A gym membership is one of the best purchases you can make because investing in your health is one of the best things you can do for yourself, but you also might not always be aware of everything your club offers. Here’s how you can get the most out of your gym membership.
UNDERSTAND DIFFERENT MEMBERSHIPS
offer different things. That’s why it’s important to understand what your
membership entails. Basic packages typically offer access to general gym
equipment but exclude perks like free group classes. It’s important to keep in
mind that you may not be one for group classes and a basic workout might all
you need to reach your fitness goals.
This same concept
applies to clubs with multiple locations for example. Even though gyms will
charge more for access to multiple locations, you might need access to all
locations. Matching your needs with the type of membership you’re paying for
will help you get the most out of it, whether that means more perks or not.
ASK HOW TO USE EQUIPMENT
Let’s face it, most
gym equipment looks strange and difficult to use, and since you’re paying for
it, you better get your money’s worth and know how to use the machines. If you
don’t know, ask a staff member or a trainer. They are there to be your guide.
RESEARCH DIFFERENT EXERCISES
For one, it’s
important to mix up your workout regimen with various exercises, and for two,
this applies especially when your club is packed with other members and you have
to take turns using equipment. You aren’t getting the most out of your
membership if you just stand around while you wait. If your favorite machine is
taken, grab a mat, some free weights and sneak in some space to do something
else until the machine is free. You already made it to the gym, so there’s no
excuse to not fulfill a workout, even if it’s a quick one.
MAINTAIN A HEALTHY DIET
This might not seem like it applies to your gym membership, but actually the two go hand and hand. Majority of the time a poor diet is exactly why members aren’t seeing the results they want. The bottom line with this is that you can’t out train a bad diet. Many members exercise constantly and don’t eat right, then don’t see results, which often leads to discouragement and membership cancellations. Do yourself and your membership justice by eating right and letting all of those sweat sessions pay off.
PARTICIPATE IN GROUP CLASSES
Some memberships include
group classes as part of the package, and if this is the case for you, take
advantage of as many classes as you can because sometimes nothing is more
motivating than surrounding yourself in a room full of people breaking a sweat
and if you’re paying extra, then it would be silly not to.
FIND A PERSONAL TRAINER
Depending on your fitness needs and goals, personal training might be beneficial to you and some premium memberships include it. Even if it’s not included in your membership, personal training is still an add on that can be purchased directly in My Member Account Mobile App. By doing this, you’re getting more out of your club.
STAY DIGITALLY CONNECTED
This includes staying
connected on both your club’s social media platforms as well as My Member
Account Mobile App. Follow your gym’s social media pages for inspiration, to
stay updated about what’s happening in your gym and most importantly, to
include yourself in the community.
By downloading My Member Account Mobile App, you will find featured classes and club promotions along with being able to view your own class and session schedules. The more you know and the more efficient you are, the more you’ll get of your membership because you’ll have more time to focus on your fitness goals.
Fall is upon us, which means your members are in the Halloween spirit but also might be losing their spirit to go to the gym. Thankfully there are many different Halloween tactics your club can use to keep members motivated all while you’re enhancing retention and attracting prospects. Here are some ways your club can celebrate the spooky holiday.
1. DECORATE YOUR FACILITY
This is probably the easiest thing you can do to celebrate Halloween. Members and prospects are already in the Halloween spirit, so a gym full of Halloween will make them want to stay in your facility longer.
2. HOST COSTUME CONTESTS FOR GROUP CLASSES
By hosting group classes that have costume contests with prizes, members and prospects are likely to participate because there’s incentives involved. Your chances of gaining new members also increase as well and you’re building community at the same time. Use our Pass A Friend program to funnel people in.
All you need to do is offer current members passes prior to Halloween, think of small prizes to whoever referred their friends to your club and grand prizes for the winners of the contests. Encourage attendees to download My Member Account Mobile App to check-in and see the featured Halloween classes. Track member attendance and the success of these featured classes using our Attendance Detail Report.
