Finding the sweet spot in group fitness

Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:09am EST
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Whether it is Zumba, bootcamp, yoga or kickboxing, whatever your workout pleasure is, there's nothing like a great fitness class to get you to the gym and keep you coming back for more.

That's why major fitness chains keep eyes peeled and ears pricked for the next big thing.

"The single biggest benefit is community," said Tim Keightley, who oversees group fitness at Gold's Gym, which has more than 600 locations around the world. "You meet a community of people so it's a lot harder not to come back next week."

Not only do group exercisers visit the gym more often, they are more likely to renew their memberships, according to Keightley, who said industry figures show that group exercisers use the gym about three times a week to the average gym member who goes 1.7 times.

"You throw on the music, you let someone decide the exercise for you," he said. "It really allows people to escape, which you can't do when you're on a treadmill."

Keightley said his teams put out a new schedule every month. "And two weeks into it they're already evaluating to see what stays and what goes," he said.

Thirty-minute workouts, military-style bootcamps, circuit training, and Zumba, the Latin-inspired dance fitness class, are currently what stays, according to Keightley, because they appeal to the 28-to-44-year-old professionals who are Gold's core clientele.

Keightley said short, hardcore workouts are in.   Continued...

<p>Students sit in hammocks as they take part in an "antigravity" yoga class at the Om Factory in New York, August 16, 2011. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton</p>