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FITNESS, HEALTH, WELLNESS

features

Gamification: Making fitness fun

The Rio Olympics are coming! How can your club use this event to better engage members? Gamification expert An Coppens offers some practical suggestions

Published in Health Club Management 2016 issue 7
Consider running a team quest – working as a team makes people more likely to stick with it / shutterstock
Consider running a team quest – working as a team makes people more likely to stick with it / shutterstock
The key is to create a fun competition, open to all and encouraging members to do more, more often and feel better when they do

It’s a worrying fact for fitness operators that people often have more fun, more interaction, more motivational input exercising on their own than they do in a gym.

But sadly, while growing numbers of fitness apps and wearables have game-like elements built in to their design to encourage users to keep doing more, and keep striving towards higher fitness achievements – from visual dashboards to unlocking of rewards and ‘you can do it!’ type messaging – most gym-goers don’t receive this kind of encouragement from their gym. At best, they get it if they pay for personal training, and to an extent they might get it in a class – albeit the instructors must divide their encouragement and instruction among a larger group of exercisers.

An Olympic year
Now imagine tapping in to this gamification trend – the use of game psychology and game mechanics for non-game purposes – which has already caught fitness enthusiasts’ attention.

Some operators might be put off by the potential cost, and yes, if you decided to go the digital route the costs would be higher. But you can test out your members’ appetite for challenges using a paper-based solution. Truth be known, even computer games start life sketched out on paper.

What better way to engage members during an Olympic year than to create an Olympic challenge, whereby gym members complete five stations over a set period and aim to beat their own record. The key is that they record the activity and log it. You can then enter these results into a leader board, with points allocated for effort, consistency and regularity.

You can involve the members further by having them vote on which activities to include. Even better, invite them to enter with a team to earn the team Olympic reward – it’s a known fact that exercise buddies keep each other going for longer.

Having an Olympic quest with five exercise challenges can also be structured by level of fitness. You could have beginner group sessions, intermediate combined classes, and individual and advanced individual challenges. By appealing to a variety of member profiles, the engagement and buzz typically goes up.

Keep the challenge enrolment process as easy as possible – a simple tick box on a form, for example – and also the tracking. Ask them to jot down vital information on a card – date and type of exercise, for example, and effort level – which will give you insight into points you can allocate.

Cycling at level one may be all a beginner is able to do, but a level eight distance challenge may be very relevant for advanced, regular gym-goers.

When designing this type of quest, engage your whole team in the process, from coming up with the challenge options to ideas for point systems, promotion of the quest and ways of keeping club members encouraged throughout. Work with your team to come up with creative ideas to make sure it’s fun.

Maybe even involve the staff in a team challenge of their own, that coincides with the member challenge, so everyone is working towards a similar goal.

The key is to create a fun competition, open to all and encouraging health club members to do more, more often, and feel better when they do.

In an Olympic year, a challenge like this is only limited by your imagination.

Anatomy of a quest
And when there are no Olympic Games to latch on to? In any other month or year, you can always build quests around a key sports event in the area, from triathlons and marathons to rowing, cycling and other community-based events.

Collaboration and encouragement are the two key ingredients of a challenge that must never be overlooked or neglected. The more you engage people in the design and completion of the quest, the better the opportunity for them to feel ownership and share the word about what they’re taking part in.

If you’re a regular user of fitness tracking apps yourself, start noticing what you like about them and what keeps you going back. Ask your members what they’re using and why they like the apps. Doing so will give you ideas and allow you to mirror what already works for them in your own quests.

How to put a quest together...
1. The quest should be based on a theme (which could be the Olympics or another more local event)

2. Include activities that can be carried out at various levels of fitness

3. Promote the quest (posters, word of mouth, text messages, emails, etc)

4. Create an easy invitation to take part

5. Have a system to track participation (which can be paper-based)...

6. ... and a system to show off members’ achievements (e.g. visual leader boards, number of participants, number of challenges taken)

7. Offer encouragement along the way

8. Have winners and completers – but no losers. All should receive a certificate of completion – and the choice is then yours what the prizes should be for winners

9. Celebrate achievement, both of members and the team – let them have their moment of glory, whether in the local press or simply making them famous at your gym

Ultimately, you can be as creative as you allow yourself and your team to be. So get your team involved in making it fun. Negotiate with local suppliers to create prizes and rewards. Explore a variety of themes, from local sporting events to the Rio Olympics. Then develop an effective marketing and communication campaign and enjoy rolling it out and engaging your members on a whole new level.

