This is it:
The New Year’s Crush.
The Resolutioners Song.
The moment when your “regulars” need to be placated because they can’t get on any of their favorite equipment, as they stumble over newcomers coming into their gym. And, Fitness Industry Council of Canada predicts that 2024 is going to be one of the biggest membership surges we have seen in recent history.
“Canadians are more aware of their health than ever before,” says Gabriel Hardy, Executive Director of Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC). “The new members know they need to exercise. Many of them want to exercise. But what do they want from your gym? And what can you give them that they can’t find anywhere else? We believe it is the fitness industry’s time to shine. It is time to show Canada what we do best and to provide an incredible experience that will lead to lasting health not just for the members, but for Canada.”
Hardy adds that the FIC has been working closely with partners in the US and Europe, and tracking trends. “We have seen a huge return to the gym in the US, the UK, Australia and many parts of Europe,” says Hardy. “Canada usually follows by about 12 months and we believe 2024 is going to be the year of fitness.”
FIC looks at the TOP 3 Reasons new members are joining – and how to motivate your members to stay.
1. Exercise is Medicine
The Exercise is Medicine movement began in earnest over a decade ago, when the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Medical Association suggested Exercise Is Medicine, launching a multinational collaboration, and meta-analysis of the effects of exercise on chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and many types of cancer. Lack of physical activity is the 4th leading cause of death worldwide.
MOTIVATE THEM: Preventing chronic disease isn’t going to be high on the list for joining a gym. But improving their ability to walk up and down stairs, to bend down easily, to improve their blood pressure and their sleep – tangible, felt effects of daily exercise, should be part of your language when talking to your new members. “Functional fitness is one of the top trends for 2024,” says Hardy. “Everyone wants to be able to move well in their body.”
2. Stronger is Better
The benefits of strength training used to be an industry-secret and now are common headlines. Resistance training is a hot commodity, and a key element of the gym – in fact, recent data shows that many gyms are swapping floor space usually taken by cardio machines for strength training zones. Modifying muscle-to-fat ratios also helps our members manage their weight, feel better, get leaner and live longer. The National Osteoporosis foundation highlights the importance of weight-bearing exercise in preventing osteoporosis and fractures.
MOTIVATE THEM: Newcomers will need guidance when starting a strength training program. They will need to understand how to use machines, how to create a program that gets them results, the difference between tears and Delayed Onset Muscles Soreness, and how to keep making progress. Provide trainers and group training opportunities where they can learn proper form and techniques.
3. Community matters
Our gyms and clubs offer a unique opportunity for social interaction and building a support system – while people get healthier together, in more ways than one. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that individuals who engage in group exercise classes experience increased social well-being and reduced feelings of loneliness. And being part of a gym community also increases accountability and motivation. A research study from the UK found that 16% of members who are considered “sleepers’ – the ones who purchase a membership and never go – saying that just being part of a gym makes them feel happier!
MOTIVATE THEM: Not everyone who joins a gym will take part in group and community activities. However, this can be a central reason a percentage of your members join the gym. Beyond group fitness classes, invite them to take part in challenges, partner with local companies to do health-fairs or juice events.
Most importantly, help all your members achieve their goals. Setting fitness goals and working towards them at the gym provides a sense of accomplishment. The American Council on Exercise emphasizes the importance of goal setting to motivate individuals and track their progress, and with more technology available to club owners than ever before, this can not only be a tool for incentivizing your members, but an important retention tool as well.
Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC) is the not-for profit trade association that represents the voice of fitness facility operators across Canada. Representing more than 6,000 facilities with more than six-million members nationwide, FIC pursues a legislative agenda in the hope of bettering the fitness industry for both consumers and operators. FIC aims to work with both industry and government to improve the health and physical activity levels of Canadians.