Focus on the over 50s: The Pivot to Senior Fitness

Focus on the over 50s: The Pivot to Senior Fitness

Here on the Ashbourne blog, it is no secret that we like to focus on demographic change.

And why wouldn’t we? After all, the fitness industry is an industry of contradiction when it comes to age, demographics and generation difference.

It is an industry at once highly susceptible to demographic change yet also oddly inured to it.

After all, the first buildings we would recognise as Gyms (known as Zurkhaneh for those interested) are older than even the first libraries. (The 7th century BC vs the 9th century BC for those still interested!)

So it is safe to say that this working out business has some longevity to it! (As does reading, so it would thankfully seem!)

So what do we mean when we talk about the relationship of the fitness industry to demographic change, especially from the perspective of independent gym and fitness club owners? 

Well, it is that the fitness industry (until very recently) was overwhelmingly populated and targeted towards younger people. This presents several challenges, not least of which is that each new generation represents a new and relatively unknown entity. Will they largely follow the same pattern as their predecessors, as Gen Z seems to be following and building upon the millennial trend in their fitness habits? Or will they represent a radical departure such as Generation X when contrasted with the ‘baby boomers’. 

It is a pertinent and important question to the fitness industry, but one that can only really be intuited as the generation is unfolding. This stands in stark contrast to an industry that, say, only targets the over-65s. 

While the over-65s, much like the under-40s, is a constantly shifting demographic with new people entering their ranks and others passing away, it is still always ebbing and flowing as a cultural entity. 


So we spend a lot of time focusing on what trends will matter to the millennials, Generation Z and beyond. But our focus today is the exact opposite. We will be once again exploring the known entities. The generations that have shaped the fitness industry and broader economy for the last thirty years plus.

And the generation that has stayed more interested in fitness into their midlife and elder years more than any generation before it.

A continued trend for 2024

As 2024 continues to assert itself, it is becoming clear that the trend of ‘older adult’ fitness is moving from strength to strength. As we were at pains to try and reinforce above, this is a big deal within the fitness industry, and specifically to independent gym and fitness club owners (the type of institution an ‘older adult’ is most likely to use!)

The reason for this continued focus and boom is fairly simple. We are more health-conscious than ever before and this is one of the first generations to grow old under the auspice of ‘living longer and living better’. The fatalism and inertia of the previous generations has started to dissipate slowly and the cycle of increased demand leading to increased supply has started to take effect.

This expands what had previously been a fairly niche market for independent gyms and fitness clubs. Normally it was accepted that after a certain age, gyms would lose their grasp on a generation as they retreated towards cruise holiday and television. 

But no longer, in 2023 it was reported that the term  “fitness programs for older adults” was one of the top twenty trending terms in the fitness industry according to a survey of more than four thousand health and fitness professionals by the American College of Sports Medicine.

In fact, it ranked 4th overall. This new high is perhaps partially due to the covid-19 pandemic which saw the rise and proliferation of many government and private campaigns to improve the public health, specifically of those most likely to be grievously affected by Covid-19.

It is entirely possible that this trend is also being stimulated by the increasing number of baby boomers leaving the workforce and retiring, prompting the search for new ways to stay fit and active. 

And with this rise comes many other trends for independent gym and fitness clubs to explore. We have already written about the rise of ‘functional fitness’ and how it has been powered by the shift in priority amongst both young and old. This is another trend that has continued to strengthen into 2024, no doubt receiving a push from the increasing number of ‘older adults’ that wish to live a better quality of life for longer. 

In addition to ‘functional fitness’ for older adults, another trend being pushed is the rise of wearable technologies, which also seem to be experiencing a renaissance. 

Independent gyms and fitness clubs would be remiss to ignore this development within the fitness industry, especially if they are within the multitude of towns that are experiencing a rise in the average age of the population.

Events And Classes Aimed at 'Older Adults'

With the rise of the ‘older adult’ market, there is also an increase in events aimed at this demographic. This is an example of the ‘positive momentum’ we often talk about on the blog. The more events held, the more normalised ‘Older adult’ oriented classes and memberships will become and the greater this part of the market expands for the fitness industry. 

A prominent example of this in 2023 was the launch of the Pure Gym fitness championships that were dedicated to the over-50s. 

It was an initiative that allowed anyone over 50 to enter free of charge into the Pure Gym Over 50s Fitness Championships, whether they were a member or not. 

While we are not a fan of praising the budget-chains, we do think that as market leaders, they are useful to monitor and study. Pure Gym evidently put stock in the evidence of an emerging trend for ‘older adult’ workouts and independent gyms and fitness clubs would do well to note that. 

The events were further broken up by the age-bandings used across different championships, with 50 to 59 years old being the first, 60 to 69 years old being the second , 70 to 79 years old as the third and the finally 80+ as the fourth and last.

 While we would not recommend that every independent gym or fitness club owner copies the event format, we believe there is merit in the format. Pure Gym evidently wanted to attract new members within the 50+ bracket to their gyms, offering lifetime and year-long memberships as rewards and prizes. 

This is not a bad idea for an independent gym or fitness club that has a significant 50+ population within the area. Often we find that potential 50+ members cite that one of the main reasons for not attending a gym is not knowing whether it is ‘aimed at them’. An event such as this, especially one that offers membership as a prize is a huge beacon saying ‘this is aimed at you’.

The other good news is that the events are easy to run merely by utilising the equipment available within an independent gym or fitness club. Treadmills, Exercise Bikes, Elliptical Trainers, Rowing Machines. These all represent great, over 50+ friendly workouts that often are banked up or in a row within a gym floor environment. 

Social Messaging

Just as importantly, this focus on over 50s has an important social message as well. Pure Gym led with the tags that focused on the fact that no-one is too old to give up staying healthy. This is important, not only on a societal level, with healthcare costs for our ageing population representing a major current and future challenge, but also on an individual level. 

This is what the fitness industry thrives on, making sure people live better and are better for longer. This is not a message that should be gated off behind any parameter, let alone age.

The fact it also represents a promising and expansive new revenue stream is, of course, also very useful in this challenging economy. 

Events such as these allow for an independent gym or fitness club’s social media channel to be full of positive. To enact a ‘celebration’ of vitality into midlife and older age.

It can also be an important exercise in community building and bonding. Older people will often be the most embedded within a community, and also the least likely to move away from an area compared to the highly mobile younger generations. 

And unlike the Pure Gym championship, which focused on a higher level of performance, there is nothing to say that the event can’t be gentle or even humorous. It is a good opportunity for independent gym and fitness club management to get creative, have some fun and meet sections of the community they do not normally have the pleasure of interacting with. 

Family Focused

One consideration for independent gyms and fitness clubs looking to host events that will bring in the over 50+ while not alienating or excluding the younger generations is to host more ‘family-centric’ events. This has been a popular type of event among our partners, as it is both very easy to market and organise. 

It can also help effortlessly blend fitness programs for older adults focused on the ageing population alongside more general functional fitness training that can be utilised by anyone, irrespective of age.

We have found that these events can be very popular if marketed correctly and in advance. Families are often looking for cost effective and health activities that they can engage with together, including the grandparents. If these events can be fed out on more elderly facing social medis such as Facebook and via the local council or community network, attendance could sky-rocket!

Why Is Senior Fitness Important To Independent Gyms and Fitness Clubs?

We have covered and will continue to cover the faltering life-expectancy rate within the UK, especially among the disadvantaged before on the blog.

But one thing we have not covered so much is an unexpected side-effect of the increase in life-expectancy. It is a point best surmised in a study by the Vitality Research Institute that has found that increasingly men and women are spending a larger proportion of their life in ‘poor health’. 

Unsurprisingly, this ‘poor health’ tends to occur most prevalently at the end of life. This trend has prompted a distinction between life expectancy and ‘healthspan’. One has increased apace and caused a significant decline in the other.

This presents problems both socially and economically for our society and it is something that fitness facilities such as independent gyms and fitness clubs are in a prime position to help with. 

As we mentioned earlier, there is a growing demand among consumers to live not only for a long time, but to live well for that time. It represents not only a wasted opportunity economically but also societally if independent gyms let the chance to contribute to this struggle pass them by. 

We firmly believe that independent gyms that place functional fitness and healthspan increasing exercise as one of their core focuses will reap major benefits as this trend continues to compound.

Because while this is an emerging trend, it shows no sign of abating and this desire will most likely only compound as the 2020s give way to the 2030s and beyond. 

When there is a rare instance of consumer aspirations merging with both the prevailing health advice and the societal good, it would be reckless for independent gym and fitness club owners NOT to heed the call. 

The fitness industry as a whole must present ambitious strategies to deal with this crisis and there is no reason that this can’t begin at the local and independent gym level. 

The fitness industry and sector must realise and act upon the fact that we are one of the only sectors well positioned to assist in combating this crisis. 

And as the ageing populations of the West continue to grow, this will be an issue that takes on greater and greater societal importance. 

It is about leveraging the existing expertise and experience found within the fitness industry to make a genuine difference to people’s lives. Shaping their life in both a qualitative and quantitative way.  

Fitness facilities, and especially independent gyms and fitness clubs represent a valuable, accessible and often local nexus for everyday people to access the equipment and expertise that could alter their life in the years to come. 

It is about creating a culture that is accessible and potentially empowering to an ageing population that is eager for solutions to the quality of life and healthspan issues.

Are you an independent gym or fitness club owner looking to host events and classes similar to the ones we have mentioned today?

If you are an independent gym or fitness club owner or manager who is looking to reach new demographics, hold large events or organise an effective fitness class structure then look no further. You may have just found the partnership that will help take your fitness facility to the next level!

Here at Ashbourne, we have worked for 25 years of experience in the fitness industry, working with thousands of gyms in order to ensure that they were operating at peak efficiency.

Whether it is with our lightweight and powerful direct debit handling gym membership management software, our incisive BI dashboards or our state of the art access control installation plans, we have helped countless gym owners secure the future of their business.

Interested to see how Ashbourne can help your independent gym thrive? Book a demonstration with our sales team today here to find out more! 

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Simply select your preferred timeslot and we’ll be in touch to have a chat about your health club, the goals you want to achieve, and how our system can help you.

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How To Attract And Include Younger/Junior Members In Your Club

How To Attract And Include Younger/Junior Members In Your Club

In this week’s article, we will be exploring a subject that is in need of frequent revisitation, a complete discussion about how and why to attract younger people to be members of gyms and fitness clubs.

Now this might seem like a well-worn road, but that logic can be a pitfall. The young people of today are not the young people of ten years ago and certainly not of twenty years ago. Just as the demographics constantly shift, so too do the demands of those demographics. The last generation that didn’t have smartphones in school is now firmly over a decade graduated, an entire generation is near voting-age that was born after the release of the first iPhone.

When we say young people we no longer mean people who grew up with a GameBoy Colour, we mean children who grew up with iPads. 

With Millenials and Gen-Z now constituting up to as much as 80% of the gym and fitness club going population, what do owners need to know about how to attract younger members to their gyms? 

How do their expectations contrast compared to the generations that came before them? And while our focus is on youth, we are going to look at what owners can do to make their gyms safe and appealing to under-20s.

It is a trickier topic, relying on knowledge of how to treat young members at different age thresholds and what is expected of a gym, but one that can be broken down into its composite parts fairly easily. It is important to note (and we will reiterate this at the beginning of the section) that this article does not constitute legal advice. If a gym owner or gym management has any concerns around the physical safety of children (or anyone) within their gym environment, we recommend contacting a legal professional with the relevant expertise.