3. DO HALLOWEEN THEMED WORKOUTS
Members could perform a variety of Halloween-themed workouts: pumpkin smashing, deadlifts, skull crushers, spider squats–the list goes on. Incorporate these exercises into your featured group classes.
4. HAND OUT FREE “TREATS”
This could go hand and hand with our Pass A Friend program. Encourage your members to bring in their friends and instead of candy, hand out things like protein shakes, protein bars, water bottles, t-shirts with your club’s logo and slogan, and larger prizes for the winners of your club’s costume contests.
5. PLAY HALLOWEEN MOVIES NEAR CARDIO EQUIPMENT
Set up your facility so that some screens are playing different Halloween movies while people are exercising on treadmills and ellipticals. One, this will get gym-goers to stay on your equipment for longer and two, if your members are aware of all the fun Halloween-themed events your gym is offering, they will look forward to their next sweat session so much more, which boosts your long-term retention.
The gym is a place of community, which means all members should feel welcomed and comfortable. Most gyms and fitness clubs typically have specific rules, however there are unspoken guidelines members should be aware of. Here are some dos and don’ts of gym etiquette.
DO: PUT WEIGHTS BACK
Once you’re finished using free weights, always remember to put them back for safety and courtesy purposes. It’s not only dangerous to have heavy weights lying around but leaving them out implies that they are still in use. Be courteous and put weights back so other members can use the equipment. This applies especially during busy hours when members might have to take turns and wait for equipment.
DON’T: BLOCK SOMEONE’S VIEW OF THE MIRROR
Mirrors are definitely a hot spot in most gyms and can quickly become overcrowded, so although it might be difficult not to accidently block someone’s view during peak hours, try to avoid doing this at all. If this section of your gym is too crowded, exercise somewhere else and then come back to the mirror when space frees up.
DO: WIPE DOWN EQUIPMENT
How many of us enjoy working out in someone else’s sweat? No one, and gyms are not shy of germs. Although it’s not technically required and not a member’s responsibility to keep their gym clean, most gyms and fitness clubs have stations with cleaner and paper towels because it’s common courtesy to clean equipment. Remember to wipe down anything you touch. This includes treadmills, ellipticals, machine weights, free weights, even mats and foam rollers. Once you learn more about gyms and germs, you won’t think twice about wiping stuff down.
DON’T: SPEND HOURS ON ONE MACHINE
Unless you hit the gym when its dead, don’t spend hours on one machine. This is especially pertinent during peak hours when people might have to wait for machines. A good rule of thumb for cardio equipment is to spend no more than 30 minutes on these machines. When it comes to machine weights, don’t just sit and hang out on them. Do your reps, take small rests and then move onto the next thing.
This same concept applies to free weights as well. As we’ve reiterated before, use the weights you need and then put them back so someone else can use them. Spending hours on one machine also means that you aren’t exercising multiple muscle groups, which isn’t an effective workout anyway.
DON’T: MAKE WEIRD NOISES
There’s always one person at the gym who grunts during every rep. Don’t be that guy. It’s unnecessary and disrupts other people’s workouts. If you feel the need to scream, the weight is probably too heavy, and you might need to take it down a notch.
DO: HAVE GOOD HYGIENE
The gym is a place where most of us break a sweat and even though it doesn’t have to be the best-smelling place, nothing disrupts a workout like dreaded body odor. Do yourself and everyone else a favor by keeping up with good hygiene.
DON’T: SHOW OFF
Although you might be proud of your six pack and that you can bench press mass amounts of weight, other gym-goers don’t need or care to know. Every person at the gym is there to better themselves, no matter their size or how fast they can run. There’s a big difference between celebrating victories and showing off. Be proud of your own accomplishments, remember to do your own thing and also build up those around you.
DO: RESPECT OTHERS’ SPACE
This applies to really anywhere in your gym, but especially in hot spots like where there are mirrors, free weights, mats and stretching zones. It seems like common sense to mind your own space, but it can be difficult when the gym is crowded, so do as best as you can.
