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Retaining Members - What Keeps Exercisers Coming Back


I’ve both owned and managed fitness clubs over the past twenty-something years and in my experience, I can tell you that it's easier to keep a client than find new ones. So what exactly keeps a member interested in your club? 

Here are five things that members say keeps them coming back:

1) Belonging: Each person that walks into your club wants to feel connected.  The moment they walk in the door, they want to feel part of your culture. Simple steps to ensure this is by welcoming clients with their first name, knowing something about their personal life (like their kid’s graduation, their birthday, or business) and talking with them. Photos in the check in system can help but, you could also try this simple contest at your employee meeting:  Post 50 members’ pictures on a board at your next staff meeting. Have all employees write down their names on a corresponding paper and give prizes out to the employee who gets the most right answers. 

2) Expertise: Each gym has a wealth of knowledge in its trainers and group fitness instructors but the people who can bridge the information gap are key to keeping clients engaged. Top group fitness instructors are able to leverage their personality skills against their workout leadership. In other words, they create trust in their followers that they will deliver exactly what members are coming to get. Host a weekly fit or wellness chat online or in your club with your trainers or instructors. Trainers will get to flex their leadership muscles and members will get even more of the expertise they are paying for.

3) Know what your members need: Make sure your sales team and staff know that many people are afraid of joining a club because they can't do a single pushup! Having a very basic questionnaire to help guide them through the gym experience is a good idea. Make sure your questions can give you insights on what the starting point is for a member and offer all levels of classes from the very basic to more advanced intensities. Offer on-going communications to make sure you are meeting their needs.

4) Technology & Research: Members want to feel that their gym has the latest and greatest, that means both in practicing principles and equipment. If your club can't afford the high cost of new equipment annually, make sure you are providing the best instruction backed up by proven research.

5) Rewards:  Every club should have some type of referral program for its members as well as a rewards program for participation and attendance. Members who come to the gym on a regular basis are more likely to stay members. Partner with local restaurants, grocery stores and shops to offer regular advertising in your newsletter or club in exchange for gift cards to raffle off to members. 

Andrea Metcalf is a healthy lifestyle expert, certified trainer and best selling author of Naked Fitness.

Gym Membership
Fitness Industry
Gym Owners
Andrea Metcalf
Member Retention


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