Here are tips for creating a culture of connection in your gym or studio:
Select a word and send it out to the coaching staff and give them an example of how to inspire and connect to the members through this word. Each coach before class references the word of the week and explains how they utilize this to motivate and inspire the members.
For example; if the focus word is “Intension.” A coach could say something like, “This week we want to focus on creating an intension for each workout this week. Maybe today your goal is to push harder than yesterday, try something new you never have done before, or maintain your intensity throughout an entire workout even when you get tired. Whatever your drive and motivation might be, I want you to channel this and utilize it to motivate you to take your training to the next level.”
In group ex or small training classes, members work together to complete a workout. The essential part about this is that they have to communicate and create a partner or group strategy to get through the task at hand. By communicating and learning about strengths and weaknesses of others, it forces us to be vulnerable and prideful in both aspects of our fitness levels. This creates a stronger bond and stronger connections between members.
The concept of competing not only against yourself, but also against other members in class creates camaraderie through competition. The members are not only competing against each other but are also cheering on one another because it is fun to race with your friends.
Coaches select specific obstacle course races to be team captains for and members sign up to be a part of these racing teams. Create team training strategies and have jerseys made for the races. This helps create common goals amongst the racers. The team will stick together through every obstacle, mud bath, and burpee. In the end, these races will challenge clients to new levels they have never imagined possible and have created lifelong friendships between teammates.
Sometimes you just need to get out of the gym. When people have time to put on a pair of jeans, relax, sit down and chat, it breaks down the fitness barriers and puts us all in a new social environment. Try to have at least one social event each quarter – anything from a karaoke night, to bowling, or a BBQ/cookout – to get members & staff together to socialize and have some fun. Your community will connect in a new way outside of the gym walls, which will build bonds stronger than ever before.
Power Systems Master Coach, PJ Stahl, MA, CSCS is creator of PROJECT STEEL and a Reebok Ambassador. His background in competing in collegiate level Division I gymnastics paired with his experience coaching professional athletes, he was naturally led to become a fitness performance coach. PJ utilizes over 20 years of experience and over 25 certifications as a well-rounded elite fitness expert in personal and group training. PJ currently resides in Los Angeles where he owns and trains out of his studio, Lock Box Fitness & Performance Center.