By Greg Lawlor

COVID-19 has changed the landscape dramatically. Group experiences are being scrutinized more than ever. Consumers will be very selective where they “congregate” in groups. They will only gravitate for the best experiences.

That is the NEW reality. We think about the group gatherings carefully before proceeding.

That has a big impact on how we think of Group Fitness, does it not?

COVID-19 is just the latest variable inserted to disrupt our fitness offering. It won’t be the last. Live streaming, direct to consumer content driven exercise is another. This was strong prior to COVID-19, will be even stronger after. New competition. Different disruptor. When you add specialized group activity that have carved out their niche, from CrossFit to heart rate interval training to yoga to indoor cycling, the consumer has tons of options.

That’s ok.

We got this.

Like anything else competing for spending, only the best will thrive!

Is providing the same things as those down the street the answer?  Not if someone has the exact same. Now you are splitting the spending dollar.

So how do you make sure your group experience and offering get the traction you need?

If the answer were easy, everyone would do it.

The answer lies in programming that allows you to evolve and differentiate while widening your reach. To improve what we offer. To monitor the demographic trends and serve them. To serve the demographics in a way that attracts consumers but is difficult to duplicate.

Simple.

Not easy.

From our experience there are 2 areas that currently check the above boxes.

One is in group training that caters to the beginner and older population. Accommodating is a key word in serving those groups. Matrix Fitness introduced MX4 active in 2019; it is a template that provides turnkey standards around the offering of group exercise to this demographic.

Think about it.

Who is doing that now? Programming that takes into consideration the aging body, and the body that is new to regular exercise?  Provides programming that standardizes delivery without compromising the talents of the leaders who are delivering the programming?

With employee turnover, and various levels of training expertise on different modalities from trainers, it is extremely challenging to scale the standard of experience you want for patrons. MX4 Active does all of that for you.

The 2nd is using equipment and education to provide a Sprint Intensity Experience that drives results in a time crunched world.  Sprint8 is another turnkey program that provides 3x per week 20-minute program that will deliver results for your customers.  This is something that works best in a group setting.   Nothing builds community like getting together towards a common goal.  Getting through these workouts are a common goal that will rally the troops, while being easy on body joints.

Developed over 30 years ago by Phil Campbell as a method to train athletes, Sprint8 has now entered the consciousness as our clientele want quicker ways to burn fat and build muscle. The magic of Sprint8 is manipulating intensity. Maximum effort over a series of intervals will naturally release human growth hormone. This is the same hormone, who’s synthetic version has been used to chemically enhance performance by athletes and delay the aging process in wealthy folks for years. When implemented in a group setting, at low or no impact your member will get guaranteed results. Up to 27% loss of fat over 8-week program. Yes, this has science behind it. *

Building community through Group Fitness has to do with 2 things.

  1. Getting an experience appropriate for the client that is difficult to duplicate anywhere else.
  2. Having an obstacle that is challenging, that at the same time brings people together to attack the common goal.

What increased demands on the viability of Group Fitness is teaching us, is we need to be more deliberate in planning what we offer.

A group together throwing weights around or cycling may not be enough anymore to keep people coming through the barriers to entry.

MX4 and Sprint8 are examples of 2 proven ways to solve these challenges.  With real ROI and step by step guidelines.

Let’s think about.  We need to keep evolving.

*See more on sprint8 research.

About Greg Lawlor

Greg Lawlor (B.Ed. M.A.) is Vice President, Sales & Marketing for Matrix Fitness Canada, a division of Johnson Health Tech. You can connect on social media at Matrix Fitness Canada.