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Personal Training and Group Exercise: How to bridge the gap

Lindsey Rainwater

While I was visiting Tulsa last month, I spent some time with my friend Mr Jared Meacham.  I have known Jared for a while now and I always find his perspective intriguing and innovative.  In our most recent conversation we chatted a lot about the topic of the link between Group Fitness and Personal Training.  We spoke about how people move within a health club to different services and how it creates long term retention and new membership simply by engaging members at a higher level of humanization, meeting their needs.  I asked Jared to share some of his insights with us on how he does just that.  

Mr Jared Meacham

While Sky Fitness & Wellbeing in Tulsa is certainly a club system that prides itself on staying at the forefront of the high value client-centered trends in the fitness industry, they are certainly aware of the need to constantly evolve and create opportunities at times when they are few and far between.  As with any business in the fitness industry, there is an annual ebb and flow to the volume of business coming in the door and engaging paid-for services.  In 2012, Sky’s Executive team decided to focus almost completely on in-house opportunities that had not, until this time, been systemized and managed as a means of top-priority business growth. 

 Of course business is always changing, growing, expanding, shifting, moving- and Sky’s private training program is no exception.  What makes our approach exceptional is that we embrace such changes and work to ensure our business model is agile, strong and flexible enough to capitalize on them when they occur.  One key area of focus was, as you may expect, our private training program.  More specifically, we determined that we were going to take our very highly attended Group Exercise programs and turn them into a manageable feeder system for private training, not by chance, but by design. 

We began by assessing high-value target markets represented in our Group Exercise programming. A diverse group of young professionals, newly energized participants and baby boomers looking for ways to stay fit as they age, alongside the twenty-somethings wanting a great workout at a price that fit their budget. We evaluated each of these groups and developed programming strategies to engage them, not only in the group exercise studios, but more specifically on the fitness floor under the supervision of a highly educated private trainer.

We believed this approach would have at least two positive effects on our business.

  1. Improved Retention - The second point-of-contact (group exercise classes with private training) would carry over into a more engaged member who was invested in numerous aspects of our business system, not only the programming, but also our team members and other members. Our belief was these relationships and variable fitness opportunities would provide a great hedge against attrition.
  2. The Training Assumption – This is the term I use to describe systems that are designed to set an expectation that human nature can assist in promoting.  We are social creatures and we want to fit in with the people in our environment.  By attracting the high-value target markets mentioned above, we ensured that other people in our group exercise classes were, by human nature, open to exploring the many aspects of our private training program as well.

The trendy thing to assert in our industry is to sell services and products based on value instead of price, but this is seldom the truth.  At Sky, however; this is absolutely the way we approach every idea or concept that will connect with our members.  We make the assumption that high-value services and products when marketed and presented properly, will carry over into quality revenue streams that we can rely upon to grow our business and solidify our brand.  This approach to bridging group exercise and private training is no exception.

We created a very strong, ongoing and steady educational system that engages our members with a wide array of topics, life lessons and fitness lifestyle design strategies that connect members and our fitness professionals personally in a setting that demonstrates high-value proficiencies on the part of our team.  Through our educational system we were able to generate interest in the key factors associated with human physical fitness.  We believe that educational programming, when done properly, generates curiosity and connects with people on a personal level.  We developed our educational programs to do just this; be unique, provide valuable, instantly useful methods, build our member’s curiosity and create instances for our fitness team to demonstrate effective techniques and methods that yield results on an individualized level.  Moreover, we rooted our educational program to focus on types of fitness programming we believed to be lasting, ongoing approaches to physical fitness and wellbeing instead of passing fads.  In order to achieve the business expansion results we desired, we needed our education program to be legitimate, authoritative and of the highest quality.

As with all successful fitness industry businesses, Sky Fitness & Wellbeing is constantly researching ways to evolve its integration of private training and group exercise.  The above instances are just a few ways we’ve worked to achieve this in 2012.  All of these initiatives are ongoing and in a constant state of evolution, that’s what makes them appealing and relevant to our clients and membership.  Our commitment to bridging the gap between complimentary and paid-for fitness programming is stronger than ever and is based in the idea that both are needed to achieve high-quality, life-long fitness results in the vast majority of people. 

 

Click here for more information about Jared, Thank you Jared for sharing your insight with us!

Please tell me, Lindsey Rainwater , how are you providing a bridge from you Group Fitness to Personal Training and providing the best possible member experience?