gym owner

Sober And Stronger: The Power of Highlighting Your Gym Members

Your gym members have the potential to inspire countless others! Get to know their stories and share them. You never know whose lives it could change.

Emily Beers
March 13, 2023
Sober And Stronger: The Power of Highlighting Your Gym Members
Your gym members have the potential to inspire countless others! Get to know their stories and share them. You never know whose lives it could change.

It’s March Madness at PushPress! We’ve asked our community of fitness business owners to share their craziest stories. With every story comes a lesson that the gym owner learned the hard way so that you don’t have to. Today, we’re talking about gym members who inspire others with their unique story.

Sometimes, ordinary people have the most extraordinary stories.

If you look around any CrossFit gym, you’ll see people of different ages and fitness levels, from various backgrounds and ethnicities. Each one has a story. Some are heartbreaking or painful, others are incredible or triumphant. And when you dig deep enough, you’ll hear about adversity, perseverance and comebacks.

Every one of those gym members has the power to inspire someone who hears that story and thinks, ‘That person is like me. If they can overcome it, so can I.’

Gym members in CrossFit 845 community

Telling The Story.

David Aisenstat opened CrossFit 845 in Wappingers Falls, NY in 2012. Years ago, he started asking his community to nominate a Member of the Month. Once the nomination has been made, he creates a video to highlight that member.

Last year, Aisenstat started talking with one of his members after class. Ron was a 55-year-old man who, at the time, had been at the gym for about a year. In that conversation, Ron casually mentioned that he was a recovering addict. In fact, he had been in and out of rehab multiple times.

“I knew nothing about Ron’s background,” recalls Aisenstat.

He had seen Ron interact with other gym members during his time there, and was sure his nomination for Member of the Month would happen soon. When that time came, Aisenstat was ready to help Ron share his story.

Ron told of how he became addicted to drugs, from painkillers to heroin. He lost his marriage and his kids as a result of the addiction. In 2018, he hit rock bottom when his girlfriend broke up with him. At the time, he weighed just 126 pounds.

“People will say to me, ‘Oh CrossFit, that’s a lot of money, isn’t it?’” Ron says in the video. “No, it isn’t a lot of money. It used to cost me fifty dollars just to get out of bed.”

Ron goes on to say that it all had to happen because “pain is the ultimate motivator.”

He’s now five years sober and credits CrossFit for helping him pull himself out of the darkness.

“It’s the atmosphere,” he said. “You want to better yourself.”

Inspiring Gym Members Around The World.

Aisenstat, who has a background in film editing, knew this particular video was special. He enjoys highlighting all of his gym members monthly, but Ron’s story would be a unique kind of inspiration.

When the video was released, it struck a massive cord with the CrossFit 845 community.

“The reception was overwhelming,” said Aisenstat. “We had comments from people I didn’t know, people who don’t come to the gym but they related to it. It was truly inspiring.”

Ron at CrossFit 845
Ron working out at CrossFit 845

Further, members started approaching Ron at the gym to shake his hand. Prior to the video being released, other gym members had no clue what he had been through. Over and over, his fellow athletes would tell him he was an inspiration.

“He didn’t know what to do with all this support,” Aisenstat said. “Ron is super humble. You don’t know his story until you get to know him. He’s not out there telling his story.”

And as much as sharing his story has helped him inspire his own gym community, Aisenstat says Ron didn’t realize the bigger impact he was making.

“He didn’t know the power behind his story,” he said.

A few days after the video was posted, a new person walked through the doors of CrossFit 845. They explained that they were going through a divorce and suffering from depression. Then they added that Ron’s video was “the single thing” that inspired them to come in, and signed up that day.

Aisenstat said there’s no bigger reward. He said, “If you can change one person’s life through a video and inspire them, that’s all that matters.”

Highlighting Stories In Your Own Community.

In the CrossFit community around the world, there are potentially thousands of inspirational stories waiting to be told. Take the time to get to know the people at your gym and go tell client stories. You’ll have a consistent highlight reel to share with your gym members and the world.

Aisenstat shared a few pro tips from his video editing experience to help get you started:

1. Dig Deeper.

People won’t relate to stories of “perfect” people who never struggle. Just like in a CrossFit class, the shared struggle is what brings your community together. Truly get to know your members’ successes and struggles. That’s what will reveal the real stories.

Inspire others by telling member stories

2. Quality Is Key.

Aisenstat recommends taking the time to produce and edit high-quality videos. Daily stories and reels can be created on the fly with a phone but for a feature like this, make it professional.

If you don’t have the time, hire a videographer and editor. Aisenstat says, “If you pick up one new member from the video and they stick around for a year, it’s worth that hire.”

3. Music Is Important.

While the actual story is the primary component of your video, the music is also key. It should never overpower the spoken words but it will help to indicate the feeling you’re trying to portray.

For instance, if the audience should empathize with the storyteller, use a softer, flowing melody in the background. Then, when you reach inspirational parts of the video, choose music that makes an impact.

4. Keep Their Attention.

Finally, Aisenstat explained that peoples’ attention span is limited, so you have to capture it quickly and keep them watching.

Start with a compelling intro and let your subject’s personality shine as they tell their story. This will make them relatable. Brevity is key so aim to edit any pieces that aren’t necessary. And once the piece is published, ask your gym members to share!

Pro Tip: Use PushPress Grow to introduce new videos and updates to your whole community! Book a demo with our team today to find out more.

In Summary: Seek And Share Gym Members Stories.

Each member of your gym holds an opportunity to inspire others. Their successes and struggles are what make them human and relatable. You unlock the inspirational power by getting to know them and learning their stories.

As Aisenstat reminds us, “Every member has a story, and you don’t know about it until you ask.”

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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