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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Ask the experts: Exercise progression

Abi Harris talks to industry experts about ways operators can ensure members feel a continual sense of achievement and progression that keeps them coming back for more

Published in Health Club Management 2022 issue 6
Exercise progression is vital to the success of the industry / photo: shutterstock/Kzenon
Exercise progression is vital to the success of the industry / photo: shutterstock/Kzenon
Paul Bedford
Retention Guru
photo: Dr Paul Bedford

Motivation and willpower alone aren’t enough. Members need a stimulus to reinvigorate themselves and – like a compass correction – set them on course again.

Without an intervention, members will go with what they know, even if it’s boring, as they perceive a greater risk of not having a good workout if they try something new.

You need to make gym visits an experience; give members something to work towards. For example, creating a four-week exercise programme that builds up to something a little out of their comfort zone, or challenging them with a personal best to strive for in their fifth week.

The idea is for them to challenge themselves to learn new exercises or new methods of training, rather than to compete against other people.

When people get bored or stuck, they give up. Look at your data and some of you will see people starting to drop out after six months, with an acceleration in attrition after this point, because they’re not achieving results from their programme, are seeing less positives than when they started, or because they’re bored. They’re putting in the time and effort, but not getting results.

In video games, quite often you have to collect badges, treasure and weapons that you’ll need at the next level. In our industry the equivalent is new exercises, new equipment, heart rate monitors etc – tools that help members get closer to where they want to be.

So aim to challenge them at around four months, before boredom sets in.

They should be confident in what they’re doing by then and ready to expand their repertoire. Adopt a stepped approach, rather than a radical shift, so if they’re doing chest presses on a machine, for example, consider teaching them how to do it using free weights.

It’s a bit like going to your favourite restaurant and always ordering the same thing – if someone explains how good the special is, you’re more likely to give it a go.

Following that first intervention at four months, I’d advise a nudge to try something different every three months – just when they’re back to plodding along and need a new challenge.

Most programmes consist of three sets of 12 repetitions. Why? It’s the equivalent of the quick start on a CV machine. When I worked at the YMCA we had 20 different approaches to resistance training alone, so mix it up more.

Suppliers offer great training on their new kit, so gym staff can fully explain the benefits of the programmes on the console and help members get more out of their workouts. Make sure you take advantage of this, and make sure your team pass these insights on to your members.

Bedford in brief

• Remember that without an intervention, members will go with what they know

• Adopt a stepped approach to programme change, rather than a radical shift

• Use the training offered by suppliers and pass their insights about the kit on to your members

• Remember that members need a stimulus to reinvigorate themselves

• Make gym visits an experience

• Encourage members to challenge themselves

Motivation and willpower alone aren’t enough. Members need a stimulus to reinvigorate them
Left on their own, most members stick to what they know / photo: shutterstock/NDAB Creativity
Clayton Herbert
Technogym
photo: Technogym

It’s vital to set the right foundations at the beginning of the customer journey by profiling and assessing users to understand their goals, dislikes, preferences, experience and – importantly – their readiness to exercise.

As an industry, we have the technology to run less intrusive assessments with high accuracy using body analysis devices, providing the user with a greater understanding of their body composition and a reference to improve against, which has become a standard for many operator customer journeys.

A framework such as FITT (frequency, intensity, time and type (of exercise)) can then be applied to support the exercise prescription phase.

Equally important is looking at progression holistically. The club is integral to offering an experience users can’t get at home – with expert guidance and human interaction – but prescribing exercise beyond the four walls is also vital to helping users progress wherever they are exercising.

Seasonality definitely impacts progression; as an industry, we naturally see a drop off after the peak periods of January-March and September-October, but there’s never been a better opportunity for operators to be creative, to stay in touch and engage members during non-peak periods, remaining relevant with a hybrid approach by providing remote coaching, engaging workout content and other paid-for or premium services outside the club.

We support operators in delivering hybrid journeys and continuous progression through the power of our ecosystem, in particular the Mywellness CRM, Technogym app and Technogym Live. These enable users to exercise wherever they are, and progress them through automation and AI; keeping them engaged and motivated, while access to user insights also keeps operators at the core.

