Thursday, August 1, 2013

Engaging The “Back-Row” Member

Most group fitness instructors with full classes do a fantastic job of delivering great motivational and technical cues, while infusing a “fun-factor” into their class experience.  The place where so many fall short is in their efforts to really connect with the "back row" members.  “Back-row” members are typically in the back row for a reason. For many, it’s their first time participating or they feel self-conscious about working out in front of other people. They often arrive right on time or a little late and sneak out early if they can manage to do so discreetly. Many of them have made continuous, but inconsistent attempts to sustain a pattern of healthy habits.  They are willing to invest some time in exercise, but need personal support and direction on how to use this time wisely. A group fitness instructor can make or break a member’s experience, which is why it is so vital that the instructor engage the first-time and “back-row” members to create an environment that will encourage them to come back.

Engaging a “back row" member can be quite simple if the right steps are taken.  Here's five helpful tips to maximize their experience.

1. Acknowledge them, but don't single them out.
Don't make the mistake of asking new members to raise their hands.  Most of these members enter a class feeling a little insecure. An instructor's job is to make them feel welcome and comfortable.  Approach them with a smile, introduce yourself, and a give them a few helpful tips.

2.  Make eye contact.
It's crucial to let these members know you haven't forgotten about them as the class progresses.  An easy way to do this is to make   eye contact with them a few times throughout the class.  This will motivate them to push themselves and remind them that you care about           their experience.

3.  Cater to these members with helpful cues.
Cue in a way that specifically helps them and still speaks to your regular attendees.  The more clear and concise the instructor is, the better the member's performance and overall experience will be.
4.  Remind them that practice makes perfect, or at least progress.
Many "back row" members have tried a variety of classes without knowing that it's important to take a new class at least three times to judge whether the class is right for them and can help them achieve their fitness goals.  As an instructor, it's your job to inform them and get them to return.

5.  Always invite them back!
Let new class members know that you would love to hear their feedback and you are happy to answer any questions they may have.  Finally, thank them for trying your class and show your gratitude by asking them to return.

Instructors can be the difference-maker between a “back-row” member giving up, or becoming an engaged fan for life. Share these simple and subtle tips with your instructors and give them tools to create an environment that not only attracts newcomers, but keeps them coming back!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

At Fitness On Request, we're trying to walk the walk as much as we talk the talk. So in June, our employees are participating in a month long SQUATATHON, designed to get our buns and thighs in killer shape by mid-bathing suit season. Join us in our mission to get from 50 to 250 squats in June!! 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Does your facility have the "X Factor"? Check out Club Solutions April Editorial about video based groupX!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ironman Triathletes Train With Health Club Technology 

Group fitness classes at Bodyworks Fitness in Parksville, British Columbia are in high demand. Like many fitness centers, their goal with group fitness is to attract members and keep current members better engaged. The difference, however, between what most clubs offer and what club owner Dale Nagra offers, is significant. 

In January of 2012 Dale made the decision to add the amenity that would change the way his club operated. Fitness On Request is a comprehensive, video-based group fitness platform that allows Dale to offer classes all day, every day in his facility – and it’s costing him less than 50 cents per class! On a touch-screen kiosk users browse through dozens of classes, select the class that interest them, and within minutes watch it begin in front of them on a massive HD screen. The system allows Dale to increase offerings for his members and simplify the management process, all while saving money – a win-win for Dale, his members, and his bottom line.  “We used to have to increase our membership prices to cover the costs of group fitness. Fitness On Request is affordable enough that we can keep our prices low and still offer MORE to our members. We’re definitely increasing sales because of it. It impresses people a lot.”  
Judy Richardson, Jackie Allen & Kim Williamson

At Dale’s facility, his members are taking approximately 300 classes per month! Among his active members is Jackie Allen, who, along with two partners Judy Richardson and Kim Williamson,  is currently training for her first Ironman Triathlon. These women have been using Fitness On Request to train for their competition by taking classes together and individually. “These classes are a great option for us. We usually take the 50 minute cycle classes together because we need to build our endurance and we need a tough workout,” Jackie says. “By the time I finish one of those classes, I’m drenched! It’s a really great workout.”

Jackie has been an athlete her entire life and is always looking for solutions to her fitness routine. “Besides just training for the Ironman, I was really interested in the Fitness On Request programming because there is so much variety.” Jackie participates in wide variety of class genres including yoga/Pilates, strength and conditioning, cycle and more. “Normally I’d wonder how I would have time to do all of these activities, but with this program, I have all of those options right in one spot and I can do it whenever I have time available.” 

