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How to Grow Your Group Fitness Classes from a Bootcamp Instructor

How To Grow Your Group Fitness Classes From a Bootcamp Instructor

As a fairly new bootcamp group fitness instructor, I know how difficult it is to increase class attendance and retain class participants.

Between July 2023 and January 2024, I went from having an average of about 4 participants per class to about 17 participants per class.

Regardless of my class taking place on a Sunday at 10 a.m., when many people are doing some house cleaning, getting some wind-down time, spending time with family and friends, or attending a church service, I was able to keep people coming.

Four Main Ways I Grew My Classes

1. Make your own playlists for your targeted audience.

After every class of mine, I heard that at least one participant liked my playlist. I have hip-hop playlists, pop playlists, old-school R&B and rap playlists, reggae playlists, artist-focused playlists (like Taylor Swift and Michael Jackson), and playlists with a little bit of everything.

I come to class with a choreographed warm-up to a specific song, but I play the playlist that I feel is most appropriate for the particular clients in that class.

2. Keep positive energy throughout the class.

Keep smiling and motivating your participants throughout the entire class. I teach a rigorous class, but people are always leaving in great spirits. Remember to greet everyone when they come in and dismiss everyone with a smile and farewell. Make them feel equally seen. Happy instructor = happy participants. Exercise is a mood booster, after all!

I come to class with a choreographed warm-up to a specific song, but I play the playlist that I feel is most appropriate for the particular clients in that class.

3. Exercise with the class.

Exercising with the participants, in contrast to only directing them, boosts their motivation. I have noticed confused faces or decreased intensities and speeds when they do not have a reference in front of them participating. I am always open to feedback, as any instructor should be, and the participants mentioned they preferred me to participate.

4. Don’t make a single class the exact same as another

Personally, I would not go to a class if we did the same thing every time, and I know my participants would not either. They tend to say things like, “I never know what I am walking into, but it’s always great!” or “I love how we never do the same thing.” Whether it is the exercise, the warm-up, the playlists, or something else, make sure to change a couple of aspects of each class.

Always make your classes fun and enjoyable. Many group fitness class attendees attend classes for guidance, accountability, pre-planned workouts, and change. Exercise is not fun for everyone, but it is up to group fitness instructors to make it fun. At the end of each bootcamp class, we play a fitness game.

This is one of the most important approaches I used to grow my class. I set aside at least 15 minutes for a game, and it is a good way to get participants socializing, laughing, and just having a good time while working out.

Two of the Most Popular Bootcamp Games in My Classes

Tic-Tac-Toe: For tic-tac-toe, I use nine-step aerobic risers to make the board, cones and gliders as the game pieces. I separate the class into two groups and make them line up in a single file line. I give participants an exercise to complete before running and placing their game pieces on the board.

When they are done placing their game piece on the board, they have to run and high-five the next person in the line on their team before they can begin the exercise and place their game piece on the card. This continues until a team gets three in a row on the board.

Tic-Tac-Toe grid board

Connect 4: Connect 4 is very similar to tic-tac-toe. The concept is the same, but I use about 42 step aerobic rises to make the board, and a team has to get four in a row on the board to win.

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