Results with RPM: The impact of studio cycle classes on recruiting new members
For those starting out on the path of healthier living, initiating a fitness regime is often one of the biggest challenges they will face. When combined with a change in diet, one can see how dropout rates can be as high as 60-80%. Even for those of us who exercise regularly, working out can often be the first thing to go when trying to manage work / life balance.
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Current guidelines1 suggest that to improve cardiovascular health, over 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity should be accumulated each week alongside resistance training. Studio Cycling is an increasingly popular form of cardiovascular exercise that can be conducted in a group exercise environment. Group fitness has been shown to increase retention rates in new exercise routines.
A study at Loughborough University in the UK2 assessed the effectiveness of an 8-week studio cycling (RPM™, Les Mills International Ltd) group fitness programme to improve participants’ cardio-metabolic health. The participants were overweight and physically inactive prior to the study.
Each person in the group had their fitness levels and cardiovascular disease risk factors recorded before and after the study to track any changes that occurred. Over an 8-week period, participants were required to take part in studio cycling sessions three times per week. Each session lasted 20-50 minutes. Given that the group had previously been physically inactive, they were introduced to the programme gradually which involved:
- Weeks 1-2: 20-35 minutes of studio cycling. This included technique feedback and improvement.
- Weeks 3-8: 50 minutes, composing of a warm up, main session and a cool down
‘‘ Dropout rates from new fitness regimes can be as high as 80% ’’
At the end of the 8-week period, the participants’ fitness statistics were recorded again. The following improvements were observed:
- Maximum oxygen uptake was increased by 11.8%
- Body fat percentage was reduced by 13.6%
- More than 95% class participation retention rate
These study results illustrate the health benefits that regular studio cycling provides, especially for those who are embarking on a new exercise regime. They also importantly show that a gradual introduction to a new exercise programme is key to improving member retention - participants in this study attended more than a 95% of the prescribed workouts
With typical fitness programme drop-out rates as high as 60-80%, this form of group exercise can be said to not only improve physical wellbeing, it encourages a new love of exercise. The high compliance rates indicate that participants’ mind sets moved from feeling they had to exercise to wanting to exercise.