But with that being said, we are happy to recount what we have seen work for our independent gym partners over our twenty years of experience in the fitness industry. A new generation of gym-goers might have risen in that time, but our dedication to staying on the cutting edge of the fitness industry means we are just as ready to assist this generation as we were for the last. 

What will we cover in this article?

(you can also click to skip ahead!)

 

Should independent gyms and fitness clubs use AI and AI-powered language learning models to assist with their digital marketing?

How can hiring or incentivising influencers to endorse a fitness business boost their digital marketing campaigns?

 

Why should gyms utilise mixed media and marketing via a variety of digital platforms to increase their demographic reach?

How can AI be unsuitable for producing high-quality content, despite its ability to produce content in vast quantities?

Why Aim For A Younger Demographic?

As with many inevitabilities in business, it is simply a numbers game at this point. Between the generations we know as the much-maligned Millenials and the relatively new Gen Z, we now have approximately 80% of the gym-going population. 

That is a current statistic, in fact, almost an old statistic. Not a projected number in five years’ time. It was one of the most striking discoveries of the Les Mills Global Consumer Fitness Survey in 2019. Gen Z was not imminent, they were already here. A significant shift in the generational makeup of the fitness market had occurred without appropriate recognition. At the time it was the largest survey of its kind, questioning over 12,000 participants across over 20 countries.

Four years on, and as surely as none of us have gotten any younger, it is safe to say that this trend has only been compounded. The health of the industry and its techniques were formed by, and to cater to, the generations prior. The Baby Boomers and Generation X. And while it might not feel like much has changed, this steady shift is now undeniable. Though these generations will play a key part in the management and direction of the fitness industry, they no longer represent the majority of the consumer base.

Of course that doesn’t mean diverting all efforts towards attracting these generations. Our goal here is to address what marketing techniques work, as well as the services that are expected and desired from independent gyms by this burgeoning generation. A generation that is well on its way to being firmly entrenched in our fitness scene.

So now that we’ve covered the ‘why’ it is important for independent gyms and fitness clubs to appeal to Millennials and Generation Z, let’s address the ‘how’.

Digital Generation

Perhaps more than any two sets of generations in history, the cultural and practical divide between Generation Z and the elder generations is pronounced.

And really this is not surprising. As a society, we have experienced the most rapid technological acceleration in human history. It is understandable that when the gulf in technology is so massive between the adolescent period of two generations, an equal and appropriate gulf in attitudes will follow.

So where do the values and priorities of these new generations fall? The answer broadly falls into two categories, technological sophistication/competence and time efficiency. 

Readily Available. Easy Searchable. Implicitly Tech Savvy

Surveys have consistently shown, perhaps with little surprise, that the on-demand generation wants things…Well, on-demand.

Despite being the generation to whom googling is second nature, they aren’t one for second chances. If a gym or fitness club’s website or app can’t be immediately found and accessed in a single search? They might not want to know. 

These are generations that have grown up with the omnipresent, omnicompetent mega-corporations. They have a high standard for online presentation and sophistication. If a website looks like it was made before they were born, they’ll know. If an independent gym or fitness club doesn’t have an app, they’ll notice. Keenly. 

Luckily many of the services they have come to expect are easy to provide. 

Tech-enabled automation of turnstiles and workout equipment has never been more readily available. These can help an independent gym’s staff provide a more efficient service, as well as enable them to focus on that personalised, social service that Gen Z have come to expect and value. 

When supported by an App that allows them to easily navigate and access the services of an independent gym, the key needs of the average ‘Generation Digital’ denizen are being met.

Class schedules, temporary facilities closures, events, news and sales. It is no longer enough for all of this to be stored on a website, it must be readily available on mobile phones in order to meet our criteria of ‘readily available’.

This preference extends further into the social sphere and even the home workout sphere (Which we will get to next). This feeds into the narrative that Gen Z and Millenials are looking for an independent gym to be an enhancement to their lifestyle, not just an area they visit. Integrated virtual solutions enable a gym to project its influence on its members’ lives beyond the walls of the facility and into many more aspects of their lives, from virtually guided workouts to diet and sleep.

The numbers don’t lie, it is estimated that over 60% of our target generation engages in some form of Virtual Fitness. And that is to say, nothing of the now pushed over 80% of polled gym members that aid their gym workouts with home workouts.

More than ever, it is vital for a gym’s services to extend beyond the four walls of a building and the key methods for achieving this lie in the palm of their, and our, hands.

Home Workouts, Lifestyle And More

Speaking of home workouts, we thought given the aforementioned statistics that over four in five gym members complimenting their workout routine with home sessions was worthy of further attention.

Traditionally Home Workouts were seen as something of a threat to the gym, competing for the same schedule and same space. This attitude has shifted dramatically and it is safe to say that most gym members are not attempting to substitute what they can achieve in a gym with what they can achieve outside of a gym.

This is fantastic news for the fitness industry. As we implied above, advances in everyday software and hardware, allow gyms and fitness clubs to influence, guide and act as a source of expertise in ways previously unimaginable.

Whether it is providing virtual classes at scheduled times, instructional videos or dietary information, gyms can now provide a repository of information for their members to access at any time, in any place.

These are the sorts of services that independent gyms and fitness clubs want to be focusing on if they wish to make themselves truly indispensable to Generation Digital. Gen Z and Millenials have been raised on the subscription model. In many ways, it has primed them perfectly for the structure of most gym membership payment systems.

What is required is for more independent gyms to recognise that the expectations have expanded, now encompassing more than just the workout equipment and dedicated spaces they’ve provided. Now the onus is on providing a digital space to match the physical.

Digital guidance solutions have been proven to enhance the effectiveness of home workouts dramatically and virtual classes have been shown to lower attrition. Any independent gym or fitness club leaving these options on the table needs to seriously ask why!

Go Hard Or Go Home? The Generation That Does Both!

Famously decried as the ‘Lazy Generation’ in the 2000s, a decade later it would appear they are anything but! The aforementioned study determined that over 80% of regular exercisers polled are now working out at least three times a week, a dramatic rise spurred on by the two younger generations. 

Gen Z is leading this charge, with 87% of the polled members of the demographic exercising three or more times per week (including non-gym or fitness club workouts). Millennials rank only slightly behind them (Which can perhaps be attributed to employment and an increasing number becoming parents). 

All of this points to a pair of generations that are deeply fond of fitness. Gen Z is famously the generation now smoking the least and drinking the least. Their ‘sesh’ of choice isn’t a drinking session, but a workout session.

The implications of this development are profound on many levels, socially, societally, and economically. What it can tell us in the fitness industry is that this generation will be active, motivated and above all else, discerning.

These are generations that have grown up with warnings about obesity, smoking-induced lung cancer and alcoholism. More than any generation before them, they are keenly informed on the benefits of exercise and the detriments of unhealthy living.

As such, they will be drawn to any independent gym or fitness club that can channel, promote and embody these healthy lifestyle virtues while providing a social environment. If this can be achieved by a gym, then it will near-inevitably become a place where the younger generation can gather multiple times a week to thrive. 

A Social Generation

Speaking of home workouts, we thought given the aforementioned statistics that over four in five gym members complimenting their workout routine with home sessions was worthy of further attention.

Traditionally Home Workouts were seen as something of a threat to the gym, competing for the same schedule and same space. This attitude has shifted dramatically and it is safe to say that most gym members are not attempting to substitute what they can achieve in a gym with what they can achieve outside of a gym.

This is fantastic news for the fitness industry. As we implied above, advances in everyday software and hardware, allow gyms and fitness clubs to influence, guide and act as a source of expertise in ways previously unimaginable.

Whether it is providing virtual classes at scheduled times, instructional videos or dietary information, gyms can now provide a repository of information for their members to access at any time, in any place.

These are the sorts of services that independent gyms and fitness clubs want to be focusing on if they wish to make themselves truly indispensable to Generation Digital. Gen Z and Millenials have been raised on the subscription model. In many ways, it has primed them perfectly for the structure of most gym membership payment systems.

What is required is for more independent gyms to recognise that the expectations have expanded, now encompassing more than just the workout equipment and dedicated spaces they’ve provided. Now the onus is on providing a digital space to match the physical.

Digital guidance solutions have been proven to enhance the effectiveness of home workouts dramatically and virtual classes have been shown to lower attrition. Any independent gym or fitness club leaving these options on the table needs to seriously ask why!

Content With Content

When Bill Gates famously wrote ‘Content Is King’ in 1996, people believed him. But few were able to grasp just how salient and prophetic his words would be. 27 years later, the phenomena he described has shaped our society, and economy and must necessarily shape how we approach the generations who have been raised in this system.

In fact, it has reached the point where even the word ‘Content’ feels like a bit of a strange term. Technology has prompted a rapid evolution of how we consume information and the word content has shifted with it. 

Suddenly it seems like everything is content and the concept of an independent gym or fitness club producing ‘content’ has seemed alien to some owners. 

But independent gyms and fitness clubs are in a good position to sate the ‘content’ demands of this new generation. This is a generation that overwhelmingly consumes non-traditional, non-analogue media. Sitting down to watch live television is something they only do with their parents. What they want is specific content made from sources that they trust on topics that interest them. 

And as we established their keen interest in fitness, independent gyms are in a prime position to be one of those trusted content sources.

It is speculated that nearly 90% of those engaging in app-based workout content belong to Gen-Z and Millenials. This trend shows no sign of abating either, with an ever-more dominant portion of the market seeking out these trends. The digital revolution is only going to be compounded as more generations move into the consumer market.

As we touched upon earlier, it will be the gyms that can bring value to these younger generations when they are outside the gym as well as inside that will ultimately have a higher retention rate and secondary spend engagement. 

Whether it is initiating a partnership with creators who specialise in this sort of content or engaging staff members to create it in-house, the benefits in membership retention and engagement will be evident! 

And not only that, this content doesn’t merely need to be used to preach to the converted. Content can also help independent gyms and fitness clubs in reaching non-members.

As we covered earlier, having a sophisticated online presence can help project the influence of a gym significantly. If the resources created are good enough to be shared by members or even social media feeds, new members will be exposed to the gym and its brand in a way that previously would not have been possible.

Personalities Go A Long Way

To a generation that has everything at its fingertips, music, film, art. There is an authenticity and meaning issue that they are constantly trying to address. It is why, as we covered earlier, they crave experiences so much. It is why we have seen the explosion of retrograde technology such as vinyl. It is the inconvenience, the exclusivity, the hardship in obtaining something that makes it feel real.

While such a distinction might have the analogue generations scratching their heads, this is something all too pertinent to the younger generations.

But away from the media, where does authenticity come from? What can’t be downloaded or replicated (at least yet)…Other people.

In this case, we are talking about staff, personal trainers and instructors.

In the era of ‘following’, a personal trainer or instructor that the younger generation can latch onto can make all the difference.

It is becoming ever-clearer that the quality and personality of the instructors are the key factors for Gen Z as to whether they keep or ditch a class. The business-like, stoic approach to classes has fallen by the way.

By employing magnetic, energising people to lead classes, independent gyms and fitness clubs will be poised to drastically increase retention amongst younger members!

Specialised Price Brackets And Membership Tiers

While we have spent this length of this article so far going into the virtues (and intricacies) of this generation, there is one important thing to keep in mind that is not quite so pleasant.


Via several pertinent metrics, Millennials and Generation Z are the poorest generations in recorded history. Now we know it sounds strange, we’ve just talked about how they have a life centred around technology. But don’t be fooled, behind that technological facade are two generations that own a lower portion of societal wealth than ever before.

While they don’t completely lack purchasing power, they are very prudent about how it is spent. More than the generations that precede them, they are willing to wait for a bargain and do without until then. 


While this could initially be seen as a frustration and a detriment, as with much of what we have covered, it merely requires a change of tact and approach.

