Group Cycling: Unique, Powerful and Profitable

Adding a cycling program to your fitness center can enhance your group exercise offerings and improve your bottom line.

BEFORE YOU DECIDE that a group cycling program is too much of a headache for your facility, consider some simple questions: What if group cycling can bring you a whole new group of members who might otherwise never set foot in your fitness center? And what if group cycling can become a new and self-sustaining profit center? These benefits are entirely within reach for any facility manager who understands the unique and powerful experience group cycling can be, and takes a creative and systematic approach.

It can be easy to focus on the cost and hassle of establishing a top-notch group cycling program. After all, the group exercise rooms in your facility may already be overflowing. Why make such a big capital investment, and why set aside valuable space, when there doesn't seem to be a problem to fix? How could the return on investment for cycling compare with other activities in your fitness center? Read on to figure out if you should add group cycling to your facility.

Worth the investment

For your members, group cycling offers an unbeatable combination: It provides them with great results in a short time (using up to 700 calories in 45 minutes); it is simple, non-intimidating, low-impact and self-regulated; when taught well, it is inspirational and educational; and it is the fraction of the cost of a personal trainer.

Group cycling attracts non-exercisers. Group cycling is an enticing way for non-exercisers to get into the habit. There are no tricky moves to learn or difficult equipment to master. Riders set their own resistance level, so no one can tell who is fit and who isn't. In short, group cycling is an easy-to-learn way for newcomers to slip into the exercise experience.

Members are devoted to it. Many people join a facility only for the group cycling classes -- they don't lift weights, they don't go to other group classes. Without cycling, they wouldn't be members at all.

Group cycling can be a profit center. When group cycling is done right, members will pay extra for each class.

Choose the right program

At one facility in Auckland, New Zealand, the group cycling room is consistently popular and often full. Of 6,000 to 7,000 group exercise visits every week, more than 10 percent are members who are paying a premium (several dollars on top of their membership) for cycling classes. That doesn't happen automatically, of course. There are many stories about expensive bikes sitting unused for lack of a good program.

Success in group cycling takes the right music combined with the right program; it takes an inspirational instructor who is both coach and motivator; and it includes an educational component so participants see the intelligence in the method. Today's consumers are discriminating, and group cycling has evolved into a modern and sophisticated experience. Consumers know the music, leadership and "buzz" they expect.

Group cyclers can become a loyal and enthusiastic "club within a club," adding a positive culture and energy that rubs off on the whole facility. So the final question is: What are you waiting for?
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