Additionally, our circuit-based solution, Biocircuit, automatically guides members through their workout, supports exercise compliance and enables progression.

With one log-in, the equipment automatically adapts each product to the users’ range of motion, seat position, correct weight and more.

Biocircuit offers five engaging training programmes developed to optimise results for every type of user. Moving from station to station, users perform the prescribed workload for 45 seconds, while engaging with technology that balances all phases of movement – both concentric and eccentric.

Herbert in brief

• Set the right foundations at the beginning of the customer’s wellness journey

• Profile and assess new members to understand their goals, dislikes, preferences, experience and their readiness to exercise

• Provide members with an understanding of their body composition to give them a reference to improve against

• Remember the club is integral to offering an experience that users can’t get at home – with guidance, expertise and all-important human interaction

• Stay in touch and engage members during non-peak periods, remaining relevant with a hybrid approach

• Prescribing exercise beyond the four walls of the club is vital for users’ progress

We use AI to progress people automatically
Progression should be holistic – in club, and at home / photo: shutterstock/antoniodiaz
David Stalker
Myzone
photo: Dave Stalker

Exercise progression is different for all of us, so we can’t target everyone with one message or buzzword; we must be mindful of what it might mean to them personally.

For example, it could mean spending more time on their feet to overcome a sedentary lifestyle, or setting a specific target, such as distance goals or progression in movement complexity. If there’s no evolution in their fitness journey, members will go elsewhere for excitement, engagement and ongoing benefits.

The tailored experience that shows a member you care and have the ability, equipment and partners to look after them, has to happen at the point of onboarding. Be with them through the honeymoon period and earn their loyalty.

Set touch points to ensure members continually feel they’re being challenged and overcoming obstacles. These need to be achievable goals that really make the difference when it comes to behaviour change and this will bring results time after time.

For instance, Myzone uses the Myzone Effort Points (MEPs) system.

Earning 1,300 MEPs in a month meets the recommended guidelines for physical activity from the World Health Organization and is an attainable goal that can be built on month after month if a member wishes to better their previous count.

Through the use of accurate wearable technology, in-club tools, additional programming and support, Myzone gives the operator the means to engage a community and keep members motivated.

Staff and PTs can host classes, with members even joining the display screen from home, offering live feedback of heart rate zones, enhancing their experience and rewarding effort, regardless of fitness level.

Operators can also monitor members’ activity outside the gym, setting new challenges and rewarding effort month by month via the Myzone app. When we understand how people like to train outside our clubs, we’re in a much better place to tailor our offering to their needs when they’re within our four walls.

In class, the education in heart-rate training through easy-to-understand on-screen zones allows individuals to know exactly how their body reacts to each exercise. Outside the club, they can see their effort displayed real-time in the app or on their wrist (using the MZ-Switch wearable) but, more importantly, they can compare their metrics workout-to-workout.

Stalker in brief

• Be mindful of what progression means to members personally

• Tailor your experience to show members you care and have the ability, equipment and partners to look after them. This has to be clear at the point of onboarding

• Ensure members feel they’re being challenged and overcoming obstacles

• Focus on creating achievable goals for your members Monitor members’ activity outside the gym, so you learn what they enjoy

If there’s no evolution in their fitness journey, members will go elsewhere for excitement
Tailored offers come from understanding how members like to train out of the club / photo: shutterstock/Ververidis Vasilis
Aaron McCulloch
Your Personal Training
photo: Aaron McCulloch

One of the biggest reasons members don’t see progression is if they’re put on a ‘cookie cutter’ 8-12 week programme with no call to action, and they’re not told what happens after that.

Three months on, boredom sets in, they may not have seen results, there’s a lack of motivation and accountability, so they either keep doing the same exercises or simply stop.

Programmes should have variations created around baseline abilities, fitness level and confidence, but that’s often not what happens – and this is where PTs can help, by supporting, guiding and encouraging members, which builds trust and rapport, so when that person needs help, they know who to approach.

