Almost every club around the country is facing the same situation at this very moment. Prospective members have started charging into clubs and racking up miles on treadmills like they did Wal-Mart aisles a month earlier.
It is true that times are still tough, but we are sure that fitness has stayed the number one goal on many American’s minds for the New Year. However, for club owners, this isn’t the time for mistakes to occur. Members need to feel the necessity of fitness and they need to feel better, quicker.
“People who have not worked out in a while, or at all, need to feel comfortable,” said Shawn Stewart, the operations manager for Gainesville Health and Fitness Centers. “They need to have fun, connect with other people, and most importantly, see results. We try to get people on programs such as circuit lines, Group Exercise, PT, etc.”
By getting new members involved in your club quickly, they will begin to see your club as an indispensable asset to their life. “We use the programs to connect members with staff and other members,” Stewart continued. “We have started a health and wellness social networking site called Zwurly.com for people to connect with other people with the same health and fitness interest, nutrition tips and workouts.”
Stewart said Zwurly.com was the brainchild for Gainesville’s “Get Better Team,” a group of managers from GHFC that get together once a month to find ways to make the company better. “We read the book “Tribes” by Seth Godin and started thinking of ways to get our members connected, both inside and outside our club,” he said.
Zwurly.com functions similar to other social networking sites like Facebook. It allows members to create profiles with biographical information and photographs. However, unlike Facebook, Zwurly has a targeted agenda – connect fit people and people with a desire to become fit.
The easy-to-use program allows people in similar areas to connect and set up jogs and workout schedules. With Zwurly, club members don’t have to worry about being alone at the gym. They can find other members at your club and connect via Internet communication.
Also, shows like the “Biggest Loser” has changed the way people perceive fitness. Although, they may not be jumping at the opportunity to workout in front of some of your in-shape members, they are dying to drop weight – the show has given them hope.
“We have started our own version of the ‘Biggest Loser” and it has been very successful,” Stewart said. “We also educate all members on ways to properly lose weight, build muscle and create a lifestyle of fitness.” One of the major problems associated with new members is attributed to results. Many times new members don’t see results fast enough, or they work to hard to quickly and burn themselves out. “With New Year’s resolutions this time of year, it’s important to educate people on how to make fitness a way of life,” Stewart continued. “It’s year round, not just something you do for a few months.”
The challenge to keep members interested in your club is ongoing. However, by focusing on the basics and getting people involved as soon as possible, losing people at a high rate will slow drastically.
By Tyler Montgomery – Editor