Member Experience

How to Create the Best Personal Fitness Questionnaire to Ask New Members

Getting information from your gym members on how they want things to work and what they need can help you with retention and revenue like you wouldn’t believe.

James Plata
May 5, 2022
How to Create the Best Personal Fitness Questionnaire to Ask New Members
Getting information from your gym members on how they want things to work and what they need can help you with retention and revenue like you wouldn’t believe.

Gyms are very difficult to retain clients for. You know this better than anyone else.

But what you might not know is how powerful a simple questionnaire can be, and how it can help; you retain more clients, market your gym to acquire more clients, and promote a successful and healthy future for your gym and brand.

The fitness industry is one of the most competitive industries that exist in the United States. There are trends, local developments, and so many other aspects that go into our gym member retention rates.

We’re going to discuss what a fitness questionnaire is, how it works, and give you a fantastic template that you can use to make this process as simple as possible.

What is a Fitness Questionnaire?

The entire point of a fitness questionnaire is to find out what your gym patrons want from their experience.

You ask them questions like a survey, and they inform you of what they want to see in the gym, classes they might want to take, and any other information about their experience.

That’s the first layer: the gym. The second one is a bit more personal.

Ask questions about their health conditions so you can know how to be more inclusive. Ask questions about their interests and the types of activities that they often partake in.

Lifestyle questions so you know how to make gym scheduling work for those who are already paying to be there.

Beyond simply getting information, you want to show your gym members that they matter. Gym retention is difficult, arguably just as difficult as any other customer retention in other industries, and so you want to make sure they feel valued and cared for while they belong to your gym.

At the end of the day, the fitness questionnaire is a tool and insight into how you should run your business more effectively. What if 70% of your gym members took the questionnaire, and you found out that of that 70%, half of them seriously wanted

Why Do You Need One?

If for no other reason, you need one to give you proper marketing information on how to structure your gym moving forward.

Let’s say that in your first six months, you have one hundred members. That’s great, but how do you know what they want?

Well, obviously they wanted something that you were offering, otherwise, they wouldn’t be here. But now a new gym opened up three blocks away, and your gym member count drops by 30%.

It turns out that the other gym is offering a specific class that you don’t host, or they have machines that you didn’t think to include in your gym. You would never know what your patrons want without asking them.

As we’ll talk about later, there are multiple types of questionnaires that you can use, and each will be specific to the needs of your gym. It’s all about finding out what your athletes want so that you can provide it to them, and keep their business.

What are the Most Vital Pieces of Information?

You have to make your questionnaire short, sweet, and to the point.

So let’s focus on the most critical information first and foremost so we’re not wasting anyone’s time.

What is your ideal workout?

Right off the bat, we’re finding out what they value most in a workout. Spoiler alert: it’s not going to be what you expect, because it might not be something that you already have in-house.

It’s also important to note that ideal doesn’t mean “I would do this every single day and no other type of workout”, but it can give you some insight into the way that your clients want to exercise so you can make adjustments to your gym.

If enough clients are saying something similar, you know something is missing from your current setup. Adding this new feature would do wonders for retention.

What do you like most about our gym? (List up to 3)

It’s easy to look at answers from the first question and try to implement changes, but what if you accidentally change something that everyone already likes?

That would be extremely counterintuitive. You want to be sure that what you’re doing is effective, so finding out the key strengths of your gym from your clients will tell you where to continue your current focus.

If you see the same answer a lot, it means you’ve solidified that part of your business and you can maintain it while focusing on other areas of your gym for your clients.

If you could change one thing about our gym’s service, what would it be?

This borders on the hypothetical, because it doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to do what they put here, but it’s a fun question that gets their creativity flowing.

When these fields are left blank and they have to fill them in instead of it being multiple-choice, it gives them room to truly ponder these questions for a moment.

You’ll want to notice patterns here, because if absolutely everyone wants to change the fact that the weight room has bad lighting, it might be time to invest in some new lights, etc.

Would you recommend our gym to friends or family?

This one shows how compelling your service is. Oftentimes we will enjoy things as a solo experience, but it’s not until we are so enamored with what we’re doing that we say “You really have to check this out, I think you’d love it” to those close to us.

You can use this information to market the benefits of your gym in the future, and to introduce a deal at the end of the questionnaire. If they would recommend your gym, give them a way to invite those people for a free trial. It’s one of the best ways to bring in new customers without having to directly market to them.

