I have heard that saying many times over the years and this week, it was proven quite true for me personally. I started in this industry in 1983 teaching high impact aerobics in the days of Jane Fonda. Eventually that gave way to low-impact as people were getting injuries like those nasty shin splints. When basic low-impact got boring, we spiced it up by adding more dance and created classes like Cardio Funk and Cardio Hip Hop. After all, the dance based, choreographed classes such as Jazzercise® and Dancergetics® typically done outside the gym atmosphere were drawing huge numbers with some instructors making a fortune for just one class.
Now-a-days we have other branded dance programs such as Zumba® which is oh so hot, but it is the same business plan as those other programs in the early days that had set choreography. This month at the facility in which I work, we started a "dance club." It is a club within our club where members pay an extra $15 per month to have specialty dance classes...not jazz and ballet, but brand names such as "Hip Hop Hustle®, U-Jam®, Advanced Zumba® and soon Balletone®." While taking my first U-Jam® class the other night, I was struck with how similar it was to other such programs I had taken in the 1980's.
I had to sub for the U-Jam® teacher today and since I am not U-Jam certified, I wasn't going to attempt to fake it, so I did what I did 15 years ago. I taught Cardio Hip Hop and Funk. It was more fun than I can put into words because besides Spinning® I also adore cardio type dance. It is really nice to know that has come back around. The industry changed in the 1990's with equipment based programs like Spinning®, Peak Pilates® and Resist-a-ball®. The trend was to downplay the "you need coordination" to take group ex, to EVERYONE can do this. The dance type classes were replaced on the schedules with these new types of workouts.
Here we are now full circle. There are so many options out there to offer at your facility, how do you choose? Is there room in the schedule for a little bit of everything and should you offer a "club within the club" for those members who are more advanced, more dedicated and will definately be there come mid February? If you have the capacity, extra programs can definitely be worth creating. If you are spending more and more money on equipment, or extra certifications, the cycle should be completed by offering paid for programs that are one or two steps above the general group exercise programming.
As an instructor, my incentive would be to also make a 50% cut of the paid for program. I spent five hours putting music together for a one hour class and three hours doing choreography. I worked eight hours yesterday to teach the one hour class today. If I am going to go to that much trouble to prep and make those members come back hungry for more, then I want two or three times the pay I would normally get for a class needing much less prep such as a body sculpting class on the group ex schedule. That can only happen in a paid for program! It's good for the members, it's good for you and it's good for the instructors.
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