Think back to the first time you walked into a gym community. You may have felt a sense of excitement. However if you’re like most people, it was probably somewhat intimidating.
In that moment, imagine being greeted by an employee with the personality of Frankenstein. The room looks (and smells) like a dungeon and no one else interacts with you. You’re probably not coming back, right? You might not even stay for the workout.
Conversely, picture walking into a bright, inviting space. You’re immediately greeted by a smiling coach. He introduces you to the class by name. You smash the workout and finish sweaty and happy. You get high-fives from the other members in class. This is the power of a strong gym community and it can make or break your business.
Pro Tip: If your gym management software has the right tools, you’ll be able to make leads feel welcome long before they walk in the door!
Most people don’t go to the gym just for a workout. They go for motivation, accountability, inspiration and social connection. There is pride in being part of a healthy, strong, happy community. Members feel valued and accomplished when they are working out side-by-side, learning new movements, celebrating victories and overcoming challenges together. No matter the type of gym you own, building a strong gym community is the foundation for a successful fitness business.
Five Fun Ways to Build a Stronger Gym Community
1. Tribe Wall
To build a strong gym community, people have to know each other. A “tribe wall” is a dedicated, multifunctional focal point where everyone at the gym can interact. Coaches can introduce new faces, celebrate PRs, post challenges, and encourage members to share goals, inspiration, and more. Your tribe wall can be a physical structure in your gym or it can be done digitally. In the gym, try using a magnetic chalkboard or whiteboard. If you’re doing it online, the PushPress Member App is a great way for members to engage with one another, share workout results, and connect in and out of the gym.
2. Fun-Focused Group Classes
Nothing makes a gym community stronger than sweating it out together. Except sweating together in costumes or on teams. Tough, yet fun and slightly-weird group classes like these create a fantastic atmosphere, where all feel included. Engage your gym community by asking for ideas from members and trainers alike. Then vote for the winners on the tribe wall. The more people that join group classes, the more they interact. Then suddenly, what started as a Thursday morning workout turns into Sunday brunch with the girls and new friendships. When your members start becoming friends outside of class, they become more loyal to the gym, which is great for business.
3. Competition and Charitable Events
Connect people to something bigger than themselves. Members versus trainers, gym versus gym, everyone versus heart disease, etc. Get creative and design some fun challenges for your community.
When you’re surrounded by people working together toward a common goal, you’re likely to work harder and be more engaged than when you train alone. You’ll also find that many PRs happen during competition. This leads to success stories that inspire everyone to join the next event. So charge the massage guns and load up the rigs. It’s game on!
4. Expert Week
For one week, reverse the roles at the gym! First, choose few volunteer members to volunteer coach a few classes that week. Not only will the members be entertained, but they’ll have a new level of respect for what your coaches do.
Second, let members lead a free “I’m an expert in...” class where they teach everyone what they know best. This allows both coaches and members to learn something new and helps members feel seen and valued. Coaches can sometimes seem intimidating to newbies and this is a great way for members to get to know them on a more personal level. Thank the “expert” members with special perks such as a free one-on-one training sessions. Incentivize other members to attend with fun prizes and giveaways. What hidden talents might be found in your gym community?
5. “Out of the Box” Community Events
Build a stronger gym community outside your gym’s walls too. Host fun events where members can meet and connect with others outside their normal class times. Here are some of our favorite ideas:
- Host a barbecue after Saturday morning class.
- Plan a beach day, hike or kayak trip. Invite members to bring their spouses and kids.
- Organize a book club.
- Go big and organize a weekend training camp. Include lots of active options like whitewater rafting or a lake swim.
- Find a local healthy cooking class and invite members to join.
If you can get members to spend time together outside of the gym, you’re on your way to successfully creating more than a gym community. You’re creating a gym family.
In Summary: Get Creative To Build Your Community
The strategies to build a strong gym community are as limitless as your imagination. They don’t need to be expensive or time-consuming. Open the floor for sharing ideas, and involve members and coaches. If everyone is engaged, you’ll have a flourishing, happy, warm community where everyone feels welcome. Not only does this create an unforgettable member experience, you’ll create gym loyalty for years to come.