DON’T: DROP DUMBBELLS
Not only is this dangerous and can seriously hurt you or someone else, but it’s also disrespectful to your club’s equipment and is disruptive to other members. Just like with grunting and screaming at the gym, if you find yourself needing to drop dumbbells, the weight is too heavy. Drop the weight, not the dumbbells.
DON’T: LEAVE A GROUP CLASS EARLY
Unless you have a pressing emergency or legitimate reason to leave a group class early, it’s typically advised not to. Leaving a class early not only throws off other members in the class, but it’s inconsiderate to the instructor. Plus, if you paid for the class, it’d be a waste to not get your money’s worth.
DON’T: USE THE GYM AS YOUR PERSONAL PHOTO STUDIO
We are all familiar with the classic gym selfie, and although there’s nothing wrong with posting your workouts and fitness victories, the gym is not your personal photo studio. There’s nothing worse than someone hogging the mirror to snap selfies as other members are actually trying to use it during their workout. Take one, be done and move along with your workout.
LINGERING SORENESS AND JOINT PAINExercise and muscle soreness go hand and hand, and if you’re new to working out, it’s normal to be sore for longer, however, if the soreness prolongs for three days or more, your body is telling you to take a chill pill, because it’s likely experiencing more than DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) and could be a joint-related injury, according to Shape Magazine. Take at least one or two rest days to let your body recover, especially if you’re just starting out in the gym. New gym-goers are more prone to joint injuries because they typically don’t have proper form. Remember not to rush during a workout, as this can cause permanent muscle or joint damage and focus on quality, not quantity while weightlifting. Learn more about muscle soreness here.
YOU’RE GETTING SICKThis includes both getting the common cold and feeling nauseous during a workout. If you’re someone who exercises regularly and you’re experiencing common cold symptoms like a sore throat and runny nose, it’s time to pump the breaks at the gym. If during a workout you begin to feel light headed, dizzy and nauseous, this is typically an indicator that you’re running on an empty stomach, you ate too much right before a workout, you’re dehydrated or you’re simply pushing yourself too hard. Drink plenty of water during your workout and make sure to focus on your breathing. When it comes to food, it’s best to eat a small amount 30 minutes to an hour before a workout to ensure you have substance to fuel your body, but not too much that it makes you sick to your stomach.
POOR PERFORMANCEWhether you’re in pain because you pulled a muscle, you’re low on energy or you feel weak lifting weights, you should consider parting ways with the gym for a little bit. Many people have the misconception that they need to put in maximum effort to see results, but it’s not always the smartest choice to push your limits because sometimes it’s not physically possible. Not only will your workouts suffer, but your results will too, according to Shape.
BOREDOM AND LACK OF MOTIVATIONThis may not seem like an outcome of overdoing it at the gym, but if you’re constantly doing the same workout, you might want to either take a break or consider mixing up your routine because results will begin to plateau or move backwards. Although it’s normal for anyone not to be in the mood to hit the gym, you should never dread going, especially if you’re a regular. According to Shape, you might begin your workout unmotivated, but endorphins should kick in as you start to sweat. If after a little while this is not the case, that’s actually a hint to take a break.
CHANGE IN SLEEPING PATTERNSAlthough exercise is supposed to help you sleep better, overdoing it at the gym can actually counteract your sleeping patterns. Men’s Journal says that pushing your body too much can cause insomnia or oversleeping. If you’re abnormally tired at the beginning of a workout, this is also an indicator that you should rest.
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE AND HIGH RESTING HEART RATEYou may not even know your resting heart rate or take your blood pressure, but both can be helpful in determining whether you need to chill out at the gym. According to 12 Minute Athlete, if you’re an avid exerciser and have high blood pressure but have no other risk factors for it, it’s most likely because you’re working out too much. People who are in shape have resting heart rates of 50 or 60 bpm and the average person’s resting heart rate is 72 bpm. If your heart rate is significantly higher than that and you’re in good shape, it’s time to rest.
