Gyms around the world are temporarily closing their doors to stop the spread of COVID-19. By now a lot of fitness business owners have moved their services online. For the foreseeable future at least, delivering on-demand or live streamed classes will be the only way to keep your gym operational.
And, because your workouts have moved online, accountability has become more important than ever. And, there is no excuse not to hold your members accountable, given the technology that’s available to connect to a person anywhere in the world. In this article, we will look at the reasons why accountability is so important and explore some strategies to keep your members accountable.
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Why is Accountability so Important?
There is a lot of discussion about what actually makes a fitness studio retain members In the last couple of years, the explosion in popularity of boutique fitness led to many stating that branding and community is the driving force behind keeping retention high. While these are very important factors, they can be difficult to translate to an online setting. The practice of keeping your members accountable, however, is the only factor that can transfer easily and be the difference between retaining a high or low percentage of your membership base.
Accountability Gives You the Edge Over the Competition
The digital fitness market has grown a lot over the past number of years and transformed the way people can workout at home. Videocassettes and DVDs have been replaced by cutting edge technology that really engages the consumers. Peleton, Mirror, and Tonal are examples of companies that have made huge strides in this area recently. Combine that with thousands of fitness influencers that have used social media to reach large audiences and you can see how competitive this market is – and the whole of the fitness industry has just entered it!
But what sets you apart from the rest?
What stops your members from just following their favorite influencer?
The answer is accountability. Beachbody, Joe Wicks, and Kayla Itsines might have brand recognition but they can’t hold their members to account the way you can as a gym owner. And accountability gets results, which is what members really want. As Alex Hormozi said in a recent episode of our podcast; “People pay for you to pay attention.” This is what will give you the edge over the competition. You have built a relationship with your members that is familiar and reliable to them. Double down on this to give you a better chance of keeping your retention rates high.
12 Ways to Keep Your Members Accountable Online
In these unprecedented times, the health and fitness of your members should be a priority. With advances in technology, you need to get a little creative and think about how you can hold your members accountable online. Here are 12 ways to keep your members motivated, progressing and hitting their goals.
1. Live Stream Online Workouts
With gyms closed, fitness has gone fully digital. You can continue to deliver expert guidance by live streaming your workouts. Several brands have already started live streaming workouts like Blink Fitness, Orangetheory, and Barry’s Bootcamp.
The difference between live streaming and pre-recorded is that live streams are well, live. With pre-recorded videos, there’s more editing involved so you can make it feel a little more polished. Live streaming is great when you want to stick to your normal class schedule and want to interact with your members in real-time.
To get you started, we’ve pulled together a step-by-step guide on how to live stream your workouts. We talk about what you need to set up to get going, how to engage your viewers and how to personalize the experience for your audience.
2. Define and Track Goals
When you define your fitness goals, you’re already increasing accountability. Accountability encourages us to define and track our fitness. When you have a goal, whether it’s big or small, it helps to keep you motivated. You can still hold your members accountable by helping them to define their goals and showing them how to track their fitness.
3. Create a Support System
By creating a support system for members, you can hold them accountable and encourage them to share their journey. A support system is crucial to help maintain motivation and engagement. Whether it’s a private Facebook group or a personalized email to check in with members, accountability and support go hand in hand.
4. Track Exercise and Fitness Goals
Encourage your members to track and monitor their fitness. In order to see progress and stay on top of their goals, tracking is crucial. There are a few options when it comes to tracking exercise. Thanks to fitness technology, there are several fitness trackers and apps members can use to track their goals. Whether its weight loss or cardio, you can still help your members stay motivated and meet their goals. Some of the best apps for tracking fitness are:
5. Digital Commitment Contract
Many resolutions and goals are created with good intentions but are never met. A commitment contract solidifies your members’ promise to live a healthy lifestyle. Some clients need an extra push when it comes to maintaining motivation and staying committed to health and fitness. Your digital commitment contract would include things like fitness goals, eating less processed foods, and exercising three times a week.
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To keep your members committed to the contract, you should check-in with them regularly. If needed, it’s possible to include a penalty if members stray. This could be in the form of a donation to their chosen charity or no cheat day for one week. Each contract can be personalized to your members’ needs and requirements.
6. Create a Home Workout Exercise Plan
Sometimes the hardest part of working out at home is knowing what to do. Create home exercise workout plans for your members. This could be in the form of a fitness challenge, a general fitness program, or a personalized workout schedule. Depending on the services you offer and your members, you can create home workout plans to suit different abilities and needs.
7. Encourage Social Sharing
Social media plays a huge role in marketing and engagement. The likelihood is that social media already plays a massive part in your marketing and retention strategy. Continue to encourage social sharing and engage with members online.
Encourage sharing on social media and reply promptly to comments and messages. Use a hashtag and encourage members to share and tag your business. When you share your goals and progress with friends, it increases the feeling of accountability.
8. Utilize Social Media
Create a private Facebook group where members can share their photos of their journey and connect with other people. At a time where more people than ever are scrolling through social media, it’s a great opportunity to create a support system on Instagram and Facebook. Utilize social media to develop an online gym community to support each other.
With social distancing guidance in place, it’s important to create a positive digital support system. Mental health is just as crucial as physical health. Use the technology and tools you have available to hold your members accountable and nurture member relationships.
9. On-Demand Video
To keep your members healthy and focused, you can create a library of recorded video content. Unlike live streaming, pre-recorded videos can be accessed by members at any time. When you’re deciding between pre-recorded video and live streaming, there are a few factors that come into play. Pre-recorded video content is best for the following:
- Demonstrate a series of movements
- You want more control over the final edit
- Choose the best takes
- Want to produce episodes or shorter content
- Share a workout for members that they can do at any time of the day
10. Open Communication
Keep the lines of communication open. Members should be able to check-in easily with you and ask for help. Whether you use WhatsApp, push notifications or email, stay in touch with your members regularly.
One way to receive regular feedback is through live Q&A sessions through Facebook or Instagram Live. It’s the perfect time to ask for feedback on your workout plans, video content, and extra support members feel they need. From this information, you can then create the right kind of content and support to keep members focused and accountable.
11. Online Personal Training Session
As gyms have been forced to close, virtual or online training is a viable option for many fitness businesses. During the current pandemic, online training is a good option for keeping your members engaged. Virtual training requires a lot of communication and holding your clients accountable. Online personal training is a premium service, so it is a good option for paying members. Tools like Skype and Zoom allow you to connect with members in their living room and provide the support and training they need.
The Alloy Personal Training Business Podcast has a great episode on virtual training. The episode talks about keeping your members engaged virtually, tools that you can use to run online training, and how to sell virtual training as a premium service if you don’t already.
12. Fitness Challenges
Create an online fitness challenge for your members. Set a goal and end date and encourage members to sign up. You can carry out a fitness challenge entirely from a distance using social media, email, and other technology you have available.
Create a hashtag for the challenge and encourage social sharing. Use a private Facebook group to engage with members daily and showcase your fitness challenge photos. Here are some ideas for an online fitness challenge:
- 30-day plank challenge
- Healthy eating challenge
- Weight loss challenge
- At-home yoga challenge
- Body positivity challenge
Whether you run live group classes, offer personal one-on-one virtual training or launch a new online fitness challenge is down to you. There are a ton of different ways to keep your members accountable online while sticking to social distancing guidelines.
The coronavirus has temporarily changed our lives. But you can stay connected with your members and keep up the sense of comradery you’ve worked so hard to create over the years. Even if your members can’t be in the studio with you, they need to feel your support and a sense of fitness accountability to maintain motivation and stay healthy.