Success is not an accident – it is commitment and hard work
DGI Huset Herning is a center for fitness and wellbeing in Herning, Denmark. They offer a large variety of services; Hotel services, a waterpark, and a fitness center to name a few. The fitness center is hugely popular with over 100 classes in the weekly schedule, and we wanted to know just what is behind the success. Cathrine Madsen is the Manager of the fitness sector at DGI Huset and she recently spoke to us about what it takes to be successful and about building a team of professional instructors. “In a small community like Herning, people really crave the social experience and that is a big part of why they love coming to the classes”, Cathrine told us. The fitness center has a cycling studio, a yoga studio, and 2 large group fitness studios.
Cathrine has been an instructor for 22 years, a big part of which she has also managed group fitness. Her first position was at a chain of clubs that designed and choreographed their own classes. The classes were failing to bring in the members they needed to make them profitable. Les Mills classes were a familiar concept for Cathrine, so she introduced the idea of partnering with Les Mills to the club owner in order to bring the concept into the club. At first there was some resistance and doubts that they will not succeed because of the tough competition in the industry. They started out having 4 different Les Mills programs in the schedule. By time, they saw success and the classes started to draw in the crowds. Fast forward to about 10 years later, DGI Huset offers 40 Les Mills classes weekly in 8-10 different programs.
Cathrine Madsen, Manager of the fitness sector at DGI Huset believes in the social experience a group fitness class gives.
Team Management and Motivation – team teaching is the best tool
The instructor team at DGI Huset is 40 strong. Managing and motivating a team that size has its challenges. “Managing the Les Mills instructors is easier than the freestyle ones, as they can always team teach the programs. Team teaching is one of our best motivational tools with the instructors. We have a rule that whenever an instructor joins a colleague’s class, they must do a team teach. It works well because this way we always keep learning from each other, we inspire and uplift each other. It is also fun and motivating for the members to have double energy on stage”.
“It is quite normal for an instructor who has been teaching for a long time to struggle with motivation and inspiration every now and then and we always set a schedule for them to do team teaching in that case. Teaching together is so motivating and inspiring and can really lift the instructors spirits up, as well as develop their skills. It is wonderful to bounce good ideas and pick up points from each other.” Cathrine also makes sure to visit many classes herself embracing as many different programs as possible.
No Event too Crazy
“When the instructors come to me with ideas for events, I am always super enthusiastic and supportive. Events are great for building connections, and we do a lot of team-teaching events. For example, we have an awesome new dance instructor who just started at the club. We put her together with our existing SH’BAM® instructor and another freestyle dance instructor in an event so that when the new instructor did her first class, she was not on her own. She immediately had a full house and was introduced to the members taking center stage with instructors that already have a large audience and are known and loved by the members.”
“DGI offers many possibilities for events with its variety of services. Our instructors come up with fun events like having missed the Christmas season because of lockdowns, we had a Christmas fitness party in July. Another fun example was a TRX Bingo version. We really go all out with events like these that are fun for the members as well as the staff.”
Instructors team teaching BODYSTEP.
Recruit new instructors before you need them.
“I try to recruit new people before we need them. It is a good strategy because this way, we always have the needed number of instructors and we never have to cancel anything because of a lack of instructors. Typically, we find new recruits from our customers. I keep an eye on people who have the right charisma and a love for the programs. They will then be introduced to teaching in stages and we start the onboarding process about 3 months before they even go to initial training. First, they follow the classes closely and we focus on their technique and teach them how to use the microphone and just get them used to being Infront of people. This way they have the basics nailed down before they go to the Initial Training, and they will be able to learn so much more from it.”
Put in the Hours and it Will Pay Off
Instructor recruitment is not easy, it takes a lot of work Cathrine says. “You really need to put in the hours. I do feel that by recruiting in this way, the possibility of success is higher. I am invested in our recruitment process, and I connect with our members and talk to them on a regular basis. I try to hire people from auditions instead of a resume. For example, we had a team of BODYCOMBAT® instructors that wanted to come work for us. I asked them to participate in my class and then we could have a talk after that. The reason I did that was because I wanted to see how they move and connect with people at the club. If you do your hiring by resume alone, you will not find the right fit of people. Success is not an accident; it comes with hard work.”
One of the most popular BODYPUMP® instructors at DGI Huset is someone who never thought of becoming an instructor. He participated in the classes regularly and Cathrine noticed him and his strive for excellence and performing the techniques correctly. She goes on to say: “I have never seen anyone that has such amazing technique. I used to see him as a participant in the classes and he would have spot-on technique. We eventually asked him if he has ever thought of becoming an instructor and he literally thought we were joking. He thought that he cannot be an instructor because of his age (46), and we had to really persuade him for several months until he said yes. He was concerned that he is too old but we eventually made him realize that it was just as important to have mature instructors as it was to have young ones because the member mix also consists of different age groups. And he is really an amazing instructor, one of our best.”