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Operations: How Community Events Drive Member Engagement

member engagement

Last month I wrote about ways to keep membership growth alive all year long. (In case you missed it, check it out here!) One of the tips mentioned was to create challenges for your members and I wanted to dive deeper into that as it’s so crucial. Below are three points to keep in mind for holding team challenges and how they create community for your health club, and in turn, retains members.

Create Opportunities for New Friendships

By nature, we want to connect with people and create new relationships. We’re social creatures that crave interaction with others. Creating teams for accountability and encouragement not only gives your members a boost in motivation, but it creates a comfortable way to meet new people and create those friendships. People don’t usually make friends walking side by side on a treadmill. They’ll make friends doing wall balls next to each other and encouraging each other to do “just a few more!” before the next break. They’ll create a bond over the common factor of having just completed that workout, of having eaten clean for the last few days, of having common goals that they are now talking to each other about.

Having friends at the gym makes it easier to make the trek to workout, despite the hour. If everyone agrees to go at the same time, or log X amount of workouts in a week, it will keep them going! Which leads us to my next point:

Sweet, Short and Purposeful

Make sure the challenges are no longer than six weeks. This time frame is doable and still gains visible results. During those weeks, keep accountability high: have a set number of workouts to be completed weekly. These can be designed and set beforehand. Send daily emails or texts and have them check-in daily as well. Have your members fill out weekly food logs as you coach nutrition as well. Keep everyone on track and have them be accountable to each other during those six weeks.

You can have teams compete against each other for either pounds lost or pounds increased in strength, accountability percentage, etc. You can come up with whatever system to have them compete for. Maybe the winning team gets treated to a healthy dinner and the individual gets a free month. Whatever the end rewards are, the other results will leave everyone smiling and proud of themselves.

Create Challenges in Seasons

Challenges are fun and can go hand and hand with the flow of life and changing seasons. Have challenges start for spring break, summer vacation, fall and holiday seasons. This will not only help your members stay on track during holidays and other times of the year they may veer off track from their health goals, but will also keep them coming back for more throughout the year!

All three of these help foster a community within your members. Community is one of the biggest factors that keep people coming back. It’s easier to go somewhere that you know will have familiar, smiling faces who know you and will workout with you.

Have you already hosted some challenges? How were your results? Comment below on your experience with this!


Lindsey Rainwater, also known as Lindsey RainH2O, is a sought-after business consultant, leadership coach, writer and presenter to the fitness and wellness industry. For more information about Rainwater, follow her on Twitter @LindseyRainH2O or check out her website www.linseyrainh2o.com

Lindsey Rainwater

Lindsey Rainwater is an experienced business advisor, executive coach and the founder of The Women in Fitness Association (WIFA). WIFA is the global association supporting women in their career trajectory helping them rise to their fullest potential in business and life.

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