A recent Mayo Clinic study found that, probably unsurprisingly, giving people financial incentives to work out helps them lose more weight. Researchers paid some study participants $20 every time they hit a monthly weight-loss goal and charged them the same amount if they failed to hit the goal. The result? Participants receiving the financial incentive — or trying to avoid having to pay — lost 6.74 more pounds than participants receiving no financial incentive.
For gyms, sports clubs, fitness centers, and the like, this is good news. Now, obviously, you can’t stand at the door handing out money to each member who meets his or her weight-loss goals each month, but maybe you can consider using other kinds of incentives. No doubt you already have some in place — have a friend sign up for a class and receive a free class yourself, or work out a certain number of times over the course of six months and receive one month’s membership free. Whatever you might be offering, great. In addition to that, can you offer something in exchange for members meeting stated weight-loss goals? A free class, a gift certificate for a health drink in the cafe, a free or reduced-cost session with a personal trainer?
Granted, the Mayo Clinic study looked only at cash incentives, so it’s not clear whether other types of incentives would have the same effect. But it’s worth a shot. If members meet their weight-loss goals because you helped them get there by providing small rewards, they’re probably more likely to stay members. They’re probably also more likely to get their friends and families to become members as well, or to sign up for classes, or whatever makes the most sense at your facility.
Your management software can help you keep track of who is taking part in an incentive program you offer, how close they are to meeting their goals, what incentives you’ve offered, and which ones you’ve paid out. As an organization devoted to your clients’ health, it makes sense to do what you can to help those clients get to where they need to be — while also solidifying a loyal customer base for yourself, not to mention a reputation for being a facility that really cares about its clients’ wellbeing.