Fitness Feedback Loops That Could Teach Wall Street a Lesson

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  • Fitness Feedback Loops That Could Teach Wall Street a Lesson

The Sound of Fitness Club Amplification

Feedback loops are weird. Put the front desk mic up a little too close to the speaker just one time, and everybody loses their minds (I swear it was an accident). That characteristic squeal is a feedback loop of amplification that builds on itself quickly to an unbearable screaming limit.

In fitness training for clients, you see something similar, but in a good way. It’s a much more gradual loop of growing fitness and confidence that translates into confidence and enthusiasm that produces a stronger workout ethic in your clients and better physical results.

That is, pretty much, the optimal example of a feedback relationship that loops between an energy source and an amplifier. As the owner of a fitness business, you will see first-hand the results of feedback loops. You learn practical lessons about financial and social cycles that Ivy League and Wall Street banking experts learn about in $500 textbooks.

Making Feedback Work for You

Feedback loops matter to any business owner because they are the essence of growth. You invest time and capital, and hopefully, you get a fitness club membership that grows and returns more capital to you. Feedback can be a positive or negative factor in the design of any system. It depends on the results, the reaction, and the period of the loop.

HIIT programs have a fast loop of positive results. We may see another, less welcome loop in that segment as injuries accumulate over many years for the most fanatical practitioners. Muscles respond quickly to strain by building mass (a fast and positive feedback loop); joints and tendons degrade slowly due to the same activities (a slower, negative loop).

Examples of Feedback Loops in Fitness

The benefits of fitness go beyond muscle strength and into the entire physiology of the body and the mind. Studies show that positive fitness habits put people on a different path through life, compared to their sedentary peers.

The results of training on client motivation, on client enthusiasm for your business, is a loop of feedback between your happy customers and you; they become your best ambassadors. They spontaneously start acting like social media influencers, telling all their friends about your gym. People they know see their results, which brings new prospects to you with warmed up and ready to join.

On the down-side feedback loops in fitness appear when you see a competitor’s club go off the rails. When owners lose interest, or new owners mismanage their operations, you know how the business can go wrong. Sometimes their programming ideas just don’t make sense for the business or market. Their clubs get run down, or they don’t clean thoroughly or often enough, due to a lack of capital.

Small Changes Turn Feedback into Results

Sometimes small changes produce remarkably significant improvements. It’s true! The world is a complicated place, its inner workings are a mystery to us all. The only way to optimize complex systems is to keep trying (i.e., testing) different combinations and variations of your procedures and processes until you find the best ones.

As a small gym business owner, you can create feedback loops that help you improve the results that you deliver for your clients and how much enthusiasm they have for your gym. In the advertising industry, they understand the power of testing. You can put it to use yourself, even if it’s just in a small way. This is where you find the right combination of minor factors that turn feedback into big successes.

What Can You Test in the Club?

So, what are examples of testing that you can apply to your fitness club management?

Test the sign you have outside – Change it every week and track walk-in inquiries.

Invent creative specials – Come up with deals like the first week free or offer free training sessions on particular equipment.

Try Facebook ads – Target your local community and typical demographic and get creative with the ad copy.

Do things on social media – Post content like training videos on YouTube or Instagram Stories. Try a variety of calls to action. Even small actions like clicking a link are measurable victories.

Update your gym management software – If you haven’t discovered what professional-grade gym management software can do for you yet, try a Gym Insight demo to find out what you might be missing.

The Big Picture in Fitness Club Management

The bankers and accountants on Wall Street are some of the smartest people in America, if not the world. However, they have one fatal weakness: The need to produce the highest short-term gains at the expense of preparing for the long-term future.

As a fitness entrepreneur and gym business owner, you know that you have to think about the future, both short and long-term. The feedback loops that you find through continuous testing will give you answers and advantages.

Some of these discoveries will be industry-specific; only applying to the gym management business. Others will prove to be universal lessons that work in every realm of business. As a small gym business owner, you have a fantastic opportunity to find the secrets that will be coveted by Wall Street bankers and accountants as much as the club down the road.


Fagan, Lawrence. 2017. "Keep Your Fitness Center Clean and Make Safety the Priority." Gym Insight Blog. August 11, 2017.

Godman, Heidi. 2014. "Regular Exercise Changes the Brain to Improve Memory, Thinking Skills." Harvard Health Blog. April 9, 2014.

Matthews, Melissa. 2019. "HIIT Workouts Are More Likely to Cause Injury, Study Suggests." Men’s Health. April 9, 2019.

Rynecki, Nicole, Brianna Siracuse, Joseph Ippolito, and Kathleen Beebe. 2019. "Injuries Sustained during High-Intensity Interval Training: Are Modern Fitness Trends Contributing to Increased Injury Rates?" Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, February.