Feature Article - March 2009
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Shaping Up

Staying on Top of Fitness Trends

By Dawn Klingensmith


Tightening Belts and Purse Strings

Mark Federico, president of Massachusetts-based Boost Fitness, said the switch from one-on-one to small, semi-private group training is one of biggest trends he's seen in the past six months, probably because of the savings it provides.

"Semi-private training consists of groups of two to four people working out under the supervision of a certified personal trainer," he said. "The sessions are normally about 50 minutes long and consist of strength training, cardiovascular exercises, balance and coordination, as well as agility and speed-training exercises."

Moving beyond the bare-bones boot-camp concept, these types of groups sometimes target specific niches (such as brides-to-be) or center on a particular theme (such as a "Biggest Loser" type of competition).

"Historically, even with a successful personal training program, we would only be able to see about a 3 percent to 5 percent penetration into our client membership base. With semi-private group training, we are now able to work with about 15 percent to 20 percent of our members on a regular basis," Federico said. "We expect that number to increase in 2009, with a goal of about 30 percent."

Because people who switch from one-on-one to semi-private report they enjoy the experience more, "all of this has led to a higher retention and success rate among our members," he added.

Getting back to basics is not a bad idea provided you don't strip away the fun, as well. Likewise, "medical fitness" shouldn't feel like taking a dose of castor oil, and high-tech fitness should not be so complicated that participants get easily frustrated and give up.

"People need to play," Coffman insisted. "It's the trend of the future."