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Fitness Routines: Fresh Ideas for Your Members

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Ryan O’Toole shares three ways to encourage members to alter their fitness routines with new equipment and programs in your health club.

“Swipe key. Open door. Walk in. Step onto treadmill. Keys in one cupholder, water in the other, phone in center. Exercise. Walk out.”

There are probably multiple people who just came to mind. These people are creatures of habit – members who have their fitness routines and do not like to deviate. They are set in their ways and do not want to hear anything different. Maybe, however, they are just unsure how to use the equipment or are worried about everyone looking at them if they use it wrong. Therefore, they just stick to their treadmill as it is the only thing they know how to use.

So how can we get them to broaden their fitness horizons?

Educate Your Members: Provide a variety of ways for members to learn how to alter their fitness routines.

Creating educational how-to videos for new pieces of equipment as well as any complicated or intimidating equipment can be a great way to indirectly encourage some shy members to try new fitness routines. By watching your video, they might work up the confidence to try out some of your tips in their own time. They most likely will not do this if they are pressured or put on the spot but may stare at it for a few days and then decide to go for it.

Educating on and recommending a new piece of equipment individually can also nudge them if it is done softly. For example, when we got a ski erg in our facility, it was easy to approach people who regularly used the rower and explain that we have a new machine they might enjoy since they like the rower. This shows both a willingness to help and the member knows you pay attention to them even if you don’t directly interact on a regular basis.

Challenge Your Members: Create a variety of challenges incorporating different equipment and programs.

Trainer challenges are a fun way to encourage members to add new machines to their exercise tool belt. Once a month, have a trainer perform an exercise for a certain score (reps, time, etc) and post it for members to take a shot at beating the trainer. Low barrier to entry exercises work best to appeal to the most amount of people as possible. This is also a great place to incorporate new pieces of equipment as you get them to double as educational content from the previous section.

Walk the Walk: Set an example by changing up your own fitness routine.

Showcasing and documenting staff getting out of their comfort zone and trying something new is a great way to level with your members. As weird as it may seem to fitness professionals, our members don’t see us as “normal people.” Through documenting staff attempting things they may not be great at, members gain a new respect and perspective, and gives you more leverage to ask for the same open-mindedness in return.

There is something to be said for not asking people to do things you wouldn’t do yourself. Showing empathy in the struggle to attempt something you aren’t very good at in the beginning is a great way to build the trust of the member to take your suggestion and alter their routine.

What ways have you found to be helpful in broadening the fitness horizons of your members? Comment below and let me know what you think!

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Ryan O'Toole

Ryan O’Toole is the regional manager of Anytime Fitness Cheswick, Leechburg, and an upcoming third location in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He can be reached at rotoole@mccoolhq.com.

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