Every fitness facility, large or small, well-established or just barely opening their doors, is faced with the retention riddle. Health and fitness is a commitment toward a better lifestyle. It requires time, conscious thought, planning, and let’s face it, a lot of hard work and effort! Everyone can agree that hard work and no play is no fun. What causes no fun? Lack of interest! So, at the very least, one can deduce that at least one step towards solving the retention riddle is to incorporate fun at your health club.
How do you do fun? Keep your members socially involved, interested, and even intrigued with frequent fun fitness activities and competitions at your fitness facility. Whether your members are there to participate or to cheer on the competitors, or to simply watch the action, fun can only be a positive factor in the retention equation.
If you are fresh out of FUN ideas, here are a few:
Mini Olympics or Triathlon
Take advantage of the summer Olympic Games in Tokyo or local triathlon type events and create your own mini Olympics or triathlon competition. You can see who can lift the greatest amount of weight different machines for a “pumping iron” contest, or have an actual triathlon using timed trials on stationary bicycles, treadmills and laps in the pool. Contestants can participate at the different stations throughout the day with winning scores announced at an official awards ceremony.
Have an old fashioned dance-a-thon with a new twist – Zumba Dance Party! Start the contest on a Saturday morning and keep it going till the last contestant is standing. Rotate your instructors, naturally, and have contestants wear large numbers to differentiate them from the rest of the crowd, who can just show up and dance along for the fun of it. This is a great promotional idea to get on a radio station too.
Team Fitness Challenges
Run regular team fitness challenges for teams of three, four, five or more members. Keep a weekly score card to see which team:
- Logs the most miles per member on the treadmill or stationary bike
- Loses the most weight, per member, by percentage of body weight
- Burns the most calories on a specified piece of cardio equipment, per member
- Attends the greatest number of days, per member, over a week, month, or even a year
The Amazing Race
Give each two-person team a list of repetitions, miles or other requirements to do at a number of different stations throughout the facility, making sure each list is in a different order so they won’t conflict, and see who finishes first. You can even have them go outside and run a full circle around the facility in between stations, for extra mileage. This can have a really good bootcamp element too, if your facility offers these types of training classes.
Make it a Production
Whether it’s a running challenge or a one-day event, be sure to make it worth winning, with prizes that will keep your members and their friends and family coming back to your health club like free memberships and passes, personal training sessions, nutritional advice, tee shirts and other gym merchandise, along with bragging rights. Consider hiring a DJ from a local radio station out to broadcast from your facility; have raffles, silly games and costume contests to get everyone involved. If you make it a big event with lots of advertising and social media, you can even get sponsors to donate some really great prizes, which will draw even more competition, which will make it an even bigger deal!
Got any more fun fitness activities or competitions that can draw member participation at your facility??
This blog has been revised and update. Originally published 5/01/2013