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5 Problems in the Fitness Industry You Can Help Solve


Being a fitness business owner has come to mean more than just providing a space for members to get fit. Now, as an advocate of health and wellness, a fitness business owner has far more responsibilities that may, at times, feel overwhelming. From maintaining a focus on mental as well as physical health to creating an inclusive and open community for all, it pays to know the fundamental problems in the fitness industry that you’re up against.

From challenges like keeping clients motivated to ensuring that your staff is well trained, it may seem like an impossible task to complete.

In this article, we’ll look at five of the most common problems this has created for gym owners and how you can address them. Skip ahead to:

1. Misinformation

The internet hosts some incredibly useful health and fitness information, but it’s not always the most helpful. The problem for many people out there is that it can be hard to discern what’s helpful and what’s not. On any given day, at least three of the books in the top ten on Amazon are related to the latest buzz diet, celebrity-endorsed fitness, or new health and wellness trends. What sources do you trust? Which piece of advice is best for you?

Solution: Educate & Inform

As a fitness business owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that you’re providing your members with the most relevant, accurate, and up-to-date information that is available to you.

Take time during your classes or motivation sessions to ensure that your members have a full understanding of why they’re performing certain exercises or tasks. Additionally, remember that some people are stepping into your gym with a very, very basic understanding of health and wellness. Make sure that you start from the beginning – asking them all the relevant questions to ensure you know exactly what your members need to know and how you can help them get there.

This doesn’t mean you need to become an informal lecturer to all your members, and it doesn’t mean you have to invest hours of effort into creating learning materials either. Simple things such as posters showing people the correct form for certain exercises can be a game-changer. You can even set up informal Q&A sessions once a week, either in-person or online, that allow your members to ask you any questions that may be on your mind. Regular emails or infographics can also be of huge help in these situations.

Read More: The Complete Guide to Email Marketing


2. One-Way Approach

Social media is an excellent resource for finding like-minded people with similar interests. This is brilliant because no matter what your interests are, you can find a community of people who support you and share your passion.

But social platforms can also have the unintended side-effect of polarising people. Forums and groups can quickly become echo chambers for one particular school of thought. And it’s especially prevalent in the areas of fitness, health, and wellness. 

From Paleo to Keto and high-intensity interval training to spin classes – trainers and brands claim that their approach is the only way to reach your goals.

As a fitness professional, you know the truth is that different health/nutrition/training programs have their own set of benefits. You’re likely also aware that the dangers of subscribing to one school of thought are that no single training method or health ideology works for everyone, all the time. There’s not a “one-size-fits-all” workout.

Solution: Approach Members as Individuals 

From your sales process to the entire member experience – always remember that each of your members is unique. They have different goals, different lifestyles, different likes/dislikes, and different motivations. 

That hardcore powerlifting program that worked great for one client may not produce any results with another. If clients from your HIIT class are raving about how great the workout is – it doesn’t mean you should sell it to everyone. 

Spread the message that different programs equal different benefits. It’s about tailoring strategies to suit the client’s needs. Listen to your members, and your staff. As a fitness business owner, you are the most invested person in the service you’re providing: but this can lead to blind spots. Make sure you’re taking the time to get clear feedback from your members and staff on your training programs and approach.

Getting this aspect of your business right is crucial for growth and retention.

Read More: Alex Hormozi’s Guide to Boosting Your Business


3. Information Overload

Daniel Levitin, the author of ‘The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload,’ states that “we’ve created more information in the past few years than in all of human history before us.” You’d think that more information is better, but unfortunately, when there are too many options, inaction rears its head. It’s a paradox of choice.

You’ve seen clients who keep changing their routine every few weeks: you know that they’re not going to see long-term improvements. But how do you communicate that to them?

Constantly being presented with new and exciting ways to get perfect results means that many people find it challenging to maintain enough consistency to reach their goals.

Just think about the kinds of questions you hear from your members practically every day: “Is a full-body split or body-part split best for gaining muscle?”, “Should I eat six small meals or do intermittent fasting to lose body fat?” “What about getting a pump?” “Are carbs at night okay?”.

Try it for yourself: put all of your own knowledge and experience to the back of your mind and Google “best workout routines” and just take a look at the variety (and quality) of what comes up. Chances are, you’re probably going to see a lot of contradictions even just from the results page. So how do you combat this?

Solution: Ask and Listen

Asking and listening, as opposed to telling and selling, helps you to understand a client’s needs and avoids information overload. Encourage clients to ask themselves ‘why’ three times before they decide on an action or to add something to their routine.

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It will gently help them realize that, more often than not, most of what you think you need to do is not as necessary as you initially feel. 

