Why Music Choice Matters in Your Fitness Business

5 min read


When I workout, whether at my local CrossFit® box, gym or at a studio, music is a huge motivator for me. If I forget my headphones at home or my phone dies, each minute IS. SO. LONG. How many of us have blown off a workout because we were in this situation? And, rationalized this choice with a “I didn’t have any music?” I’m sure most people can relate to this meme:

When you’re in a class and have no control over the music, sometimes it can be ok, but other times it can be very, very bad. You may luck out and rock out to every song that comes on. But then there times when the music is less than motivating or, worse, a total buzz kill and you can’t wait to get out of there. As a Yoga Sculpt teacher and a group fitness participant, I am on both sides of the equation on a daily basis.

I go to a local studio for a cardio class and they instituted a short-lived “Member Music Monday.” While some people may have liked a country, 80’s rock or heavy metal themed class, those workouts dragged for me and I stopped going on Monday’s altogether. My feedback to the studio was similar to, “PLEASE GOD NO MORE MADONNA.” One song in a particular genre I can handle, not an entire hour.

When I’m working out on my own, my Pandora is usually set to 90’s hip-hop. I can’t help it, I run faster to Biggie and Dr. Dre! However, when I am teaching class, if I played Me Against the World or The Chronic on repeat (as I am totally tempted to do), I guarantee I would have a lot of students turned off and they’d never return.

Music sets the tone for your class. I’d recommend that you try to keep the beat relatively similar or arrange your music to follow the energy of how your class is setup (warm-up, workout, cool down). If your music goes immediately from a song that is 70 beats per minute to a song that is 314 beats per minute, it usually is pretty jarring.

You should also think about the words and the messages songs convey. I try to ALWAYS look up the words of a song before putting it on a playlist. One of my most embarrassing teaching moments involved an unedited song coming on and a student telling me that she didn’t appreciate the “hostile language.” People love coming into your CrossFit® box. But hearing about one over the loud speaker? They might be offended.

Variety is also important. Whether you make a playlist for each class, or throw on Pandora or Sirius, you should try to mix it up. I usually try to find some fan favorites (I love to see people to toe tapping when they recognize the beat). You can also take suggestions from your class. Or just watch the faces of your gym members and you’ll be able to see by the look on their faces how much they like (or don’t like) your music. Students may be rolling their eyes at you when you tell them to drop an inch lower, but the eye roll could be meant for the Miley Cyrus song you have on. While you can’t please everyone; you can increase your fitness business marketing by of keeping people interested and coming back for more if you pay close attention to what they hear when they are in your gym or studio.

Music may seem pretty insignificant, but if you’re consistently playing terrible music, it could lead to someone finding a new place to workout. Get additional retention tips by downloading your copy of our free Member Retention Guide.

Gym Member Retention Warning Signs