Will yours be the winning quest?

I’d love to hear about your quests, and will feature the winning submitted quest in a special fitness quest post on my blog. Please email me details of your quests by the deadline of 31 October 2016

[email protected]

About the author

An Coppens
An Coppens
An Coppens,

Chief game changer,

Gamification Nation


An Coppens is chief game changer at Gamification Nation.

She specialises in gamification design and works with companies all over the world to help them achieve business results with game psychology and game elements.

Her blog reached the UK blog award finals in both 2015 and 2016.

www.gamificationnation.com

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
1Life has introduced a raft of innovative leisure concepts across the five-site portfolio
1Life has introduced a raft of innovative leisure concepts across the five-site portfolio
1Life has introduced a raft of innovative leisure concepts across the five-site portfolio
1Life has introduced a raft of innovative leisure concepts across the five-site portfolio
1Life has introduced a raft of innovative leisure concepts across the five-site portfolio.
1Life has introduced a raft of innovative leisure concepts across the five-site portfolio.
1Life has introduced a raft of innovative leisure concepts across the five-site portfolio.
1Life has introduced a raft of innovative leisure concepts across the five-site portfolio.
1Life has invested over £1.5m to engage MK’s families, sports teams and deconditioned market in physical activity
1Life has invested over £1.5m to engage MK’s families, sports teams and deconditioned market in physical activity
1Life has invested over £1.5m to engage MK’s families, sports teams and deconditioned market in physical activity
1Life has invested over £1.5m to engage MK’s families, sports teams and deconditioned market in physical activity
1Life has invested over £1.5m to engage MK’s families, sports teams and deconditioned market in physical activity
1Life has invested over £1.5m to engage MK’s families, sports teams and deconditioned market in physical activity
1Life has invested over £1.5m to engage MK’s families, sports teams and deconditioned market in physical activity
1Life has invested over £1.5m to engage MK’s families, sports teams and deconditioned market in physical activity
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/806328_951228.jpg
The Rio Games are almost here. Time to create an Olympic challenge at your gym
An Coppens Chief game changer at Gamification Nation,Olympics, gamification, An Coppens, challenges
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features

Gamification: Making fitness fun

The Rio Olympics are coming! How can your club use this event to better engage members? Gamification expert An Coppens offers some practical suggestions

Published in Health Club Management 2016 issue 7
Consider running a team quest – working as a team makes people more likely to stick with it / shutterstock
Consider running a team quest – working as a team makes people more likely to stick with it / shutterstock
The key is to create a fun competition, open to all and encouraging members to do more, more often and feel better when they do

It’s a worrying fact for fitness operators that people often have more fun, more interaction, more motivational input exercising on their own than they do in a gym.

But sadly, while growing numbers of fitness apps and wearables have game-like elements built in to their design to encourage users to keep doing more, and keep striving towards higher fitness achievements – from visual dashboards to unlocking of rewards and ‘you can do it!’ type messaging – most gym-goers don’t receive this kind of encouragement from their gym. At best, they get it if they pay for personal training, and to an extent they might get it in a class – albeit the instructors must divide their encouragement and instruction among a larger group of exercisers.

An Olympic year
Now imagine tapping in to this gamification trend – the use of game psychology and game mechanics for non-game purposes – which has already caught fitness enthusiasts’ attention.

Some operators might be put off by the potential cost, and yes, if you decided to go the digital route the costs would be higher. But you can test out your members’ appetite for challenges using a paper-based solution. Truth be known, even computer games start life sketched out on paper.

What better way to engage members during an Olympic year than to create an Olympic challenge, whereby gym members complete five stations over a set period and aim to beat their own record. The key is that they record the activity and log it. You can then enter these results into a leader board, with points allocated for effort, consistency and regularity.

You can involve the members further by having them vote on which activities to include. Even better, invite them to enter with a team to earn the team Olympic reward – it’s a known fact that exercise buddies keep each other going for longer.

Having an Olympic quest with five exercise challenges can also be structured by level of fitness. You could have beginner group sessions, intermediate combined classes, and individual and advanced individual challenges. By appealing to a variety of member profiles, the engagement and buzz typically goes up.

Keep the challenge enrolment process as easy as possible – a simple tick box on a form, for example – and also the tracking. Ask them to jot down vital information on a card – date and type of exercise, for example, and effort level – which will give you insight into points you can allocate.