1. HAVE SECURITY CAMERAS THROUGHOUT YOUR FACILITYThis is not only important for dangerous situations like theft and unwelcomed people in your club, but it’s especially important to have security cameras for unstaffed hours and in the pool area if your club has one. Security cameras also assure your members are respecting their surroundings like other members, your equipment and your club rules.
2. SHOW MEMBERS HOW TO USE EQUIPMENT AT SIGN UPNot only does ignorance hurt your member retention, but it can also literally hurt your members if they don’t know what they’re doing and are using machines incorrectly. To avoid injury, either show members how to use your machines during tours or offer free classes at sign up that show them how to perform basic functions with correct form.
3. HAVE A COMPANY SECURELY PROCESS YOUR PAYMENTSFirst and foremost, your business cannot successfully run without cash flow and secure transactions. Second, you and your members need to feel at peace knowing their personal information like credit cards on file are safe. ASF securely processes membership dues through PCI compliance, assuring owners that member information is safe and putting members at ease. Learn more here.
4. HAVE A SAFETY PROTOCOLWhether it’s someone who fainted, or someone drowning in your club’s pool, you and your staff need to be prepared for any situation. Form a company protocol that all staff and trainers must follow. Go through drills every month to confirm everyone is updated on the safety measures. If your club is larger, make sure to have an intercom so that your staff can quickly and easily communicate with each other. Have a lifeguard in the pool area at all times who is CPR certified.
5. INSPECT YOUR EQUIPMENT REGULARLYAlthough it’s easy to trust your machines, all equipment wears and tears at some point, so it’s best to inspect it on a daily basis for the sake of member safety, according to Zogics. Check for loose or frayed cables and any other signs of malfunctions. Also make sure treadmills and weight machines are placed strategically, away from walls and have enough space apart from each other.
6. HAVE MULTIPLE AREAS WITH FIRST AID KITSInjuries can happen anywhere and at any time in your club, so it’s important to have multiple areas with first aid kits. It’s not only convenient for your staff, but it keeps employees focused on your members rather than scrambling for a first aid kit.
7. LEARN CPRAccording to the National Personal Training Association (NPTA) there is no official standard that states personal trainers must be certified in CPR, but it’s always a smart idea. This is especially pertinent for elderly members who are more at risk. You may not need to perform CPR on a regular basis, but it sure comes in handy when you do, and gyms are very common places for CPR to take place. Save yourself the stress and someone’s life by learning CPR.
8. RESTRICT YOUR POOL HOURSIf your club operates for 24 hours and has a pool, restrict your pool hours to a specific time block. This is important especially for when your club is unstaffed. Although you might have members who would like to use your pool during late hours, it’s not worth risking someone slipping or drowning.
9. ENSURE CHILD SAFETY WITH KIDCHECK SOFTWARENot only is member safety your number one priority but keeping their children safe is as well. KidCheck software reduces liability for you because it ensures only authorized caretakers can check kids in and out. When a child gets checked in, the software displays any allergy or medical information that your staff needs to know regarding your member’s child and it gives guardians the ability to quickly detect where parents are located in the event of an emergency.
10. CLEAN UP AND KEEP PATHWAYS CLEARWhether it’s water in the pool area or locker room or free weights in the wrong places, this pertains to anything that could pose a hazard in your gym. Check your club every hour. Clean up water to prevent members from slipping, make sure equipment is where it’s supposed to be and keep pathways clear for fire safety.
LOW HEART RATEAccording to Insider, people who are in good physical shape have lower heart rates at 60-100 beats per minute. Their hearts pump harder with stronger beats. A number higher than that given range might indicate heart disease or high blood pressure.
QUICK RECOVERY TIMEIf you can bounce back quickly after a tough workout, that usually is good indicator that you’re in shape. Take your pulse right after you’ve finished exercising, testing every minute after that to detect how fast it goes down. If it drops back to normal within about five minutes after your workout, then you are in good shape.
