Saving Members by Boosting Their Self Esteem

By Aaron Eisberg

Senior-Woman-Assisted-By-Person.jpgThe challenge of retaining existing members is one of the perennial headaches for gym owners everywhere. Members sign up, stay for a short while, then drop off the radar as if the gym entrance is nothing more than a revolving door. Why does this keep happening?

The simple fact is that not everyone feels at home at the gym. A lack of self-esteem can drive people to join a fitness club to improve some perceived deficit in their health or fitness level, but that same lack of self-esteem can also be a major factor in ultimately driving them away from the gym.

Understanding "Gymtimidation"

Before gym owners and managers can address the issue of gymtimidation, it is important to understand why gym members feel the way they do. The article "6 Tips to Build Your Confidence in the Gym" lists six top reasons people feel intimidated in a gym setting. They are:

  • Lack of understanding about how the equipment works.
  • Confusion about what exercises are appropriate for the member's fitness level.
  • The uncomfortable feeling that everyone is staring at new members.
  • The fear of looking inept or stupid.
  • Self-consciousness about body image or fitness level.
  • A feeling of alienation from other gym members because of some perceived difference.

A recent study by Cosmopolitan Body in Britain revealed some interesting insights in the gymtimidation factor. In that study, 44 percent of women reported that they avoid using weights because they do not know how much to lift or what to do with them. 47 percent said they were put-off by the other people using weights. The body image factor weighed heavily in the results, with 97 percent of women admitting to discomfort in changing rooms because of lack of privacy.

Sadly, gymtimidation is alive and thriving, and your membership numbers may be steadily declining because of it. What can you do to boost the self-esteem of your members and keep them engaged for the long term?

How to Banish Gymtimidation from Your Fitness Center

Fortunately, there are a variety of strategies to mitigate the effects of gymtimidation. Here are some favorites:

1) Market to all fitness levels.

The first step to making members comfortable in your fitness center starts before they even sign up. Including options and programs that appeal to people of all fitness levels helps combat feelings of inadequacy or alienation. Ensuring that your marketing message has something for everyone can encourage new members to join and engage.

2) Offer free initial training sessions.

Train your staff to quickly engage with new members by having a structured welcome program in place. This program should be more than just a cursory gym tour. Make someone on your staff accountable for providing a hands-on, interactive tour with each new member in which popular equipment is explained, gym policies are discussed, and the new member is encouraged to take advantage of appropriate training sessions.

3) Promote personal training.

Talk with new members about the opportunity to work with a personal trainer. This should not be just a one-time discussion. Rather, find additional opportunities to point out the benefits of working with a personal trainer. For instance, some gyms have seen a real uptick in the use of personal trainers after sponsoring events like a "Talk to the Trainer" seminar, where new members can ask questions and get personal feedback.

4) Offer buddy passes.

We are inherently social creatures. You can do much to relieve discomfort for new gym members by offering a few free buddy passes. New members benefit by having a familiar person with whom to exercise, while the "buddy" may also decide to join. What could be better than two new, engaged members?

5) Offer group fitness classes that appeal to similarly-minded people.

Group classes can promote a spirit of community among your members, making it less likely that they will end their memberships. Offering a variety of group classes to fit members at various levels of fitness will help you keep members engaged, happy, and healthy.

Portrait-Of-Group-Of-Gym-Members.jpgSponsoring group wellness challenges can build a sense of camaraderie among members. Healthy competition draws people out of their shells and helps them focus, not on perceived imperfections, but on attainment of their fitness goals.

The AccuroFit system is a perfect fit for gyms wanting to improve member engagement and fight the effects of gymtimidation. Our in-studio solution is designed for fitness classes ranging from Spin Classes to Group Training. Seamlessly integrating with any piece of Accuro equipment or device, you can track, rank, display, and reward your members with real-time results.

Integrating with your current gym website, Accuro's member portal offers a powerful User Interface for your clients, which gives them the ability to review and track their performance and health data in real time and get rewarded for working out. The Accuro Health App allows your members to track their performance data on their phone, tablet or any other mobile device, thereby increasing engagement even outside the gym.

Are you ready to start fighting gymtimidation among your members? Request a demo of the AccuroFit system today, and kick your gym membership numbers into overdrive.