Cycling at level one may be all a beginner is able to do, but a level eight distance challenge may be very relevant for advanced, regular gym-goers.

When designing this type of quest, engage your whole team in the process, from coming up with the challenge options to ideas for point systems, promotion of the quest and ways of keeping club members encouraged throughout. Work with your team to come up with creative ideas to make sure it’s fun.

Maybe even involve the staff in a team challenge of their own, that coincides with the member challenge, so everyone is working towards a similar goal.

The key is to create a fun competition, open to all and encouraging health club members to do more, more often, and feel better when they do.

In an Olympic year, a challenge like this is only limited by your imagination.

Anatomy of a quest
And when there are no Olympic Games to latch on to? In any other month or year, you can always build quests around a key sports event in the area, from triathlons and marathons to rowing, cycling and other community-based events.

Collaboration and encouragement are the two key ingredients of a challenge that must never be overlooked or neglected. The more you engage people in the design and completion of the quest, the better the opportunity for them to feel ownership and share the word about what they’re taking part in.

If you’re a regular user of fitness tracking apps yourself, start noticing what you like about them and what keeps you going back. Ask your members what they’re using and why they like the apps. Doing so will give you ideas and allow you to mirror what already works for them in your own quests.

How to put a quest together...
1. The quest should be based on a theme (which could be the Olympics or another more local event)

2. Include activities that can be carried out at various levels of fitness

3. Promote the quest (posters, word of mouth, text messages, emails, etc)

4. Create an easy invitation to take part

5. Have a system to track participation (which can be paper-based)...

6. ... and a system to show off members’ achievements (e.g. visual leader boards, number of participants, number of challenges taken)

7. Offer encouragement along the way

8. Have winners and completers – but no losers. All should receive a certificate of completion – and the choice is then yours what the prizes should be for winners

9. Celebrate achievement, both of members and the team – let them have their moment of glory, whether in the local press or simply making them famous at your gym

Ultimately, you can be as creative as you allow yourself and your team to be. So get your team involved in making it fun. Negotiate with local suppliers to create prizes and rewards. Explore a variety of themes, from local sporting events to the Rio Olympics. Then develop an effective marketing and communication campaign and enjoy rolling it out and engaging your members on a whole new level.

Will yours be the winning quest?

I’d love to hear about your quests, and will feature the winning submitted quest in a special fitness quest post on my blog. Please email me details of your quests by the deadline of 31 October 2016

[email protected]

About the author

An Coppens
An Coppens
An Coppens,

Chief game changer,

Gamification Nation


An Coppens is chief game changer at Gamification Nation.

She specialises in gamification design and works with companies all over the world to help them achieve business results with game psychology and game elements.

Her blog reached the UK blog award finals in both 2015 and 2016.

www.gamificationnation.com

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
1Life has introduced a raft of innovative leisure concepts across the five-site portfolio
1Life has introduced a raft of innovative leisure concepts across the five-site portfolio
1Life has introduced a raft of innovative leisure concepts across the five-site portfolio
1Life has introduced a raft of innovative leisure concepts across the five-site portfolio
1Life has introduced a raft of innovative leisure concepts across the five-site portfolio.
1Life has introduced a raft of innovative leisure concepts across the five-site portfolio.
1Life has introduced a raft of innovative leisure concepts across the five-site portfolio.
1Life has introduced a raft of innovative leisure concepts across the five-site portfolio.
1Life has invested over £1.5m to engage MK’s families, sports teams and deconditioned market in physical activity
1Life has invested over £1.5m to engage MK’s families, sports teams and deconditioned market in physical activity
1Life has invested over £1.5m to engage MK’s families, sports teams and deconditioned market in physical activity
1Life has invested over £1.5m to engage MK’s families, sports teams and deconditioned market in physical activity
1Life has invested over £1.5m to engage MK’s families, sports teams and deconditioned market in physical activity
1Life has invested over £1.5m to engage MK’s families, sports teams and deconditioned market in physical activity
1Life has invested over £1.5m to engage MK’s families, sports teams and deconditioned market in physical activity
1Life has invested over £1.5m to engage MK’s families, sports teams and deconditioned market in physical activity
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/806328_951228.jpg
The Rio Games are almost here. Time to create an Olympic challenge at your gym
An Coppens Chief game changer at Gamification Nation,Olympics, gamification, An Coppens, challenges
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Click on a catalogue to view it online
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Diary dates
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Diary dates
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Diary dates
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