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How to Make Those Holiday Group Fitness Classes Special

Woman on stability ball in one of her group fitness classes

Most gyms turn into ghost towns on holiday weekends. And while my fellow fitness fanatics are salivating at the idea of having an entire gym to themselves, holiday weekends are a lot harder to navigate as Group X instructors. That’s because group fitness classes are typically smaller and chances are there a lot of new faces that aren’t familiar with your teaching style.

Although participants might be wishing they were somewhere on a beach instead (and let’s face it, you probably are, too), you want to make sure you provide a positive experience for folks that showed up to your Group X class. So, here are a few suggestions to help make those classes on holidays or holiday weekends extra special for participants.

Play themed holiday music, with a twist

Most of us have probably been to group fitness classes that played Halloween or Christmas workout songs. But, who really likes the “Monster Mash” or “Frosty the Snowman”?

Instead, put an extra twist on your themed playlist. Maybe play only holiday music from the 90s or tie in a specific genre. For Memorial Day, play only songs with a memory theme, like “Memory” by Sugarcult or “Remember the Name” by Fort Minor (so good!). You could also do only beachy songs, like “The Boys of Summer” by Don Henley or “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper. Another idea is keep with a holiday theme, playing Madonna’s “Holiday,” or “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO.

As the self-appointed queen of themed spin rides, I’ve created many holiday-themed spin routines and playlists. Here are a few to browse:

Teach everyone’s favorite exercises, choreography, etc.

If you’ve been teaching your Group X class for a while now, chances are you’ll know which activities are members’ favorites. Especially on a holiday weekend where things might feel a bit slower, get the class excited by doing the moves they look forward to. What’s great about this is it’s so easy to do — just plan a jam-packed class full of favorites.

Use equipment other than the dumbbells

When classes are full, instructors often have to stick with dumbbells or other popular equipment with enough to go around. In a smaller class, you’re able to use the equipment in limited supply, like stability balls and the BOSU. And if you’re still short on equipment, consider a circuit or partner drills that have members using the items for a portion of the class.

Do activities that take up more space

When Group X classes are busy, you’re not always able to cue the moves that take up a lot of room, because you don’t want everyone to hit each other. On holidays when you might have extra room, you can teach exercises that take up a lot of space (think: roundhouse kicks or frog jumps).

Don’t be afraid to take an extra few seconds to explain a new move before having participants jump in and try it. Those extra seconds will be worth it, because participants will be more likely to succeed at the new exercise and have fun doing it.

Next time you teach on a holiday or holiday weekend, remember to make it fun for yourself and your participants. Even if your long weekend turned into a staycation, you might as well make the most of it by giving your group fitness classes a stellar experience.

For more tips and tricks, check out the group exercise ideas page.