What a comparison; a coffee habit and an exercise habit! The comparison is relevant because what is really being discussed is routine. So what disrupts the average person’s routine? In evaluating an average family routine, what does it look like from January to December, and how does that affect the health club?
Let’s say they join a health club in January — they will typically stay committed for the first four to six weeks, maybe longer if plugged into programming or an accountability strategy. Then what happens?
Life sets in and the new member’s six-week-old routine is put through the first few sets of tests to see if real life can rub up against the new routine.
Half way through March is usually when households with school-age children take a spring break, going on vacation and inevitably interrupting the gym schedule. Once the member’s routine is disrupted, it can take a few weeks to get back to the gym and now the calendar is reading mid April, only a few short weeks before kids are out for summer.
The summer months bring vacations, outdoor activates and complete routine disruptions.
At the beginning of August new routines become known and looking at new gym schedules comes back into focus.
A resolve to get into the gym before the holidays usually takes place. Another four weeks of exercise before Halloween and then the inevitable complete disruption of on-and-off workouts through the end of the year, followed by the inevitable New Year’s resolve, starting the whole cycle over again.
Based on this idea, there’s an average of 16 weeks out of every 52 in a year a member is in the gym. Of course there is the top tier of dedicated exercisers that are there everyday all year long — I am talking about the average member.
I wonder why people are not as sincerely dedicated to going to the gym three to four times a week, all year long?
In contrast, the daily coffee shop patron rarely misses a day, regardless of schedule changes — that habit is set in stone and doesn’t flounder. I wonder how the same dedication could be translated to going to the gym? What transferable common denominator could be used in health clubs to ignite the same level of loyalty that we see in a neighborhood coffee shop? How can the use of technology and better connectivity enhance your members’ experience and keep them around all year? I wonder how we could go with their flow, instead of expecting them to come to us?
Because of the technology advances available there are many new ways to create wellness lifestyles for people instead of asking them to come to the gym. I wonder what the health club of the future and the member of the future will look like? Good points to contemplate.
Cheers and thanks for reading!
Lindsey Rainwater is an experienced consultant and coach to the fitness and wellness industry. She specializes in business development and leadership. Currently she is working with the Fitmarc Team helping club owners all over the South Central region of the U.S. propel their business forward via group exercise solutions. For more information about Lindsey, follow her @lindseyrainh2o.