12 Types of People at The Gym and How to Engage Them

Published on: 
02 December 19
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10 min read

The gym and fitness industry is poised to see significant growth in the future and expected to reach $147.11 billion by 2024. There is now a huge range of different classes and workouts available, and this variety means you will find many types of people at the gym. 

Whether it’s grunting heavy-lifters, the active retiree, or the health-conscious Millennial, today’s gym-goers comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes. 

As a gym owner, you’re constantly meeting and interacting with different types of people. You’ve got the regulars, the gym-goers that come out in January, and the fitness fanatics. So, how do you sell your products and services to such a wide range of people? In this article, we will talk about the different people you see at the gym and how you can market and sell your services to them. Skip ahead to:

How to Find Your Target Audience 

Nowadays, a gym is home to many different types of people with different goals and needs. The industry has seen growth in unexpected areas; since 1987, members over the age of 55 have increased by 562%

As a health and fitness professional, figuring out how to define and target your audience is essential to building your business, both online and in-person. The best way to build your brand and use the right selling techniques is to identify your niche or a specific group of people you’re trying to reach. 

To best identify all of the types of people at the gym and how to sell to them, create a persona for each group. For example, you might be a fitness studio that caters to women looking for a body-positive place to take classes and transform their fitness. But, you might offer classes ideal for older members such as chair yoga as well as classes aimed at a younger age bracket. With a greater understanding of your audience personas, you can craft content more tailored to each type of person. 

Your gym audience personas should form part of your detailed audience research. You can start by asking your current gym members as well as use your market research to define your audience groups. Learn as much as you can about your member personas including:

  • Demographics
  • Location 
  • Interests and hobbies 
  • Goals and objectives 
  • Availability 
  • Background 

Find out how to build loyalty with the people who have the interest,  time, and money that you want.    

12 Types of People at the Gym and How to Sell to Them

Whether you’re a gym owner or personal trainer, you tend to see the same types of people at the gym. By delving deeper into all the different types of people you cater for, you can figure out what’s most likely to keep members engaged and how to sell gym memberships to similar kinds of people.    

1. The Grunter 

We all know who this person is, and some of us may even be this person. Typically, they draw attention with their loud noises at the gym. Grunters tend to be explicit in their efforts whatever they are doing. Unfortunately, these types of people tend to annoy other members. All the noise can be distracting, even if you’re wearing headphones. If you can, make sure there’s enough room between each piece of equipment.    

2. The Selfie-Obsessed 

The selfie king or queen always has time for a selfie before, during, and after a workout. They might hang out in front of the mirror and never put their phone down. With social media use at an all-time high, you can find a selfie-obsessed gym-goer in the majority of gyms and studios.

There are a couple of things you can do to make full use of those selfies. First of all, encourage your members to hashtag their workout. This turns your members into brand cheerleaders’ and helps to reach out to people in their network. 

To engage and bring in the selfie-obsessed, launch a transformation challenge. This could be a six-week challenge, whether it’s drinking two liters of water every day, getting nine hours of sleep, or a healthy eating challenge. Make sure members tag the challenge and keep track of their transformation. Keep your current members engaged while targeting new members at the same time. 

3. The Equipment Hoarder 

This person hits the treadmill and stays on the treadmill. A queue of people will not discourage this person from jumping equipment; they will not move. If you spot a few equipment hoarders, figure out what’s holding them back from experimenting with different equipment. 

Start by delivering the right induction program. Make sure that all your members know how to use equipment fully and safely. If a member doesn’t feel confident about all the equipment, then they will be more likely to become an equipment hoarder. Another option is to offer personal training services to members – they’re a prime target for one-on-one coaching. This way, they can learn different training techniques as well as bring in another stream of revenue. 

4. The Ultra-Competitive 

Who doesn’t like a bit of friendly competition? The ultra-competitive love to win and compete against, well, anyone. The challenge motivates them to get moving and be the best. Create a challenge or game that is measurable. A competitive atmosphere can provide the motivation other members need, as well as to push themselves. 

