7 Science-Backed Ways to Motivate Gym Members

It's no secret that sticking to a workout routine and achieving one’s milestones and fitness goals often takes a great amount of motivation.

Countless people become new members of a gym with great plans for themselves only to cancel their gym membership a few months later. Maybe it was a new years resolution that prompted them to start a fitness routine at a gym, or maybe they have come to the fitness club because they know that it will be good for their health.

No matter the reason for initializing the exercise program, there often comes a point in many gym goers’ lives when they simply lose motivation. Of course, as a gym owner, you want to keep your member retention rate high, and one surefire way to increase member retention is to keep your gym members motivated.

If gym members can stay motivated, they are much more likely to keep coming back to the gym week after week, month after month. There are many methods by which a gym can make its space a great source of motivation for its members.

In this article, we go in-depth into 7 science-backed ways to motivate gym members.

1. Make the Optimal Gym Playlist

Good music can be one of the best ways to keep your gym members motivated. There is a good reason that athletes work out with their headphones in.

Scientific studies prove that music can improve your motivation. Music can cause the brain to release dopamine, a chemical that works to regulate motivation and goal-oriented behavior.

Moreover, studies indicate that the reason for the increase in exercise duration with music could be because of various factors like dissociation, arousal, motivation, etc. It can be thus suggested that exercises can be performed for a longer duration with music than without music and the effect is more with fast music than with slow music.

While many gym members will want to listen to their own music with their own headphones, having a motivating playlist in the background can be great for those who do not have their go-to workout playlist.

You, as the gym owner or manager of a fitness facility, will want to make sure that you are not playing the music so loud that people cannot listen to their own music, while also playing it loud enough that gym members without their own music can hear it and be inspired by it.

There are some more considerations to take into account when you are choosing your gym playlist. There are many songs that are copyrighted and are only allowed to be played if they are paid for compensation, so simply having an account on Spotify, for example, does not mean that you have the freedom to play any song that you want.

Luckily, there are specially curated playlists all over the web (and some Streaming services like Loop TV offer fully licensed music video channels, categorized by genre. This enables you to provide great work-out music without any copyright concerns.

Several studies have shown how the exact tempo, as measured in beats per minute, affects one’s level of exercise. These studies determined that the ideal tempo necessary for maximum performance depends on the type of exercise.

A 2011 study showed that in order to achieve the best performance for cycling (which was calculated by measuring exercise intensity through heart rate), the preferred tempo is between 125 and 140 beats per minute (bpm), while a different study published in 2014 showed that the best music tempo for enhanced performance on the treadmill is between 123 and 131 bpm.

While you cannot cater to all exercises at the same time, it is best that you keep the tempo in the 110 to 130 range, so that the music can have positive effects on the greatest number of people. You can check in with gym members so you can find out the best music to enhance their training sessions.

2. Encourage People to Connect with a Workout Buddy

One of the best ways to stay motivated when pursuing fitness goals is to have someone to work out with. Workout buddies are great because they can help hold you to your goals and provide emotional support. Moreover, gym members can get competitive with their workout buddies, helping to encourage them to push themselves.

That this can truly help motivate people has been backed up by science. A recent study by researchers at the University of Aberdeen found that “t finding a new exercise companion increased the amount of exercise people took. This was increased even more when the new partner was emotionally supportive.”

A great way to help foster a community where people can find and connect with workout buddies and increase member engagement is social media. A gym can use social media platforms, such as Facebook groups, to provide a space for people who belong to the gym to get in touch with each other and increase a sense of community.

Of course, many people will not know that your gym has such social media groups. Thus, it can be a good idea to use digital signage to display your gym’s social media feeds. When people are working out, they can see on your digital screens that you have social media and that people are using it to interact with each other.

Actually seeing social media work in this way is far more effective than simply hearing about it, which is why displaying the social media feeds on digital signage is so important.

3. Encourage Working Out as a Habit

When people have a specified schedule for working out, such that working out becomes an integral part of their weekly schedule, they will be far more likely to have the motivation to continue working out.

Turning working out into a habit, rather than viewing working out as something that you would like to do, but are not tied to because it is not part of your routine, greatly reduces the amount of motivation it takes to go to the gym. In this way, creating habits improves results by making the habit take less motivation to complete.

