Almost every club has members that sign up for a membership they rarely use. Lynell Tobler, 55, signed up with very good intentions at the Merritt Athletic Club, Owings Mills location. She signed a two-year membership and used it the first few months and then stopped going.
“My intentions were good, but I didn’t follow through. I resented [my membership] terribly. I tried to quit. I wasn’t using it and I could have used the money,” she said. Tobler had used her free personal training sessions when she signed up, but they weren’t enough to get her hooked. She got talked into resigning her contract when the first one was up and now absolutely loves her gym!
Tobler had gained weight on her 5 foot 3 inch frame and weighed 190 pounds. In the fall of 2010, she had full mouth reconstruction surgery and began to lose a little weight from not being able to eat. This inspired her to start her weight-loss journey. Tobler began dieting first, sticking to a strict low-calorie diet and then went on a maintenance diet.
Shortly after her surgery, she attended her first Group X class – a yoga class – hoping the relaxation would ease the chronic pain in her jaw. Thanks to a wonderful first experience, Tobler then set her sights on trying more classes and upping her exercise to lose more weight. She added BODYSTEP™, BODYFLOW™ and BODYPUMP™ and recently added Zumba to the mix.
“The setup at my gym is perfect. I take two classes every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I absolutely love it; I love my instructors!”
All of her instructors at Merritt are extremely motivating and have made Tobler, who was always intimidated to try Group X classes in the past, at ease once she worked up the nerve to try the classes. One of her instructors even went out of their way to learn her nickname and calls her out during class to keep her motivated and let her know he knows she is there.
With Tobler’s hard work and dedication she lost 70 pounds and is now down to 120 pounds. She still records what she eats and attends her six classes.
Group X was a good fit for Tobler – better than personal training. “In all of us there is a sense of competition, mine’s not usually that strong. But after I tried my first class, all those other people made me want to come back,” Tobler said. “The classes were a way to increase my level of stamina without leaving it up to me. Other people would see how much weight I lift on my bar or how many risers on my step. That little spark of competition was enough to keep me coming back.”
During the time that Tobler’s membership was going unused, she wishes that a trainer she had gotten paired up with had taken her to a Group X class when she initially expressed an interest. The trainer said she would go with her, but then never followed through. “Once I got in I was fine, but at the time it seemed like one of those unsurpassable thresholds. Had someone gone with me I would have gone years ago.”
Also, Tobler was unable to have the same trainer during her free personal training sessions. Sometimes that cannot be helped, obviously, but setting members up with the same trainer allows them to build a relationship with someone instead of feeling passed off.
“I’m very motivated now to tell anyone and everyone about Merritt because of its welcoming spirit – the front desk and Group X are just great!”
It’s not enough with some members to just give them a few free sessions of personal training and hope that they are hooked. Taking the extra time with members, especially at the beginning of their membership, will help members find their niche at your club. Those members not only stick around, but they tell their friends as well! -CS
By Ali Cicerchi