We encourage PTs to interact with members on a daily basis, whether they’re clients or not. New members in particular need regular interaction and some hand-holding. Once they’re comfortable and more competent they’ll naturally reduce their contact.

There’s no set rule on how often interaction should happen, but it’s always best to over-deliver, and the first 14 days of membership is crucial.

When it comes to developing an effective fitness habit and reaching goals, oversight and encouragement from a qualified professional is essential. When exercising alone, it’s easy for people to fall into boring routines and become less adherent, especially if they don’t see results or they plateau. A PT will mix it up, bring new challenges and explain new techniques to motivate members beyond the plateau.

Accountability is a big part of progression. Left to their own devices, many members wind up on CV machines, or listlessly move from one piece of equipment to another. A PT ensures they spend time performing the right exercises with the right equipment. PTs are also ideal for people who can only commit a limited amount of time per week, as they maximise that time to ensure results.

Our PTs follow the three Rs rule, Results = Retention = Referrals.

McCulloch in brief

•  Remember accountability is a big part of progression

• Avoid cookie cutter fitness programmes that have no call to action

• Ensure that programmes have variations around baseline abilities, fitness level and confidence

• Encourage PTs to interact with members on a daily basis, whether they’re clients or not

• When it come to interaction, it’s best to over-deliver

• The first 14 days of membership is crucial

We encourage PTs to interact with members on a daily basis, whether they’re clients or not
Accountability plays a big part in progression / photo: shutterstock/dotshock
Scott Trinder
Peloton Commercial (Precor)
photo: Scott Trinder

Exercise progression is rooted in results – in moving forwards and not stagnating – but results are never linear when it comes to exercise, so progression can be quite a protracted process, which is what makes it such an elusive thing for gym members to understand.

Ultimately, progression is what retains members’ interest and custom. If they come consistently enough to see results they’ll be motivated, which drives attendance.

Progress is nothing if you don’t know you’re making it. Members must know where they’ve come from to know where they’re going – if someone doesn’t know what weight they lifted last week, or how fast they ran 3k, how can they know they’ve made progress? You can’t challenge yourself to move forward unless you can see you’ve stagnated.

Our digital networked fitness solution – Preva – offers operators the tools to quantify members’ progression in black and white. A mobile app enables exercisers to track every workout, whether in the gym on an exercise machine, in a hotel room or the park. It enables members to cross-capture their data so every workout counts towards their progress.

Alongside this, we partner with Advagym by Sony, so operators can programme ‘pucks’ on their kit to gather as much information as they like and they track every rep.

Preva and Advagym feed into each other, meaning members can see where they’re at and track progress visit-by-visit. Advagym can also sit within an operators’ consumer-facing member app and complement other functions, such as nutritional advice.

In a climate where yearly memberships are less common and members can easily cancel, operators have to be hot on progression at all times – every visit is a potential pinch point.

We advise our operator partners to train up staff champions to drive the tech in-club, to ensure members are using it to its full potential for their progression. These champions can steer members away from the quick start button.

Progression needs to be part of the fabric of a club, from a members’ very first visit, make sure that every joiner knows enough about the kit not to take the path of least resistance. No-one who takes that path is going to make real progress – you have to record it, assess it and progress from it.

Trinder in brief

• Results are never linear when it comes to exercise

•  Make sure that every new joiner knows enough about the kit not to take the path of least resistance

•  Progress is nothing if you don’t know you’re making it

•  Operators are advised to train staff champions to ensure that members are using the in-club tech it to its full potential for their continued progression

•  Progression needs to be part of the fabric of a club

We advise operators to train staff champions to drive in-club tech and steer members away from the quick start button
Record, assess and progress: all stages of the fitness journey should be monitored / photo: shutterstock/EZ-Stock Studio
Patrick Wolstenholme
Oldham Active
Photo: Patrick Wolstenholme

For many people, even just entering our buildings for the first time is a massive achievement. Our team of fitness experts are on hand to acknowledge that simply turning up is personal progress.

It’s important in those first weeks and months that our team is able to demonstrate we’re a welcoming, kind, supportive and social environment.

However, consistency of care must go beyond those first few goals to achieve long-term success, and we ensure members are offered a full induction/welcome workout.

