Group Fitness Class Themes: Tips and Examples

Group Fitness Class Themes

Implementing group fitness class themes can greatly help when it comes to keeping attendees engaged with your teachings.

There truly is no limit to the creativity that you can put into this process, and at OriGym we are here to help inspire some tips and examples you can implement into your classes.

If you’re looking to advance your career in the best way, we highly recommend our Level 4 Sports Nutrition Course. Once you've qualified, you will be able to host themed sessions for clients you work with on a one-to-one basis. Download our FREE prospectus to learn more.

4 Tips To Come Up With Group Fitness Themes

When coming up with group fitness class themes, you should aim to strike the perfect balance between an idea that is unique, and one that is popular enough to draw a crowd.

With this in mind, here are some tips to consider when creating these innovative ideas: 

#1 - Base Your Group Fitness Class Themes On Holidays

If you’re someone who struggles with creating ideas, don’t be afraid to simply base your classes around holidays.

Using holidays (or even the seasons) as group fitness themes makes things really easy for instructors, as there are often songs related to each holiday. This will allow you to create a corresponding workout playlist with some of the most popular options. 

Many holidays and seasons also have clear aesthetics you can mimic, incorporating this approach to design into your workout gear and the decorations for the studio. 

For example, if you’re hosting a class on New Year’s Day, you could decorate the studio with banners and wear tacky memorabilia such as sun glasses or sashes to really immerse yourself in the theme. 

Another way to incorporate the holidays into your group fitness class themes is to take your sessions outdoors. This will allow your members to be fully immersed in the sights and sounds associated with the specific time of year.

For example, if you’re hosting your sessions during the Christmas period you could organise a running group with a route to see the best decorations and lights in your city/town. 

You can also use this example as a way to engage with a wider community, and focus on holidays that you personally don’t celebrate. 

The most important thing to take away from this tip is to keep things engaging and fun. 

During classes, your clients will want to unwind from the stresses of the rest of their year, so try to avoid being too serious and focus on ensuring that everyone leaves with a smile on their faces.

#2 - Generate Group Fitness Class Theme Ideas By Talking To Your Class Members

When attempting to generate group fitness class theme ideas you’ll naturally hit a wall if you only work on the process alone. To avoid this, engage with your class attendees before, during and after the class in order to get an idea of what they actually want.

You don’t even need to ask direct questions such as ‘what class themes would you like to explore’, and can instead create general small talk around topics such as:

  • TV shows and films
  • Music
  • Hobbies outside of class (like sports or video games)

For example, if your class members show enthusiasm for shows such as Netflix’s Stranger Things, you can centre a class around the 1980s, a key theme from that show.

Or, if your class coincides with a key sports event (like Wimbledon, or the FA Cup Final), you could base your theme around tennis or football, with exercises and decorations that mirror the match.

Again, this can influence your class through factors such as decor and music. But to ensure that your attendees are fully immersed in the class, be sure to give them adequate time to prepare. 


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#3 - Draw Inspiration for Group Fitness Class Themes By Remembering Your Roots

When looking back at your ‘roots’, you should reflect on why you began working as a fitness instructor, and your reasoning behind entering the fitness industry in the first place.

If you have a mission statement, this is a great place to start! For reference, a good mission statement should include:

  • Your overall goal as an instructor
  • Who your target audience is
  • The desired outcome of your instruction

For example, if you want to improve the overall health and fitness of your community, you could incorporate dietary recommendations, and promote a healthy outlook on food throughout your class. 

Perhaps your mission statement is less about results and more about supporting your class members through their journey. 

In this instance, you can create a class with a central teaching theme of ‘support’ that encourages teamwork and community.

When pursuing this group fitness class theme, you could incorporate activities that encourage class members to work within pairs or groups. 

To create an incentive during this process, you could even offer a reward of some kind to encourage group participation, like discounted classes, or something as simple as a healthy snack.

#4 - Centre Group Fitness Themes Around Positivity

This applies to your standard classes as well, of course, but you should always try to put a positive spin on each and every session. Some ways you can do this is through a focus on teachings such as: 

  • Self-improvement
  • Mindfulness
  • Self-love
  • Physical health 
  • Mental health

These teachings will help both instructor and attendees to maintain a positive outlook throughout the class, helping to push through any difficulties with words of encouragement.

Even if you theme the class around a simple concept such as ‘just for fun’, this can remove the pressure associated with ‘doing well’ and allows your class to let loose and have fun.

7 Group Fitness Class Theme and Ideas

#1 - Christmas Group Fitness Themes

We have already discussed how the holidays can help to generate fitness class themes and ideas, but by far Christmas will be the easiest concept that instructors can implement.