YOU CAN EASILY WALK UP A FLIGHT OF STAIRSThis is a simple cardio test. If you’re able to walk up a flight of stairs without feeling winded, you’re in good shape. Keep in mind that factors like higher elevation and asthma can be deceiving. If you’re somewhere with high elevation that you’re not acclimated to, you might be gasping for air more frequently, but it doesn’t mean you’re out of shape.
YOU CAN EASILY RUN TWO MILES OR A 10-MINUTE MILERunning a mile in 10 minutes or less and being able to run two miles without your heart pumping out of your chest are effective ways to test your cardiovascular health. If you’re slacking in this area, try jogging at a slow and consistent pace, gradually increasing your speed, or fast walk on a treadmill for 1-minute increments, followed by 30-second sprints to keep your heart rate up.
YOU CAN RISE FROM THE GROUND WITHOUT ASSISTANCEThis might be one of the most ignored fitness tests but is extremely helpful in determining whether or not you’re physically fit. According to Health and Fitness Cheat Sheet, sitting down then getting up without using your arms, knees or other body parts for assistance tests your muscular strength, flexibility and balance. If this is difficult for you, practice balancing exercises like single-leg deadlifts, walking lunges and planking while lifting one leg or arm. The more you practice this, the better your overall coordination will be.
YOU CAN DO 10 OR MORE FULL PUSH-UPSThere’s a reason many people dread push-ups–they’re not easy and certainly take practice to master, however, they’re an effective way to test your fitness levels because they use full body weight. If you can do 10 or more full push-ups, you’re on the right track.
YOU CAN EASILY HOLD A 60-SECOND PLANKJust like with push-ups, planks use your full bodyweight, which is why they are great indicators of being physically fit. If you are able to hold a plank for 60 seconds or more without giving up, this is a sign that you have a strong core and lower back.
YOU CAN DO A FULL PULL-UPPull-ups are arguably one of the hardest exercises to perform, and majority of people cannot do a full one, so if you’re in that small pool of people who are able to, your upper body strength is not only top notch, but your overall fitness levels are too.
YOU CAN EASILY SWITCH THINGS UPThere’s something to be said about being able to do a variety of workouts. The next time you hit the gym, pay attention to how many different types of exercises you can do. Do you lift weights, do push-ups then sprint on a treadmill? Can you do a HIIT workout one day and get through a spin class another day? If your answer is yes, you’re in excellent shape. This is because being able to do many different types of exercises tests all areas of your fitness levels, not just one.
BOTTOM LINEWhen it comes to being “in shape,” it’s important to focus on your goals and health rather than looking and being the skinniest. Goals matter because even if you can easily run two miles doesn’t mean you need to be in shape to run an entire marathon. If you focus on how you feel and what works best for you in your daily life, your version of being “in shape” will come with the package deal.
We’ve all been there and done that–looked down at that pesky number and felt ashamed about what we saw, then immediately started thinking about how we were going to lower the number, eventually spiraling into vicious cycles of crash diets, different weight loss plans and frustration to see the number either stay the same or increase. As difficult as it might be to steer away from it, the scale is not a true reflection of your weight loss journey or fitness level. Here’s why.
IT CAN HINDER YOUR PROGRESS
Let’s face it–the scale does a lot more harm than good for many of us. This is because we don’t truly understand how weight loss works and we rely on a number to tell us that we are doing better or worse. The scale unfortunately goes hand and hand with yo-yo dieting, short-term weight loss and the people who have the misconception that results come quick. These same people often will turn to the scale, see a lower number, but will feel defeated shortly after when that number goes back up, causing their progress to suffer and the whole process to take way longer than it should.
IT CAN BE MISLEADING
Weight fluctuates too much
Although it’s usually safe to say that the number you see on the scale is fairly accurate, it’s not your true weight. So many factors fluctuate your actual weight like water intake, bloating, hormones and sodium levels, according to Fight to Fitness. People who aren’t losing weight “correctly” will often find the number on the scale decrease from loss of water weight, but their clothes fit the same and they haven’t lost inches.
