On Facebook and Twitter news feeds around the world, the Olympics have taken over. Social media has officially been diagnosed with “Olympic Fever,” and health clubs across the nation have caught the bug. Clubs such as Anytime Fitness, Planet Fitness and O2 Fitness are using the inspirational stories of the world’s fittest athletes to inspire their members — through Olympics polls, stats and stories posted for members to see on their Facebook and Twitter pages.
On Planet Fitness’ Facebook page, the franchise recently asked followers, “If you were in The Olympics, what sport would you play?” The post received 112 “likes” and 364 comments. Anytime Fitness asked its Facebook followers to fill in the blank; “If I could medal in any Olympic sport, I would choose ___.” The post received 32 “likes” and 147 comments.
According to Andy Giefer, the social media director for Anytime Fitness, Anytime Fitness’ motivation behind this is to inspire members. “The Olympics are about striving to be your best, and they inspire everyday athletes to achieve their goals,” he said. “We view social media as a place where our members can share their aspirations and accomplishments, no matter what their fitness level.”
However, Olympic fever doesn’t peter out on social media sites. Health clubs are taking the inspirational quality of The Olympics directly into the club. New York Sports Club recently announced that it will offer its members a limited-edition Ultimate Fitness Experience class inspired by the Summer Games — the “UFX: London Calling” edition emulates Olympic sports such as gymnastics, boxing, track & field and rowing. “With all of the excitement mounting for the 2012 Summer Games, we wanted to inspire the public to get off the couch and hit the gym for a real-life sampling of five Olympic sports in one workout,” said Melissa Morin, the senior director of group exercise programming for the Sports Clubs, in a press release.
In addition, Crunch Fitness recently debuted its own Olympic-inspired class called “The Decathlon.” Each week Crunch members who take the class will tackle a different sport, such as swimming, track & field and gymnastics, in a circuit format — in the process receiving a total-body strength and cardio workout.
In hindsight, Olympic Fever may be one sickness you hope all your members catch. “Everyone is talking about The Olympics,” said Shanna Kane, the director of marketing for O2 Fitness. “Posting about The Olympics is an easy way to capture members’ attention and get them involved. It’s really amazing to see the types of things people can get their body to do. I definitely think it’s inspiring to get people up and moving.”
By Rachel Zabonick