Improve the Gym Experience
Strategies to Keep Your Fitness Facility Hopping

By Elspeth Polt

Editor's Note: When it comes to operating a fitness center successfully, building and retaining membership is the name of the game. Here are some simple strategies to keep your fitness facility full of happy faces.

Create an Inviting Atmosphere

Opening a gym isn't just laying out different pieces of equipment, (although that's pretty important). You're creating a space that changes lives, so be sure to think about what kind of environment you want to create and ensure that the feel of the gym matches that.

Expand Your Knowledge of Fitness

Keep up with fitness trends, whether it's the latest exercise routine or the newest technology in terms of fitness equipment. Members rely on gym owners to know what's new and most effective to help them achieve the results they need.

Encourage trainers and gym staff to attend regional or national seminars to learn innovative ways to bring fitness to the next level. Also encourage trainers to expand their certifications. If they're certified in more areas in the fitness industry (CrossFit, for example), they will be more versatile employees, and as a gym, you'll be able to offer a more diverse range of fitness classes and trainers.

Offer Classes & Personal Training

Personal training sessions and group exercise classes are great amenities for your members. Whether their goal is to lose weight, take their training to the next level or simply get that extra push of motivation, your staff should be there to help. By utilizing these resources, you will see more positive results from your members and their overall gym experience will improve.

Small group training (three or four people) in addition to your personal training and group exercise classes is another option. Trainers can give personalized attention to each member in smaller groups, showing them how to properly execute each exercise and how to best utilize the equipment in the gym. Members get the added bonus of having not just one, but three or four people there to help push and encourage them throughout the workout.

Offer an introductory class for beginners and new members. As a gym owner you want every member to be successful and enjoy the time they spend in your gym. For those new to working out or just new to the gym, offering beginner introductory classes or hiring a personal trainer will help familiarize them with what the gym has to offer, what services might best fit their needs and how to use the fitness equipment properly. Learning the basics first is crucial to success: You have to walk before you run!

Equipment, Equipment, Equipment

You can offer your members as many fitness classes, personal trainers and discounts as you want, but if you don't have up-to-date fitness equipment your members will be left disappointed.

Most members have a routine and favor certain pieces of fitness equipment over others. If their favorite rower, for example, is constantly covered with an "out of order" sign, it will disrupt their workout and leave them less than satisfied. Upgrading fitness equipment on a regular basis will go a long way toward retaining members and attracting new ones. Strength training machines typically hold up well, but treadmills and ellipticals, for example, require more maintenance and may need to be replaced more often.

Get Members Involved, Keep Them Motivated

Create a sense of community within your gym and members will likely to return day after day, week after week.

Setting goals is a great way to get motivated. Running weight loss or workout challenges with rewards is a great way to create excitement in the gym. This is also a great way to promote your personal training and group exercise programs. Here are a few reward ideas:

  • One month free membership
  • One free personal training session
  • Five free group exercise classes
  • 10 percent off juice bar (if applicable)
  • Bring-a-friend free pass
  • Gift certificate to a local fitness store, the gym's in-house store or even something as small as a gym T-shirt

The point is to get the members excited and involved!

Elspeth Polt serves as Fitness Ambassador for LeaseQ, a leading provider of fitness equipment leasing and financing in the United States. Polt is also an ISSA certified personal trainer, AFAA certified group exercise instructor, national bikini bodybuilding competitor, fitness model and published writer. To learn more about LeaseQ, visit

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