If you have been in the fitness industry for any length of time as an instructor or GX manager, you know that the summer season for group fitness can seem somewhat discouraging. While all the outdoor playtime is nice, your bottom line pays the price.
Clubs and independent studios alike see a decrease in attendance, fewer new membership sales, and a general lack of enthusiasm and consistency of routine from even the strongest members. The rush, excitement, and momentum from the New Year Resolution subset has come to a slow simmer and you as an instructor may be feeling a little burnt out after many busy months of teaching to packed classes.
Summertime, however, can be a great time to assess your teaching style and strategies, make new connections, take inventory on your business, and maybe even get your creative juices flowing.
5 of my “cures for your summertime blues”
- Mix it up: Summer is a great time to try out new moves, play with different timing intervals or tempos, or test out some new cues for your students. A smaller number of clients in the room means less pressure to get it “just right the first time.” You can take extra time and attention to teach a new movement pattern or introduce a new concept. When the rest of the class comes roaring back in the fall you will have a seasoned front row crew to call upon to get everyone else quickly falling into step.
- Create Community: Members flock to group exercise not just for the squats and lunges, or for your latest and greatest dance move (well possibly), but they come to connect with friends, feed off the group energy and, of course, to see you. Use this quieter time in the gym to really get to know your students. The more you can call out to your clients by name, learn a fact or two abut their families and/or work, and know what makes them tick, the more you can connect the class together and impact them with your teaching. By creating community, you create clients that keep coming back for life.
- Work on your Brand: Part of getting people into your class is getting you OUT of it! Get outside of the facility you teach and market yourself in the community. Get a group of friends or students and teach outside in a park once or twice a week. See and be seen as the saying goes. Offer to volunteer at a local fitness clothing store that may offer free classes on the weekends. Offer to sub for other instructors who work in other clubs in your area while they are away on vacation. The more you can spread yourself around the more likely you are to create a following that leads to fuller classes, higher demand for your services and, in turn, more revenue for you.
- Invest in Yourself: Take this slower time in the gym to turn a little attention inward and work on taking your own teaching to a new level. Get inspired by your peers and attend a fitness conference. Take a course that is offered locally to learn a new skill set. Dive into research articles, podcasts, or books. Network with other industry leaders, or take a variety of fitness classes as a student to gain a new perspective. Knowledge is power. The brain is a muscle and we need to remember to train it like we do the rest of our body.
- Get Creative: Speaking of exercising the brain, summer is a perfect time to step outside your comfort zone and let your creative juices flow. Make up a new class format and try it out on the GX schedule at your club. It is a good time for directors to try new things on the class schedule with minimal risk. If the members love it, your club can fully incorporate it into the GX class schedule and formally launch it come Fall. If it doesn’t happen to sit well with the clientele, you go back to the drawing board and chalk it up as a good learning experience. If Class creation isn’t your niche, maybe try your hand at writing. Start your own fitness blog, contribute an article to a local paper, magazine or online platform. The important thing is to take the time to create and grow.
So, If the sunshine and summertime have you feeling a little blue, simply shift the mindset, and change your attitude. Don’t see small class sizes and a quiet club as a negative. Seize the opportunity and use these 5 cures above to find the positive in the lull. In no time, you will see your Summer Shine bright.