Plan a Group Fitness Class that Will Keep Your Participants Coming Back


·8 min read

To plan a successful group fitness class you need to consider a variety of different elements. This article will explore the fundamental first steps, and ongoing decisions, that impact a fitness class’s success.

Naturally, the first step is choosing which exercise to teach! This choice should reflect your skills and knowledge and be an exercise that you feel confident delivering to a wide range of fitness levels.

Once you have determined the style of exercise you will deliver, there are a few tips and tricks to ensure the class’s continuous growth. Within this article, we will consider these ideas and how you can effectively implement them.

What is a group fitness class?

Group fitness classes provide an incredible way to get fit while having fun. They often take place in supportive and social environments.

David Lloyd Leisure recognises the importance of group fitness classes, led by a certified instructor, as a way to achieve results through encouragement and guidance.

Many gyms and fitness centres offer a variety of group exercise classes, including aerobics, strength training, yoga, pilates, HIIT, Zumba, kickboxing, barre, and aqua aerobics. If you are an independent instructor trying to compete with them, planning a group fitness class well ahead will be crucial to your success.

Group fitness class

Group workout ideas for instructors

The first step is deciding which style of exercise you want to deliver to your class. Detailed below are a variety of fun group fitness class ideas for instructors. Remember, when settling on a style, you need to ensure you are confident in instructing it to a large group containing a variety of fitness levels!


Aerobic classes focus on improving cardiovascular fitness and are also known as cardiovascular or endurance training. They are designed to improve heart health and overall fitness.

These classes encompass other subcategories, including activities like cycling, running, or dancing and are typically set to upbeat music. This music is designed to keep everyone in the class motivated, encouraging them to push themselves to see the best results!

Low-Impact Exercise Classes

The most popular forms of low-impact exercise classes are yoga and pilates. These classes aim to increase flexibility, balance, and body control primarily through stretching.

Both yoga and pilates can be modified to accommodate different fitness levels and can encourage people of all ages to join in and enjoy exercise. Therefore, these two practices present a great option for a successful group fitness class!

Strength Training

Strength training is an exercise focused on building muscle that encourages weight management, bone growth, improved balance, and stress reduction.

Within these classes, the aim is to increase your overall strength by using weights (such as a dumbbell or barbell), resistance bands, or bodyweight exercises.


Zumba classes provide an energetic and fun full-body workout. Zumba often combines Latin and international music with dance moves to create an effective group fitness class for people of all abilities.

The Healthline recognises Zumba as a great class for improving cardiovascular fitness, relieving stress, reducing blood pressure, and building endurance all while having fun!


High-intensity interval training, more commonly referred to as HIIT, involves short bursts of intense exercise that are followed by periods of rest. The intensity of HIIT training will increase stamina and endurance, burn calories, support weight management, and the improvement of cardiovascular fitness.

HIIT is another great option for a successful group fitness class. As HIIT can be adapted to suit various fitness levels, it is easily inclusive of a range of abilities.


Kickboxing classes use a range of punching and kicking techniques to the beat of energetic and motivating music. This increases coordination while building strength.


Barre classes use a ballet barre and small, controlled movements to exercise the muscles found in the arms, legs, and core. Similarly to HIIT, yoga, and pilates, these classes are easily adaptable to suit different levels of fitness.

Aqua Aerobics

Aqua aerobics classes use the resistance of the water to provide a low-impact workout that is suitable for people with injuries or disabilities. Aqua aerobics provide a great way to stay active and have fun in the water.

However, due to the need to have access to a pool, it isn’t always the easiest to set up!

How to plan a group fitness class

In order to plan a successful group fitness class there are a few key areas you need to consider:

Choosing a location

After you complete the training to educationally deliver your exercise, choosing a prime location is next! Finding a location that is easily accessible and has enough space is the first step to creating a fitness class that is destined to find success!


When choosing class times, you need to consider who your ideal client is and what their schedule looks like. What time do they finish work? Do they want to do a class before they start work? Understanding a client's needs is fundamental to your class's success.

Setting goals

Set a clear goal for the class, such as improving cardiovascular fitness or building strength. Knowing the results your fitness class will generate will encourage people to book their first session.

Plan a variety of exercises

Planning a variety of exercises into your weekly class schedule will ensure your class accommodates people from different fitness levels, those with injuries, or people with disabilities. This will create an inclusive and welcoming space.

Consider the music choice

Music can make or break a class! Make sure your music choice is at the right energy level for the group as it will impact the atmosphere you want to create. Remember to bring a backup or a phone charger to avoid the nightmare of having no music at all!

Self-promotion is key

How are you going to get people through the door? Market your fitness class through social media, email, or word of mouth to attract new members.

Arrive nice and early

Arriving early will give you enough time to set up your equipment (make sure there is enough to go around) and to greet everyone on arrival. A warm greeting from the instructor helps to settle nerves while encouraging people to feel comfortable within the class setting.

Focus on your delivery

Try and use clear and concise instructions and make sure to demonstrate each exercise before asking the class to perform it. To encourage inclusivity, use terminology like ‘our’, ‘us’ and ‘team’.

Remember to encourage each class member to work at their own pace while listening to and respecting the limitations of their fitness level.

Inclusivity is fundamental to success

The running theme in all these points is the power of inclusivity. We want everyone to come back next week feeling confident, excited, and supported. This is based on your ability to include people from all backgrounds and fitness levels within one class.

How to make group fitness classes fun

To keep people coming back each week and, as a result, generate a successful group fitness class, people need to be having fun! A fun atmosphere will help generate loyalty to the class ensuring members return session after session.

It’s all in the music

Origym defines music as a motivator suggesting the right songs will allow your class members to thrive and positively impact their ability to increase their fitness level.

Variety is a must!

To run a successful group fitness class, you want people to come back week after week. One of the best ways to do this is to vary the exercises and activities delivered within each class. This will help keep members engaged and excited for the next session.

Keep them on their toes

One way to keep people guessing is to incorporate games and challenges into your monthly schedule. NBC News suggests our natural competitive edge increases our commitment to exercise. Having everyone compete in teams or trying to beat their personal bests each session, will play on this natural competitiveness and increase each member’s fitness level.

A sense of community

Encourage the group to chat and get to know each other before and after class. PureGym suggests a sense of community reinforces inclusivity, making the class more accessible. This will allow your class to benefit mental health as well as physical health and ensure your members have the confidence and security to return week after week.

Active contributions

Why not ask those attending the class for their input? What do they want to see next week? Incorporating their ideas will ensure you are fulfilling their wishes each week meaning they are more likely to come back!


In order to plan a successful group fitness class you need to consider a variety of elements.

Begin by choosing the exercise class you want to run. Which style of group fitness do you feel confident in delivering? Whether that is high-intensity or low-intensity, dance-based or martial arts, this is a crucial first step. It is vital to understand how to deliver this style of exercise to a variety of ages, fitness levels, and abilities.

Once you have decided the style of class you wish to deliver, next you need to source a suitable location, schedule it for a suitable time, set a clear goal for your class, and begin promotion.

By following the tips discussed in this article, you can confidently deliver a successful group fitness class. Remember, success is based on fun, inclusivity, and results!

Other Resources

Want to know how to expand your audience and customer base using digital marketing? Check out our digital marketing guides for instructors.