You can use your gym mobile app and social media to encourage members to join in. A challenge is also a great way to bring in new members who love a bit of friendly competition. Here are some ideas for gym competitions:

  • Calories burned
  • Running challenges 
  • Most club visits
  • Healthy eating 
  • Weight loss challenge 

5. The Bodybuilder 

The bodybuilder loves to hit the weight room, buys premium quality protein shakes, and is all about muscle gains. You need the right equipment to attract bodybuilder types into your gym. Focus on choosing equipment with heavy weights with plenty of options for deadlifts and free weights. 

Another way to reach out to the bodybuilder gym member is to sell retail that can help them meet their goals and objectives. Products like protein powder, chalk, and hand wraps are ideal for bodybuilders. This shows how your gym is helping them to hit their goals while creating an additional stream of revenue at the same time. 

6. The Fit Couple 

The fit couple arrives together, possibly in matching tracksuits, and love to workout together. They motivate each other to keep going. To cater to this couple, make sure you have the workout space for couples to exercise comfortably. 

When you’re planning your classes or thinking about adding in new ones, consider your audience. Some classes are ideal for couples like AcroYoga, kickboxing, salsa dancing, circuits, and swimming.     

7. The Regulars 

In 2018, there were 62.5 million gym memberships in the United States. Of the millions of people that pay for the gym, more than half never actually go. A whopping 82% of members go to the gym less than one time a week. 

You know who your regulars are. Loyal and long-term members deserve your gratitude. It’s easy to focus on bringing in new members, but your current members should feel appreciated. Send out thank you messages through push notifications on your branded app or through email. Offer special members rewards. This could be in the form of class passes so they can bring a friend or discounts on your retail products.   

8. The Social Butterfly 

In a survey of 2,000 people, 50% said they use the gym to pick up dates. People use the gym for different reasons, and the goal isn’t always fitness. The social butterfly spends more time talking than exercising. They love to go to the gym and hang out. Working out is a side effect of the gym; the main goal is to socialize. 

Gym events are ideal for the social butterfly. Events give your members the chance to socialize and provides potential clients a glimpse at what your gym has to offer. They can help build your gym community, boost retention, and are a brilliant way to target new customers. Here are some ideas for events:

  • Outdoor picnic
  • A Non-alcoholic night on the town 
  • Healthy food tasting 
  • Fitness workshops 

9. The Yogis 

There are an estimated 300 million yoga practitioners around the world. Over the past few years, yoga has grown massively in popularity. The likelihood is that you will see a yogi or two at your gym. 

A fantastic way to bring in new yogis is with Pilates and yoga classes. Another option is to sell yoga gear in your reception area. You don’t need a ton of space to sell retail items. A few shelves are enough if you’re very limited. Pick a few high-quality items like yoga leggings and yoga mats to target your yogis.

10. The Team Workout 

These are the people that arrive in a group of four and never leave a man or woman behind. They love to workout in a group. The thought of running alone on a treadmill is enough for them to cancel their gym memberships. 

If you don’t already offer group training sessions, now is the time to start. Group training is a huge trend and can often boost motivation and keep members coming back. It caters to a ton of different people, including the social-butterflies, and ultra-competitive. 

11. The People Who Hate to Work Out 

These are the people who never go to the gym and hate to work out. You can probably spot them a mile away. The people who hate to work out often don’t know what they are doing. This is a perfect opportunity for you to step in as a fitness expert and offer your professional guidance. Offer easy to understand advice, and maybe an introductory personal training session to get them started.   

12. The Insanely Fit Senior 

Older members can often be overlooked but are a significant target market for long-term sustainable success. These are the people who have hit retirement and want to remain active in their golden years. The insanely fit senior can run rings around some of the younger members and is always at the gym. 

The majority of the time, these are the people that can exercise during the day as they are not restricted by work hours. Focus on creating a class schedule that your older members will love at a time that suits them. They probably aren’t going to be hitting the gym late at night, keep that in mind.  

In Summary 

Gym members come in all shapes and sizes from all walks of life. When you further define your target audience, it allows you to identify your customers’ needs and goals quickly, before providing the best solution. By having a deeper understanding of each of your members, you can connect with them and give the best service. 

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