Working Out Around the Season of Insanity

Working Out Around the Season of Insanity

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It’s that time again, the time I like to refer to as the Season of Insanity. Every year around this time, things become outrageously chaotic. At work, everyone is scrambling to finish projects before the end of the year, which inevitably, all end up on my desk at the same time. At school, there’re a sudden slew of no-school holidays, plus professional development and parent-teacher conference days off, while the kids are all tired from a couple months of steady homework, and coming off of Halloween-candy sugar highs. Meanwhile, in the span of three weeks, I’m invited to more events than I’ve been all year. Then there’s the holiday shopping, cooking, planning, and wrapping to contemplate…
What this means for fitness centers and sports facilities is that client visits slow down. Fewer client visits equal less revenue. This can either be in the short term, where you’re missing out on class payments or members aren’t spending on personal trainer sessions, massages, and other extras; or in the long run, where a client becomes less likely to renew her membership when she goes for a month or two without making it to the gym. What can you do to help your already busy clients squeeze in visits to the gym when their schedules become even more packed?
First, remind them that the most important time to maintain gym-going habits is now, when stress increases and tempting, sugary foods are abound. When you’re in the thick of too much to do, it’s easy to forget that making time to work out actually increases productivity. Hang up posters reminding members that this is the case, and reach out via email with similar messaging. A great social media campaign would be one that features brief videos of clients who come regularly despite their hectic schedules—hearing them explain how gym-time makes work-time easier could help motivate members who feel stuck in the grind.
Consider extending your hours for the season. Then, if you’re able to do so, widely and proudly advertise your extended hours.
If possible, have your instructors or trainers develop abbreviated workouts. Give these a snappy name, something like Twenty-Minutes-In-and-Out. Again, advertise heavily: Let everyone know that you’ve got a new program created specifically to address the trouble we are all having right now, in making time to exercise. High-intensity interval training workouts are a relevant thing to plug right now: They’re still receiving attention for their dramatic results and the health benefits they produce, and they’re perfectly suited to short workouts.
Finally, craft a message specifically for members whose records indicate they haven’t made it in for a while. If you have a fitness concierge, have him or her send the message personally, with an invitation to call and discuss any scheduling difficulties clients might be facing. Offer to help devise a plan. You won’t hear from everyone, and there may well be a client or two who disappears and never renews. Chances are though, you’ll reach at least a handful who will feel grateful for you reaching out, and who will re-apply themselves with new vigor. Now get to work.

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