New Year, New Members
It's that time of year when everyone sets goals to change their lives for the better. Among the goals set, we find fitness. This means the gym parking lots get full, the locker room is packed, and group fitness classes have an influx of new and reborn participants. An excellent group fitness program can capitalize on these new members and encourage them to continue to fulfill their fitness goals.
1. Be Prepared.
This may mean you add a couple of extra classes or team members. If you provide towels, make sure there are enough, and you can get them laundered and turned around in time. Check with neighboring businesses for a few extra parking spots. Install coat hangers, lockers, or cubbies to keep members' belongings safe. Whatever your facility offers, make sure you have enough for the masses. It's the simple things that you can forget, but they end up making a big difference.
2. Be Welcoming.
Prepare staff and instructors to be on alert and knowledgeable. You should welcome everyone with eye contact and a smile. It really helps if all staff members know the schedule and hours so that new participants don't need to search for that information.
3. Offer Deals.
Everyone's wallets have just taken a hit after the holidays. A great way to get clients to stick around longer is to give them a more significant value. For example, offer a three or six-month deal and spread out the payments over a few months. It can also be helpful to have no payments due for the first month.
4. Include Whole Packages.
The whole package in group fitness can mean offering a variety of classes so members can get cardio, strength, and mindfulness all from the same place. Another way to add on to the whole package is to get the NASM Nutrition Certification. As a Certified Nutrition Coach, you can provide even more value to your members and help them reach their health goals.
5. Get to Know Members.
Take time to get to know your members, whether it's when you sign up someone new or during the five minutes before or after class. Ask them about their home life, work-life, favorite things, or any other topic that you can connect with and remember. One of the most relevant topics is to find out the members' goals and what is bringing them to your classes.
6. Hold Them Accountable.
Once you get to know the member and their goals, check in on them. Help them make their goals attainable and measurable. As an example, instead of "getting stronger" as a goal, help them move up from using five-pound weights to eight pounds.
7. Add Little Touches.
Make sure your gym or studio is set up to keep everyone comfortable. Add benches for waiting, coat racks, hangers, or hand sanitizer. Consider teaming up with a floral company to exchange arrangements for a membership or free advertising in your facility. Reach out to nutrition stores for samples or other potential partners to see how you can work together. If it's in the budget, offer reusable water bottles with your company logo.
8. Equipment Checks.
Go through all the equipment that you offer in classes and make sure you'll have enough to carry the larger groups. If you don't, you can order more or arrange classes in group intervals. Check everything to ensure that your equipment is in the best condition.
9. Clean Environment.
The cleanliness of a facility can make or break a member's experience. If a person sees the same mess and environment every day, they stop actually "seeing" it. So get someone with fresh eyes to walk through your facility with you. Keep an eye on common messy areas like the bathrooms and floor corners and plan for extra attention.
10. Make it Convenient.
Schedule classes at times that are convenient for your members. Consider:
- Workday start and end times
- When schools start
- What's going on in your community
- The transportation situation in your town
Find the answers to these questions and then schedule away based on times that work best for your members.
11. Show Results.
Every class has a scale and non-scale victories. A big part of the results is reaching the goals set by the individual or the instructor. Ways to do this could be leader boards or goal boards. If members haven't set their own goals, create them for the class. Once someone attains that goal, they can add their picture or name to the list. Have goals for each specific class, encourage members to work toward that goal, and remind them if they didn't accomplish it today, they are one step closer to tomorrow. Before and after pictures are great ways to show results, but not always the comfortable for all the members.
12. Teach More Than Classes.
There is a reason you teach fitness and like to help people with fitness goals. Channel that reason and create a mantra to use in your classes. Being fit and feeling good is more than just a workout; it's a lifestyle.
13. Offer "Options."
In the past, we've used the words progressions and regressions to keep physical workouts inclusive to everyone. Let's change our language to be more positive. The word regression can have a negative connotation, so using the word "option" instead makes everyone feel successful no matter which one they choose.
14. Be Vulnerable.
No one likes to hear criticism, but hearing where we fall short allows us to grow. Be open to feedback about your classes and offer a comment box for members. Remind them in outros that it is available, and all suggestions are valued. Ask for feedback directly from the participants at the end of class. Then, try some of the ideas that come from the input. This can be a difficult step, but remove the defensive shield and be vulnerable and open to the changes. Finally, follow up with comments to see if your members have noticed a difference.
15. Communicate Through Social Media.
Social media can get a bad rap in the fitness world. Many posts show crazy moves that may be unattainable to the average member. Use social media to keep everyone informed on upcoming classes, times, class descriptions, and even subs. Give members an incentive for following your social media accounts and offer small rewards for engaging with comments. Social media is another way for members to feel informed and included.
16. Create Acceptance.
Every member who joins your classes will be at varying levels -- and they are all wanted. Be sure you teach the content that offers options (progressions and regressions) and model the workout. Point out the options that are being utilized throughout the class with acceptance. Be aware of any member's needs for modifications and offer them as quickly as possible. This can eliminate the "deer in headlights" feeling. A smile, a high five, or a comment can go a long way to help the member feel accepted.
17. Foster Friendships.
If members have a fitness buddy or a friend that they only see in the gym, they will be more likely to continue to come back. Take five minutes before classes to introduce members to each other, and connect like minds and members in the same situations.
18. Have Conversations.
It's fun to feel like the rock star instructor, but don't let the fame go to your head. Have conversations and create connections with members before, during, and after classes. The instructor should be the first to arrive and the last to leave every class.
19. Non-Scale Victories.
Non-scale victories are the victories our members attain that have nothing to do with weight loss or what is measured by the scale. They are the victories of becoming a healthier person. For example, "My blood pressure has lowered 10 points," or "I walked up the stairs without getting out of breath" are non-scale victories. Each member will have their way to articulate the changes created in their lives with fitness. Share them aloud, in newsletters, or on the wall.
20. Miss the Members.
With the influx of members, it may be hard to notice who isn't showing up anymore. Take extra care to notice. Give the missing member a call, a text or send them a message on social media. Let them know you've seen they've missed class, and remind them that they and their goals are essential to you.
Twenty tips can seem overwhelming, so take just a couple at a time. We change our members' lives the same way they change theirs, through consistency and one step at a time.