ONE-ON-ONE WITH SOULBODY

January 15, 2020

SoulBody is a progressive teacher training and Group Fitness certification company that brings boutique style classes to health clubs across the globe, helping them stay ahead of the curve and on trend. Developed by co-founder Stacey Seward Vandiver, the pre-choreographed classes in Barre, HIIT and Yoga Sculpt allow instructors to confidently teach classes that are seamless, safe and consistent.

FIBO Focus was able to get Vandiver to stop teaching for a few minutes to explain the concept and how it is benefitting the global fitness business. She can be reached at svandiver@soulbody.fitness.

FIBO Focus: Please give us the “elevator pitch” for SoulBody.

Vandiver: I would love to. SoulBody has created innovative Group Fitness classes for health clubs that keep their members engaged. Its high-caliber Teacher Training, quarterly choreography, including continuing education, and strong support provided to health clubs creates a customer experience that members are seeking. Classes are designed for all levels and ages with smart, functional exercises that deliver results.

So it’s all about Group Fitness?

Yes, Group Fitness brings people together and due to the boutique studio boom, it has never been stronger. SoulBody keeps members engaged by developing classes that are on-trend, smart, fun and results-driven. To date, the formats include classes in Barre, Yoga Sculpt and HIIT. Now, SoulBody is a global fitness education company that continues to inspire through movement.

Why should club owners get involved with SoulBody?

Group Fitness, for most health clubs, is a vital component to their success. Health clubs can compete with the emerging boutique studio market by implementing programming that is current, fun and relevant to what their members are seeking. SoulBody fills that gap with our program offerings keeping the clubs ahead of the curve. And with no licensing fees attached, it is a win-win for everyone.

You are also very involved in promoting the fitness business as well.

Yes, as a fitness education company we stay involved and active in the industry. We are Associate Members of IHRSA, affiliated with AFFA, NASM and Canfitpro and are involved with WIFA. I have sat on the Education Committee for FIBO USA and we contribute to industry publications and podcasts.

Like FIBO Focus!

Of course. And we also exhibit and present at a number of well-recognized fitness conferences around the world and continue to support organizations that strive to educate and inform the industry. Because of all this, we have had 99 percent retention of health club and studio partners since 2015.

Your website says you offer “a suite of mindfully-intense, athletic-style workouts that develop strength, stamina and physical grace.” Can you please explain what exactly those workouts are and how they can benefit health clubs.

Health clubs and studios cater to a variety of generations. SoulBody’s classes are created to be inclusive so that everyone can benefit from the programs — from Baby Boomers to Millennials and beyond. Each program is designed to work the body mindfully, giving room to dial it up for challenges as well as turn it down with modifications and all of them deliver results.

What’s the thinking behind your SoulBody Unhitched?

For health clubs to stay current and offer classes that members are seeking, Barre is a must for the Group Fitness schedule. But many clubs and studios do not have the space, room or means to install ballet barres. Unhitched was created to fill that gap.

How so?

Simple. With only two props required – a weighted training bar and an inflatable ball – Unhitched delivers that same boutique style Barre workout without the need of the ballet barre.

And what exactly is your SoulBody Collective?

For us, there are three different clients, which together we call our SoulBody Collective. First is the Fitness Enthusiast — SoulBody classes are designed to include everyone to create a strong community within the club. Next is the Group Fitness Instructor, what we call our SQUAD. They are out there inspiring through movement every day, helping people feel better about their health and bodies by exercising together. And finally there are the Health Club or Studio Operators and Directors. These are our partners who we work closely with making sure they have the tools to create the experience and keep members engaged.

How does SoulBody take advantage of the technology advances sweeping the fitness industry?

Technology sure is a buzzword and clubs and studios are at a disadvantage if they do not begin to streamline certain services and amenities. SoulBody provides workouts digitally on platforms such as Wexer and BurnAlong for those that cannot make it to one of our live classes. We are working on other digital platform developments as well to streamline SoulBody Teacher Trainings and workshops to keep the instructors ahead of the curve and constantly learning.

How would you characterize the overall fitness industry headed into 2020? And how is SoulBody helping to make it stronger?

As much the industry is developing in technology and services need to be readily available for the “I want it now” mindset, people still need people and seek community. Group Fitness fills that need in exercise. Whatever the class may be, the intrinsic motivator definitely outweighs the extrinsic one. To feel connected and motivated will keep members coming back, which in the end is what we all are seeking in business — long-term retention.

What type of social media effort do you have and how does it relate to your overall marketing efforts?

Our social media is heavily supported through our dedicated and passionate team of Master Trainers, Club Coaches and instructors that we call our SQUAD. They are our boots on the ground out there spreading the word about SoulBody’s mission to inspire through movement, creating communities and experiences members are seeking. We believe in exercise that includes everyone.

What would you say is SoulBody’s position in the fitness market in 2020?

SoulBody will continue to expand globally with a growing team of Master Trainers, Directors and Club Coaches that share the vision and direction of the company. Because there is a demand for comprehensive programming that is new, affordable and effective, the growth continues at a solid pace into 2020.

So what’s next for SoulBody?

We are working on developing online platforms to educate instructors as well as operators to broaden our reach. As we continue to sift through the trends, we look to develop new, smart and relevant programs that members are seeking and instructors are looking to teach.

How about geographic expansion?

The APAC region is relatively young in the fitness industry, but by no means inaccessible. They are open to discover, learn and explore ideas that come from the U.S. and we are looking forward to expanding our network in this area. We are already working in China with SuperMonkey Fitness with great success and the consistent growth has been rewarding which clues us in to what more opportunities lie ahead.

The SoulBody Difference

According to Stacey Vandiver, five things differentiate SoulBody from its fitness competitors.

1. No Fees. For health clubs, there are no licensing fees to use SoulBody programming. SoulBody works closely with club operators and directors and makes its HQ readily available for support.

2. Strong Instructor Community. SoulBody has built a strong community of instructors that are passionate and dedicated to teach its four program formats. Its tight-knit community not only empowers each other, but also motivates them to allow members to feel confident about exercise and movement.

3. Pre-choreographed Programming. The pre-choreographed classes allow instructors to teach with confidence. Because all programs are seamlessly choreographed and set to dynamic music, the classes are delivered on a “silver platter” that allows instructors to focus on their members and bring their personality to the floor.

4. Classes for (almost) Everyone. Classes are designed for a wide range of ages and fitness abilities. This creates inclusivity in Group Fitness. Each class can be either turned up with challenges or dialed down with modifications. This is part of SoulBody’s philosophy and a big part of the Teacher Training.

5. Quality Assurance. Because of SoulBody’s assessment process, there is quality assurance. The instructor is not certified on the spot. Any instructors wanting to teach SoulBody’s programs must go through a video assessment process.