This is a generation that responds infinitely better to things such as flash sales, discount codes and concessions.

The Marketing Generation?

Perhaps it is fitting that the first generations born after the fall of the Soviet Union have embraced technologies ideal for marketing businesses. As we are probably all too keenly aware, the era of quietly going to a place and quietly leaving it is over. The phrase ‘being seen’ no longer purely applies to the physical world.

But a place has to LOOK great before it can earn the honour of being woven into the digital tapestry of someone’s life. This is why now more than ever it is important that independent gyms and fitness clubs look the part. Fitness facilities have to look like somewhere that they would be proud to call a backdrop.

Every post, every photo, every video. It is a statement and a story. If a gym or fitness club isn’t somewhere that Millennials or Gen Z are keen to be seen, it will mean comparatively little exposure.

And worse than that, it means that they might just start searching for another gym that can meet those ‘aesthetic’ needs.

As such, it is clear that the look, feel and, to use the parlance of our time, ‘vibe’ of a gym or fitness club is an all important retention factor and a key part of the mental maths of whether they stay or go! 

When the dichotomy is reduced to either ‘increase your marketing footprint at no additional cost’ or ‘give your members another reason to go looking elsewhere’…Well, the choice really makes itself!

The Next Generation: How To Attract Junior Members

So, what is the logical continuation of this article exploring how to appeal to and include younger members? The answer is simple, we need to look beyond Generation Digital, to the younger potential members, those still forging their generational consciousness. 

For the purposes of this discussion, we will use the term ‘junior members’ to mean someone below the age of 18, and sometimes even below the age of 16. While some independent gyms and fitness clubs don’t focus on these areas at all, we don’t believe this potentially lucrative and rewarding demographic can be entirely overlooked.

The reasons that appealing to the under-16s/17s/18s (we’ve found different gyms have different cut-offs on age for valid reasons) is often neglected is understandable. These age groups are often more prone to error and injury and may require parental or adult supervision. It is a simple and understandable reaction. ‘Why appeal/allow in junior members when they have to be treated in a separate categorisation compared to ‘adult’ members’.

Well, the simple and understandable response is because it is money left on the table that needn’t be. In areas that have a large secondary school or a large teenage population, that amount of money can become significant enough to warrant further investigation.

That is what we plan to do in the latter part of this article, a quick overview of the easy ways to appeal to potential junior members without compromising the core membership base of any independent gym or fitness club. 

Reaching Out to Schools And Colleges In The Area And Community

This first part might be the key consideration when independent gyms and fitness clubs are considering whether there is profit to be made in appealing to junior members.

If there is a lack of local schools and colleges then it may not be worth the time and effort. Invariably certain areas will not contain enough of the correct demographic to make pursuing this avenue worthwhile.

With that being said, generally, where there are people, there are schools and colleges. And these will be where the potential junior members of the area will gather.

Much like our articles on contacting the council as a nexus/focal point of community life in a local area, schools can act as a similar focal point to access otherwise hard-to-reach demographics. Not only is this a cost-effective way to reach a broader audience, but it is also a great way to establish an independent gym or fitness club as somewhere that is interested in engaging, improving and assisting the local area.

In turn, in our experience, we’ve found that schools and colleges are often very willing to partner, cooperate and collaborate with gyms, especially local and independent. This is because schools are often under pressure to demonstrate how they are helping to combat both the obesity crisis and the increasingly sedentary nature of their students.

But once an independent gym or fitness club has reached out and established a relationship with an independent gym, the benefits can spread to both quickly! 

After-School Programmes

One of the benefits of a partnership with a local school that can be initiated at comparatively low costs is after-school programmes. These are simple to arrange and easy to govern. They always happen around the same time (unsurprisingly, after school).

This is perfect because the majority of clock-out times (1500 to 1530) for schools come at an off-peak time for many independent gyms and fitness clubs. And ideally, by the time the junior members are done working out, it will be in time for the 1700, after work rush!

Of course, these after-school programmes are normally done at a reduced rate or at the very least, a bespoke rate. But the combination of good publicity and additional funding makes it an easy win for independent gyms and fitness clubs trying to bolster their numbers during the day.

Furthermore, we’ve seen several phenomena occur off the back of programmes such as this that lead to an overall increase in adult members. Whether it is an increased take-up of parents attending the same gym or junior members eventually transitioning into adult members once they are of age, after-school programmes can be a great way to make sure more people are entering through the doors of a gym or fitness club.

Discounts for After-School Hours

While this focuses on the same time period, between 1530 and 1700, the system proposed here does not need to go through the schools. Instead, it is an appeal directly to the junior members and utilising the after-school/college time period.

We have seen independent gyms successfully drumming up additional footfall between 1530 and 1700 by offering discounted membership to teens and/or those in education who come to the gym before 5pm. Once again this is designed to address a frequent off-peak time in a gym’s schedule and once again can be used to generate positive word of mouth.

Hosting Teen and Junior Member-Focused Events

We all know the archetype of the bored teenager. Often in the places where people choose to raise teenagers, there are not enough activities to keep them interested or occupied.

Running events aimed at this demographic (in an area where teenagers are a prevalent enough demographic), can help dramatically increase the uptake of new junior members, as well as potentially filling up a gym on an otherwise less-than-busy night.

These events needn’t be anything flashy, but it is best to consult with personal trainers and class leaders to make sure that it is genuinely engaging and productive for the teenagers to get involved with. It may also be worth understanding who within a gym’s given staff has run events like this before if anyone. This is because running an event for teenagers can be quite a different experience compared to running one for adults! 

Hosting Youth, School Or College Sports Team and Clubs

The ability for an independent gym to be able to engage in this one will be based on the facilities to hand. Not every gym will be able to host activities relevant to every club.

But with that being said, not every event that a sports team or club holds needs to be directly connected to their main sporting activity. So while it is easy to see how most gyms or fitness clubs could be of service to say, a school or college Running sports team, it may be less apparent how they can aid a Football team. The answer is fairly simple however, general fitness is important and no team purely uses their activity of choice to improve their strength, stamina or endurance.

Even the most rudimentary independent gym or fitness club has something to offer these teams, using free weights, treadmills and class spaces to bolster fitness, focus on teamwork and team cohesion or focus on areas that the teams or individuals wish to improve.

Gyms and Fitness clubs should not be reluctant to use their facilities to offer sport-focused or specific classes and lessons to competitive teams and leagues in the area. The positive publicity and energy that these young athletes can bring to a gym environment is priceless and contagious. 

Sport-specific Classes And Fitness Regimes

Some teens want more physical activity than their school or college can reasonably provide, especially if they want to go into sports after their academic studies are done. If an independent gym or fitness club finds itself within close proximity to one or multiple schools and/or colleges, it may be able to attract a significant number of students by advertising focused on this benefit.

Independent gyms and fitness clubs might be able to offer programmes of physical conditioning that school facilities often cannot match or that might better fit the needs of the children in question. By focusing on programmes that increase stamina, strength and speed it is likely a gym can attract young people eager to raise their performance in their sport of choice.

Teen-specific App Support

Much as we focused on app-appeal for Generation Z, potential junior members are equally as likely to find this sort of service appealing, especially if there are sections aimed at them. Nutrition and routine can vary for children, so a specialist area of the app might be necessary to ensure the correct advice is given, but equally, it will be all the more appreciated by teens who are eager to learn more about the world of working out, diet and nutrition. 

Conclusion

So there we have it! Now we have covered how an independent gym or fitness club can appeal to everyone from 16 to those now pushing 30. Though these generations have largely gone silent in a business sense for the last decade, it is apparent (and indeed, inevitable) that they will continue to occupy a greater share of the economic share of the fitness industry until they themselves become the elder generation.

More than many industries and sectors, fitness requires a keen sense of the now. Fitness has always appealed to the young and while that in and of itself is changing (another article for another time!) It is vital that we do not treat this generation as the generations that came before it.

These are the first of the digital generations, and perhaps as importantly, they will not be the last. Though no-one knows, most likely the reality we are adjusting to now…One of instant communication, scheduling and further technological integration. That is the environment that the fitness industry will be operating in for many generations to come. If the last twenty years are any indication, not only will this process not slow down, it shall accelerate.

While there may never be such a gap as that that has come between ‘the Analogue Generations’ and ‘The Digital Generations’, it is apparent that this gap must be bridged in order to make sure the fitness industry keeps apace with what has always been our main demographics, the young, the enthused and the energetic. 

More to Read...

Get your club in shape.

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Simply select your preferred timeslot and we’ll be in touch to have a chat about your health club,
the goals you want to achieve, and how our system can help you.

Get your club in shape.

Want to discover how? Let us show you.

Simply select your preferred timeslot and we’ll be in touch to have a chat about your health club, the goals you want to achieve, and how our system can help you.

Get your club in shape.

Want to discover how? Let us show you.

Simply select your preferred timeslot and we’ll be in touch to have a chat about your health club, the goals you want to achieve, and how our system can help you.

Member of a gym? Simply text "HELP" to 60777 and we'll help you.

Member of a gym? Simply text "HELP" to 60777 and we'll help you.

Member of a gym? Simply text "HELP" to 60777 and we'll help you.

Independent Gyms Need To Improve Their Members’ Long Term Health (and here’s 5 ways to fix it!)

It’s Time To Change Your Club’s Focus To Long Term Health Over Short Term Fitness

 

What if we told you there is a sector for growth that large portions of the Fitness Industry is completely under-utilising? 

One that is near essential for futureproofing the industry? 

One that has only become more pertinent in the wake of the Covid-19 Pandemic and lockdowns?

One that independent gym and fitness club owners are in a unique position to take advantage of?

 

Well look no further, because there is!

 

From simple implementations to far-sweeping changes, the contribution of private and independent gyms and fitness clubs to long term, public and medical health is as critical as it is undervalued. 


We will be taking a look at a few of the causes, how to address them and how they can increase the profitability, effectiveness and attractiveness of independent gyms and fitness clubs

 

The main 5 factors we’ll discuss in this article are: (click to jump ahead)

Factor 1: Complacency

Factor 2: Underutilised Technologies

Factor 3: Lack of Recognition/Funding/Integration

Factor 4: Lack of Recovery Classes

Factor 5: Further Low Intensity and 50+ Quality of Life Classes

 

 

 

Factor 1: Healthy Lifestyle Complacency 

It can be tempting to feel there is complacency among many governments when it comes to recognising the role that Gyms and Fitness Clubs have to play in societal health. 

 

Outside of scattered examples such as Queensland, where Australia granted Gyms and Fitness Clubs ‘essential’ status, there is a prevalent apathy to treat fitness facilities as no more a benefit to society than the cinema or the bowling alley.

This became especially clear during the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns. 

 

While there are, of course, publicly funded fitness facilities, swimming pools and health campaigns that receive government funding, it can feel like these exist in a vacuum from the private and especially independent gyms and fitness clubs.

It seems that governments are very content to keep these on two distinct sides, denying the boons and benefits that a supported, guided, and encouraged private fitness sector could contribute to societal help.

In this article we will be looking at not just the means to achieve this practically, but what needs to change in terms of perception. 

 

 

Factor 2: Underutilised Technologies 

One of the most underutilised tools of value generation for independent gyms and fitness club owners are in our pockets right now!

The rise of the portable computer we now call a smartphone, the implementation of free and fast WiFi in most public spaces, as well as the emergence of new health and fitness technologies mean that a perfect storm of factors are forming to allow for a health and fitness integration revolution in the next decade. 

We are already seeing the smartphone application offering from gyms and fitness clubs increase in sophistication rapidly, as well as the ability of gym equipment to synchronise with external aspects of a gym member’s life.

