By Tyler Valencia, MS, PES, PFT
An important part of a successful gym or health club is that ALL employees buy into and follow the culture enacted by management. The “flow” or process in which a new member meets and is assimilated into the gym can create a higher chance of retention and potentially lead to increased sales through other income generating opportunities (personal training, dietary consultations, spa treatment, etc). But how does a group exercise instructor fit into this equation? Often a group exercise instructor comes for their respective classes and then leaves after. Even though a group exercise instructor may not be as engulfed in the day-to-day operations of a gym, his/her participation in gym culture is just as important. A group exercise instructor will typically see the most members in a health club and has a direct effect on how a member views the club. Below are 3 tips to help every group exercise instructor stay a part of the club culture and help drive in more revenue!
- Weekly Check-in with Your Manager.
On a weekly and monthly basis, the club that you teach group exercise for will have special promotions or items they are trying to emphasize. For example, during the beginning of each year a health club will typically have a promotion for personal training. At the end of a class promoting this information could help someone on the fence make the leap towards purchasing personal training. To take this one step further, having a trainer on staff come promote the special on personal training could add another familiar face for these members and increase the chance of future personal training sales.
Another example which helps increase retention is when a health club holds a member contest such as a weight loss or check in contest. Since an overwhelming number of members come for group exercise, ensuring that each member knows about the contest and signs up is key to retention. These small contests help improve usage numbers, while increasing “word-of-mouth” promotion. How many times do you hear someone say that they “can’t” eat something or need to go to the gym because of a contest? These word-of-mouth promotions have a high chance of new business, since the information is coming from a trusted source.
- Know Your Gyms Hierarchy.
The worst scenario in any health club is that a member asks a question and the employee has no answer and nobody to refer the member to. While getting to know different employees is typically a part of the on-boarding process, proactively introducing yourself as a new group exercise instructor helps you stay up to date with new hires.
In an ideal situation the group exercise instructor already knows the appropriate coworker to refer a member with a question. But what if they don’t? An appropriate response should include an apology and a personal introduction to someone at the front desk. Going above and beyond in these types of situations will help keep the scenario positive, and ensure that this member gets the right answer.
- Always Promote the Appropriate Culture.
It’s no secret that group exercise instructors often teach at multiple clubs. There’s nothing wrong with this as it keeps the bills paid and puts the instructor in-front of different audiences, but ensuring that the appropriate message is conveyed should be at the forefront of each instructor’s priorities. With so many different formats being offered and different different cultures a part of these formats, it’s important to make sure that your attire, language used and demeanor match the health club that you are instructing at. For example, I can teach HIIT and bootcamp formats which typically are louder in nature and have people moving all over the place. If I were to teach a HIIT class in an industrial area where music is blasting and the clothing required is more casual, I would want to make sure that I “re-assess” myself if I was going to instruct at a health club that typically has a strict dress attire and a different population of members.
Even though it’s important that you are building your brand within the fitness industry, bills need to be paid and a job is better than no job. It’s still possible to be yourself and add your own flair to a class, but swearing inside a gym that doesn’t have that culture could be a quick trip to an open time-slot on your schedule.
Too often we forget that being a group exercise instructor is a key part of a gym and that we are a part of the overall success of the gym, despite only being at the gym for 1 to 3 hours. Health club members trust what you have to say and often you’re the reason why they come. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, if utilizing group exercise as a tool to build your personal training business, this avenue affords you the chance to showcase your talents and knowledge on a weekly basis. If a member believes in your skills and feels that you will help them get closer to their goal, they will gladly (and willingly) hand over their payment info.
Group exercise is a key component of a gym. Make sure you stay a part of the gym culture and utilize it to your advantage!
Tyler Valencia is the President of KIPS. While working for a Southern California online education company he started his first business, Time 2 Train Fitness which specialized in bootcamp and personal training. Time 2 Train Fitness went on to receive the distinction of 3X Best Bootcamp and 2X Best Personal Trainer with the Long Beach Press Telegram.