Our gyms are staffed at all times, with experts walking the gym floor offering advice and guidance, and we encourage staff to get to know members, even those that don’t sign up for an induction.

To support progression, members are given regular, bespoke programme reviews, at least every four weeks or when they feel they need further motivation. These are determined by their availability, which could mean increasing intensity to get the best out of a workout time-wise, or duration if training for an endurance event, for example.

While we want gym visits to become habitual, we don’t want members to get bored, so we continuously challenge them using the FITT (Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type) principle.

Members need to feel their routine is having a positive impact, both mentally and physically and so as a customer’s physicality adapts and their fitness improves, goals need to be constantly monitored and readdressed, to stop their mind becoming complacent and avoid them feeling their fitness journey is ‘completed’ or ‘over’, which could stop them turning up.

We’ve installed Tanita Body Composition equipment and trained staff in their use to help members understand the insights it gives on how their exercise routines benefit their health.

Whether a customer joins us to lose weight, is training for a particular health challenge or has a GP health referral to our Reach exercise scheme, progression must play a part in their long-term success for us to benefit from retention.

We’re fortunate to have caring, educated staff and a wide range of facilities, including leisure centres, gyms, group exercise studios, swimming pools, racquet sports, indoor bowling, walking football, five-a-side, track and field, running/walking groups and social wellness groups. This personalised, adaptable approach, with so many activity options, all helps to keep progression on track.

Wolstenholme in brief

• Set the right foundations at the very beginning of the customer journey

• Profile and assess new members to understand their personal goals, dislikes, preferences, experience and readiness to exercise

• Provide members with an understanding of their body composition to give them a reference to improve against

• Remember the club is integral to offering an experience users can’t get at home – with guidance, expertise and regular human interaction

• Stay in touch – engage members during non-peak periods.

• Remain relevant with a hybrid approach – prescribing exercise beyond the four walls is vital to help with progression

Progression must play a part in their long-term success for us to benefit from retention
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features

Ask the experts: Exercise progression

Abi Harris talks to industry experts about ways operators can ensure members feel a continual sense of achievement and progression that keeps them coming back for more

Published in Health Club Management 2022 issue 6
Exercise progression is vital to the success of the industry / photo: shutterstock/Kzenon
Exercise progression is vital to the success of the industry / photo: shutterstock/Kzenon
Paul Bedford
Retention Guru
photo: Dr Paul Bedford

Motivation and willpower alone aren’t enough. Members need a stimulus to reinvigorate themselves and – like a compass correction – set them on course again.

Without an intervention, members will go with what they know, even if it’s boring, as they perceive a greater risk of not having a good workout if they try something new.

You need to make gym visits an experience; give members something to work towards. For example, creating a four-week exercise programme that builds up to something a little out of their comfort zone, or challenging them with a personal best to strive for in their fifth week.

The idea is for them to challenge themselves to learn new exercises or new methods of training, rather than to compete against other people.

When people get bored or stuck, they give up. Look at your data and some of you will see people starting to drop out after six months, with an acceleration in attrition after this point, because they’re not achieving results from their programme, are seeing less positives than when they started, or because they’re bored. They’re putting in the time and effort, but not getting results.

In video games, quite often you have to collect badges, treasure and weapons that you’ll need at the next level. In our industry the equivalent is new exercises, new equipment, heart rate monitors etc – tools that help members get closer to where they want to be.

So aim to challenge them at around four months, before boredom sets in.

They should be confident in what they’re doing by then and ready to expand their repertoire. Adopt a stepped approach, rather than a radical shift, so if they’re doing chest presses on a machine, for example, consider teaching them how to do it using free weights.

It’s a bit like going to your favourite restaurant and always ordering the same thing – if someone explains how good the special is, you’re more likely to give it a go.

Following that first intervention at four months, I’d advise a nudge to try something different every three months – just when they’re back to plodding along and need a new challenge.

Most programmes consist of three sets of 12 repetitions. Why? It’s the equivalent of the quick start on a CV machine. When I worked at the YMCA we had 20 different approaches to resistance training alone, so mix it up more.

