Building Community at Your Boot Camp Part 1: Best Practices

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There’s a direct correlation between the strength of your fitness community and the success of your business. Strong communities have better rates of retention and member success. Strong communities are also easier to market, so they grow at a faster rate. And strong communities are happier in general, so it’s easier to recruit and keep the best coaches and trainers.

What’s more, building a strong community isn’t an expensive undertaking. Many of the things you can do to create a great community are absolutely free. We’re passionate about the benefits a strong fitness community, and we’re not alone. Industry leaders, like John Burch, founder of World’s Best Boot Camp, make
community the foundation of their programs.

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If you think your boot camp could be even better if you strengthened your community, we can help. This is the first post in a three-part series designed to give you the tools and ideas you need to take your community to the next level.

Community Building Best Practices: It’s all about relationships and connections.

We talked about why a strong community is important, but it’s important to briefly mention what makes a community great. Good communities are all about relationships and feeling like you belong. As a boot camp owner, your job is to create a safe, welcoming and encouraging environment so your community will flourish.

Here are some things you can do to create that perfect environment:

1. Help your members get to know one another.

Do introductions at the beginning of each class. You can even encourage a little sharing as you go around the group by asking a fun question each person can answer. Run monthly member spotlights in your newsletters. Hang photos of participants in your facility, but be sure to add a fun quote or fact by their photo. Finally, utilize partner and team workouts.

2. Encourage simple physical touches, like high fives or team huddles.

John Burch explains how there are neurological and biochemical reasons why this is extremely beneficial. Basically, physical touches release neurochemicals that make us feel connected and safe. Both key elements of strong communities.

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3. Show your athletes that they matter to you.

Know and use everyone’s name. This can be done very easily with Zen Planner’s new Staff App and Workout Tracking Leaderboard. When a member is leaving a workout, ask him or her when they will be back. Set up automations to check in with members when they don’t attend class. Announce anniversaries and member successes in your newsletter. Remember small details about your members’ lives and ask about them from time to time. (Ex: How do you like your new job?)

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These community building best practices are free, easy to implement and sure to create positive changes within your fitness community.

Get additional ideas on building a stronger community and retaining your members in our helpful guide, 7 Essential Strategies for Member Retention

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