By Josh Leve, AFS Founder & CEO

In the fitness industry when you come across great minds, it always presents a unique opportunity to gain as much insight as you can from that individual.  Learning from others, including their past experiences and education background can provide key references points to help you navigate your business now and in the future. 

I recently had the pleasure of being introduced to Ingrid Owen, who happens to be our expert presenter for our webinar "Setting up Your Programming to Increase Revenue." Ingrid has been in the fitness industry for the past 25 years including 18 years with 24 Hour Fitness where she served in various capacities as the Vice President of Fitness, Group Fitness, Learning and Development as well as corporate Operations. Through the course of her tenure at 24 Hour Fitness, she developed key partnerships with industry leaders such as Zumba, Les Mills, Parisi Speed School, IDEA and TRX.  It was the integration of these partners that became the cornerstone of the group fitness programming.

She is currently a consultant in the industry serving to help club & studio owners and industry leaders develop stronger fitness programming and integration to secure their primary business of member retention as well as build strong ancillary business revenue through both personal and small group training. 

During my time with Ingrid we sat down and I asked her a variety of questions based on her experiences in the industry. 

1. What made made you want to work in the fitness industry? I became a gym rat in college and started teaching classes as a hobby.  Once I graduated (with a business degree), I decided to combine my business education with my passion for fitness and helping people

2. What are your top 3-5 bullet points of ways to increase revenue at a studio?

  • Personal training 
  • Small group training
  • Partnering with local “wellness” businesses – like Chiro’s, Massage, Physical Therapy – to add to referral network
  • Nutritional/retail options

When it comes to nutrition/retail options Ingrid says... "I do not have a program that I fully endorse pen support. This is very dependent on the studio and the staff. I do believe technology can help here as we teach clients how to understand the basics of calories in and out as well as how food affects our bodies." 

3. What are the biggest mistakes studios make when setting up pricing or programming in their studios?  Most often the “miss” is defining a simple strategic approach that thinks of programming from the customer perspective.  The trick is to engage members with more than one product

4. What are 3 things that the typical studio is doing wrong with their programming? 

  • Not creating a value proposition- what are we here to do
  • Not understanding the competitive landscape and impact that has on pricing and offerings 
  • Putting more value on a "program" than the people who coach it. You need both. Equally

5. What is a fun fact about yourself many people would be surprised to hear? My first job in fitness paid me so little money, I had to actually live IN THE GYM!  There was a small apartment attached to the back of the gym, that I lived in. 

6. Why do you believe if fitness? Fitness is a lifestyle choice that is the platform for people to take control of their life.  From the obvious weight management, to stress management and emotional and mental health.  The truth is, a fit life enables a healthy and well-balanced life.  It may not add years to your life, but it truly adds quality of life to your years. 

7. What do you believe is the most important programming trend in 2016?  2016 and 2017 are all about the mixed modality Boot Camp athletes.  People want the American ninja/Spartan/tough Mudder workouts. These trends naturally create community as folks prep for races and such!

For more on Ingrid you can visit her webpage and also don't miss her on the AFS webinar!

Josh Leve is responsible for the strategic development and growth of the Association of Fitness StudiosJosh brings more than 10 years of sales, consulting, advertising, marketing, operations, and retail experience to AFS and has spent more than a decade in the fitness industry.

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