In this edition we caught up with fitness experts, Kate Groube from Genesis Health + Fitness and Mitch Bird from Ninja Parc Indoor Obstacle Course.
The topic of conversation: how they’re staying connected with their members.
Join us for this Q&A as Kate and Mitch share what they’ve learned in lockdown, and how their members have responded to their drive to stay connected.
Kate Groube, Genesis Health + Fitness Regional Fitness Manager
1) It’s been a couple of months since Genesis Health + Fitness had to close their centres (due to COVID-19). How have you kept members engaged since?
“Social media is an amazing thing. It’s been a fantastic way to stay connected. I’ve done this through sharing my own training on public pages, with great feedback that was reminding and inspiring members to get active. And, through closed Facebook groups I’ve led live workouts. Both have been great ways to see all the members, watching, laughing and training (virtually) alongside you.
The MyZone heart rate training system, that we use in our Coaching Zone sessions has also been great. It’s makes it easy to monitor people’s activity, frequency and intensity, and comment, like and encourage the members. The members themselves also support each other really well though MyZone”
2) Why do you think it’s important for members to stick to their fitness goals during isolation?
“Isolation created a situation where people had more time – even if they were still working, there was no travel time, and nowhere to really go. So, those that have chosen to embrace that opportunity, some of them are actually fitter than before isolation. I know one of my members has lost a whopping 15 kg during this time.
For those that have struggled with motivation, the road back will be harder, and we all know a huge part of a successful exercise regime is the routine element. This will be our biggest challenge when we reopen, for those that have changed their routine, getting them back on track.”
3) What sort of feedback have you received from members about your online group fitness classes?
“They love it, they appreciate it and I guess it has helped achieve some level of normality, routine and ‘kept them sane’. It’s the familiarity. When I have run into members at the shops on occasion, they say ‘I know I haven’t seen you, but I feel like I still see you all the time’ – which warms my heart, and hopefully it will assist in their motivation and make them feel comfortable enough to get back into Genesis Health + Fitness as soon as possible.”
4) How have you worked around the challenges of leading group classes virtually?
“Ohhh, good question. We’re there now, but it certainly took a bit to nail delivery through different mediums. The biggest challenge was certainly music. Facebook and Zoom both presented different challenges, to deliver a good quality music/ voice mix, and then you have copyright issues on top of that. Music is hugely important to me, in delivering a motivating session, so many, many, many hours later, we’ve got it working well.”
5) What are your plans for continuing to keep members engaged as gyms begin to reopen?
“I think we’ll need to take a blended approach. There will be people that are beating down our doors to get back, and then there will be some that are more conservative, or impacted by their own, or their families’ health considerations, and on top of that we’re likely going to have limits on the number of members allowed in the gym at the one time.
With those things considered, I imagine I’ll be continuing to stream some workouts for those that can’t make it to the gym. I’ll also ensure that when in the gym, the member experience is awesome, both from a safety point of view, and enjoyment. But, overall, just continuing to work to keep people connected.”
6) Is there anything you’d like to add on your learnings during COVID-19?
“Lots of learnings, but fundamentally it’s reinforced my beliefs about community. The reality is people can exercise anywhere! Covid-19 has reinforced that, but what makes people choose to exercise with us? Yes location, and equipment are all important, but over and above all of that, how do we make people feel when they choose us? How do we connect with them, and make them feel part of something? As humans we ALL have the need to feel like we belong somewhere, now more than ever, we need to ensure that our members feel like they belong in our clubs. Exciting opportunities ahead 😊”
Mitchell Bird, Ninja Parc National Programs Manager & National Ninja Master
1) During the government mandated lockdowns, how did you stay connected with members?
“Community is incredibly important to our Ninja Parc facilities so staying connected has been at the top of our list. We’ve approached this in a few different ways. We’ve continued to personally check in with most of our members through text and other direct forms, keeping them updated at all times. We also have private Facebook groups for each of our facilities where we have continued to post things like weekly workouts and movement challenges all aimed at keeping them engaged and active. On top of this we’ve started to run live classes over Zoom for both kids and adults. Our coaching team have also been getting members involved in movement challenges through our Instagram stories.”
2) What are your plans for reopening when government restrictions are lifted?
“Like most facilities we plan to have a staged structure to our reopening. We will launch our more controllable products first. Things like casual play, birthday parties, small group classes and group bookings. This means we can limit numbers and ensure that a ranger or coach is able to manage the whole process.
We want to bring Ninja Parc back to the community ASAP but health and safety has to be a major focus. On top of a staged approach we have been working on ways we can continue to improve hygiene at every point. This will include things like sanitising stations at the end of each set of obstacles as well as more regular cleaning and sanitising stations for entering and leaving Ninja Parc.”
3) What has been happening behind the scenes at Ninja Parc while the centres have been closed?
“We plan on reopening Ninja Parc better than ever! This means that a lot of our time has been focused on how we can improve all of our products as well as the customer experience over all. This includes things like processes to upskill staff, new class structures and new product offerings.”
4) How have members responded to the online kids’ activities?
“We’ve had great feedback from our members in regards to the online kids’ activities. Keeping kids active can be hard especially with local sports and schools closed. The feedback we’ve received is that these activities have taken some of that extra stress away from families. They also love activities that they can do together. Even once restrictions have lifted having access to our online platform, Home Fitness Network will give families more flexibility.”
5) What challenges do you foresee when the centres reopen? How will you work around them?
“There are the obvious challenges of hygiene as well as some consumer concern about what activities are safe. However, we know that a lot of our regular customers can’t wait to get back into Ninja Parc. We are confident that with the plans, processes and staff training we will have in place consumer confidence will come quick! Communication with the public and our communities will be key.”
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