Helping your members with common gym mistakes

HELPING YOUR MEMBERS WITH COMMON GYM MISTAKES

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.