It Took a Pandemic to Blossom

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Launching a new group exercise program is no easy endeavor. Like many facilities, we faced many challenges, like accommodating state government guidelines and making sure our members felt safe. The situation was unprecedented and unpredictable. Our wellness center noticed a lot of changes to the group exercise fitness attendance trends. Time slots that were once extremely popular were consistently dropping in numbers and other less attended times slots exploded with participants.

One group ex format particularly surprised management. All the water exercise classes were consistently getting very good turnouts. People felt a little safer with the added disinfection power of chlorine. Due to social distancing, class size was limited to fifteen participants and sessions began filling up fast, actually creating a wait list or causing attendees to choose another time slot. As a result, more back to back classes were added to ensure that everyone who wanted to get into a class had the opportunity.

Seeing the popularity of aqua exercise at our facility, led us to take our class schedule to the next level. We wanted a water program that would keep members engaged, challenged, and excited to attend sessions each week. WATERinMOTION® was the perfect fit for our center. After deciding on Original and the new Strength formats, just like that, we started the countdown to launch week!

All of our current water exercise instructors were onboard and excited to learn this new program. We even had a lifeguard show interest in becoming a certified instructor when we discussed the new schedule with our staff. She loved fitness but had no experience with leading group fitness classes. This is what our newest WATERinMOTION® instructor/Lifeguard, Karrie Menke, had to share about her experience. Imagine starting a new fitness training program at your facility during a pandemic…Scary. No one likes change. Now, imagine becoming a first time instructor of a new fitness training program during a pandemic. It was enough to make me question what in the world I was doing. My peers and manager must have seen something in me. They were with me every step of the way. They were my biggest cheerleaders. The scariest part was my first class alone. I thought I would get eaten alive! Here I was, standing in front of members, trying to instruct a new program that we were all getting used to, during a pandemic, in which we also had to adjust to new protocols. Turns out, I had nothing to be scared of. The members were wonderful! They loved the program and welcomed me with open arms! I look forward to my classes every week!

WATERinMOTION® is great for anyone interested in becoming a first time instructor. Not only do you learn to teach the program, but you learn the basics of teaching aqua in general. Instructors are even provided with choreography flash cards (to sneak a peek at on the pool deck, in the beginning, if necessary!) After a while those cards are used less and less, as more confidence is gained when leading a class. The WATERinMOTION® program takes the pressure off of coming up with choreography and creating the right playlist every class. It just lets the leader focus on being a good trainer and guide.

Now don’t think everything smelled like roses. There was some hesitation and apprehension with a few of our die-hard, loyal water exercisers. It was definitely a different format than our previous water exercise classes. Change is not easy, especially when you are altering someone’s exercise routines. The instructors had to stay positive and tell members to try this program with an open mind, besides it is always good to shake up your exercise routine, otherwise your body doesn’t show results. After about two or three classes people started to learn the choreography and really started to have fun with it. It’s been on the schedule for three months and our class feedback is so strong that we added WATERinMOTION® Strength classes. Our members really enjoy using the aqua dumbbells and are feeling the changes already. They have stated that they really feel like they work their muscles and enjoy the variety.

I am excited for new music and choreography every three months and watching this program grow, as our facility slowly gets back to pre-pandemic “normal”. The fitness center is so thrilled to provide members with this unique, innovative aquatic programming. They have absolutely fallen in love with WATERinMOTION® Original and Strength. This past year has not been an easy one for fitness centers, but with that said, our instructors were pushed out of their comfort zones, took on this new challenge and blossomed. It was definitely worth it!