Suppliers offer great training on their new kit, so gym staff can fully explain the benefits of the programmes on the console and help members get more out of their workouts. Make sure you take advantage of this, and make sure your team pass these insights on to your members.

Bedford in brief

• Remember that without an intervention, members will go with what they know

• Adopt a stepped approach to programme change, rather than a radical shift

• Use the training offered by suppliers and pass their insights about the kit on to your members

• Remember that members need a stimulus to reinvigorate themselves

• Make gym visits an experience

• Encourage members to challenge themselves

Motivation and willpower alone aren’t enough. Members need a stimulus to reinvigorate them
Left on their own, most members stick to what they know / photo: shutterstock/NDAB Creativity
Clayton Herbert
Technogym
photo: Technogym

It’s vital to set the right foundations at the beginning of the customer journey by profiling and assessing users to understand their goals, dislikes, preferences, experience and – importantly – their readiness to exercise.

As an industry, we have the technology to run less intrusive assessments with high accuracy using body analysis devices, providing the user with a greater understanding of their body composition and a reference to improve against, which has become a standard for many operator customer journeys.

A framework such as FITT (frequency, intensity, time and type (of exercise)) can then be applied to support the exercise prescription phase.

Equally important is looking at progression holistically. The club is integral to offering an experience users can’t get at home – with expert guidance and human interaction – but prescribing exercise beyond the four walls is also vital to helping users progress wherever they are exercising.

Seasonality definitely impacts progression; as an industry, we naturally see a drop off after the peak periods of January-March and September-October, but there’s never been a better opportunity for operators to be creative, to stay in touch and engage members during non-peak periods, remaining relevant with a hybrid approach by providing remote coaching, engaging workout content and other paid-for or premium services outside the club.

We support operators in delivering hybrid journeys and continuous progression through the power of our ecosystem, in particular the Mywellness CRM, Technogym app and Technogym Live. These enable users to exercise wherever they are, and progress them through automation and AI; keeping them engaged and motivated, while access to user insights also keeps operators at the core.

Additionally, our circuit-based solution, Biocircuit, automatically guides members through their workout, supports exercise compliance and enables progression.

With one log-in, the equipment automatically adapts each product to the users’ range of motion, seat position, correct weight and more.

Biocircuit offers five engaging training programmes developed to optimise results for every type of user. Moving from station to station, users perform the prescribed workload for 45 seconds, while engaging with technology that balances all phases of movement – both concentric and eccentric.

Herbert in brief

• Set the right foundations at the beginning of the customer’s wellness journey

• Profile and assess new members to understand their goals, dislikes, preferences, experience and their readiness to exercise

• Provide members with an understanding of their body composition to give them a reference to improve against

• Remember the club is integral to offering an experience that users can’t get at home – with guidance, expertise and all-important human interaction

• Stay in touch and engage members during non-peak periods, remaining relevant with a hybrid approach

• Prescribing exercise beyond the four walls of the club is vital for users’ progress

We use AI to progress people automatically
Progression should be holistic – in club, and at home / photo: shutterstock/antoniodiaz
David Stalker
Myzone
photo: Dave Stalker

Exercise progression is different for all of us, so we can’t target everyone with one message or buzzword; we must be mindful of what it might mean to them personally.

For example, it could mean spending more time on their feet to overcome a sedentary lifestyle, or setting a specific target, such as distance goals or progression in movement complexity. If there’s no evolution in their fitness journey, members will go elsewhere for excitement, engagement and ongoing benefits.

The tailored experience that shows a member you care and have the ability, equipment and partners to look after them, has to happen at the point of onboarding. Be with them through the honeymoon period and earn their loyalty.

Set touch points to ensure members continually feel they’re being challenged and overcoming obstacles. These need to be achievable goals that really make the difference when it comes to behaviour change and this will bring results time after time.

For instance, Myzone uses the Myzone Effort Points (MEPs) system.

Earning 1,300 MEPs in a month meets the recommended guidelines for physical activity from the World Health Organization and is an attainable goal that can be built on month after month if a member wishes to better their previous count.