As we said before, this process has been long in the making. Ever since the longevity movements of the 1970s combined with the technological revolution of the 80s and 90s, there have been trailblazers willing to push Gyms and the fitness industry at large forward. 

By researching the ways that portable technology can be synced up with a gym or fitness club, owners are ensuring their club remains futureproof and at the cutting edge! 

 

 

The Fit Club Redditch Members App Provided By Ashbourne

 

 

Factor 3: Lack of Recognition/Funding/Integration

The fitness industry of the 2020s might be remembered as being in a vicious cycle. One where a lack of recognition fed into stagnation and vice versa.

 

But it is up to us to break that cycle!

A large problem facing the fitness industry is a lack of recognition for the immense service it already provides and the massive role it will play in the years to come.

By reorienting our collective perspective, we can start to advocate for greater recognition and support when it comes to improving public and societal health.

 

By lending their voice to organisations like UKActive and reaching out to local councils, independent gym and fitness club owners can spearhead the charge towards greater recognition, support, funding and integration for the service and value they add to public health. 


A change of rhetoric is required to bridge the gap. One that will be explored at the coming Gym Owners Workshop! If you are interested to learn more, scroll to the bottom of this article for further information and links! 

 

 

Factor 4: Lack of Recovery Classes!

While it has risen in prominence, it is essential we do not take this rise for granted and continue to capitalise on it. Independent gyms and fitness clubs are eager to provide recovery programmes and as public perception increases, gym members are becoming interested. 

 

So what are we talking about when we say ‘recovery’? 

 

Recovery serves as a shorthand for both physical and psychological well-being. It takes the form of a workout of lower intensity than the member is used to partaking in. It is based on the philosophy that low to moderate-intensity routines on rest days can help the body to recover more effectively from working out, as well as reduce stress and improve mental well-being.

It has become so effective that people are even utilising the classes and routines outside of their usual training regime. Dedicated recovery-focused classes have become increasingly popular and are a good example of a class and routine that is designed for pure health and not aesthetics. 

For independent gym and fitness club owners, this rising format carries an opportunity to provide service and support to a variety of different members. The great thing about these recovery-focused classes is that they can target everyone from the supremely dedicated, 5+ session a week member, or someone who is simply looking to steadily improve their baseline health and way of life. 

Classes such as this are a great way to connect with members and reinforce why they go to fitness facilities. By shifting the focus to a less intense style of exercise, it will recentre the focus to a broader audience.

 

Comparatively few over 50s want to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but they do want to maintain their quality of life for longer! 

 

 

 

Factor 5: Further Low Intensity and 50+ Quality of Life Classes

And this desire for low-intensity and recovery workouts is not happening in a microcosm. It is part of a push towards more practical, longevity-focused workouts.

It is certainly not just for people under 40 to recover from their exercise regime!

Previously we have written about how an ageing population presents opportunities and the chance for a realignment. 

Part of this will be for independent gym and fitness club owners to allocate resources to low-intensity and health-based recovery classes and facilities.



By specifying the low intensity, health based nature of the workout you increase the potential for a broader demographic uptake dramatically! 

 

The great news is that this is something that can (and should!) be utilised by younger members as well, hence the drive for both routine recovery on rest days and broader healthy living.

The potential benefits associated with running these sorts of longevity, general health, and recovery classes are numerous. Some members will be more willing to come in for a session they know will benefit them but not push them to the limit. This can increase engagement with the existing members, as well as draw in new membership. In addition, it can help members who would otherwise spend their rest day resting to come in more often, thus creating a retention cycle. 

 

In addition, it will have the benefit of increasing the health of the member base and lowering injury time. It will be an additional service to advertise and it has often been seen as one of the most community-focused class genres. While it will require some initial training and space to do correctly, the benefits that this approach can have on independent gyms and fitness clubs and their membership cannot be overstated.

 

 

Want To Learn More About Growing Your Club?

Hopefully, we’ve piqued your interest now in the potential that a greater focus on health has to transform the industry!

If so, look no further! The Gym Owners Workshop at the Talbot Hotel Stillorgan, Dublin will be exploring this and many more issues pertinent to Irish and British gym and fitness club owners.

 

 

 

After the success of the Gym Owners Workshop 2022, the 2023 event is promising to be bigger and better! 

 

One of the title talks will be particularly relevant to today’s topic. It is called ‘Health Over Aesthetics – How Rethinking The Industry Message Future Proofs Its Status, Drives Membership Growth & Increases Revenue’ and provides a deep dive into how a great focus on health will help future-proof businesses in the long run and ramp up profits in the short!

 

As we’ve explored today, health is going to be an ever more pressing issue for the fitness industry so do not miss the chance to hear industry experts talk about this and much more!

Is Your Gym or Fitness Club Primed to Capitalise on the Longevity Revolution?

 

Is Your Gym or Fitness Club Primed to Capitalise on the Quality of Life Revolution?

Here are our tips on increasing your Gym’s age range appeal

 

The years between 2020 and 2022 have already marked multiple unprecedented events and demographic shifts within the fitness industry, but there are more to come.


And unlike Covid-19 or the ensuing lockdowns, the trend we are discussing today isn’t an anomaly. In fact it is quite the opposite, a trend that we are all aware of, one of the key criteria that we use to measure the success of modern society.


People are living longer.

 

While this should not be shocking to you, we are approaching a series of unprecedented watermarks as a society. We are reaching a tipping point that will see many areas that are traditionally marketed towards younger people as a matter of course being forced to change that habit.

The simple truth is that the younger demographics account for less than they ever have before, and will only continue to account for less. This goes double for spending power. We should all be equally familiar with the headlines about the relatively diminished spending power of younger generations.

Now while we won’t spend time focusing on the potentially disastrous long-term societal consequences of this shift, we can focus on how to translate it into short-term benefit for your Gym or Fitness Club.

 

So how will we be targeting this ever-broadening demographic?



Well, first we will need to look at what they want, and what they are currently doing. The answer to these questions are thankfully one and the same, they are staying active for longer and trying to stay active for as long as possible.


This is a significant change in behaviour when contrasted to even twenty or thirty years ago. 

 

Now not only are these people living longer, but they are also going out of their way to enjoy a better quality of life.

 

Compared to the younger demographics, people over 50 find themselves with a greater disposable income and significantly more time. This enables them to enact their growing desire to stay healthy, active and impactful within society. 


In turn this means that an entire demographic that could easily be considered ‘beyond fitness’ is returning to it in a very specific way with a very specific aim.

 

For the purposes of this article, we will be calling this the Quality of Life Revolution.

 

 

While that doesn’t mean abandoning the historic bulwark of the fitness industry, 18 to 35 year olds, it does benefit us to compare the behavioural trends of these groups. While it is likely your fitness club is maximising engagement with people under 40, it seems unlikely that you are making full use of your outreach to the over 50s.

Besides the obvious benefit of being a new demographic with great expansion and longevity potential, it also has several inbuilt purchasing habit benefits over the younger demographics. A retention study by the IHRSA that looked at nearly 1.5 million fitness club members’ behaviours found that the movement habits of over 55s varies greatly from that of their younger counterparts.

Remarkably, they found out that over 55s stay with a gym or fitness club, on average, 22 months longer than any other age group.

This makes sense given what we know about people in the latter half of their life. People tend to be more established, with a deeper connection, whether it is economically, socially or emotionally, to any given place. Younger people shift location for work, shifting interpersonal relationships and even for no reason at all. Therefore the study seems intuitive.

An older customer at your Gym or Fitness Club may well be a customer that stays with you longer!

 

And it is important to keep this in mind. With minimal restructuring of what your gym or fitness club offers and how it is marketed, it could be earning more from a more stable customer base, all while improving the longevity of the community your business resides within. 

 

What services can you offer to contribute to the Quality of Life Revolution?

Courses aimed at promoting longevity and quality of life work within different criteria to more traditional, youth-oriented courses. The metrics for success here are all about slowing down the process and effects of ageing while maximising functional fitness. Exercises are normally lower impact but with a focus on muscle health that can otherwise quickly decline in later years. 

The four areas where the majority of quality and length of life is most pertinent and focused on include:

  • Weight, posture and body composition
  • Brain functionality, acuity and reactions and overall health
  • Mobility and health of the Musculoskeletal system and joint flexibility. 
  • Cardiovascular health with a specific focus on the heart.

 

As you can tell, what is going to be important to these new prospective clients isn’t just exercise in the gym. Research has shown that they are also interested in dietary advice, breathing exercises and sleep regimes. However, all of this is rooted within a firm regime of exercise.

Results have been shown to be powerful and once someone has embraced this new lifestyle and forged the habit (habits that, as previously established, older demographics are more likely to maintain), they are less likely to relinquish that habit. 

 

Whether it is weightless or maintaining mobility, reaction training, meditation or joint strengthening, there are a host of activities that can be accomplished in your Gym or Fit Club. The opportunities for your gym or fitness club to provide solutions that increase the quality and longevity of life are limitless.

 

So let’s dive into six different ways to start catering to this demographic and their demands, today!

 

1. Adapt The Message

2. Shift Perspective

3. Social and Enjoyable

4. Outreach

5. Invest in the Knowledge

6. Make your Gym or Fitness Club PART of their Quality of Life

 

1. Adapt The Message

As we discussed earlier, the messaging of many Gyms and Fitness Clubs in the UK is inherently youth-oriented. This can be off-putting for many elderly people, when they see a Gym advertised entirely by attractive and healthy under-thirties, it sends a clear message about the target of this establishment.

Conversely, even one or two older faces in an advertisement are likely to stand out to the demographic we are trying to reach, while going unnoticed by the younger people who take their status as the core fitness market for granted. 

 

2. Shift Perspective

With that being said, we don’t mean that you should load your gym adverts full of strollers and walking sticks. The stereotypes about the over 60s that we have had are starting to disappear, and no one knows that as well as the current people within that demographic. Not feeling your age is the mantra, and as such the marketing should be aimed at people who are in extended middle age, with much of the vitality that they had at 45 or even younger!

This is a trend that has been thoroughly entrenched in Scandinavian society and contributed to a significant shift in the marketing of such fitness items as bicycles and swimming gear!

It is all about normalising the concept of older demographics working out, and that will never change if we shy away from including positive examples in advertising material. It will help you stand out and stand for positive change.

 

3. Social & Enjoyable

One opinion that crosses the generation divide (A rarity these days, it feels), is that many people young and old do not find exercise enjoyable. We have all heard polls and have had conversations where people say that they would only do exercise if ‘they found it enjoyable’ and that lifting weights or running on a treadmill doesn’t meet that marker for them.


They know it is good for them, but all that does is put it into the same category as vegetables or not spending money. 

This is a hot topic when targeting young people, but it becomes even more pertinent when targeting people for quality and longevity of life.

Luckily, the regimes and exercises that we are promoting are not about lifting massive amounts of weight or running a virtual half-marathon. The strength that functional fitness has is that it can be lightweight, unintrusive and very social.

By focusing on the more casual and social nature of it, you will be able to draw a larger crowd. This is especially relevant amongst an older demographic who frequently struggle with loneliness.

You will find many councils within the UK are keen to reduce loneliness and increase the number of active adults in the community. Work with members of the community, whether paid or volunteered to exchange ideas and inspirations on what functional fitness could achieve. This will not only help bolster the earnings of your club but contribute meaningfully to the well-being of your community. Win-win. 

 

4. Outreach

In the same way that a lot of the content of the marketing in the fitness industry is aimed at a younger demographic, so are the methods.


If I had to hazard a guess (based on data), I would say that your gym or fitness club’s main method of marketing engagement is social media. And that’s great!

