It is SO true, but rarely said - that no matter how perfect your facility, marketing, and business practices are, success in group fitness always comes down to one thing: the ability of the instructor to resonate with students. Yes, some people are charismatic by nature, but it’s a myth that you have to be born that way.
You can generate a loyal following for your group fitness classes, whether your specialty is dance, yoga, Zumba, martial arts or some cool combo of all of the above. High quality instruction and buzz-worthy classes are created with learnable skills.
In this blog we break down 8 Key Elements to Wow Your Students and bring them back for more.
It may seem obvious, but greeting each and every one of your customers with a warm, inviting welcome that includes saying their first name, is a fundamental building block for generating a lasting, loyal following.
With a friendly, open-ended greeting, your students new and old feel immediately at ease and special. And if you’ve got a line of them, your camaraderie and genuine care will be witnessed by everyone present.
Here’s a pro tip for making sure you’re ready to delight and inspire your customers as they arrive: Enter notes into each customer’s profile on Punchpass that give you instant reminders about where they are in their fitness journey, what’s important in their lives, and other simple, factoids you can include in a quick, simple greeting, such as “let’s get those legs ready for your race next week!”
Try not to ask too many open-ended questions that will hold up the line, but do acknowledge milestones and personal details that show your students you care.
Before class begins, take special care to ensure that the room delights all the senses and there’s nothing that’s going to disrupt or distract from the experience you’re about to unveil.
This means making sure that the temperature, lighting, smell, and sound are all working together for your students’ comfort and enjoyment.
There’s nothing worse than being in a wind tunnel from fans turned too high or not being able to hear the instructor from the back row because the music is overpowering his or her voice.
If you teach to larger groups with pumping tunes, you may want to consider using an instructor microphone, for example. If you like your classes hot and sweaty, be sure to turn up the heat far enough ahead of class time and don’t leave the door open during arrival.
Make sure that the floor and props are clean and that the air is fresh and free of unpleasant odors. A small portable essential oil diffuser with a neutral scent like citrus can offset lingering smells when you’re running back-to-back classes. Beware of using incense or other heavy scents with perfumes or smoke, as some people are sensitive to these.
One highly effective tool of the trade for creating instant connection is to try to say every student’s name at least once during your group fitness class. Prioritize calling out newbies so they know you’ve noticed them, and call out your regulars because you’ll easily recall their names and they typically won’t be embarrassed by the attention.
When newer students witness the rapport that you have with other students in the class, you are giving them a preview of what’s possible for them. It’s a great way to showcase the strength – and fun – of your community.
Pro tip: Use your Punchpass class attendance screen to quickly jot down everyone’s first name on a sticky note and put it on your water bottle or clipboard.
If there's anyone you didn’t get to during class, be sure to give them a friendly goodbye after class.
To create buzz-worthy classes you’ve got to give your students something to talk about! By planning for a special challenge, new move or group bonding moment, you give your students the opportunity to get out of their comfort zone and grow – a place where they can inspire themselves and others.
Memorable moments typically include a period of high intensity where you encourage everyone to stick with it, beat their personal best, or help motivate each other to “win” together.
As you’re teaching your class be on the lookout for students who break through and shine. This isn’t always your strongest or most accomplished. More often than not, the person to celebrate is going to be someone who’s struggled or is new and you see them go above and beyond.
Call them out during class and you’ll immediately lift the mood and determination of the group. When your students come to experience you celebrating victories regularly, they will feel seen and appreciated in a way that makes them feel special and you’ll build a sense of togetherness and being for each other that is priceless in the group fitness world.
Another way to make every student in your group class feel like they’re in a private lesson is to teach to a single student’s body as you give cues and inspiration. Walk around the room, making sure that you are visible to all, and teach person-to-person.
Your students won’t know you’re teaching to individuals, but they will know that something feels different. You’re not teaching to the air. It’s one of the most effective ways to eliminate distance and create connection. They’ll wonder how you always seem to know exactly what they needed that day.
Teach for awhile to the strongest student in the room, and the rest will rise to the occasion.
Not even celebrity fitness instructors feel on top of the world every day. The key to delivering outstanding classes no matter what type of day you’re having is by remembering that even if the heat is broken, your playlist glitches out, or you forget part of the workout sequence, everything is still totally ok. That is, when you come from an attitude of all is well and you and your students are going to have a great time working out or practicing together, your students will feel safe and comfortable in your hands.
Allow yourself to share appropriate details from your daily life or own fitness struggles and breakthroughs as inspiration to your students. They’ll love you for it.
Most important of all, remember to maintain a sense of humor through it all. A class that laughs together, stays together!
After class, invite your students to participate in activities outside the classroom like workshops, challenges, community service or social meet-ups. If you’re open to it, actively encourage them to connect with you on social media or join your email list for special content.
Punchpass makes it easy to reach out with thank yous and follow-up bonus material by giving the option to email your class list right from the attendance screen.
Give hugs and warm goodbyes. Stand at the door and acknowledge every student as they leave.
Students will be eager to see you again when they feel your genuine & warm outreach.