Three Ways You Can Improve Retention at Your Fitness Business

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

This is an age-old song I remember singing as a child, but for a membership-based business it couldn’t be more insightful.

Every company gets excited about a new client: that energetic new member who cannot 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 pull more of their friend towards your company, a new member is always a fantastic event. But, we always need to remember that it is the long-term, consistent customers who are the mainstay of any membership-based business. Each year, fitness companies see a huge influx of clients at certain times (New Years resolutions, anyone?). While it is fantastic to get the extra revenue, how do you make it last throughout the year? Here are three tips to help with customer retention.

Plug Them In

Community is powerful retention tool. Don’t make your new member feel responsible to themselves to keep training. Make them feel responsible to their fellow members in the gym, box or academy. Here are a few tips:

  • Hold community events and hangouts.
  • Encourage people to come early to a session have time to let them stay later.
  • Introduce new members to the “veterans” of your gym or school and other members.
  • Make sure your staff is engaging in the lives of all members both the newer folks and the old-timers.

Send out an email or phone call to each and every member who has missed sessions in a particular time period (e.g., a week – two weeks). 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 disengaging:

  • Set up automated emails for anyone who misses a week-worth of workouts (You can set this up in Zen Planner.)
  • Get notified when any member is not showing for classes over an extended amount of time. You can even assign a certain staff member to be notified if they have a closer relationship with the member. (Again, you can do this through automated alerts in Zen Planner.)
Show Progress

Nothing is as disheartening as committing a lot of time and money into an activity and not seeing the results. Workout tracking is a vital way for showing your clients that they are getting better and should continue to work towards their goals.

  • Make sure staff and clients are using workout tracking software. (Advanced Workout Tracking is offered at no additional fee within Zen Planner.)
  • Review progress with your clients 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 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.


Looking for additional advice to help you build a solid retention strategy for your gym, studio or school? Check out our guide, 7 Strategies for Member Retention. This guide covers everything from nurturing prospects clients into long term members to leveraging your amazing community to build loyalty.

gym member retention guide

Wes Mills

Wes Mills, Market Development Representative

Zen Planner

Wes was born and raised on the coast of Maine. When not in the office, he is either around a campfire in the mountains, backcountry skiing with his Husky named Avalanche (knock on wood), or training BJJ at his local academy. Wes is passionate about the health and growth of small businesses around the globe.

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