But unfortunately the older demographic we are trying to target often have either significantly different social media habits, or none at all!

This presents a challenge, but not an insurmountable one. The main methods that we found effective while targeting the older demographic were more traditional (perhaps unsurprisingly). Going through the local council signposting system, as well as newspapers and leaflets distributed to communal areas within your local area all are more likely to resonate and reach your audience than an Instagram post!

 

5. Invest in the Knowledge

While many of the services that contribute towards quality of life and longevity classes are part of a standard PTs repertoire, there is always additional knowledge, technicals and qualifications to be gained.

It is also a good reason to expand the knowledge pool among your staff and potentially increase the number of classes you are running.  By undertaking training that specialises in reducing the effects of ageing and maximises functional fitness. This, in turn, will enable your gym to have a much larger and more positive effect on the people and community around you. Quality of life and longevity exercises have been proven to reduce the occurrence of certain chronic diseases within the elderly community.

Most importantly, this will give you a competitive edge over the gyms and fitness clubs in your area that are not offering this service. This is a growing demographic and a trend that is only going to become further cemented as more people from the currently under 50 demographic continue to age. It has been shown that there is a significantly different attitude in the people currently crossing the threshold and a desire to enjoy a better quality of life for longer.

 

6. Make your Gym or Fitness Club PART of their Quality of Life

The easiest way to make sure that this group keeps renewing month after month and year after year? Make your Gym a fundamental part of their Quality of Life.


Positive association is a powerful force, and staying active and youthful is a point of pride for people of all ages. It is estimated that lifestyle has a massive impact on the rate and effect of ageing, potentially over 60% to 70%. With all the services we have previously discussed, a Gym that provides all of that will no doubt be a key player in the longevity and life quality of the older demographic that frequents it. 

 

Making your gym or fitness club a place that cultivates positive mindsets, nutrition, movement, socialisation and exercise will help it become a beacon to the community. Focusing on quality and longevity of life can help put a gym or fitness club into a new light, opening up exciting avenues of business and clientele that previously didn’t seem possible.

Conclusion

In our intensely youth-centric society, it can be easy to forget that fitness should be for everyone and that everyone needs to move. We are coming out of an era where old age was seen as the end of an active lifestyle, but it has been proven time and time again that that does not need to be the case.

There is an opportunity for people to stay active, healthy and fulfilled for longer, and in turn, there is an opportunity for Gyms and fitness clubs to profit from this.


This is a revolution that has been 30 years in the making and is gathering speed. By putting your business at the forefront, there is the potential to make a meaningful impact on the community, and your staff and ultimately a profound impact on your gym or fitness club.

 

Feedback, failure and asking how you can improve

Man happy against blue brick wall

In business, humility is a virtue. We cannot get everything right the first time, every time. 

And no matter how hard we try, this is no less true in the Gym and Fitness Club business.

Machines will be over-used or break, members will be stressed and won’t achieve their goals with the best will in the world, the coffee might be luke-warm on coffee Friday. 

It isn’t about the mistake or the short-coming, it is about how it is addressed. In this short blog we will be looking at quick and easy ways to ensure that the valuable feedback that your members have can be communicated, harnessed and actioned.

 

Feedback Boxes


This is a classic across many organisations and with good reason. By placing several Feedback boxes in prominent positions across your Gym or Fitness Club and making sure that they are regularly monitored, you’ll be helping to ensure that your Member’s feel like they have an omnipresent way to make their voice heard.

Don’t fall into the trap of putting feedback boxes only in the lobby area, foyer area or entrance/exit corridors. This will be the area where your Members will be focused on arriving or leaving.

It might seem intuitive that this will be the place where they have the most cumulative experience at your Gym or Fitness Club, while leaving. However that does not mean they will be particularly interested in breaking down the nuances of their good or bad experience. They will most likely want to get back home and eat, or get on with their working day.

I know after an hour and a half of working out, the last thing I want to do is fill out a form detailing everything that sucked.

As such, feedback boxes should be placed primarily on tables in the workout area itself. In addition, encourage and normalise staff to refer members to these boxes.

Furthermore, if the staff are willing and capable at doing so, ask them to listen to the concerns of the members and then write in the suggestions verbatim themselves.

This will allow all the feedback to be centralised even though it is coming ad hoc and at various members of staff. 

 

Ask Them

 

Not to sound like an agony aunt in the papers, telling someone to just talk openly with their spouse. But it really does work!

Set up a doctrine with your staff that will allow them to spend a certain amount of time just talking to willing (emphasis on Willing here!) members about their workouts and experiences with your Gym or Fitness Club.

This will enable your staff to harvest more feedback for the strategically positioned feedback boxes and more importantly, allow them to easily address issues on the spot.

In this culture of increasing impersonal gyms, there is a habit among a growing number of gym-goers of the 2020s to stick to themselves, do their workout and not question anything that may not be to their satisfaction.

This is disastrous as it means that dissatisfaction and resent towards an institution can grow without any indication from the member. It is important that we, as Gym Owners and Staff, attempt to combat this apathy and learned helplessness.

We have found that one key way of empowering members is to simply get the staff to ask them. Some members may take a little coaxing and you should never ask your staff to force their conversation upon someone who wants to be left alone.

But you’ll find if a member is comfortable in your Gym or Fitness Club (and this may not happen immediately), then they will be more than willing to tell you what hasn’t been to their satisfaction!

Specific Questions

Set posters near your Feedback Boxes, or get your staff to ask specific questions that will help coax out feedback from your members.

“Which equipment had a long wait time today?”

“Which equipment did you want to use but couldn’t because it was broken or being maintained?”

“Have you stopped coming at certain times because it is too busy”

“Do you like the music we play?”

Having these questions displayed in prominent positions, or having them on the lips of your probing staff will make all the difference in extracting the information you need to know to improve the experience at your Gym or Fitness Club. 

 

Collect and Collate your Feedback 

 

These last two stages are the hardest part unfortunately. However, they are also the part where the most reward can be reaped from this entire process.

All of your feedback has been flowing into your feedback boxes from various sources. Whether it is members, staff, or a combination of member testimony as written down by staff. You now have several bulky wads of paper.

But bulky wads of paper do not correct a mistake or flaw in your Gym or Fitness Club.

It is important you design a system to break down this feedback into usable data.

One easy way is by making the feedback form structured. Include certain sections that can be easily identified as yourself or a staff member are sorting through hundreds of feedback papers.

By having a format, this can greatly reduce the time taken on trying to parse each individual series of sentences.

Another way could be by eliminating hand-writing all together and having a series of tick-boxes. This has the advantage of not trying to dissect cursive, but also will limit the options that can be fed back on.

Finally, you can have exclusively blank pieces of paper that the customer can free-style write whatever they please on.

This will have advantages, you are more likely to get detailed feedback through this system. But it will also take longer to reduce this into manageable data.

This is a personal decision that must be made based on your staff, your Gym or Fitness Club and your personal preferences.

With that being said, our advice would be to structure your form with questions and then allow boxes for the member or staff to write out the answer. This is a good compromise between both systems. 

 

Act on your Feedback!



The final stage should be unsurprising if you’ve been paying attention. Enact that feedback! Now that your feedback data has been broken down into easily manageable and parsed data. Make the changes.

Have you learnt that the best machine in the gym, the Rear Delt Fly Machine is in constant use between 5pm and 9pm, Monday to Friday. Maybe it is time to consider getting another?

Has the Chest Press been busted by a Lou Ferrigno or Arnold Schwarzenegger wannabe several times in the last few months. Maybe it is time to have a talk with them, or get a more sturdy chest press!

Are an overwhelming amount of people saying the changing room is cold, or their favourite electrolyte drink isn’t being stocked? You know what you must do.

Some of this may sound petty or silly but it is the little changes that can really make a difference and the big changes that will transform your membership satisfaction.

If members see your Gym or Fitness Club shifting based on their advice, it will make an impression that won’t soon be forgotten and it will boost retention in a very satisfying way.

 

Grow with Us 

Now that you are thinking of professional growth and development, it is time to meet a business partner who can help you. 

There are many aspects of a Gym or fitness club that need to be worked on. Marketing, software systems, payment, collection, retention strategy. The list can seem daunting, especially when you’ve got to run a Gym or Fitness club, everyday, BAU. 

Ashbourne Membership Management might have the solution.

Get in touch for a full demo of our software, our principles on website design or to simply have a conversation about how we can help you and your gym achieve its full potential. 

The Equipment You Need For High Quality Online Class Live Streams

2020 has certainly been a testing year for many industries and the fitness industry is no outlier to this.

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has affected millions of people across the globe, with country lockdowns and self isolation, it’s safe to presume that the majority of the worlds population have been spending the majority of their time at home. This alone has presented new challenges for individual households and businesses alike, forcing everyone to embrace a new way of living.

Your members will still be looking for their studio experience when your gym is temporarily closed, so being quick to improvise, adapt and deliver live stream workouts will help keep your members on board. By livestreaming your classes, it gives your members something to look forward to as well as providing them with some structure normality and motivation.

But it’s important to make sure you get your livestream right and of a high quality to provide your members with a valuable experience.

 

YOU CAN ALSO DOWNLOAD OUR EQUIPMENT GUIDE

If you don’t have time to read the blog, then you can always download our equipment guide right now, and discover the equipment you need in your own time.

 

IT’S BEST TO KEEP THINGS SIMPLE

It’s easy to get carried away when thinking about almost anything and everything you could potentially need in order to conduct your class livestream, but it’s important to keep level headed. Simple, is nearly always better.

When introducing additional equipment, which may be unnecessary, you also increase your setups complexity. And if any of these pieces of equipment fail, the quality and strength of your livestream are at risk, so you are better off keeping your setup simple in order to lower the odds of any technical problems.

Besides, who would say no to making their life a bit easier?

The essential equipment you should look to invest in to get started with your livestreams will include a camera, microphone and perhaps lighting – depending on your circumstances. And the first hurdle you will need to overcome is selecting the equipment option which is best suited to your class needs.

 

FIND THE BEST CAMERA

Selecting which camera to record your live workouts with is the most important decision you need to make in order to get started. With so many options on the market, all competing for your attention, it is easy to get overwhelmed. The two most common types that you will come across are DLSR and an action-specific camera.

DLSR cameras are incredibly versatile, they can take beautiful photos as well as being used for filming. These are great for filming a wide variety of different sports and activities, with interchangeable lenses available so you can achieve different options in terms of image variation.

Action cameras on the other hand are perfect if you’re looking to record something from your point of view. They are small in size and offer incredible performance while filming point-of view videos for various sports.

See below for some of our top picks:

  • GoPro Hero 8 Black Action Camera
    • 4 different lenses (SuperView, Wide Angle, Linear & Arrow)
    • Full HD with horizon levelling
    • 3 mics & reduced wind noise
    • Dedicated app
    • 14 voice commands
  • Olympus Tough TG-6 Waterproof Camera
    • Waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, freezeproof & crushproof
    • Ultra HD 4K shooting
    • Action track sensors
    • Integrated Wi-Fi
  • Nikon COOLPIX W300 Waterproof Camera
    • 5x optical zoom NIKKOR lens
    • 4K Ultra HD or 1080p full HD videos
    • 16MP low-light sensor
    • Features Nikons Hybrid Vibration Reduction image stabilisation
  • Canon VIXIA HF R700
    • 57x advanced zoom
    • SuperRange optical image stabilisation
    • Zoom framing assist
    • 1080/60p recording in MP4
    • Five Cinema-Look filter

 

UPGRADE YOUR WEBCAM

Of course splashing the cash on a camera can work out to be quite expensive, particularly if you are only looking to utilise it whilst your gym or fitness studio remain temporarily closed. So it might be more appropriate to look at upgrading your webcam – if your laptop is a bit worse for wear!