This is largely because the holiday comes with a clear aesthetic that is both easily accessible and recognisable across the world. With just the mention of the word ‘Christmas’ your brain is probably flooded with ideas for:

  • Decorations
  • Music 
  • Colour pallets 
  • Outfits 

With this in mind there are several things you can do with a Christmas theme, for example, why not host an ‘ugly sweater sweat session’. 

Here, you can ask your class to attend your more unusual fitness session in a Christmas jumper, ready for an intense workout. 

An example for how easily Christmas can be integrated into a workout class can be seen below from Boom Cycle’s Christmas sessions:

This particular class not only featured 45-minutes of Christmas songs to accompany the indoor cycling sessions, but also heavily encouraged all those in attendance to dress up on theme. 

You can also get creative and incorporate Christmas themed fitness games such as ‘Build The Snowman’. To perform this follow these simple steps:

  • Step One: Split your class into teams and give each one a dice
  • Step Two: Each number of the dice will correspond to a segment of a snowman that has been made out of paper - Body parts, hats, carrot nose
  • Step Three: You will then assign a group workout for the team to perform together.
  • Step Four: Should every member of the team conduct it successfully they will be able to roll the dice and retrieve a body part - The first team to build the snowman wins!

You could even get into the holiday spirit by setting up fundraisers or donation stations across the gym or studio, encouraging class members to give back to those in need. 


#2 - Group Fitness Class Themes Based on Decades 

Another classic example for group fitness class theme ideas is a decade-oriented session. 

We have already mentioned the idea of having an 80s themed class, which would encourage you to don a neon leotard and brightly-coloured leggings. 

But, you can take this simple concept even further, moulding it to your own personal style.

An example of a business that tailors this to their class is Mum Dance, a unique dance fit class that expresses its love for the 80s through bright clothing and exciting playlists. 

Get inspired from this example and create your own group fitness theme relating to your favourite decade. 

Encourage all your class members to take part, as the theme will help to cultivate a sense of community. 

You could even get your class further involved by creating an accessible playlist, that your class can add their favourite songs of the decade to. 

For example, if you have a dance fit class and love all things 90’s, why not host the likes of a ‘Spice Girls session’. This can ask attendees to dress up as the favourite member, and dance along to the best of the band.

#3 - Emotion-Centred Group Fitness Class Themes 

If you’re looking for tips on leading an effective yoga class, one piece of advice we can give is to centre the ideas and themes around a specific emotion. 

For example, focusing on positive affirmations such as gratitude and love will help to better a class member's experience.

When using the likes of ‘gratitude’ as a group fitness theme, you can encourage your class to focus on the positive aspects of their life, which in turn will help to promote changes in their physical and mental wellbeing.

The concept of gratitude is a commonly occurring theme that is even used by big names in the industry, such as YouTuber Adriene Mishler

Remember, for some of your class members, your classes will be a point in their week that allows them to unwind from everyday stresses and distractions. 

Therefore, by providing them with a prompt to think about during this time, you can invoke a sense of positive change among those in attendance. 

This is just one example of how an emotion can be the central teaching point of your class. These don’t always need to be as stereotypically ‘positive’ as gratitude either, as you could also decide to channel themes such as anger.

In this instance, you should work on ensuring that your class members can unleash this emotion, through a workout programme that is specifically created to alleviate stress.  

- - - - 

To compliment our tips on Group Fitness Class themes, we’d recommend checking out these other OriGym articles:


Develop Specialist Knowledge With OriGym

Advance your career today, starting with our Level 4 Sports Nutrition Course!

#4 - Using Valentine’s Day as a Versatile Group Fitness Theme 

Much like Christmas, Valentine’s Day has an easy to follow aesthetic that prompts you to decorate the studio accordingly. 

Another easy approach you can take to ensure you stay ‘on theme’ is to incorporate love songs into your playlist. 

But on Valentine's day you can also switch up the typical lesson format, and invite the class members' partners for routines that are suitable for two people to do together. 

For example, if you are running a strength training class, you could create a simple workout with exercises that involve two people - like sit-ups with high fives at the top or patty-cake planks. 

Not only will this be an exciting change of pace for those in attendance, but the invitation could also help to increase gym revenue

Those who wouldn’t typically attend your classes will get a free taster session from this experience, and may be more inclined to sign-up full time as a result. 

Industrial Fitness is a great example of a company who took Valentine’s group fitness class themes and ideas to the next level. From the screenshot provided below we can see that they made the experience similar to a date, with food trucks and sauna benefits also being available:

Alternatively, you could flip this concept on its head and provide classes that are specifically designed for single class members looking to avoid the commercialised day. 

In this instance, you can use classic breakup songs to get your class into the groove of the overall theme.  

#5 - Your Favourite Films Can Inspire Group Fitness Class Themes 

In a similar vein to holidays, films can also be great sources of inspiration for your class themes and ideas. 