Through the use of accurate wearable technology, in-club tools, additional programming and support, Myzone gives the operator the means to engage a community and keep members motivated.

Staff and PTs can host classes, with members even joining the display screen from home, offering live feedback of heart rate zones, enhancing their experience and rewarding effort, regardless of fitness level.

Operators can also monitor members’ activity outside the gym, setting new challenges and rewarding effort month by month via the Myzone app. When we understand how people like to train outside our clubs, we’re in a much better place to tailor our offering to their needs when they’re within our four walls.

In class, the education in heart-rate training through easy-to-understand on-screen zones allows individuals to know exactly how their body reacts to each exercise. Outside the club, they can see their effort displayed real-time in the app or on their wrist (using the MZ-Switch wearable) but, more importantly, they can compare their metrics workout-to-workout.

Stalker in brief

• Be mindful of what progression means to members personally

• Tailor your experience to show members you care and have the ability, equipment and partners to look after them. This has to be clear at the point of onboarding

• Ensure members feel they’re being challenged and overcoming obstacles

• Focus on creating achievable goals for your members Monitor members’ activity outside the gym, so you learn what they enjoy

If there’s no evolution in their fitness journey, members will go elsewhere for excitement
Tailored offers come from understanding how members like to train out of the club / photo: shutterstock/Ververidis Vasilis
Aaron McCulloch
Your Personal Training
photo: Aaron McCulloch

One of the biggest reasons members don’t see progression is if they’re put on a ‘cookie cutter’ 8-12 week programme with no call to action, and they’re not told what happens after that.

Three months on, boredom sets in, they may not have seen results, there’s a lack of motivation and accountability, so they either keep doing the same exercises or simply stop.

Programmes should have variations created around baseline abilities, fitness level and confidence, but that’s often not what happens – and this is where PTs can help, by supporting, guiding and encouraging members, which builds trust and rapport, so when that person needs help, they know who to approach.

We encourage PTs to interact with members on a daily basis, whether they’re clients or not. New members in particular need regular interaction and some hand-holding. Once they’re comfortable and more competent they’ll naturally reduce their contact.

There’s no set rule on how often interaction should happen, but it’s always best to over-deliver, and the first 14 days of membership is crucial.

When it comes to developing an effective fitness habit and reaching goals, oversight and encouragement from a qualified professional is essential. When exercising alone, it’s easy for people to fall into boring routines and become less adherent, especially if they don’t see results or they plateau. A PT will mix it up, bring new challenges and explain new techniques to motivate members beyond the plateau.

Accountability is a big part of progression. Left to their own devices, many members wind up on CV machines, or listlessly move from one piece of equipment to another. A PT ensures they spend time performing the right exercises with the right equipment. PTs are also ideal for people who can only commit a limited amount of time per week, as they maximise that time to ensure results.

Our PTs follow the three Rs rule, Results = Retention = Referrals.

McCulloch in brief

•  Remember accountability is a big part of progression

• Avoid cookie cutter fitness programmes that have no call to action

• Ensure that programmes have variations around baseline abilities, fitness level and confidence

• Encourage PTs to interact with members on a daily basis, whether they’re clients or not

• When it come to interaction, it’s best to over-deliver

• The first 14 days of membership is crucial

We encourage PTs to interact with members on a daily basis, whether they’re clients or not
Accountability plays a big part in progression / photo: shutterstock/dotshock
Scott Trinder
Peloton Commercial (Precor)
photo: Scott Trinder

Exercise progression is rooted in results – in moving forwards and not stagnating – but results are never linear when it comes to exercise, so progression can be quite a protracted process, which is what makes it such an elusive thing for gym members to understand.

Ultimately, progression is what retains members’ interest and custom. If they come consistently enough to see results they’ll be motivated, which drives attendance.

Progress is nothing if you don’t know you’re making it. Members must know where they’ve come from to know where they’re going – if someone doesn’t know what weight they lifted last week, or how fast they ran 3k, how can they know they’ve made progress? You can’t challenge yourself to move forward unless you can see you’ve stagnated.