You want to make sure that even on a budget, you are providing the highest visual quality so its definitely worth the smaller investment!

When it comes to basic yet quality webcams, you are really spoilt for choice. With many containing built-in microphones it also means you might be able to tick two of your equipment must haves off in one.

Some of the best value webcams we have discovered are:

  • LOGITUBO Webcam 1080P Live Streaming Camera (with Microphone)
  • Razer Kiyo HD Desktop Streaming Webcam (with built-in ring light)
  • Logitech C920 Webcam 15MP (built-in microphone)
  • Logitech C922 Pro Stream Webcam (Two built-in microphones)

 

FIND THE BEST MICROPHONE

Although microphones are often a great feature included in many cameras and your laptop, the audio quality is often overlooked when it comes to livestreaming and many of the included microphones might only just suffice.

Clear, crisp audio is vital to your livestream, after all how can your members enjoy your workout if they are struggling to hear your instructions?

So it might be time to invest in a microphone.

There are plenty of mics available on the market which plug directly into your computer via USB, these are often your best bet. Although you have the alternate option of wearing a lapel microphone, be cautious. These often pick up sounds of the room and may rub on your clothing or hair, disrupting the experience for your members.

Some plug & play mics to consider which won’t break the bank are:

  • Fifine USB Microphone
  • Blue Microphones Snowball ICE
  • Blue Yeti USB Mic
  • HyperX Quadcast Condenser Microphone
  • Logitech Blue Microphones Yeti USB Microphone

 

YES, YOU NEED LIGHTING

Good lighting is so often overlooked when it comes to the livestreaming of fitness classes, but let us tell you – it is a key element!

Your members need to be able to see you clearly, of course this doesn’t always mean you need to invest in additional equipment.

Consider your location for the livestream and also the time of day. Based on these individual elements you might be able to avoid the need to purchase lighting altogether. Of course classes taking place during the middle of the day (providing it is a clear and bright day) in a room with plenty of natural light might lead you into a false sense of security. Bear in mind, the sun can easily slip behind a cloud during the middle of your stream and you could be left in darkness.

Strategically place lamps and other lighting throughout your workout area to ensure you are as well lit as possible, making sure there is no overpowering light behind you as this will quickly turn you in to a dark silhouette.

If you wish to purchase additional lighting to feel confident that your livestream set up is the best it can be there are a few points to bare in mind:

  • LED lights are preferable as they don’t get as hot as conventional halogen bulbs
  • Make sure your light is easily manoeuvrable
  • Adjustable brightness
  • Mains powered
  • Provide good coverage (i.e. ring lights would be unsuitable for a class workout as they tend to be better suited when the live stream subject is closer to the screen.)

 

CHOOSE RELIABLE SOFTWARE

Hosting an online class might sound easy, but there is certainly a great deal to consider in order to make sure you are providing your members with a valuable, quality experience. And although your customer experience is at the forefront of your mind, you as a business owner, must also ensure you consider your business needs and choose a streaming platform that is not only reliable, but also cost effective.

There are plenty of streaming services available, each with their own individual benefits so it is important that you choose the one which
compliments your livestream needs the best.

Our top picks are:

  • YouTube
  • Zoom
  • Facebook Live
  • Twitch

For an in depth review on each of these streaming platforms in order to help you make a decision for business needs, please read our
‘The Best Platforms To Host Your Online Gym Class On A Budget’ blog post.

 

THE FINISHING TOUCHES!

Now you’ve got your essential equipment and have taken it for a test drive, it’s time to consider all the other smaller elements that may have an impact on the success of your online classes.

You want to make your members feel the same consistency of an in-studio experience and bring them together, so there are a few other planning points you will want to consider.

 

TEST YOUR INTERNET CONNECTION

This might sound obvious, but be sure you don’t fall at the first hurdle. Test your network speed to make sure your bandwidth upload is
consistent. You don’t want any glitches or delays when your members are trying to follow your class in real time.

CURATE A PLAYLIST

Great music selection can take your workout to a whole new level, but in the world of livestreaming, it can be a legal battle waiting to happen! Facebook are known to remove audio from a video if it thinks that the sound breaches copyright laws, so plan ahead!

Create a public playlist using a platform like Spotify that you can share with your members and they can then listen to it at home whilst
partaking in your exercise class. This allows you choose specific music with the right beat which will add great pace to the session and means that all your attendees with be listening to the same songs.

DO THE PREP WORK

Getting ready for a livestream requires more prep time than you might assume. Not only do you have to plan the class itself, you then have to take a step back from ‘trainer mode’ in order prepare your filming set up and check your internet connection is up to speed.

By allowing yourself adequate time to get your preparation work done, you will feel more confident by the time your class rolls around and your livestream will not only look professional, but you’ll be ready to deliver a high-energy, motivating workout.

 

AND FINALLY… REMEMBER TO RECORD!

Now you are fully prepared to start hosting your online fitness classes! All the careful preparation is in place and it’s time to start engaging with your members online.

Livestreaming is a great way to keep your community together, drive retention rates up and appeal to a broader audience than ever before.

But we need you to remember one more thing before you go.

Record your livestreams.

Your recorded online classes are the perfect free marketing collateral for your gym or fitness studio. We hope this is the last of the lockdowns we will have to face as a nation, but even so, you may still decide to continue offering online classes long after your gym has reopened as it allowed your gym to be accessible to an audience it may not have attracted before.

So get in to the habit of recording all your classes from the get-go, the content from these live workouts will be perfect to promote your future online classes and provide your members (current & new) the opportunity to see your online classes first hand.

 

ASHBOURNE CAN HELP YOU WITH EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR CLUB

Unlike most club management services which just give you some basic software and collect your direct debits, the team at Ashbourne knows that there’s a lot more to managing a successful club than simply collecting payments.

From debt collection, to web design, marketing ideas and more – the entire team at Ashbourne Membership Management is at your disposal to help you succeed and master every single element of being a successful gym.

If you want to chat about what we offer, or simply run through how we can help your particular health club, then get in touch with us and our sales manager Grant will be back in touch to talk through everything.

The Best Platforms To Host Your Online Gym Classes On A Budget

Online Fitness Classes For Gyms blog feature

Virtual classes and online training and support, has come out as king during the year of lockdowns and virtual services.

While these has proven to be very successful as an incentive to keep members paying for their gym membership, and keeping many clubs relevant in the day-to-day lives of their members; this is still uncharted territory for so many clubs and gyms.

One of the biggest questions we constantly receive here, is not what service can I provide my members. Most gym owners are very aware that they need to offer an online service and training of some kind during lockdown. But the real issue has been:

 

How can we continue to deliver our members an online service, without a spending a fortune?

YOU CAN ALSO DOWNLOAD OUR ONLINE PLATFORM GUIDE

If you don’t have time to read the blog, then you can always download our online platform guide right now, and discover the power of direct debit collection for your club memberships in your own time.

The Best Platforms To Host Your Online Gym Classes

We’ve taken a look at the 4 biggest livestreaming platforms that you can use to host your online fitness classes and content.

Depending on your budget and your needs, each of these 4 platforms provides you with an amazing way to not only host your fitness classes online, but also help you grow your online prescence.

We’ll look through each of our 4 choices, to give you the pros and cons of each platform:

 

Youtube Live

Facebook Live

Zoom

Twitch

 

 

Using Youtube Livestreams For Your Online Fitness Classes

YouTube is the king of video sites and while YouTube has mainly been home to pre-recorded videos, in the last few years YouTube has started to expand into the world of live streaming.

Because of its widespread popularity and reputation for being incredibly stable, YouTube is on the face of it, a great place to stream your online fitness classes. But let’s take a deeper look…

 

YouTube Live – Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Completely free to use
  • Very stable
  • Ability to schedule livestreams
  • Great social media marketing opportunity
  • Instantly updates all your YouTube followers
  • Basic editing within the platform
  • Simple & easy video content for your YouTube channel

 

Cons

  • No built-in privacy features
  • Whether you can stream depends on your device
  • Lacking in unique customisable features outside of basic video streaming

 

YouTube Live – Cost & Features

Outside of YouTube’s premium service, everything on YouTube is free to use and livestreaming is no exception.

When it comes to livestreaming, it can be done at the click of a button. Instead of uploading a video, you’re given the option to livestream instead. From there you can start streaming right away, or schedule future streams.

When it comes to how you want to stream you can either stream from your webcam, which will directly stream whatever is caught by your webcam, or you can connect YouTube up to an external program, which allows you to add effects and music to your stream.

If you want to increase your streaming quality, you can always attach an external webcam or camera, which YouTube can use as your webcam in order to provide a higher quality stream and audio quality for your watchers.

 

YouTube Livestream Dashboard

 

YouTube Live – Interactivity

As a streaming site, YouTube only allows for you to send video to your audience.

While your audience are able to send messages to you in the chat, the interactivity you can have with your audience is limited to message chat.

Moderating your chat is very easy on YouTube, so if you do have any troublemakers in the chat, you can quickly ban them from commenting, but they will still be able to watch your stream.

 

YouTube Live – Membership Access

This is where YouTube Live has a flaw, although you can easily spin it into a positive.

YouTube Live doesn’t allow you to control who you livestream to. When you start a stream, you simply broadcast it to everyone on the platform. When it comes to moderating, as we mentioned earlier, you can also only moderate the chat. You can’t stop people from watching your stream, outside of stopping the stream entirely.

 

YouTube Live – Extra Benefits & Unique Features

One of the neatest features of YouTube livestreaming, is that any video you stream can be immediately uploaded on your YouTube channel, so you can keep your training content around for others to watch later.

You can even edit and change your content before it goes completely live on your account, to streamline it all to be watched later.

YouTube also allows you to collect donations through your livestreams, so it is possible that you could use this as an additional revenue stream outside of just your member’s payments.

 

YouTube Live – Final Thoughts

YouTube is a really simple and popular way to livestream, so it’s a no brainer for anyone who wants a no fuss way to livestream their classes.

The main downside of YouTube Live is that it restricts which devices you are able to livestream from, depending on how many subscribers you have on your account. If you have less than a 1,000 subscribers then you are unable to livestream from your mobile. While this isn’t the end of the world, it’s very likely that your mobile phone may be the best camera you have available, so be aware you’ll be restricted to your laptop and webcam when it comes to streaming.

There is also the issue that you won’t be able to livestream just to your members. This is great for your marketing, but your paying members might feel like they’re not getting an exclusive experience since it’s publicly available. This might require you to offer your paying customers a little extra to keep them happy.

However, outside of that issue, YouTube is a simple and quick way to stream – while also being a great way to produce video content for your YouTube channel and market yourself to your wider audience.

 

 

Using Facebook Live For Your Online Fitness Classes

 

Facebook Live – Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Completely free to use
  • Packed with features to personalise your streams
  • Ability to schedule livestreams
  • Allows public / private livestreams
  • Great social media marketing opportunity
  • Instantly updates all your Facebook followers

 

Cons:

  • No built-in privacy features

 

 

Facebook Live – Cost & Features

As with Facebook itself, Facebook livestreams are completely free and can be set up in just a few clicks.

Facebook Live gives you lots more options to connect to different streaming services and use a wider array of camera types much easier. You can still use a webcam, but if you want to hook up a DSLR camera and additional sound equipment as part of your stream, Facebook Live makes that far easier, as you can easily stream through other platforms and connect them up to your Facebook Live.

Facebook has also added in all of the fun social media features like stickers and filters that you can already use on your Facebook posts, but within your livestreams.