Simple ways to do this include:

  • Using the film's soundtrack as your playlist 
  • Dressing up as characters 
  • Using references and quotes to inspire your class to keep going

Fitness-themed films such as Rocky, The Karate Kid, and Step Up are great places to start, as it's clear why you’re using these films as your theme. 

They also tend to have high-powered and inspirational music to get your class pumped - e.g. Survivor’s “Eye of The Tiger” as the main theme to Rocky.

Films that aren't traditionally ‘exercise-centric’ can also be implemented into your classes too - take this yoga class in Texas that had a Harry Potter-themed class as a great example. 

Attendees were given a wand that was incorporated into the movements of the session, and they even got to take them home with them!

Don’t be afraid to get creative and use your personal favourite film as inspiration. Alternatively, you can hold a poll on your social media account, as this will highlight what your class would want to incorporate into their sessions.

#6 - Use The Start of Spring For Fresh Group Fitness Class Themes and Ideas 

The start of spring is often associated with new beginnings, which is why you can pair it with fresh fitness offerings that make use of outdoor settings and improving weather conditions. 

Many of the best yoga studios make use of this group fitness theme and work it into outdoor sessions. Some teachers even use the concept of spring to enforce this idea of rebirth, with class members shedding their former selves from the year prior in favour of this new beginning.

There’s a huge number of benefits of doing yoga in Spring, which include:

  • Higher levels of Vitamin D 
  • More exposure fresh air 
  • Extra room to explore complex asanas and poses

These are the kind of benefits that should be reinforced through this teme, as you explain to clients how this specific approach can benefit them.

This theme is implemented by the popular YouTube Channel Yoga With Kassandra, who encourages her followers to ‘awaken from the slumber of winter’ and re-energise themselves with the spring equinox.

These group fitness class theme ideas can be applied to any season, with amendments being made to accommodate the specific climate. 

For example, you could host hot yoga sessions for your class to escape the winter cold, or a cool-off yoga session in an air conditioned studio in the summer months. 


Develop Specialist Knowledge With OriGym

Advance your career today, starting with our Level 4 Sports Nutrition Course!

#7 - Boot Camp

Just as the armed forces are experimenting with their approach to bootcamps by adding workouts inspired by yoga and Pilates, fitness buffs are turning to bootcamps for inspiration. 

This group fitness theme is extremely versatile, and depending on the focus of your class can incorporate:

  • Strength training
  • Cardio
  • HIIT
  • Resistance training

If you’re going for a full army boot camp theme, you could put your class in the right frame of mind by dressing like a sergeant or decorating your studio with camouflage banners. 

You could even go the extra mile, and make dog tags from cards with each of your class members’ names on, and let them take them home as a memory.

One of the most well known examples of a fitness class that incorporates the army boot camp theme is Bear Grylls’ ‘Be Military Fit’, which is currently recognised as one of Europe’s largest outdoor fitness brands:

Bear Grylls’ approach to training is somewhat severe, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to follow this example. 

Instead, we’d encourage you to take your class’ experience into account. If they’re a more advanced class, then this intense approach may be suitable, whereas a more laid back and stereotypically ‘fun’ method will work better for fitness newcomers. 

For more information on running bootcamps, check out our article here - '11 Bootcamp Ideas for Personal Trainers'.

Do I Need a Theme For Every Fitness Class?

Whilst incorporating group fitness themes into your teachings can help to increase the popularity of a specific session, this doesn’t mean that you need to do it for every single class. 

One of the main reasons why fitness instructors avoid doing this on a regular basis is because the creative process can be quite challenging and stressful. 

In doing so, you also run the risk of class members dropping out of your sessions due to a lack of consistency.

If you’re focusing on 80’s pop music one week, then asking them to dress up as a film character the next, your class might find it quite jarring. 

Instead, these themes should be viewed as a ‘special occasion’ which clients can look forward to, viewing it as a fun variation on their usual class. 

Before You Go! 

Don’t be afraid to exercise your creative muscle when implementing your own group fitness class themes. 

The possibilities are quite literally endless, allowing you to craft a fitness class that will be fun and engaging for you and your class. 

Remember, you can continue developing your fitness career with our Level 4 Sports Nutrition Course and deepen your knowledge. You can also download our course prospectus to learn more about what OriGym has to offer. 

Written by Erin McDonough

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

Erin holds a BA in English Language and Linguistics, which she attained whilst studying at Bangor University. Whilst studying, she found a passion for editing and writing, and has worked with writers from the Wirral and Liverpool area over the past 3 years. Erin also has a keen interest in strength training and yoga, often incorporating mindfulness techniques into the latter. Outside of work, Erin can be found gaming, catching up with the newest book releases, or song writing.

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