Fostering a sense of community in their facility is an ofter-underrated way for gym owners to boost the results of their members while also putting more money in their pockets.
But, often members keep their heads down and headphones in during their workout, which means that the gym floor isn’t the best place for members to get to know each other.
As a gym owner, it’s your responsibility to get creative with how you can break the ice for your members.
It might not be easy, but fostering a greater sense of belonging within the four walls of your facility can help you create a member experience that transcends simply working out.
10 Key Ways You Can Encourage a Stronger Gym Community at Your Club by Connecting Members
As a gym owner, it’s your responsibility to set the standard for how your staff interact with your members, and there are a few different ways that you can foster a deeper sense of community in your facility — as long as you’re willing to put the work in.
Running promotions that allow people to come to your facility with a friend means that you can employ the help of your existing members to bring new people through your doors while also opening up the possibility of attracting members who you wouldn’t normally find in a gym.
Attracting clientele outside of your usual demographic isn’t always easy. But giving people the option to come for a discounted session with a best friend could be just the boost they need to step outside of their comfort zone and finally make it in for a workout.
Gyms can be intimidating places, especially for people who don’t have experience working out. By breaking down this barrier, you can help your members feel more comfortable in your facility and therefore feel more willing to show up and contribute to a positive atmosphere in your facility.
Spend more time on the floor
As a business owner, leading by example is best for you to inspire your employees.
By spending more time on the floor, you have the opportunity to get to know your members, and even your staff, better and can put in some of the groundwork that is required to make your gym’s atmosphere feel more welcoming.
Run group classes
There’s no better bonding experience than getting getting your butt kicked during a workout.
Running group classes is an excellent way to get people out of the habit of keeping their heads down and headphones in during their workout. They offer the perfect icebreaker to spark conversations, either before class, during, or even in the change rooms afterward.
Bringing everyone together on the joint mission of bettering their health can make a group of people feel more united and connected, and can contribute to a better sense of community throughout your gym.
Community changing room
For many of us, when we picture people getting to know each other in the gym, we see a group of people chitchatting during a workout, at the water cooler or on the way in and out of the club.
One often overlooked area for building gym community is actually in the changing rooms, which might sound weird but hear me out.
Having community change rooms as opposed to an individual space gives people the opportunity to connect during the downtime, either before or after their workout.
It’s a place where people aren’t on their phones, they aren’t occupied with their exercise and typically don’t have headphones in. For decades the sporting realm has boasted the locker rooms as a place for banter before or after a big game, and embracing this same mantra for your gym can have great benefits for your club camaraderie.
Create a communal sauna
Saunas are often a great place for a group of — sometimes very different people — to spark a conversation and get to know each other.
Being in such a tight space, it’s not uncommon for people to either start chiming into another group’s conversation, or even spark up a conversation with a stranger to help the time pass a little faster. Like the locker rooms mentioned above, saunas typically have people off their devices (due to them not even working in the intense heat), which often forces even the most introverted gym members into interacting with one another.
Not only can saunas be a way for you to bring in extra cash flow, but they can also be a staple to your gym, creating an opportunity for different gym demographics to get to know one another.
There will always be those people who come to the gym to lift heavy and get in and out as fast as possible. For those members, regardless of how many different bootcamps, group classes or special promotions you offer, their gym routine will more or less stay the same for those members.
Whether they’re shy or just prefer to focus on their workouts, hosting gym-wide challenges or special events allows your more reclusive members to break out of their usual gym routine and get to know the other members.
You can do things like a month-long push-up challenge, host an anniversary party, or even book an outing like yoga in a park or an outdoor hike.
Similar to creating group classes, running boot camps creates an opportunity for you to bring a group of people together to get to know each other on a more personal basis.
Running boot camps as opposed to just group classes allows you to create more personalized training options, ones that you might not want to host on a more regular basis.
Bootcamps for things like ‘technique for weight lifting’ or ‘ calisthenics for beginners’ can attract a crowd that wouldn’t be likely to attend a yoga or pilates class, allowing you to break the ice between even your most regular weight-lifting members.
Buddy system on sign-ups
Another way to entice your members to bring their friends to your gym is by offering a discounted rate for any two people who purchase memberships together.
Having an accountability buddy can help newer members create a more consistent workout routine, and seeing friends working out together is enjoyable for everyone and can even contribute to an overall more welcoming gym environment.
Plan a club trip or getaway
You can decide to make this trip as big or as small as you want.
Even little things like group yoga classes in the park or doing a hike just outside of the city can push members outside of their usual social bubble and create an opening for them to get to know each other better.
Exclusive online groups for members
Most people appreciate having a space to share their progress with one another and having the instant gratification of getting to share their wins with a supportive community can actually inspire members to be more consistent with their workouts.
Creating an online space for members to connect with one another, share their wins, and participate in fitness-related challenges can build a community of members who motivate each other to have fun with their fitness journey.
Even though the benefits of creating a stronger sense of community are obvious, that doesn’t make it easy.
If you decide to implement some of the tactics listed in this article, don’t be discouraged if it takes some time for you to notice a difference. Continue putting in the daily effort by being out on the floor and planning different events for your members.
If you find it difficult to dedicate time to customer experience then finding new ways to streamline your business and free up your time is a must. Click here to learn more about the different ways that gym management software can help.