Incentive Programs for Fitness Centers

Incentive Programs for Fitness Centers

« Blog | Written by Emily Duty | | (0) Comments

Working on marketing efforts and getting your gym’s name out there is never a bad idea. Yes, absolutely make those announcements and throw those events. Woo! And hey, have a great time doing it because prospective members can’t help but take notice.

But, when you’re ready to shift gears, we have other ideas we think you might like. These ideas will focus less attention on gaining new members and more attention on retaining your existing ones. After all, member retention is going to be your overall end game. So, in this post are some incentive programs to consider implementing in your fitness center that will help you achieve exactly that.

Referral Programs

A referral program is at the top of this gym incentive list because it doesn’t take much work to kick off and members love it. The best referral program typically credits both parties: the referrer and the recipient but the options are endless.

Members love referral programs because, when you’re proud of your gym, you’re likely already telling all of your friends to check it out. So, being offered brownie points to do something you’re doing anyway is like icing on the cake.

A good referral program does many things for you as the gym owner also. It saves you a few dollars on your marketing budget because your amazing members are helping you with your word-of-mouth efforts and enrollment. It also points out the areas you need improvement on if you discover your members don’t want to refer you.

Friendly Games

There’s nothing like a little good ol’ fashioned, friendly competition to get members pumped up on physical activity. It’s true. If you turn their gym experience into a game, it could motivate them to stick around longer until they’ve reached their goals. It’s the same way playing music is proven to keep members engaged in physical activity for longer.

All you need is a few basic rules and a way to track member’s points, for instance, on your management software. It can be done in different ways, like rewarding the first member to hit so many miles on the treadmill, beast so many push-ups, or tackle the first x amount of pounds.

The reward could be a small gift card or store merchandise. If your budget won’t allow you to do a gift card, even just bragging rights will work. Create a special champion belt for your member to wear out one evening or give them designated front row parking for a month. Both ideas are impactful but inexpensive gestures.

Exclusive Events

Who doesn’t want to be invited to VIP events? Uh, nobody.

You have to admit there is something enticing about being offered a members only exclusive perk at enrollment. People will be saying, “Ooh, sign me up!” And the events don’t have to be done inside of the gym either. You can poll your members monthly to see which types of places they recommend. Then ultimately, you decide what you’d like to offer: some appetizers at a restaurant, the first round of drinks at the bar, the first few games of bowling, etc.

Member Recognition

At a small gym, members become more like family. And what’s one way to show family members how important they are to you? By remembering those special dates and occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. The same is true of your gym members.

Shout out birthdays, gym sign-up anniversaries and milestone achievements. You can create special display boards with their names and pictures and include them in your monthly newsletter too. They will love and appreciate all the love and attention.


Love thy neighbor- and then promote them inside your gym! You can team up to trade services and products or work out a deal for your members to receive their discounts. Ideally, you want to partner with brands who align with your values and health mission.

When creating incentive programs for your fitness center there are many possibilities. If you have any tried and true practices we’d love for you to share your experiences with us in the comments.

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