Do you really need to stop eating after 6 pm? Do you really need to increase your training to 6 days per week? Asking yourself “why” allows you to challenge limiting beliefs and dig deeper into the root of the issue.

Regular, consistent exercise that gradually increases in difficulty and length along with a steady diet that produces a calorie deficit will, in time, produce results. Sometimes, simplifying the challenge down can be of huge benefit to members. Make sure that they understand that dramatic changes will most likely lead to failure, while steady, incremental improvements are where the true power lies.

Finally, remind your members that time is the biggest challenge in their mentality when it comes to improving their fitness. Everyone wants to see results immediately, but shifting their mindset to visualizing themselves in 6 months or a year instead of in just two weeks will actually dramatically improve their chances of achieving their fitness goals.

Along with teaching the evidence-based underpinnings of fitness, the power of “why” will help you fend off the mass onslaught of information and find a place of peace and progress amidst the confusion.

4. Elitist Attitudes

Fitness should be accessible to everyone. But unfortunately, many gyms are places that are unwelcoming to beginners. Going hand in hand with the ‘one-way’ fitness approach, there’s a trend towards fitness snobbery and increasing the divide between the enlightened people who ‘know’ fitness and the people who ‘don’t know.’ It provides a false sense of moral superiority that does nothing for anyone.

These attitudes discourage new trainees from dipping their toes into the world of fitness. The last thing you want as a fitness entrepreneur is to have prospects be turned off your gym because they don’t feel like they’re advanced enough.

Read More: How Spartans Boxing Used Inclusivity to Boost Their Business by 50%


Solution: Build a Community

Everybody has to start their fitness journey somewhere, and starting anything new can feel intimidating. A recent study from Latent View reveals that an engaging community is one of the top reasons people go to the gym – so it makes sense to build one for your fitness business. New members need to feel welcome and like they’re part of something. 

The key to building a community at your gym relies on the relationship you foster with members and how you encourage them to bond with each other. It’s about more than sweating it out in a 45-minute class. What can you offer outside of exercise to enhance your members’ experience? 

Try hosting events that extend beyond fitness – a reason for everyone to get together. You could run a “TGIF” class and celebration on Fridays and invite members to socialize at your studio after class. Dedicate an area to some pumping music and provide refreshments.

It may sound small, but you’ll be surprised at the impact it can have. Katie Daniel, the owner of Ambition Fitness, found that just the addition of a coffee machine at the studio reception became a reason for her members to socialize before and after class. Creating the perfect member experience is what has enabled Katie to grow her studio into a franchise-ready business in less than 12 months. Find out more about her journey here.

5. Lack of Member Support

The reason people join a gym is that they’re attracted to an idea. Maybe it’s getting shredded for summer, weight loss, or just to increase physical activity; that’s what they’re signing up for. 

The reason they leave is that they’re unfulfilled. The idea hasn’t lived up to expectations. Perhaps they lost motivation or lost sight of their goals. Maybe they were putting in the effort but didn’t see the results they wanted. 

When client motivation starts to dwindle, so does their progress. Soon after, their membership gets canceled. No matter what stage your clients are in their fitness journey, they all need support to keep going. When members feel unsupported, they’re much more likely to look elsewhere for an alternative solution to help them reach their goals – and you don’t want that.

Read More: Dr. Paul Bedford’s Guide to Member Retention 


Solution: Staff Support and Group Training

Your staff needs to be motivating clients, reminding them why they started, and pushing them to reach their goals – not letting them forget about it. If a client doesn’t see the results they expected, a trainer should be there listening, finding out why, and coming up with the solution.

Aside from hiring a great team, there are multiple benefits to offering group training. In this case, it creates an environment where members are supporting themselves and each other. 

Classes and boot camps help to break down barriers and incorporate newbies into the tribe. An IHRSA report revealed that class attendees are 56% less likely to cancel their membership compared to those who train on their own using free weights or cardio equipment.

Go a step further and set up a Facebook group where you can host live Q&A and invite your fitness trainers to engage with posts and comments within the community. 

Read More: How to Set Up a Loyal Fitness Community


In Summary 

Every industry has its own problems. For fitness professionals – your customers walk in with them. As a fitness business owner, you need to see these challenges as opportunities. If you can provide the solution to your members that helps them to feel fitter, healthier, and happier, you will see immediate results in your member retention rates.

Struggling to manage your member and staff needs with your current business platform? Our experts can help you to create a faster, simpler experience for everyone involved in your fitness business.

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"I think Glofox speaks to lots of different fitness businesses. I looked at a few options, but the Glofox positioning was more flexible. Without it the business wouldn't be scaleable”
Mehdi Elaichouni
Owner at Carpe Diem BJJ

Trusted by studios, and global gym chains.

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