And if you didn’t need any extra compliments of the system, you can also schedule your livestreams ahead of time and alert all of your Facebook followers when you go live.

 

Facebook Live dashboard Live dashboard

 

Facebook Live – Interactivity

Much like YouTube, Facebook Live doesn’t allow for 2 way video interaction, but it has a fully featured chat system so your members can message you and each other during your class.

This chat feature comes complete with emojis and additional features which make the chat a lot more vibrant on Facebook Live than other livestreaming platforms.

You also have full control over moderating your chat, so you can quickly remove anyone who is causing trouble on your streams.

 

Facebook Live – Membership Access

One of Facebook’s strengths is that you can livestream into different parts of your Facebook account:

  • Business pages
  • Groups
  • Personal pages

Because of this, you can easily split up your streams to target different member types.

If you want to stream something to your wider audience, in order to keep your gym on their mind and get your marketing going, then you can livestream to your general business Facebook page.

Alternatively, if you wish to give some more exclusive content to your paying members, then simply open up a Facebook Group, make it private for just paying members and then livestream to them.

 

Facebook Live – Extra Benefits & Unique Features

One of the most unique aspects of Facebook is that your success and outreach with your livestreams can feed back into your Facebook advertising.

Facebook Live is a new feature for Facebook, and because of that, Facebook will alert more people to a livestream taking place than a simple post or video upload, as this is the best way for Facebook to promote new features.

If your livestream gets you more likes to your Facebook page, then that is even more Facebook users that you can target when you run your next Facebook Ads campaign. Facebook Live has far more long term bonuses to it, than just the stream itself.

 

Facebook Live – Final Thoughts

When it comes to livestreaming, Facebook has a lot of advantages in its corner that go far beyond just how easy its livestreaming service is.

From Facebook live being completely free, allowing you to livestream to different parts of your audience and also giving you the long term benefit of being able to to advertise back to any Facebook followers you pick up along the way – there really is a huge argument that going with Facebook is a terrific idea if your social media focus is Facebook to begin with.

 

 

Using Zoom For Your Online Fitness Classes

Zoom has become a household name throughout 2020, hosting nearly every single class, business meeting and social event throughout the global lockdowns. But Zoom has very quickly also become one of the most popular ways to livestream fitness classes and personal training sessions.

 

Zoom – Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Free options, but restrictive
  • Built in security features for private livestreams
  • Allows public / private livestreams
  • Option to stream to social media also
  • 2 way member interaction
  • Lots of features and settings
  • Record all of your content
  • The addition of breakout rooms to host multiple sessions at once

Cons

  • Costs more to get the most from it, but can be well worth the investment
  • A steeper learning curve because of increased features
  • Restricted to just 100 attendees, even on the lower paid tiers

 

Zoom – Cost & Features

Zoom is notable for being the only service on this list which isn’t completely free. While you can use Zoom for free, there are certain limits in place, most notably that meetings can only last up to a maximum of 45 minutes if there are 3 or more attendees. You are also limited to the number of attendees you can have depending on your membership type.

Presuming you are hosting groups larger than 3, or keeping your classes very short, it’s more than likely that you’ll need to invest in at least a PRO account, which will allow you to host unlimited group meets that can last as long as you want.

Zoom allows you to easily broadcast yourself, while also sharing a screen and delivering music directly from your device, all without having to use any additional programs. When it comes to hosting a professional looking, high quality broadcast, Zoom has all of the in-built features to do all that.

Also, while Zoom costs money, you can always pay on a monthly basis, so whenever you want to cancel your subscription, you can do so without a huge financial investment to discover if Zoom is the right platform for your livestreams.

 

Zoom Pricing Structure

 

Zoom – Interactivity

Because Zoom has been built for business meetings, that means it allows for 2 way video and audio communication, along with a text chat feature.

If you want to livestream your classes or even a personal training consult for your members, then a Zoom meeting gives you more ways than ever to interact with your audience and actually see them perform live.

And of course, Zoom allows you to completely control who is present, so you are free to mute and block anyone who you don’t want interacting or viewing your content.

If you are uncomfortable with your audience being visible on video, you can also block anyone from appearing on camera at all, making it very easy to control your livestream environment.

 

Zoom – Membership Access

Every single Zoom meeting can be password protected  as standard, meaning that you can easily share your livestreaming content with only the people that you want to share it with.

You are even able to make a list before the livestream, where you can make it so only certain Zoom accounts can login to watch your content, although this isn’t very practical as many of your members may never have used Zoom before and therefore won’t have an account to restrict them to.

Unlike the social media livestreaming options, your Zoom meeting can be made completely private, so if you only want to create livestream content and classes for your members, then you can be certain that only your members will receive it.

 

Zoom – Extra Benefits & Unique Features

One of Zoom’s greatest benefits is that you can also link it up to your social media and livestream across multiple platforms at once.

You can livestream to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linkedin and Restream from a single Zoom account. If you want to go beyond your members and stream to literally everyone who has ever heard of your brand, then Zoom social media streaming is a really easy way around that. It also conveniently helps you get around their 100 attendee limit, as social media viewers aren’t counted towards the total.

The recent addition of breakout rooms to Zoom is also an amazing extra for anyone who wants to hold a more complex class. Breakout rooms allow you to split your attendees off into seperate Zoom meetings and then bring them back into a main larger group. This can be a great way to host multiple different workouts and classes at the same time, but all within the same meeting.

 

Zoom – Final Thoughts

It should come as no surprise to anyone that when it comes to livestreaming, Zoom has earned its title as one of the best.

If you want to invest some extra money into your livestreaming platform, then Zoom is one of the best value options out there. And because it’s been built to handle so many different kinds of live events – Zoom is incredibly flexible for any kind of live fitness session or class that you might want to host.

With the additional option to livestream over your social media as well, Zoom really does feel like the best of both worlds, with a small price tag attached.

 

 

Using Twitch For Your Online Fitness Classes

 

Twitch – Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Completely free to use
  • Packed with features to personalise your streams
  • Simple editing within the platform
  • Very stable video quality
  • No upper limit to how many people can watch

 

Cons:

  • No built-in privacy features
  • A slightly higher learning curve than other free platforms
  • No connection to your social media outside of Twitch
  • Less known for fitness videos

 

Twitch Stream Dashboard

 

Twitch – Cost & Features

Like all of the other social media livestreaming platforms we’ve mentioned, Twitch is completely free for you to start using and streaming with.

Twitch is used by tens of thousands of video game streamers a day, and while it is not commonly used for streams outside of this, its requirement to stream high quality video game footage means that it is designed to get people streaming with relative ease and in great quality.

 

Twitch – Interactivity

As Twitch is primarily designed for gaming streams, Twitch interactivity can be as basic or as complex as you want it to be.

Although it comes with a basic text chat feature for your members to get in touch with you (with the ability to moderate and ban users from the chat and your stream), there are multiple fun and interesting features that you can add into the chat, to liven things up a bit.

However, unlike Zoom, there is no 2 way video and audio communication, so while Twitch has a really fun and deep chat feature, that is as much as you’ll be able to interact with your members.

 

Twitch – Membership Access

While Twitch does provide you a way to stream to a private group, unfortunately this requires any viewers to pay you via Twitch in order to get exclusive content.

While this might not be an issue for some gyms who want to go all in on streaming, if your members are already paying you directly for their club membership, it might be an issue to also require them to pay for your Twitch exclusive content.

However, in terms of public livestreaming, Twitch is easy to set up in minutes and you can quickly share your stream on all of your social media channels.

 

Twitch – Final Thoughts

While Twitch is a very solid platform, it’s lack of popularity outside of the gaming community might scare off many of your members.

Twitch is one of the more complex livestreaming services, allowing you to integrate a lot of other platforms and features into your streams; at the cost of a slightly higher learning curve to get the most from it.

However, if you want a quick and easy set up, Twitch can provide that, although it doesn’t offer quite the same feedback into your social media that directly livestreaming from a platform like Facebook might allow.

 

 

And Our Personal Winner Goes To…

Zoom or Facebook Live!

When you break it all down, Zoom and Facebook Live cover all the bases that any gym or club would ever need.

Facebook Live is an amazingly simple service that a gym can use to start livestreaming fitness content completely free and instantly reach most of their members, as Facebook is used by almost everyone at this point. The ability to livestream to groups and pages seperately, also makes it a great way to hit different parts of your membership.

Zoom comes out top for a paid service, simply because it’s a very small investment for some huge benefits. When you combine its high quality streams, the ability to interact with your members via video, control your content’s privacy and also get the benefits of livestreaming to Facebook as well… Zoom is an amazing deal for a gym who wants to livestream on a budget.

 

 

Ashbourne Can Help With Every Aspect of Your Club

Unlike most club management services which just give you some basic software and collect your direct debits, the team at Ashbourne knows that there’s a lot more to managing a successful club than simply collecting payments.

From debt collection, to web design, marketing ideas and more – the entire team at Ashbourne Membership Management is at your disposal to help you succeed and master every single element of being a successful gym.

If you want to chat about what we offer, or simply run through how we can help your particular health club, then get in touch with us and our sales manager Grant will be back in touch to talk through everything.

Get Instant Feedback On Your Club With Our Free Member Survey Template

Member Survey Template Feature Image

It’s always been important to shape your club around the demands of your members. But with the complications caused by the COVID lockdown and the upcoming restrictions that social distancing will cause when your club reopens, it’s never been more important to keep open clear channels of communication with your members.

With the numerous changes coming your way, you need to be sure that your members are going to be on board with your social distancing measures and connecting with the message you’re putting out.

Using a member’s survey is the quickest and most straight forward way to get an accurate read on who is using your club and what they want from your facility.

 

Use Our Free Member Survey Template For Your Club

We’ve already done the hard part and created a free member survey template for your club, complete with all the instructions to walk your members through it.

The complete survey covers every aspect of your re-opening process:

 

  • Get detailed information on your members’ weekly gym usage
  • Gauge your members’ opinions on social distancing procedures
  • Get an accurate breakdown of your members’ demographics to help you target with the right message
  • Provide them with a special reward as an incentive for completing the survey

 

Everything is built with Google Forms, a completely free and simple way to build high quality and professional surveys.

You can send out a single form to your entire facility and store all of their responses in one single dashboard, with the ability to look at individual member’s responses, or compare the feedback of your entire member base.

You can find our template here, complete with our entire list of questions, pre-written copy to explain everything to your members and a special gift idea to get members clicking into your survey and completing it in the first place.

 

How To Use Google Forms

Like most Google products, Google forms is designed to be user friendly, look sleek and most importantly, be incredibly reliable.

Here are your simple 3 steps to creating your own member survey using our template…

 

Step 1: Login to Google Forms & Create A Blank Form

Simply click this link to be taken straight to Google Forms. You might have to log in if you don’t already have a Google account.

You should then be taken to the “Template Gallery”. Select the “blank” template so you can have a blank canvas to start with.

Then open up our Member Survey Template.

 

Step 2: Copy The Questions & Layout From Our Template

All you need to do is simply copy and paste our questions, answers and introductions to each section of the survey over into your blank template. You’ll quickly learn how Google Forms works and how simple it is to create complex and engaging forms in just minutes.

If you run into any problems, then just check Google’s helpful tutorials on how to use Google Forms.

All of our questions will provide your health club with a great basis to get a well rounded sense of what your members want from your club and of course, you can edit and change as you go to suit your style and needs.

Feel free to run through our template survey as many times as you want in order to get a sense of how it works.

 

Step 3: Keep An Eye On Your Responses & Adapt Accordingly

As your responses are filled in, Google Forms will automatically pull all the information together into easy to read graphs and charts.

