Help New Members Jumpstart their Fitness Goals

August 15, 2022

Joining a health club seems simple enough – sign up, make your monthly payment, and start working out! But to a member who is new to working out or wanting to embrace a new type of workout, this can be very intimidating.  

As a casual consumer of fitness, I don’t take many chances to change up my workout routine. I walk my dog, get in some decent stretches, and sometimes check to see how long I can hold a plank. Fitness, right? 

It’s not that I’m averse to joining a health club and challenging myself more. But as someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing, the last place I want to be is in the middle of those that do. The pressure of judgment is terrifying! And I’m not alone in that feeling. 

In the 2022 Market Research Report, consumers were asked to describe their ideal health club experience and two of the top themes were a judgment free environment and caring, educated staff that can provide guidance. 

Thinking about my own experience, I recently signed up with a personal trainer. I did this with a few goals in mind, particularly to learn which exercises to do and build a routine so that I can be more comfortable working out at a health club. I haven’t tested my theory yet, but I feel better knowing that when I do work out on my own, I have a plan. 

But not everyone is preparing like I am. Considering most gyms lose 50% of new members within 6 months*, how can you better retain members knowing that they may need a little more motivation or confidence in the gym? 

Offer introductory lessons or training 

Taking some time to understand what drove your members to sign up with your gym can help you structure onboarding offers. Personal training is an easy offer if trainers are onsite. But if the member’s interested in losing weight, offer a session with a nutrition coach that can help them implement healthy dietary changes in with their new workout routine. If the member is interested in weight training, provide lessons to show them proper form or easy access to tutorials through your club branded app. You’re not only empowering your members and proving your club and staff are great resources, but you’re able to use that information to sell them additional services and increase their lifetime value. 

Make it easy to connect with the club staff 

Casual consumers, like myself, don’t really feel a connection to a health club. We’re quick to unsubscribe from emails and, probably from a previous unpleasant experience, assume that asking questions will get us nowhere with the front desk staff. With a club branded app, you can create a personal connection with members. Staying connected with them to motivate and hold them accountable will instill a level of determination in them to meet their fitness goals. 

Look toward your community 

17 Templates to Streamline Communication With Your Members in 2024


This may be a bit of a stretch, but I love the idea of a member mentorship type program. Every health club has a group of routine lifers they can rely on to be there regularly and follow a set program. Why not incentivize these members, if they’re willing, to be a resource for new members? This builds community, reduces that feeling of judgment, and makes new members want, not need, to come back. Currently where I work out, I really only talk to my trainer. But there’s always at least one trainer who says “hi” or “bye” to me, and I’ve had others comment on the improvements I’ve made. It’s the little things that make us feel welcome and a part of the community.  

Comedian Ryan Hamilton said it best, “I wander in [to the gym] every three months and go ‘I don’t know how to do this.’’’ With simple adjustments, you can make members more motivated and confident to work out in a truly judgment free health club. 

*IHRSA, 2020 

About the Author:

Carly Miller is a Product Marketing Manager at ABC Fitness Solutions. You can catch her walking her dog, Elliot, or giving her trainer a dirty look when she’s told to do more lunges.