• drsuzbaxter

What is your studio missing?


In this article, we discuss some broad topics to consider in making your class and sessions essential, not “a luxury” during recessions.


I feel as though everybody is getting very bogged down by the fact that inflation is high, and that just makes our position in the fitness industry super hard.I think a lot of gym and studio owners are worried about how this is going to potentially impact their career for those of us that are still left. We think we're essential. However: the way we were treated during the pandemic was that we were not essential, and then also how our participants may have come to have seen us depending on how new they are, how old they are… will dictate spending habits, right? Well i say not exactly..


Now is exactly the time that we need to band together and we really need to help people out with that knowledge, skills and everything else that we have.


During the pandemic, I was in Melbourne, which was the most locked down state in the world. It became really obvious that there were so many people out there that were feeling very disconnected. It's no wonder why, you know, people of a certain age group were living by themselves. They weren't allowed to go and meet up with people, they couldn't leave a five kilometer radius. They didn't have the usual things that they had, like meeting up with people in the workplace, which was all only happening on Zoom, and any of their extracurricular activities such as getting a coffee did not necessarily serve that feeling of needing to be connected. It came to light that most millennials, especially from the isolation that happened from the pandemic life, made this big decision and shifted to them that it was more about enjoying the moment and learning how you could live when not following the status quo. We've had a lot of people that have been working from home in jobs that people wouldn't necessarily have picked for being able to work from home. And that's really changed the fabric of how people think about their lives and how they go about their day to day lives as well. Also, how much money they might need to be happy, and what they spend their money on.


So people will always take time and set aside money for things in their life that makes them happy, which is why people spend so much money on their children, on their pets and also on their hobbies and things that just make them tick day to day. That can be used to think about fitness (and yes, I do hear places that are screaming out and saying you know, it's really hard to find people that are interested in coming to try out exercise).


The thing is we have forgotten what our most important metric is when it comes to group fitness. when it comes to reaching out to those participants that could be in our class and could be joining in and becoming part of our community and that is the experience and the enjoyment of the class and the feeling that they get from being in the class. Whilst that's a little bit harder to measure, that is certainly correlated with how many people are going to keep showing up to class especially despite the weather getting colder for winter, or any sort of thing that comes in the way in terms of like work events or things going on in their personal lives and that sort of thing. They will most definitely find themselves there, when they know that they are just going to have a really good time when they come there.


As I've stated in earlier articles, if individuals arrive with the mindset that they simply need to show up and we can guide them, they will not only be doing something beneficial for their bodies but also getting an excellent workout and having a great time, and feeling immersed in the experience where time just doesn't seem to matter. It's just like they're just there and they're not paying attention to how much time is left. That is when you've got people in that really great experience zone. If we focus on the things that make it fun for a person, such as making it easy for them to do that, they get to be social and hang out with their friends. They get to work out, which contributes to their health. They get to have fun at the same time, and they get to do that to music which also increases the vibe and maybe have some laughs and smiles. These are some of the things that if we really highlighted to clients, we'll certainly be getting more clients through the door and that sort of thing.


So overall, let's have a little look. Let's work out what our advertising and marketing is really saying to our clients, especially if we're going for those medium to larger classes and filling them, make sure that the marketing messaging going out there is showing people how easy it can be and they just need to show up or telling them about how the fun is injected to the session and maybe even poking fun of the situation in itself. For me, it worked really well that I would constantly be telling clients that my greatest asset was definitely not my sense of humor, and they would laughingly agree with me but at the same time, we had so many laughs during the session. I did have a lame sense of humor, but at the same time it was all about having fun. It was all about having a bit of focus on the session as well and that's how you get people that are members with you for like two years, three years, five years because they don't actually realize how hard they're working towards their goal, whilst they're still having fun at the same time. If you want to try and really hone in on this, why not reach out and ask your current members how they think that you might be able to make it more fun or highlight how fun it is when they come along to classes. For me, I ask for song requests or I'll tell them stories that are very short stories but ones that will make them laugh or potentially I'll use the music to bring more excitement and fun so the music can be one that's quite jovial. It's got good undertones and overtones of being happy go lucky and that sort of thing. Then building on that with some really good stories.


So on the note of the stories, honestly, I have evaluated instructors before that thought that just telling stories in general is like a way to feel closer to their class. But unfortunately, not all stories are created alike. And it sometimes takes for you to tell the story in your head and work out how you want the participant to feel after hearing the story that will change whether you tell the story or not. A number of instructors that I've assessed, their stories involve complaining about management, complaining about how cold it is and that they're not happy that they've got to go to work and that sort of thing. This is all done in jest where it's very obvious and it's like turned around and reframed by the end of it. There's actually not that much about it that leaves you with a warm and fuzzy feeling. Instead, if the person is acting like they don't want to be there or they don't look like they're actually having fun, then it's very hard to feel connected to the instructor and connected to the other people in the class. It almost makes you feel like you've been scolded by the instructor and you don't even want to make eye contact with the other people in the class.


This weekend just passed. I attended a great fitness class and the instructor didn't take any time to ask if anybody was new to the class, or even to tell us what equipment we needed. She looked at the floor the majority of the time. Now as an empath, I realized that she probably was feeling quite insecure or not that confident in front of the large group of people that was in front of her. But at the same time, I was very confused by how we were supposed to feel engaged in the class. There was a room full of people that were hankering off her every word, and instead, she wasn't giving us eye contact. She was telling us the bare minimum when it came to what it was we're supposed to be doing and what equipment that we needed. And there were a lot of throwaway little snide comments that made me feel that she'd had a really bad evening, which for some people, the snide comments are things that people say when they're actually feeling a bit uncomfortable, and they want to feel a bit more comfortable by seeming a little bit more standoffish or aloof. But our goal as being exercise leaders is to be warm and welcoming. Even though I do encourage you to be genuine, authentic and yourself, I know that everybody has a level of warmth in them and turning that level of warmth on to welcome your participants who may not be feeling that comfortable, in what for them is a very uncomfortable experience. Attending to the clients and helping them do the exercise is going to be one way that you keep people coming back. Also, ensure that your classes are the best attended and that you get best results for your clients, because clients are more motivated to go their hardest and be their hardest in the session.


When people feel less judged in the session, they feel more inclined to actually get involved as well. So some of the best times when I've been very cheesy or corny or tried to make jokes or make people do a funny dance, I'm more likely to get participation from anyone in the class. If I've been welcoming, open and made people feel truly at home not everybody's going to want to do the crazy dance with me. But the fact that people feel engaged and some people feel inclined to move a little bit or smile means that they're definitely considering it or they like that they've been included in the participation.


So there you have it. What are you going to do to make your studio inject the fun to new clients and current clients that you currently have up your sleeve? This is not about being something that you're not, but doing something that is very on brand for you to make it a more enjoyable and pleasant experience. Streamline the process so that people are in this weightless kind of time where they don't even know whether a lot of time or a little time has passed. They're just in a flow state in your class, how are you going to emulate that?


If you do need some help with this, I have a number of courses on bringing out the star quality in your classes and that may be something you're interested in. But if that doesn't quite sound like you and you're just not sure, reach out! Because we'll be happy to get on a call with you and make sure that you're pointed in the right direction.



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