Fat loss is different than weight loss
This is possibly the biggest weight loss misconception. When people say they want to lose weight, they typically mean they want to slim down and trim fat but make the mistake of relying on the scale to track their progress. Someone may lose inches and slim down but the number on the scale either increases or stays the same. This is because fat loss and muscle gain are taking place at the same time. Muscle mass is also denser and leaner than fat. This explains why someone might see an increase on the scale, but their pants are looser. According to Very Well Fit, the scale can’t tell the difference between fat and muscle, which is why stepping on one can be confusing and deceiving.
Weight looks different on everyone
A tall person will carry weight a lot differently than someone who is short. Take for instance someone who appears thin. This person may be satisfied when they look at the scale but could be out of shape and have unhealthy levels of body fat, while another person with better endurance weighs exactly the same is made up mostly of muscle.
THERE ARE BETTER WAYS TO MEASURE YOUR PROGRESS
Although the scale can be helpful, especially for people who are looking to lose a lot of weight, the scale doesn’t tell the whole story. Here are other ways to measure fitness progress:
How your clothes fit:
The way your clothes fit will tell you a lot more than a scale will. Whether that means pants feel looser or you can finally button old jeans again, how your clothes fit is a direct result of losing inches and fat, and once again, this is because muscle is leaner than fat. Plus, this method focuses on how you feel rather than placing a number on your progress. Although some might see both a drop in the scale and looser jeans, many people would surprisingly see no difference in their weight, but they can fit into smaller sizes.
Better endurance and fitness levels:
According to Health Magazine, the scale will not tell you how fit you are. How much weight you can lift and how fast you can run matters. If you can run a mile faster now than you could four months ago or you can lift 10 pounds heavier than you could a few weeks ago, you’re in better shape. Endurance and strength training are key to a healthy fitness journey that the scale doesn’t measure.
If you want to lose weight, focus more on non-scale victories like improving your endurance. Instead of making it a goal to lose 20 pounds, make it a goal to be able to do a full push-up or pull-up. The weight loss part will naturally come in time as your endurance improves and you won’t beat yourself up in the process.
How you feel:
Do you have more energy? Do you feel more confident? Has your perspective on living a healthy lifestyle changed in a positive way? All of these components are key to healthy weight loss and cannot be measured on a scale. The issue with weight loss is that we focus so much on the way we look rather than how we actually feel inside. Not only is that an unhealthy approach that typically leads to confidence issues, crash diets and a bad relationship with the scale, but effective and long-term weight loss actually works in reverse of the status-quo. Since the way we see ourselves is very mental, healthy weight loss begins in the mind. Practice altering your mindset by taking baby steps, making subtle changes to unhealthy habits and focusing less on numbers. The better you feel, the more results you will see, and the healthier you will be overall.
The scale should be used as a tool to know basic numbers about yourself, but it’s not always correct. If you’re someone who feels more at ease when you know your weight, avoid obsessing over it and letting it dictate the way you see yourself. If you’re someone who prefers not to know, that’s perfectly okay too. Besides, at the end of the day, it is just a number.
Mistakes made at the gym are a part of any fitness journey initially, and most of the time, owners and club staff are not even aware of what areas their members struggle in. This is 100 percent preventable, but typically results in lower retention, so it’s crucial for owners to understand common gym mistakes and what warning signs to watch out for. Here are some of the most common ones and how to help your members avoid making these mistakes.
THE MISTAKE: NOT UNDERSTANDING THEIR BODIES AND GOALS
How you can help:
Talk with your members at sign up about their goals. Give diet tips or suggest personal training based on what you think could best benefit them. Do your research about different body types and post these facts on your club’s social media. Fitness is very visual, which is usually what members are missing when it comes to understanding the way their own bodies work. If they don’t understand their bodies, they can’t address their goals. Post diagrams, videos and other images to help them, especially new members who are just starting out.