Those are all vital pieces of information that you should include regardless of what type of questionnaire you make. We’ll include everything in our template below.

How Long Should it be?

Unless you’re offering a reward, it shouldn’t be that long. One to three minutes at best.

You want as many results as possible so that you can use that information to add to what your gym offers. If it’s too long and not something they can do while they cooldown on the weightlifting bench, chances are they won’t finish it.

If you have a high percentage of people starting but not finishing your survey, you’ve made it too long or the questions too flat.

  • Stick to 7-10 Questions: It doesn’t take long to type in a few words per answer. You want to get valuable information, but you don’t want to bore them to death while you do it.
  • Ask Vital Questions First: Not everyone is going to finish the questionnaire, no matter how good it is and how short it is. So for those people who don’t finish it, get the information that you want the most out of them by putting it first.
  • Keep Questions Brief: If the question takes too long to read, they’ll lose interest. You want to be as specific as possible in as few words as possible (known as copywriting, which in today’s day and age is an absolute art).

Different Types of Questionnaires Based on Your Gym

It would be great if you could just develop a questionnaire with all the questions you want to be answered and actually have every athlete in your gym fill it out. But dreams are often nice, aren’t they?

You have to focus on a particular type of data. You can’t make it a Jack-of-all-trades kind of questionnaire, because people like to follow a theme.

If the questionnaire is about nutrition and that’s near and dear to them, then they’re more likely to fill it out over a random, generalized survey.

These are the questionnaire types you need to know about:

  • Market Research: These surveys tell you general information, such as what you can expect from fitness classes, the type of equipment that users like, and other info. Market information is anything you can use to market your brand or gym to other people, so if there are negative associations with your gym, you have to use this to figure out what they are, address them, and align your brand image going forward so that you’re actually marketable.
  • Fitness Survey: This includes information that you can use for your fitness classes and fitness products. Ask about what exercise your clients enjoy doing, and how often they enjoy doing it, and you can ask about instructors for classes as well. Here you can find out what individual fitness goals are and better contour your gym’s services to meet those goals for your clients. It’s all up to you.
  • Facility Survey: What about the facility should be changed? Is there not enough lighting? Are machines too close together? This is where you can get into the nitty-gritty of what your clients either love or don’t love about your gym. This is where you can make some micro changes that affect how people perceive your gym as a whole.

Fitness Questionnaire Template and Example

These are a few templates you can use. Just utilize this text in your survey software of choice to start getting results from your clients.

  1. How did you hear about our gym?
  2. Are you interested in group classes or working with personal trainers?
  3. Which type of group classes are you interested in taking?
  4. What is your favorite time to exercise?
  5. What fitness goals are you currently trying to achieve?

Five questions, short, sweet, and to the point without any additional marketing. This is a cut-and-dry list that just about anyone can answer, and this is a marketing questionnaire. You’re going to get valuable information about how to market your gym.

But what about a fitness questionnaire so you know how to improve your services? Let’s come up with one for that as well.

  1. What are your current fitness goals?
  2. How can we help you achieve those fitness goals?
  3. Are there any fitness products you wish you could buy in person here at the gym?
  4. How much fitness-related video content do you usually consume in a week?
  5. What changes in our gym could help you reach your goals faster?

There’s a double-edged sword here where we want to help our clients reach their goals quickly so that they have a reason to stay, but sometimes that goal is all they need and now they’re done with your gym. We want to work on retention of course, but the surveys aren’t about retention right now.

Let’s go for one more, and let’s make this a general feedback survey. You could have individuals leaving your gym for reasons that you don’t even know, so let’s touch on those.

Note: You should disclose that these results will be anonymous since they can be somewhat personal and individuals may not want to be identified by them.

  1. Does the gym atmosphere and staff make you feel safe?
  2. Are there any conditions we could improve to make your workouts more productive?
  3. Is our gym a place you would bring a friend or family member to exercise together?
  4. How do our class instructors and staff make you feel about reaching your fitness goals?
  5. What has been your favorite experience in our gym?

This tells you all you need to know about staff relations with clients, about the best parts of a client’s time in your gym, and so on.

This is all-important stuff that you absolutely can’t gloss over if you want to curate the best possible experience for your athletes.

James Plata

James Plata is the CX Operations Manager at PushPress, a fitness-nut and hoarder of all gadgets. He brings 10+ years of experience in startup tech and fitness to help gym owners rebel against useless and overpriced software.

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