Functional Training Institute

How to Enhance the Group Exercise Experience with Vanessa Leone

In the ever-evolving landscape of fitness, a mindset shift known as the “exercise to experience” concept is taking center stage. This revolutionary approach emphasises the creation of enriching and enjoyable experiences within the realm of group exercise. 

Our recent podcast episode on Purpose Driven Movement explores this concept, shedding light on how group exercise instructors play a pivotal role in fostering connection, motivation, and retention through effective communication and the cultivation of positive emotional encounters.

One of the episode’s focal points is the need to bridge the divides that often exist within the fitness industry. Personal trainers and group exercise instructors are portrayed as two sides of the same coin, each possessing unique strengths that, when combined, contribute to exceptional participant experiences. 

It becomes evident that technical proficiency must coexist with impeccable communication skills to craft memorable experiences that stay with participants long after they leave the studio. By acknowledging the relationship between these roles, the industry stands to gain by reaching a broader audience and promoting fitness on a bigger scale.

At the heart of this transformation lies communication and connection, which serve as the foundation for building impactful group exercise experiences. Vanessa Leone, co-founder of Exercise to Experience, dives into strategies that instructors can use to establish emotional bonds with participants, fostering an environment of trust and empowerment. 

The power of effective communication is highlighted during the episode, Ness encouraging instructors to tailor their cues, music choices, and anecdotes to create an immersive atmosphere. She also mentioned that shared personal stories serve as a bridge between instructor and participant, forging a sense of camaraderie and shared commitment to the fitness journey.

The episode underscores the concept of ‘entrainment’, where a group moves in unison, syncing heart rates, brainwaves, and emotions. This phenomenon not only underscores our biological inclination towards social cohesion but also amplifies the significance of a collective experience in group exercise settings. 

Participants become more than individuals; they morph into a unified force driven by a common purpose, facilitated by the skilled instructor.

Listen to the episode now to dive into the concept of “exercise to experience”, a true game-changer in the world of fitness. By fostering connection, promoting motivation, and enriching experiences, group exercise instructors hold the key to unlocking the full potential of participants. 

Find new ways to connect with your fitness participants for better connection and community, positive atmosphere, and overall retention.

Our favourite quotable moments:

“Everything that happens to you in your life that’s worth remembering is an experience.” – Vanessa Leone

“[An experience] can be very memorable.” – Vanessa Leone

“If you come at exercise from an experience perspective, then it seems less like a chore.” – Vanessa Leone

“The instructor having that technical [and holistic] knowledge of the human body is so important.” – Vanessa Leone

“You play the right song for the right group of people at the right time, and that’s magic.” – Vanessa Leone

“For any CrossFit who’s listening to me, don’t hate me. You’re in a group, you’re doing the same workout. You have an instructor. It’s group exercise.” – Vanessa Leone


Learn more about Exercise to Experience.

Exercise to Experience on Facebook and Instagram.

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About Ness:

Vanessa is a seasoned Movement Therapist with a vast array of skills and experiences in the industry. Her goal is to help as many people find betterment in their lives. She is known as a hybrid trainer, attaining high levels of education, and delivering a quality presenting experience in both group fitness and personal training streams. Attaining betterment drives her knowledge and pursuit for further education for herself and everyone she encounters. Vanessa continues training clients and trainers all over the country and presenting at the International Fitness Conference. Vanessa’s ethos is doing things BETTER.

About Paul:

With twenty years of experience in the health and fitness industry, Paul has worked extensively with clients in weight loss, muscle gain, rehabilitation, and sports performance. He is highly respected in the industry and has been awarded Personal Trainer of the Year twice, in 2005/06 and 2007/08, as well as a Clinical Excellence Award from the Australian Sports Kinesiology Institute. Paul has also created two programs to mentor and educate personal trainers and coaches, the Meldrum Performance Coaching Mentorship Program and the Fitwell Education Lab, with the aim of helping trainers achieve better results and gain the recognition they deserve.

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