THE MISTAKE: NOT HAVING A PLAN
How you can help:
It’s pretty simple to detect if someone doesn’t have a plan when they’re at the gym. They’re typically wandering around or getting on and off equipment very quickly. Lack of structure is one of the biggest culprits to gym attrition. Boost your retention by addressing these warning signs. Talk with new members at sign up and actually help them form a plan.
THE MISTAKE: INCORRECT FORM
How you can help:
You can always simply talk with members about what questions they have about different exercises, but many people are embarrassed to admit that they don’t know how to do a push-up correctly. An easy fix to this issue is offering a group class that demonstrates how to perform basic exercises like push-ups, planks, squats and lunges. Offer this as a free group class to new members and prospects as a way of saying “thank you” for signing up with us or trying out our facility. For individuals that prefer digital demonstrations, create quick social media how-to videos showing basic movements. This will add value to your brand and up your retention.
THE MISTAKE: NOT WARMING UP AND COOLING DOWN
How you can help:
Dedicate an area of your gym that is solely for stretching and relaxing. Members will often get the memo during a personal training session and group class that warming up and cooling down are part of the process. Just make sure trainers and instructors are informing them just how important they are to successful workouts and seeing quality results.
THE MISTAKE: DOING TOO MUCH CARDIO AND NOT ENOUGH WEIGHTLIFTING
How you can help:
Start by simply educating your members, because chances are, even long-time members have probably been doing everything backwards. Depending on their goals, suggest personal training or group classes that are strength training-focused. Post different cardio workouts on your social media to offer your members variety so they aren’t running just to run.
Focus especially on members who are looking to lose weight. These people usually have backwards thinking that doing hours of cardio is how they will lose weight, when in fact weight loss derives from a clean diet, a lot of strength training and a little bit of cardio every week. Although weight loss is relative and depends on a person’s body and goals, the general rule of thumb is usually the opposite of what people initially think.
THE MISTAKE: DOING CARDIO BEFORE STRENGTH TRAINING
How you can help:
Offer classes that include a mix of both cardio and strength training, beginning with weightlifting and ending with cardio, and make sure the instructor or trainer highlights why cardio comes before strength training.
THE MISTAKE: SPENDING HOURS AT THE GYM
How you can help:
Although you might think keeping your members at your gym for hours will magically boost your retention, it won’t. In fact, it will probably do the opposite because more time at the gym doesn’t equate to more results. Set a time limit on your group classes for about 45 minutes. Personal training sessions usually last about 30 minutes to an hour on average, so once a class or session is over, that’s an indicator that the workout itself is finished too. This should do the trick for members who aren’t very time-conscious.
THE MISTAKE: WAITING FOR EQUIPMENT
How you can help:
It’s always best to have more space, but because you can’t instantly increase your gym’s square footage, you can still create more space by expanding certain areas and eliminating less popular machines. Take notes on what areas are used up the least and fill those spaces accordingly with equipment that’s in higher demand. If this is a recurring issue, consider expanding your facility in general.
THE MISTAKE: BEING IMPATIENT
How you can help:
Being impatient goes hand and hand with ignorant members who think they’ll magically have flat abs after one sweat session. Although you can’t always control whether a someone is sprinting too fast on one of your treadmills or lifting way too heavy of weights, you can offer tips on social media about this information and suggest personal training, so misinformed members get the correct answers from trained professionals.
THE MISTAKE: USING THE SAME MACHINES AND DOING THE SAME REPS
How you can help:
Recommend personal training to members who need a little more guidance in this department and encourage them to try different classes. Don’t be afraid to recommend a class to a member just because you think they’re not going to like it. Most of the time, people have no idea what they like or don’t like and who knows, your recommendation could be a game-changer for someone. When you mix up what your gym offers and give a variety of fitness tips, members feel more inclined to mix up their routines as well.
THE MISTAKE: NEGLECTING A HEALTHY DIET
How you can help:
You may not be a registered dietician, but this is an area that gym owners don’t take enough advantage of and 90 percent of the time is why members aren’t seeing results and they don’t even realize it. Instead of keeping your members misinformed and frustrated with their progress, post healthy food and cooking tips on your social media.