One great way to help people develop workout habits is by offering group exercise classes. These types of classes can range from strength training to HIIT workouts, to water aerobics, to yoga and tai chi. The reason that fitness classes can be so effective is that they have a fixed time that people can put into their schedule.

It gives people a concrete reason to be at the gym, and it provides the additional motivation of knowing that there are other people in the classes that participants may see on a weekly basis.

In order to ensure that gym members are aware of the fitness classes being offered, it is a good idea to use digital signage to display updated workout class schedules, so people who are at the gym can be exposed to classes that they might be interested in.

If you have an interactive digital signage screen, you could also have information about the instructor that is available to gym members if they click on a particular class. It is also imperative that this information is readily accessible on your gym website, so people can browse classes and class times at their own convenience.

4. Offer Personal Training Services

Lots of people have fitness goals but get discouraged because they do not know how to best achieve those goals. That’s why personal trainers can be so helpful for keeping people motivated.

Personal trainers give people the sense that they are pursuing their workouts in the most efficient and beneficial way possible. This is very important because many people find that they are not getting the results they have hoped for with their own workouts and get discouraged because they do not know if their exercise regimen is ineffective or if they are wasting their time.

Additionally, personal trainers can serve the function of an in-person workout buddy. Just like a workout buddy, people can receive positive reinforcement from their personal trainer, and the fact that they are expected to be at the gym at a particular time adds another level of motivation to go to the gym.

Since much of the motivation is required for actually going to the gym, whereas it takes less motivation to workout when you are already at the gym, personal trainers can be a great way to keep people accountable and to remind their clients of the reasons they wanted to workout in the first place.

It is beneficial to have information about personal trainers readily available at your fitness business. Again, digital signage is a great way to inform members of the services that are available.

Using digital signage, your gym can display the names and pictures of different personal trainers, as well as information about their specializations and credentials, which will ultimately increase the number of people who decide to take advantage of these services.

5. Offer Rewards For Fitness Goal Completion

It's no secret that people are motivated by rewards and incentives, and this is especially the case when it comes to motivation for fitness activities. A gym can help motivate its members by offering rewards to members who complete certain fitness goals or fitness challenges.

For example, a fitness club could offer a free massage at the spa in the facility for members that go to the gym a certain amount of times during a month. Other rewards could include discounts at the gym cafe, membership discounts, personal training sessions, and much more.

It is also important to take into account recent research that shows that people are actually more motivated by the potential loss of rewards than the rewards themselves. Thus, your gym could offer rewards to members who complete goals, and they could take away the rewards if the members do not complete the goals.

For members who have gotten rewards for goal completion, they will likely be extremely motivated to continue to meet their goals so that they do not lose the reward that they worked hard to obtain. For example, your gym might offer a single personal training session for each month that a member completes certain goals.

This member will likely love the fact that they get a personal training session. However, they will lose this session if they do not complete their goals, so they will be highly motivated to not let this happen.

You can make sure that members are always cognizant of the potential rewards they can get from completing their fitness goals by using digital signage to promote this reward program. If the digital screen is placed near the reception desk, then members cannot help but become aware of the possibilities available to them.

6. Use Your Digital Signage to Motivate Gym Members

Many gyms use TVs and other digital screens in their establishment to show entertaining and distracting content that is largely irrelevant to working out. However, these screens have the potential to become sources of inspiration if they display the right content.

There are a lot of different kinds of useful information that you can display to motivate gym members. This can include motivational quotes, fitness tips, diet tips, curated workout routines, and much more.

While you do not need to do away with all entertainment, it is a good idea to dedicate some of your screen space to motivational purposes. Your members will surely appreciate it, especially when they find themselves making more progress in their fitness goals.

7. Ensure that Your Staff is Friendly and Encouraging

Gyms should be an environment in which people can feel comfortable. Unfortunately, many people feel intimidated by gym environments. That is why it is important that your staff is readily available, friendly, and encouraging. The attitude of the gym receptionist can help shape the way that a member’s workout goes.

Moreover, having staff around to explain how to use the exercise equipment makes the gym feel more accessible and friendly. The staff plays a big role in motivating members to work out by ensuring that the gym is an environment that members want to spend time in.

Keeping Gym Members Motivated: Good for the Members and the Gym

Keeping your gym members motivated is essential for member retention and the overall gym experience. If you ensure that a gym is a place where people can feel comfortable and motivated, then members will absolutely take note, and you will find yourself with more long-term members and more new members.