People walk into their gym each day with a fitness goal in mind, but often with little confidence in achieving it. It is no shock to most that retention within the fitness industry is an ongoing challenge. When people yearn for results and community, but have no love for the process, it is only a matter of time before members feel their efforts are invaluable and give up.
Understanding how to increase retention means understanding why members left in the first place.
Millions of people frequently admit to being intimidated by the space of a gym. A recent government study claimed almost 80% of the population do not meet the recommended guidelines for physical activity, often due to the feeling the environment within a gym is intimidating or overly competitive.
Why is building a fitness community important?
It is important for staff to create an atmosphere in which everyone feels comfortable, confident and supported throughout their fitness journey. If the only person who knows, or cares, that someone put in time and effort to exercise is his or herself, it is easy for them to make the choice not to altogether. Not only are fantastic trainers and club staff essential, but it is crucial to create the right, highly supportive environment for all members, too.
Being able to support members throughout their workout and beyond can be incredibly challenging. Creating a strong sense of community among members means the environment is welcoming, supportive and fun. If a person feels a part of something, and has support and recognition of their efforts, chances are they feel much more motivated to not only join in, but to give it their all.
Exercise can feel alienating, especially if someone is new and lacking confidence. A community environment can help overcome this. Research shows that members who make friends at their club are 40% less likely to cancel. Building a community helps to make each member feel part of something greater.
The majority of people are not intrinsically motivated to exercise. Instead, they yearn for a reward that makes the act of working out feel worth it. When that feeling of accomplishment is not achieved, it is easy for members to just give up. It is key for operators to remember to always provide their members with a platform full of opportunities and support that will give them a reason to keep coming back for more.