Members don’t usually eat well because they have no structure or don’t know what to eat. Suggest personal training to those who are looking to lose weight and clean up their diet. Not only will a personal trainer offer structured workouts, but they will also help form meal plans. The last thing you want is your retention to suffer because of something as simple as this.
THE MISTAKE: NOT RECOVERING AND TAKING TOO LONG OF REST PERIODS
How you can help:
We cannot reiterate enough the value of personal training and group classes. Keep resting periods capped at 30 seconds during personal training sessions and group classes so members get the hint to keep their heart rates up. Inform your members from the get-go about the importance of taking a day off and alternating between legs and upper body workouts. Create online content about the value of recovery and how it will help them see faster results during their fitness journeys.
Whether you’ve just joined a gym or you’re a major athlete, at some point, it is very daunting. Most of the equipment looks completely foreign, you don’t know how to use it, and when you decide to give it a try, you’re afraid of being judged by everyone else who seems to know what they’re doing. Or maybe you’re running on a treadmill next to that super muscular person when all of a sudden, you become self-conscious about how much you’re sweating, panting and how your body is bouncing around. Sometimes this fear even prevents you from stepping foot in your gym. If this sounds familiar to you, then here are some ways to help you conquer your gym fright.
1. STUDY THE GYM FIRST
People tour their gyms so they can familiarize themselves with a new environment to prevent being clueless come time for their first workout. During your tour, grab your mental pen and paper and scope out the facility. Study where certain machines are, where the locker rooms are, and any other areas that spark your interest. Ask about classes, personal training, how to use certain equipment, or simply take mental notes of how people are using complex machines. The more informed you are prior to your first workout in the facility, the less intimidating the experience will be.
2. REALIZE THAT YOU’RE NOT ALONE
You are not the only person in the facility who feels self-conscious or has felt this way. No one likes not knowing what to do, but chances are, a lot of other people feel the same way you do. Once you realize that, you’ll be more comfortable, and lifting your 10-pound weights compared to the person lifting 50 pounds won’t be a big deal anymore.
3. WORK OUT WITH A BUDDY
Working out with someone is already motivating, but it’s even more effective for people who have gym fright. If you continuously feel discouraged, exercise with a buddy for a better support system. Not only will you feel more at ease being there with someone you know who has similar fitness goals, but you will be more willing to try new machines that you probably wouldn’t have tried if you went alone. To top it off, having someone by your side at first is excellent leeway into eventually being comfortable going to the gym on your own. This will ultimately lead to more confidence, better workouts and quality usage of your membership. If your workout buddy doesn’t have the same membership as you, ask your club about guest passes.
4. HAVE A WORKOUT PLAN
On top of initial intimidation, there is nothing worse than walking into a gym with no agenda, especially on a busy day when you have to wait for your turn to use a machine and other people have to wait on you. Before stepping foot in your gym, write out a workout plan on your phone so that you have it with you in case you forget. Decide what days of the week you are going to hit the gym and organize your routine based on whatever you want to work on each day. On Monday, you might choose to do a spin class while Tuesday you choose to do arms and core strengthening. Have other machine-less activities in mind like push-ups and planks that you can do in case you have to wait for a machine to open up, that way you don’t feel awkward standing around wasting your time. The more efficient you are, the faster you will acclimate to the gym and the other members in it.
5. FORGET ABOUT YOUR SURROUNDINGS
At first this is easier said than done, especially because you feel like everyone is staring at you, but in reality, everyone is so focused on themselves to even care about how much weight you’re lifting or what you look like while doing a squat. It doesn’t matter if you can barely do a push-up while the person next to you is lifting 100 pounds because you’re both at the gym to better yourselves. By keeping that in mind, you’ll naturally find yourself drifting away from what other people are doing and be more in tune with your own to-do list, which is where your focus should be.