3 Simple Ways to Improve Gym Member Retention

6 min read


two people talking after a yoga class

“Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold.” 

This is an age-old song many people sing as a child. For a membership-based business, it couldn’t be more insightful. 

Every fitness owner gets excited about a new member: that energetic new member who can’t wait to meet their fitness goals, become a high-ranking martial arts practitioner or get plugged in to your fitness community. With a new credit card in your account and another person who may refer their friends to your business, a new member is always an exciting addition. 

However, you must always remember that your long-term, consistent members are the mainstay of any membership-based business. 

Each year, gyms see a huge influx of members at certain times (New Years resolutions, anyone?). While it is fantastic to get the extra revenue, how do you keep those members arounds so it lasts throughout the year?  

First, you have to understand why your members may leave. 

Why Do Members Quit?

To improve gym member retention, you have to understand the reasons why members quit in the first place. By gathering feedback from current members and analyzing cancellation patterns, you can gain insight into why members are leaving and use this information to adjust your strategies accordingly. 

Incorporating feedback from current members is a great way to identify areas of improvement within your gym. Encourage an open dialogue with members so you can better understand customer needs and expectations. This feedback can also provide insight into any issues that may be driving people away, such as poor customer service or inadequate facilities. 

Identifying past members who have cancelled their membership is another important step in understanding why people are leaving. By looking at the data of these former customers, you can begin to uncover patterns in their behavior which could help explain why they decided not to renew their membership. 

Analyzing cancellation patterns is key in gaining an understanding of common reasons for leaving. This can be done by looking at variables such as age group, length of membership and frequency of visits amongst other factors. By analyzing this data, you can identify trends which could point towards potential solutions for addressing high churn rates. 

Finally, surveying past members can provide valuable insight into why they decided not to continue with your gym. Asking questions about their experience with customer service or programming may give you a better idea of how these factors affected their decision-making process when it came time to renew their membership. With this information in hand, you can make the necessary changes that will ensure your current members stay engaged and keep coming back. 

3 Ways to Improve Retention

While you work on identifying why past members left, there are actions you can take now to retain your current members. Here are three tips to help with gym member retention. 

1. Plug Them In

two people talking after a workout

Community is a powerful retention tool. Don’t make your new member feel responsible to only themselves to keep training. Make them feel responsible to their fellow gym members, box or academy. 

 Here are a few tips: 

  • Hold community events and hangouts 
  • Encourage people to come early to a session and offer to let them stay later 
  • Introduce new members to the “veterans” and other members of your gym 
  • Make sure your staff is engaging in the lives of all members, both new and old 

2. Keep In Touch

three people texting at the gym

Send out an email, phone call, or text to each and every member who has missed sessions in a particular time period. Missing a week or two weeks of workouts is usually the first sign of a disengaged member 

Here are a few ideas to reenergize those members who may be disengaged: 

  • Set up automated reminders for anyone who misses a week-worth of workouts 
  • Get notified when members aren’t showing up for classes (for an extra personal touch, send those notifications to trainers that have a close relationship with that member) 

3. Show Off Their Progress

two people training hard at the gym

Nothing is as disheartening as committing a lot of time and money into an activity and not seeing results. Workout tracking is a vital way to show your members that they’re getting better and should continue to work toward their goals. 

  • Make sure members and staff are using workout tracking software 
  • Review progress with your members on a monthly – or even weekly – basis (you can even compare their results with other like-minded peers by using a Leaderboard in the gym) 

These are just a few ideas to increase gym member retention, but we’d love to hear your thoughts. Let us know how you keep members engaged and enthusiastic after the initial “glow” has worn off. 

Ready to Increase Your Gym Member Retention?

From holding your athletes accountable and helping them achieve new PRs to making it easy for new athletes to become a member, we have documented strategic tactics that will enhance each and every member’s experience. 

We created 7 Essential Strategies for Member Retention to share strategies from the most successful gym owners we know. 

Download your free copy of the guide to maintain the strong community you’ve worked so hard to create. 

button linking to the Gym Member Retention Strategies landing page

About the Author: Kelli Sweeting

I'm Coach Kelli, a devoted CrossFit gym owner with 15 years of experience managing my facility, along with owning yoga studios and wellness centers. Beyond the fitness world, I have a passion for cooking, cherish moments with my children and family, and find joy in spending time outside. Having experienced the highs and lows, I'm dedicated to leveraging my expertise to help you grow and succeed on your fitness journey.