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Are You Missing Out On Profit?

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Last September, LES MILLS launched GRIT™ Strength, a new small group training program to help engage unassisted exercisers and inject a new revenue stream into your club.

Industry experts globally talk about the benefits of small group training (SGT) in clubs, they recommend:

  • Charging a premium price for SGT
  • Capping each session at 6 – 12 members
  • Running SGT outside the group fitness studio
  • Marketing SGT separately to group fitness.

As Account Manager, I get to see how SGT is being implemented in businesses across the country; applying the above recommendations, these are the most common challenges being faced:

We don’t have space on the gym floor

If your club doesn’t have space on the gym floor, a separate studio, a functional training area, or a useable outside area, you can still charge extra for SGT.

SGT is specifically designed to attract unassisted exercisers and in particular males. Most clubs typically get a rush of “tradies” from 4:00pm and then more males or heavy lifters in the weights section at 8:00pm. You can cater to this demographic by offering SGT between 4:00pm – 5:00pm before your usual group fitness rush, and again after 7:30pm. As an aside – be sure to create a separate timetable for SGT. Most of these exercisers will not pick up a “regular” group fitness timetable. Plus, it is harder to justify charging extra when the program is mixed in with your other free offerings.

My members don’t understand why they should pay for SGT when they can do group fitness for free

If your group fitness participants love doing BODYPUMP® and other group fitness classes, great! Let them continue. SGT is designed to engage the people who don’t participate in group fitness or personal training. SGT is a way to engage your unassisted exercisers who are most likely to leave your club when a cheaper 24-hour club opens around the corner. If your group fitness participants want to do SGT, let them understand the benefits of a more personalized experience and therefore the additional cost involved.  

I already offer SGT for free

It’s not too late to create a secondary spend opportunity. Two things you can do to start charging:

  1. If you offer SGT regularly on your timetable, reduce the number of classes offered. For example, if you have five GRIT™ Cardio workouts on your group fitness timetable (which normally means the numbers are un-capped), reduce that to two and create a new timetable with GRIT™ Cardio as SGT (cap numbers at 6 – 12). The addicts will happily pay when they see the experience is completely different in the smaller group
  2. Create an SGT membership. With this option you will need to make more than one SGT program available to members such as GRIT™ Strength, GRIT™ Cardio,  TRX, Kettle Bells, VipR, Cardio Tennis etc. Members could be charged $20 extra per week/fortnight by direct debit to access these programs. They simply need to book in for their workout in advance.

As competition in the industry increases, it becomes even more important that we find ways to engage all of the members in our clubs. Members come to you for results and motivation and are willing to pay extra if they value the offering. Members know they will pay for personal training. If they can’t afford it, you can offer SGT. If they can’t afford that either, you still offer world class group fitness programs included in their membership to help them achieve their goals. Ensuring your members are engaged in at least one of those three activities will ensure your members will stay longer and refer more people.

By: Miriam Jaclyn Cohen


Miriam is the LES MILLS Asia Pacific Regional Account Manager for Victoria and Queensland. She has been in the fitness industry for over 11 years in various capacities including Customer Service Representative, Membership Consultant, Group Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer and Regional Manager.