The Programming Tech All Group Exercise Instructors Need

Over the past 7 years as a group fitness instructor pre- and post-pandemic, and as a tech entrepreneur at Struct Club observing fitness trends across 70+ countries – I’ve noticed a massive shift in the general consumer mindset. Plus, with a new dawn of generative AI, disruption is hurling towards us at an accelerating pace.

Personally, I’ve had the privilege of coaching thousands of individuals at local mom-and-pop studios, boutiques, corporate facilities, luxury clubs, and recreational centers. Across these personal observations and the data we’re privy to at Struct Club, none of what I’ve seen in any textbook covers the most important truth that we coaches must grasp about who we serve:

Today’s client expects 10x from you than they ever have before.

Especially the ones who are the most likely to become the fiercely loyal tribe members who will advocate for you and drive your growth as a coach.

It can be daunting to think about how much more we’re expected of, when the typical set of resources given to us hasn’t exactly expanded at the same rate. Already, WAY more goes into coaching fitness than anyone gives you credit for – or compensation for.

Good News: today’s era of technology can help you meet – and maybe even beat – these new expectations. Us coaches just need to be willing to grasp the opportunity.

We coaches constantly tell our clients that meaningful change cannot happen without discomfort, right? Now is our moment to embrace tech or get left behind.

From behind-the-scenes at Struct Club, an app that elevates the class programming process for group fitness instructors, we’ve learned so much from helping coaches powering millions of class experiences since 2018. So when it comes to taking programming to the next level, I’m excited to debut some of our most critical insights exclusively with Coach360. Let’s go! 

Programming Re-Defined: Great workouts are not enough. Programming of the future = the full-package experience. 

For our first FREE life-changing tech *must* in this article – check out this Programming Brainstorm Template. If you haven’t tried Canva yet, thank me later! If you have, double-down on their AI Magic features!

Today’s New Formula for Programming = Workout + Music + Script + a BIG IDEA
Ingredient 1: The Workout

What it is: The Exercises (Routine, Sequence, Flow, etc.). For yesterday’s instructor, the workout WAS 100% of programming. Today, it’s the most difficult programming element to stand out, but the easiest to automate. 

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but before any next steps from here, we need to accept a fact that’s painful and ironic for so many of us fitness instructors to hear (myself included): the “fitness” part of our job title has never been a cheaper commodity. Anyone can find a great workout anywhere, for free.

So, as we’re talking about how to elevate programming, we actually can no longer afford to be talking about making great workouts alone. 

Deep breath. You good? OK, let’s continue.

Tech Musts: Get automating. Unless you are: (A) truly gifted at designing unique workouts, (B) workout design is what lights your fire, or (C) both, hear me out – it may sound wild – but workout design is the first thing you should stop DIY-ing. Harness the countless expert sources out there – of which AI is the newest entrant. At Struct Club, every template brought to you in our app brings together a blend of best practice, vision, and ground-up customer data. And for the Type C’s above, you can also audition to be a paid featured creator in Struct Club.

Ingredient 2: The Music 

What it is: The #1 emotional driver in your programming. With 70,000 new songs being published in Spotify every day, it’s easily the most time-consuming programming element and hardest to do right and keep relevant. It’s also the #1 aspect of programming that clients complain about the most in public reviews. 

Tech Musts: Unless you’re a super-DJ who could listen to and curate music forever, let me offer you 75 (and growing) FREE, complete workout playlists that are ready to play-and-go. Use Spotify’s Radio feature to discover similar songs more quickly. And definitely use Struct Club if you want to automate song timestamp math, auto-read song tempo (BPM), sync your cues to your playlists, and save countless hours on re-listening to songs with hundreds of templates. 

Ingredient 3: The Script

What it is: Think about the script of a movie or play. It’s the written form including the dialogue, key marks, and essential information the performers (in this case, YOU!) need to know. It’s also the #1 least-documented, least thought-through ingredient of class – even though it is the core of your coaching.

Tech Musts: In the very least, promise yourself to take this one step that most coaches miss, which undercuts them in the long term: digitally document your script inspiration. As ideas pop up, at least whip out a note taking app to start.

Ingredient 4: The BIG IDEA

What it is: The Big Idea is the “throughline” or overarching theme of your class. In the most WOW-factor classes, the Big Idea actually connects all programming ingredients. Ultimately, it sends a crucial message to your audience: they’re not going to find a more thoughtful, unique experience anywhere else.

Example: At the time of publishing this article, it’s officially Gemini Season (happy birthday if that’s you)! Whether or not you’re into astrology, our behind-the-scenes data tracks explosive popularity of our Cosmic Collection, ready-made class templates for every sign. You can bet that this season’s playlist features legendary Gemini artists. Plus – the workout and script intself carries the Big Idea: embracing the dual nature of the Twin Sign, the Gemini workout features highest-intensity push intervals in dramatic relief with substantial recovery. Filled with artist birthday trivia, it’s a fun and special way to celebrate birthdays in class.

Tech Musts: In the case of the Big Idea example above (and hundreds of other themes) with platforms like Struct Club, all the work is 100% done for you – just pick what tickles your fancy, customize it with any finishing touches you’d like, and just hit Play to run the music-synced teleprompter back. 

For those of you coaches [like me!] who love dreaming up every last aspect of the formula from scratch – call me. I’m serious! DM us right now @structclub and make sure you audition to get featured in our app, and compensated for it too. If you’re doing something special in programming, thousands of your fellow coaches need your support – and you deserve to be amplified and rewarded. Don’t sell yourself short. 


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