At a glance, you’ll quickly be able to see how your members feel about every issue or change facing your club.

And by adding in a few quality of life questions, you can even find out a few things that aren’t related to lockdown or COVID-19, which can greatly streamline how you run your club.

Prime Fitness Contant Google Forms Examples
At a glance, you get clear information that can drastically improve the way you communicate with your members

 

 

Why Member Surveys Are So Important

Many clubs are absolutely terrified of asking their members for feedback. On the face of it, it can seem like a bad idea, as many club owners fear that it creates an impression that they’re unsure of what they’re doing. An even more prominent myth is that contacting your members can actually drive them away, as they are more likely to become aware of their monthly spending with your facility if you remind them that they have a membership with you.

These couldn’t be further from the truth.

Members use your service because they like it and one of the most rewarding things you can do for your members is to look like you’re trying to make your fitness business suit their needs.

That has never been more important than now, when your members are going to be greatly affected by the social distancing rules you will have to bring into place for the second half of 2020.

 

This is just a short list of ways that our survey helped our own gym at Prime Fitness:

 

  • We discovered how quickly our members will be returning to the club
  • We discovered a majority of our members will be returning on the first day
  • We discovered people in higher age brackets were more cautious of returning to the gym
  • We discovered that most of our members were happy with temporary limits to their gym usage
  • We discovered how often our members actually use the gym per week
  • We discovered that we could close the changing rooms without upsetting most members
  • Our offer of a free 6 months membership to one lucky survey user increased our social media activity

 

And the most important thing we learned from the survey…

Every change we made from now on, we could quote the stats that our members are happy with the changes.

It makes it a lot easier to defend your actions, if your members have already agreed with them.

 

We hope you find the member survey template helpful and that it continues to give you the ability and freedom to truly get a sense of what your members want from your club, so you can be the club that your members never want to leave, through lockdown and beyond.

How To Future Proof Your Fitness Business And Keep Up With Your Members’ Demands

robot smiling

As the owner of a fitness business, it’s no secret that customers are demanding more and more from their services. Whatever your feelings on the matter, the cold hard truth is that this demand is not only here to stay, but it’s only going to increase as the technology and services that consumers use everyday continue to streamline their lives and increase their expectations further.

It’s a self perpetuating cycle where you must always stay one step ahead of the consumer’s expectations, which will then set their expectations even higher. That’s why it’s never been more important to future proof your fitness business and make sure you’re ahead of the current consumer demand trends.

So now that we have that fact out of the way, the real questions are:

What are the current demand trends that are emerging in the health and fitness industry from consumers?

And how can you future proof your fitness business to keep up with that consumer demand?

 

How The Fitness Industry Has Changed In 20 Years

As a gym owner, the decisions you make in your fitness business can no longer simply be to cover the bases. 

Crossfit Gym MobileAshbourne Membership Management is proof of that trend in the health and fitness industry. 20 years ago, Ashbourne started as a service which handled direct debits and debt collection. It was set up as a way to improve the method by which gyms could retain more members and collect their memberships more reliably, with less admin on the gym’s end.

A nice, simple and convenient proposition for everyone involved.

Today, Ashbourne Membership Management is a fully fledged, multi-module, integrated service offering everything from member’s apps, turnstile installation, club check-in software, prospect management, online joining, class booking systems, staff scheduling and of course, that same direct debit service as well.

And while this might feel like all of the above is now finally enough for your average gym, it’s that particular error of underestimating customer demands and market trends which has spelled doom for so many gyms and health clubs.

We’ve seen it time and time again when gym owners fail to understand what it means to future proof your fitness business.

That’s why more and more, our focus has turned to business and product development. It’s a fundamental aspect of our continued success in the fitness industry and we’ve learnt this lesson not only from the successful gyms that we continue to manage, but equally from the now non-existent gyms who simply didn’t take their members’ demands seriously.

20 years ago we ourselves and gym owners alike thrived in a fitness business where:

 

Online joining was just an additional convenience.

24 hour gym access was often too expensive to be viable.

Direct debits were not a necessity.

Extra resources were a pointless extra.

And the smartphone only existed as a concept, with no apps to speak of.

 

Times change, the customer changes, but one thing stays the same: You must adapt or die.

So what are the next frontiers that gym owners need to be aware of when it becomes time to future your fitness business?

 

Be Aware of The Trends Your Customers Will Demand

We spend a lot of time watching the market and trying to get ahead of the services that we believe customers will soon demand from their local fitness business.

Improving your services solely for a better and more modern customer service experience is possibly the most important aspect to future proofing your fitness business.

That’s why our current focus is always on improving the user experience, giving members and prospects instant solutions to their problems. But there are 3 key areas in particular that have our focus for the time being.

fitness app gymTo start with, 24/7 smart chat bot support is a major advancement in the customer service experience. Bots allow for round the clock support, adaptable prospect marketing, instant missed payment reminders and automated class management – all without the need of human oversight.

To follow that, adaptable prospect marketing is a huge area of growth. Using pre-selected promotions, it’s becoming easier than ever to deliver the deals that potential customers want to see across your email and social marketing. Instead of guessing what your customer wants, you can use automation, A/B testing and social algorithms to deliver the customer’s perfect sales pitch right to them and have them sign up there and then.

And finally, an all in one fitness app is now one of the best marketing/user tools you can have at your disposal. Members are using their mobiles more and more to govern and implement their healthy lifestyles. Our app needs to reflect that, giving them more ways to store their own health data and plan their gym time while on the go, all from one reliable, powerful and simple to use application.

 

But Is Future Proofing Your Fitness Business Worth it?

money and calculatorOn the face of it, these advancements can be brushed off as cosmetic or indulgent ways for your customers to get in touch, these improvements to the user experience often goes hand in hand with profitability as well. 

Many experience improvements like a bot and adaptable marketing instantly allow you to automate the entire gym process, saving you time and money throughout every stage of a member’s journey through your health club, from point of sale to general enquiries.

The more you invest in streamlining and improving the ways your member can communicate and interact with you, the more opportunities there are to save money and grow your business. The industry has seen the potential in automation through the sudden surge of 24 hour gyms. It was only a dream for smaller gyms 20 years ago when staff costs were taken into account. But now, it’s almost an expectation and it’s developments in things like automation which have made it possible.

 

Future Proof Your Fitness Business & Be Part of The Next 20 Years

And who knows where we’ll be in another 20 years. Virtual reality classes? Full biometric integration with your fitness app? Your daily workout in pill form?

Whatever it is, the important thing is that you’re ready for it. But we’re confident that with imagination and a continued finger on the pulse of the industry, that we can stay ahead of the curve and be on the cutting edge of what the consumer needs, before even they know they need it.

And it’s a future that we’d love to see you be a part of.

If you want to know more about our chat bot, or the range of new features that we continue to develop across all of our club membership management services, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today and one of our team will be on hand to help you realise the potential of your fitness business.

Why Your Gym Needs To Offer Members A Fitness App

runner checking phone

Do you know how much it costs to develop a fitness app from scratch?

The cost of a fitness app ranges from between £3,500 – £8,000, which is highly dependant on the features you want in the app, and that’s just a low range estimate.

Now of course, that’s a high price and as an independant gym, you might not only think it’s too high of an investment, but you also might question if it’s needed at all. After all, your members have never pushed for a fitness app before, so why should they need one now.

They’re all valid concerns, but if you stick with us, we can explain why a gym member fitness app is not only good for your members, but it’s also great for member retention… and it’s much cheaper than you think to get one!

 

Why A Member Fitness App Is Good For Your Gym

There are 3 key reasons why getting a member app is beneficial for your gym and it’s almost worth having a member fitness app for these reasons alone:

  1. A member app will free up your admin
  2. A member app makes sending instant gym facility updates easy
  3. It’s a fantastic way to up sell your extra products & services

In short, a members app helps you save time and make money.

Woman Slicing FruitHow it saves you time is simple. A members app is more than just a way for your members to track their own fitness. If you allow for classes to be booked, then what better way to improve that, than to allow your members to book classes online, through your own app.

By doing this all online and via the app, it centralises all of your bookings and allows you to greatly decrease any admin. Now your app can handle everything from accepting the booking, to even informing members if there’s no spaces left in a class.

A members app is also an amazing way for sending any updates and news to your members. If you have new classes coming to your gym or you’re closed for some emergency maintenance, then a members app allows you to broadcast that information directly to your members’ mobiles, complete with a notification to grab their attention.

And finally, your members app can also be an extra source of income. If you’re selling classes or even merchandise as an added extra, then now your members app can be used as a digital storefront, giving you a new way to alert your members to extra services and take payments simply and quickly, all from one place.

With a members app, there’s less mess, less admin and the chance for extra revenue to be made.

And the benefits aren’t limited to just your club running smoother…

 

A Member Fitness App Improves Gym Member Retention

Okay, so we’ve looked at how your member app is great for your gym, but now let’s focus on a far more important element: How can it keep your members coming back to your gym for longer.

And the answer is simple!

 

Your Members Will Feel More Engaged And Loyal

Weight Lifting ManThe power of customer loyalty cannot be understated in any business and gyms are no different.

When you get a customer personally invested in the future of your company, not only can you be certain you’re delivering a great service, but it does wonders for your member retention. If a customer feels negative about even the thought of cancelling their membership, then that is a great place to be as a fitness business.

An app for your members works to foster that kind of loyal environment.

As a gym with a member app, you stop simply being just a place that your members visit when they have time.

You become a constant part of their life. They will use your app to track their fitness, their improvements, check for news from you and plan their week by booking online classes ahead of time.

If you have a functional member app, you can take your members from being individuals to being a community, with your health club at the heart and centre of it all.

 

A Members App Makes Your Health Club Unique

unique red gummy bear

Apps have been around for well over a decade by this point. However, like all new technology it takes a while for many businesses to catch up on popular trends.

Even though fitness apps are extremely popular and used by tens of millions of people every single day, hardly any gyms or clubs utilise them as part of their service.

That’s why having a member fitness app can be so impressive, by the sheer fact that everyone is struggling to keep up. If you get a member app, you are ahead of 99% of other gyms instantly, which helps you stand out from the crowd, which is never a bad thing.

 

A Member Fitness App Is A Better Value Proposition

This one may sound obvious. After all, the more you give your members, the more valuable your gym is.

But you have to remember how important that extra value is. There are a lot of gyms out there, possibly a half dozen within the same area unless you’re in a very remote location. So it’s important that you offer your members the most you can for their money. Gyms are still a luxury purchase and many members look for the best deal.

So if you’re unable to fight on price in the local area, then increase the value of your gym in anyway you can to keep members getting the most they can for their money.

A member fitness app is a cheap and easy way to achieve this goal.

 

Offering Your Members An App Is Now Easy & Most Importantly, Cost Effective!

Phone app WebsiteAt the start of this post, we mentioned the cost of offering a fitness app. Hopefully throughout this, we’ve convinced you, that a fitness app for your members is such a good investment, that you’re ready to google a developer to work on it, whatever the cost.

Well, here’s the next bit of good news.

Your members fitness app has already been developed, so you don’t need to pay any of that money to develop it.

At Ashbourne, we’ve already put in the time and money to develop an incredible members app that is able to be rebranded for your particular gym and give you all the benefits of a custom membership app, without any of the expensive development or design.

Our fully integrated gym app offers a number of features that allows each member to get the most from their workout, and most importantly, retain their membership to your gym.

So if you’re looking to future proof your business and get ahead of the competition, while retaining more members and improving your services, then please get in contact with Ashbourne today and let us introduce you to our amazing member app+ service, as well as our entire platform of membership management tools.

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