'Supersize' Cardio Tennis Fills the Courts, Burns Calories in Wichita

What happens when you put 175 people onto eight tennis courts for an hour, playing with red balls and shorter racquets, under the direction of trained Cardio Tennis instructors? The players burn a combined estimated total of 102,000 calories (that’s an average 582 calories per participant!), they have a ton of fun—and you have one of the largest single Cardio Tennis events in the U.S.

That’s what happened on Jan. 13 at the Genesis Health Club in Wichita, Kan. As part of the “Get Fit Wichita” initiative, Genesis partnered with the Wichita Park and Recreation Department and the Tennis Industry Association/Cardio Tennis to offer this free, open-to-all Cardio Tennis session.

“We really put on something amazing,” admits Genesis National Tennis Director Mike Woody. “We’ve been relaunching Cardio Tennis here at Genesis, and the interest has been tremendous—not just from tennis players, but from others interested in fitness and finding fun, effective ways to burn calories. If we can get more adults on the tennis court seeing tennis as a fun and healthy workout alternative, it will grow our sport.”

Cardio Tennis Global Education Director Michele Krause was integral to the planning and execution of the event. “There were people burning 800 to 1,000 calories in that hour,” she says. “It was wild—there was constant motion and touches on the ball. Everyone was completely engaged and having fun, so they simply didn’t realize they were also getting a great workout.” Of the 175 participants, about 100 had on heart-rate monitors, which were linked to large screens positions around the facility so they could see the calories burned and check when they were “in the zone.”

Traditional Cardio Tennis has six to eight players on a 78-foot court, but Woody and his staff wanted to use the Cardio Tennis “supersize” format and be able to offer it as a “group exercise,” much like spinning or yoga classes. With Krause’s help, they put up to 24 people on a single court by dividing the court crosswise into six 36-foot (red) courts. To get the constant motion and calorie burn in that space, participants used red foam balls and 23-inch racquets.

“We ran about 10 pilots of this format at Genesis in December and early January, and it kept blowing us away with amount of activity the players experienced,” Woody says. “I did one of the pilots, and burned 700 calories in an hour.”

“The beauty of Cardio Tennis in this format is that players of all levels can play together and still get an amazing workout,” adds Krause. The Wichita clinic had people who had never played before, avid recreational players, and even the men’s and women’s teams from Kansas State.

Woody and Genesis plan to make Cardio Tennis part of the group exercise menu of activities, with multiple classes each week that are complimentary to club members and at nominal charge to nonmembers. “This is an innovative, proven way to engage consumers, for a very small investment by the club,” Woody says. “The benefits will far outweight any initial costs.

“This was unique and different,” he adds. “I think our industry has to have more of these types of events and opportunities. This should be something we do wherever tennis providers are gathering. We need to show providers how easy this is. Tennis is not a difficult game to learn.”

"Hats off to Mike, Michele and the staff at Genesis,” says Jolyn de Boer, executive director of the Tennis Industry Association, which manages Cardio Tennis. “This event was phenomenal, and it again proved the value of a program like Cardio Tennis for being an effective vehicle to attract and retain players through fun, group exercise, along with the growth potential for the industry and its businesses.”

To find out more about Cardio Tennis and for a schedule of upcoming Cardio Tennis Training Courses, visit CardioTennis.com.