Dale Nagra, Bodyworks Fitness Owner 
The flexibility and convenience of Fitness On Request is a critical piece for Jackie’s schedule. “I like that there are different class lengths. If I come in on my lunch hour I may only have time for a 20 or 35 minute class, but then on the weekends or at night I can take a longer class.”  She goes on to admit, “Sometimes when I work out, I don’t want to have to think. But if I can just go to the gym and press a button and have an instructor tell me exactly what to’s great. I’m constantly telling people what a great tool Fitness On Request is. I just love it!” 

The benefits of Fitness On Request come full circle in Dales club as it benefits his bottom line, the value offer for his members, and even the relationship he has with his members. “Throughout the 11 years that my club has been in business, I’ve never had as much positive feedback or as many “thank-you”s from my members as I get because of Fitness On Request. We’ve had such awesome feedback from them. It’s definitely been worth it for us.” 

Monday, August 27, 2012

My Members Take 400 Classes Per Month

In Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, a group of enthusiastic employees are finding out what high member involvement in their health club really feels like. The club installed Fitness On Request to increase the availability and convenience of their group fitness program, but hardly anticipated the incredible member response.

Fitness On Request is, like many of their amenities, free for members to use. But Marklyn Behling and fellow employees saw it as a huge opportunity to leverage and create an experience that differentiates them as a fitness facility. They installed Fitness On Request in January of 2012 and in three months following the installation they saw that group fitness classes were played over 1200 times, averaging to be about 415 class plays per month! With unlimited class plays available on their kiosk, they can offer this many classes and more, without worry of increased expenses.

This extreme level of involvement didn’t happen by accident. Marklyn and fellow employees worked hard to spread the word about their system, both throughout the community and in their facility. They make sure to show the system at the beginning of every tour as well as at the end. “Double exposure puts it back into their minds as the tour is ending.” Marklyn is confident in her sales pitch promising people, “This is a feature you will absolutely love.” And they do.

Marklyn and her team understand that group fitness can be intimidating for some, and insecurity can prevent people from taking a class. “Most people worry they are being watched while they exercise,” Marklyn says. “Fitness On Request is a way for them to do the classes while feeling comfortable.” Word spread naturally for them, and sales increased with it. “Word of mouth and referrals are big for us,” Marklyn says, “Roughly 1-2 out of 10 will join because of Fitness On Request”

Marklyn and her co-workers are a testament to the power behind proper leverage of a tool like Fitness On Request and the effect it can have on the bottom line. “Being able to do whatever class you choose, whenever you want, is huge!” she says. “People flock to that room. They are instantly comfortable with the system, and it’s way for them to gain confidence before trying other things. I love it, and I can’t imagine our club without it.”

Thursday, July 26, 2012

How I Added 300 New Memberships Per Club

Andy Gundlach, owner of over 15 health clubs in the Wisconsin area, entered 2010 with a unique strategy.  Knowing the value of differentiation in his competitive market, he made plans to retrofit eighty percent of his clubs with Fitness On Request, the market leader and innovator in flexible group fitness software.

Andy knew that at the 3 year point of a club’s maturity, a large chunk of memberships fall off.  “We installed Fitness On Request in most of our clubs in late 2010 and early 2011 in order to offer something new and different.  Combining the new attribute with a marketing effort, we were able to average about 300 new members per club!” 

Focusing his energy on adding the new systems and doing little else to his clubs, Andy attributes almost all of his recent club growth and success to his newest amenity, Fitness On Request. He has now installed a system in 13 of his 16 total clubs and has plans to purchase another soon.

In May 2012 Andy, along with hundreds of other Fitness On Request customers, received a brand new (and exclusive) series of classes, produced by Elements Group Fitness. Elements classes are the culmination of years of collaboration with the some of the most respected professionals in the fitness industry. Produced by Fitness Hall of Fame member, Linda Shelton, Elements classes are results-driven and interactive - an exciting upgrade for all Fitness On Request customers.

Last year Andy proudly accepted the “Owner of the Year” award within his franchise corporation, as well as his true prize that comes from a thriving business and happy customers.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Our blog has moved!
To keep all our old stories accessible, we boxed them up and brought them along. They will all appear under July's blog posts (we thought you could handle a few mismarked dates). Enjoy this blog to read about real businesses and real people just like you who are learning how to make fitness convenient, and business profitable. From weight loss to revenue gains , we hope you enjoy these stories as much as we enjoy telling them.