healthy habits

Creating Healthy Habits Part 3: Four Steps to Help Your Gym Community

Helping your gym community create healthy habits can benefit them and your business! Here are four ways to help your members achieve optimal wellness.

Emily Beers
December 13, 2023
Creating Healthy Habits Part 3: Four Steps to Help Your Gym Community
Helping your gym community create healthy habits can benefit them and your business! Here are four ways to help your members achieve optimal wellness.

When it comes to tools for helping create healthy habits in your gym community, it feels like the options are endless. From macro plans to ice baths and rings that track biometrics, it can sometimes even be overwhelming.

And as a gym owner, it can be easy for you and your team to go down rabbit holes. You might feel like you’re trying to find the latest and greatest tools to recommend to your members.

Building healthy habits in gym community
Building healthy habits lays the foundation for a strong gym community. (Photo credit: Swift River CrossFit)

But as Mike Giardina and Dr. Christina Migliara explain, it’s usually best to keep it simple.

Giardina is the Senior Manager of Health Education at CrossFit. Migliara is a licensed mental health professional and owner of CrossFit Tailwinds in Jacksonville, FL. Both know a thing or two about the most effective ways to create healthy habits within gym communities. And sometimes, that means sticking with the basics.

“The dilemma for the coach is that we get tired of the basics,” Giardina said. “They’re boring and old, so we start to listen to all these experts with exciting, sexy new ways to be healthy. But the thing is, these sexy tools are likely only effective after the basics have been set.”

Ultimately though, many of your members struggle to just master the basics. So ice baths and the newest gadgets likely won’t fix their nutrition issues or chronic lower back pain. For most, it’s about creating sustainable healthy habits around fitness, nutrition and wellness.

“Let’s just learn how to do that for a while,” Giardina suggested.

Four Ways to Help Members Build Healthy Habits.

1. Start Small and Build.

For most of your members, an overnight overhaul of their life won’t work. Sure, it might work for the first few days or during a six-week challenge. But for the most part, people will tend to revert back to their old ways.

Instead, focus on smaller, easy steps to start building healthy habits. Once they see success, they’ll be able to expand on those habits and make them more sustainable.

“Everyone wants this big leap of progress,” Migliara said. “But change comes from a slow accumulation of wins.”

For example, present your members with a monthly challenge in the upcoming year. In month one, challenge them to go for a 30-minute walk three days per week. Expand on that for month two, having them show up to the gym three days per week. Switch the focus in month three to nutrition, challenging members to eat four different vegetables each day. In month four, expand on the nutrition habit, asking them to spend two hours per week meal prepping.

Pro Tip: Use the new Habit Tracking feature in PushPress Train to help your members track their new healthy habits. Book a demo with our team today to find out more!

2. Implement a Check-In Policy.

In case you missed it, gym member check-ins is the one key metric that can change the game for your business. Not only are check-ins great for accountability and motivation, but they can also increase gym member retention numbers and revenue.

In fact, our data shows that if a client checks in at least 12 times per month, it decreases the likelihood of churn to just two percent. In comparison, a client who shows up only once in a month has a 20 percent chance of canceling their membership.

On the front end, creating healthy habits around check-ins can help hold members accountable to their goals. And on the back end, celebrating their wins or recognizing opportunities to help can actually improve your bottom line.

Celebrate wins like gym member check-ins
Celebrate members’ wins like gym-member check-ins by automating communication to recognize achievements.

Celebrate check-in milestones for those in your community that are consistent. And follow-up with those that aren’t in order to help keep them on track.

Pro Tip: Use PushPress Grow to automate communication, both for celebrating wins and supporting at-risk members. Book a demo with our team today to find out more!

3. Track Progress with PushPress Train.

Tracking progress allows your members to visualize their wins and pinpoint the areas they can improve. From logging workouts to inputting PRs, tracking is the fastest track to better results. Plus, they’re more likely to hold themselves accountable to their goals.

PushPress Train - now merged into the new Members App - allows your clients to monitor their progress. They can also communicate with coaches and other members of the community, for a one-stop, motivation and accountability shop.

Plus, PushPress Train recently introduced the new Habit Tracking feature. With it, you can create healthy habits for your gym members to track. Use your creativity to design habits around fitness, nutrition, stress relief, etc. You can even set up individual habits for personal training clients.

“Learn to celebrate the wins,” Giardina said. “Most people come to you with this internal story of failure. So it becomes really important to learn to celebrate those small victories, and those small victories become big victories.”

Help people recognize their small wins along the way. Then they’re more likely to appreciate the process of building and maintaining their healthy habits. And this will likely lead to self-confidence and belief in the journey.

4. Prioritize Mental Health.

Mental health is an important priority for you, your coaches and your gym community. It doesn’t matter how great someone’s fitness and nutrition habits may be if their mental health isn’t stable.

Migliara reminds us that while it’s important to stay in your lane by not overstepping your scope of expertise, it’s also worth normalizing the conversation. Talk to your clients about their mental health the same way you ask about their fitness and nutrition. The goal is to help them become more aware of what’s going on in their minds, or what may be holding them back.

Normalize the conversation about mental health
Let members know you care about their fitness, nutrition and mental health. (Photo credit: CrossFit Arioch)

You could even take it one step further by creating a mental health habit tracker in PushPress Train. Get your members to explore healthy habits that support strong mental health. These could be things like getting out in nature, journaling or guided meditations.

If you’re not sure where to start, check out part one - Mental Health Myths (and Truths) for Your Gym Community - in our four-part mental health series with Dr. Migliara.

In Summary: Start With the Basics and Celebrate the Wins.

Building healthy habits is a long-term commitment. It’s slow and sometimes boring. But if you can get your clients to embrace the long road to success, they have a much better chance of building sustainable habits. Not just for a six-week challenge, but for life.

“We don’t need grand slams right out of the gate,” Migliara said.

We need to embrace the process and the small wins along the way. Over time, these can add up to long-term, healthy habits to guide your gym community for life.

Emily Beers

Emily Beers is a health, fitness and nutrition writer. She has also been coaching fitness at MadLab School of Fitness in Vancouver, B.C. since 2009.

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