Our digital networked fitness solution – Preva – offers operators the tools to quantify members’ progression in black and white. A mobile app enables exercisers to track every workout, whether in the gym on an exercise machine, in a hotel room or the park. It enables members to cross-capture their data so every workout counts towards their progress.

Alongside this, we partner with Advagym by Sony, so operators can programme ‘pucks’ on their kit to gather as much information as they like and they track every rep.

Preva and Advagym feed into each other, meaning members can see where they’re at and track progress visit-by-visit. Advagym can also sit within an operators’ consumer-facing member app and complement other functions, such as nutritional advice.

In a climate where yearly memberships are less common and members can easily cancel, operators have to be hot on progression at all times – every visit is a potential pinch point.

We advise our operator partners to train up staff champions to drive the tech in-club, to ensure members are using it to its full potential for their progression. These champions can steer members away from the quick start button.

Progression needs to be part of the fabric of a club, from a members’ very first visit, make sure that every joiner knows enough about the kit not to take the path of least resistance. No-one who takes that path is going to make real progress – you have to record it, assess it and progress from it.

Trinder in brief

• Results are never linear when it comes to exercise

•  Make sure that every new joiner knows enough about the kit not to take the path of least resistance

•  Progress is nothing if you don’t know you’re making it

•  Operators are advised to train staff champions to ensure that members are using the in-club tech it to its full potential for their continued progression

•  Progression needs to be part of the fabric of a club

We advise operators to train staff champions to drive in-club tech and steer members away from the quick start button
Record, assess and progress: all stages of the fitness journey should be monitored / photo: shutterstock/EZ-Stock Studio
Patrick Wolstenholme
Oldham Active
Photo: Patrick Wolstenholme

For many people, even just entering our buildings for the first time is a massive achievement. Our team of fitness experts are on hand to acknowledge that simply turning up is personal progress.

It’s important in those first weeks and months that our team is able to demonstrate we’re a welcoming, kind, supportive and social environment.

However, consistency of care must go beyond those first few goals to achieve long-term success, and we ensure members are offered a full induction/welcome workout.

Our gyms are staffed at all times, with experts walking the gym floor offering advice and guidance, and we encourage staff to get to know members, even those that don’t sign up for an induction.

To support progression, members are given regular, bespoke programme reviews, at least every four weeks or when they feel they need further motivation. These are determined by their availability, which could mean increasing intensity to get the best out of a workout time-wise, or duration if training for an endurance event, for example.

While we want gym visits to become habitual, we don’t want members to get bored, so we continuously challenge them using the FITT (Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type) principle.

Members need to feel their routine is having a positive impact, both mentally and physically and so as a customer’s physicality adapts and their fitness improves, goals need to be constantly monitored and readdressed, to stop their mind becoming complacent and avoid them feeling their fitness journey is ‘completed’ or ‘over’, which could stop them turning up.

We’ve installed Tanita Body Composition equipment and trained staff in their use to help members understand the insights it gives on how their exercise routines benefit their health.

Whether a customer joins us to lose weight, is training for a particular health challenge or has a GP health referral to our Reach exercise scheme, progression must play a part in their long-term success for us to benefit from retention.

We’re fortunate to have caring, educated staff and a wide range of facilities, including leisure centres, gyms, group exercise studios, swimming pools, racquet sports, indoor bowling, walking football, five-a-side, track and field, running/walking groups and social wellness groups. This personalised, adaptable approach, with so many activity options, all helps to keep progression on track.

Wolstenholme in brief

• Set the right foundations at the very beginning of the customer journey

• Profile and assess new members to understand their personal goals, dislikes, preferences, experience and readiness to exercise

• Provide members with an understanding of their body composition to give them a reference to improve against

• Remember the club is integral to offering an experience users can’t get at home – with guidance, expertise and regular human interaction

• Stay in touch – engage members during non-peak periods.

• Remain relevant with a hybrid approach – prescribing exercise beyond the four walls is vital to help with progression

Progression must play a part in their long-term success for us to benefit from retention
The Oldham Leisure Centre / Oldham Active
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2022/682961_457392.jpg
How can operators ensure members feel a continual sense of improvement that keeps them coming back for more?
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