Setting Goals for Group Fitness

Jan 3, 2024

Do you know how to set goals for group fitness? Let me offer up three categories – participation, programming, and people – to help you build a better group fitness following in 2024. 

Setting Goals for Group Fitness

It’s time to finalize – and put into action – your goals for the new year, things like plans for upgrades, budgets, and benchmarks. I assume you have metrics and 2024 goals for your sales team and your personal training department. And, if you have a savvy marketing team, they’ve laid out plans for new campaigns, upcoming promotions and a content calendar for social media. But, what about your group fitness department? Any goals for the new year? Do you know how to set goals for group fitness? Let me offer up three categories – participation, programming, and people – to help you build a better group fitness following in 2024. 

When is a Goal Not Smart? 

When our first-born, highly analytical, super competitive son was in the second grade, his teacher took the class through an exercise in goal setting. At dinner, Harrison proudly reported that goals should be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-specific. “When you write them down, you’re more likely to do them,” he said, smiling and bright eyed. My wife and I were happily nodding our heads, impressed by the teacher’s life lesson, until he got to his academic goals: “For math, my goal is to get a B.” “Wait… WHAT?!? Your goal is to get a B!? But you did great in math last year,” we said assuredly. “But I’ve heard math is harder this year and the homework will take a lot more time. Plus, I know I can get a B.” 

What followed, as you can imagine, was a discussion about setting goals that challenge us, that we know will take hard work, but that we know we’ll be proud of when we accomplish them. 

As you make plans for group fitness in 2024, I hope you won’t settle for what you know you can do. What you did last year. Like a B, maybe. Yes, with more competition, it may be harder this year. And, yes, with consumer expectations higher, it will take more time to create and deliver a great experience. But I hope you’ll read on and set goals in the following categories that your team can be proud of when you accomplish them. 

Category 1: Group Fitness Participation Goal 

If you agree that group fitness is an amazing way to service members, a great way to build social connection, increase member loyalty and improve retention, your number one goal should be to increase group fitness participation. You should measure and record this number each month (the percentage of monthly check-ins that participate in group fitness), and your goal for the new year should be to increase participation by ___ percentage points. 

Here are some helpful recommendations for group fitness participation benchmarks: 

  • 10-15% – Poor; 
  • 16-20% – Fair; 
  • 21-30% – Good; 
  • 31-50% – Great; 
  • 50%+ – World-Class. 

Now, how to increase group fitness participation? You have three options: increase the average attendance of your current classes; or add more classes to your schedule to accommodate more people; or add new programming to attract more members into group fitness. 

Category 2: New Programming Goal

Speaking of new programming…even if your current programs are successful, there is always an opportunity to add new programs to your schedule. New programs create excitement, and they are likely to attract a new demographic to group fitness. When speaking with a skeptical prospect, I’ll hear something like, “Well, I’m not sure that our group fitness people will like that.” My reply: “That’s fine. The new program is not for them. Your current group fitness participants have already found what they like. They are already connected to a community, working out with an instructor. The new program is to help you attract new people – the people who are not coming to group fitness now.” 

When was the last time you added a new program with a team of new instructors? Now, what are your plans and goals for adding new programs in 2024? 

Category 3: New People and Recruitment Goal 

Recruiting, training and adding new instructors to your team injects new energy and enthusiasm to the schedule and to the entire department. It can also elevate others on the team who may be operating at half-hearted speed, going through the motions, teaching the exact same workout month after month and – brace yourself – even year after year.  

Your goals for group fitness recruitment should be to have a steady pipeline of new instructor recruits at different stages of the process – identify, interest, interview, movement interview, training, practicing, assessing, team-teaching, launched, and on the schedule. 

Your goals and benchmarks for recruiting should resemble a sales pipeline. For example, let’s say you have a goal to recruit eight new instructors this year (two per quarter). If it usually takes talking to 10 people to find a great person to go through training, then you’ll need to identify and talk to 80 people (leads) over the course of the year, or one to two people per week. If your conversion rate is higher, you can afford to talk to fewer people. If it’s lower, then you’ll need to identify even more. 

What are your recruitment goals for the year? Do you need younger instructors on your team? Do you need more men? Set goals, then set benchmarks for conversations per week, people to train per month, etc. Need a pipeline? Send me an email, and I’ll share a simple recruitment document. 

Additionally, if you aren’t sure about the well-roundedness and diversity of your current group fitness team, I’d be happy to send you our Team Inventory – it will give you great insight into the makeup of your current team, where you are lacking, and where you need to focus your recruitment efforts. 

Participation, Programming, People…and Promotion

I promised three categories for goal setting but will leave you with one more critical ingredient in planning for 2024 and taking group fitness from a B to an A+: promotion. Invest time – not necessarily a ton of money – in promoting your new programs and new people (you can’t sell a secret!) through social media, member events, onboarding strategies, instructor-influencer marketing, digital advertising, etc., to create new excitement and new traffic. And, if you need help with best practices and resources for your promotions, just include “contact MOSSA” on your list of near-term goals. And, don’t forget to write it down! 

If you are interested in learning more about how we can help you with your group fitness plans – adding new programs and training new people, all with the goal of increasing group fitness participation, contact our team and set up a call to discuss your plans and (you guessed it) goals for the year.

MOSSA’s mission is to inspire people to move. We create and deliver innovative and inclusive workouts for health clubs and YMCAs worldwide and for the home user through MOSSA On Demand.

Do you know how to set goals for group fitness? Let me offer up three categories – participation, programming, and people – to help you build a better group fitness following in 2024. 


Jeffrey Pinkerton
VP of Business Development

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