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Published in Health Club Management 2018 issue 10

New research shows the fittertainment trend has benefits for motivation and results

Wendy Coulson
Wendy Coulson
Wendy Coulson,


Les Mills UK and Ireland

I read with interest the August edition of Health Club Management, especially the editor’s letter highlighting the growth of “fittertainment.”

It’s true that the power of entertainment, celebrities and social media influencers to engage and motivate people in a fitness environment has never been greater.

You’re also right in saying that this shift is fundamentally changing the way we manage, invest in and market group exercise. However, this is not the exclusive domain of the boutique operators.

While boutique gyms may be leading the way, we’ve been creating group exercise programming with these trends in mind for many years.

While members’ expectations are growing rapidly, the one thing which remains consistent is that experience is everything.

This philosophy has underpinned the development of our group exercise programmes for decades and has also driven the development of The Trip, our immersive fitness experience, which combines a cycling workout with a journey through digitally-created worlds.

Inspired by cinema, live concert experiences and interactive gaming, The Trip increases the motivation and energy output of participants.

Research shows that using technology to create an immersive fitness experience decreases the rate of perceived exertion for new exercisers.

Researchers found exercisers perceived immersive cycling to be easier, even though it wasn’t.

This means that for people who are new to exercise, immersive classes can be an ideal environment in which to achieve fitness goals, because they can reach a high heart rate zone to get fitter, faster, without feeling the discomfort of the intensity.

Some studios, like 1Rebel’s new three-storey amphitheatre (see HCM August, page 36), clearly illustrate the opportunity to deliver this sort of fitness offering and any operator with studio space can capitalise on this trend.

To get involved with fittertainment, consider installing movie-quality sound systems and screens in your club. An immersive cycling class such as The Trip is made exponentially more effective with cinematic-quality screens, combined with innovative lighting and high-tech sound systems.

When you combine purpose-built studios with immersive video, the potential for what a workout can be is limitless.

“ Research shows that using technology to create an immersive fitness experience decreases the rate of perceived exertion for exercisers, making it an ideal environment in which they can achieve their goals ”

Immersive experiences take people’s minds off the intensity / PHOTOS: LES MILLS/THE TRIP
Immersive experiences take people’s minds off the intensity / PHOTOS: LES MILLS/THE TRIP

The industry has a new Level 2 qualification for group exercise

Jenny Patrickson
Jenny Patrickson
Jenny Patrickson,


Active IQ

Group exercise has been the mainstay of health clubs for decades and provides the backbone of many operators’ studio timetables.

With the compelling evidence that group exercise helps encourage people to get started and stay committed to regular exercise, group exercise instructors are vitally important.

That being the case, it’s extraordinary to think that it’s been over 10 years since Skills Active developed the original Level 2 Group Exercise qualification.

Since then the industry and group exercise have both changed dramatically, leaving traditional training outdated.

Training for fitness professionals has recently been under scrutiny, and rightly so.

Across the board, new specifications are coming in to ensure we raise standards, remain professional and respond to the changing demands of health club members, many of whom are being encouraged to try group exercise as a welcoming, supportive start to their personal fitness journey.

It has never been more important for group exercise instructors to be able to teach a broad range of people in the same class, with confidence.

And it’s not just the participants that present a wide range of challenges to instructors: the scope of classes – from outdoor bootcamps to indoor circuits and popular licenced workouts such as Zumba and Les Mills – also creates opportunities and challenges for them.

In response to the changing landscape and the greater rigour required by training providers and assessors, we recently looked afresh at our Level 2 qualification.

The first thing we did was to split out the gym instructor and group exercise instructor strands into two separate pathways – allowing us to deliver each in greater depth with greater detail.

We partnered with EMD UK, the national governing body for group training, to develop a robust and fit-for-purpose Level 2 Group Training qualification. It’s designed to give instructors a dynamic and flexible learning path, combining teaching units, based on the type of group training they want to deliver.

This includes Group Training for classes like HIIT and circuits and Group Training to Music.

EMD UK has these exclusively until December 2018, at which time they will become available to others across the industry.

The concept of group exercise has been around for years, with the style of workouts responding to both fitness and fashion trends.

Group exercise will remain key to the sector for many years to come and we must ensure our instructors are highly-qualified, confident and competent to deliver effective, safe and engaging sessions.

Instructors delivering classes such a Zumba will benefit from the new qualification / PHOTO: STRONG BY ZUMBA
Instructors delivering classes such a Zumba will benefit from the new qualification / PHOTO: STRONG BY ZUMBA
New research shows the fittertainment trend has benefits for motivation and results
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