extra to around the preferences of individual instructors.” participate in groupex.” This was a matter of both competion and efficiency: all other facilities in the area • “We’ve worked hard to accommodate the values of our included group classes in their basic memberships, and different communities. For example, we have mostly there were advantages in not having to police who had single-gender classes in our central-city facility where our and hadn’t paid. members are a little more conservative, and coed classes in the other.” • “We brought in pre-choreographed formats with name recognition: Les Mills BODYPUMP®, BODYSTEP®, Using choreographed programs from outside vendors has BODYFLOW® and SH’BAM™; Powder Blue Productions’ freed up time to concentrate on members’ needs, Amy says. TurboKICK, and some ZUMBA programs.” “I have more time to deal with our members, since top-quality programming and new music arrives fresh every three months, my • “We increased the number of classes we offer by instructors are trained and certified by world-class experts, and if 50% - and the classes are still packed. In one of our I need advice there’s an experienced team that can help.” facilities, we have to give out numbers to manage the places. Now we are looking for alternate spaces in our “It’s definitely a big step to decide to buy outside facilities to offer classes. For example, we’re replacing the programming,” says Amy. “It was a big decision for us five linoleum tiles in our auditorium with an appropriate fitness years ago.” flooring so we can offer large classes there.” “But we would never go back to trying to create everything • “We hired well-qualified instructors who understand the in-house – that’s harder, and in the end doesn’t serve members importance of being part of a team. In fact, the Les Mills as well.” OSF training and certification creates a common languageLesMills.indd 24 4/4/12 12:31 PM