7 Ways to Keep Your Gym’s Members Engaged Over the Holidays

Help your members stay motivated and fight the urge to drop their fitness routine with these seven tips.

The holiday season brings with it a whole lot of distractions. Shopping for gifts, decorating your home, attending holiday parties, and visiting with relatives can all make it difficult to stick to healthy routines.

Then there’s the travel. The holiday weeks, from late November to early January, are the busiest travel times of the year. Add to that the inclement weather in many parts of the world during December, and you can see how easy it is for your members to take a break and “get back into it” after the holidays.

So how do you keep your gym’s members engaged through the distractions and stress of the holidays? We’ve put together some tips and suggestions for just that.

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By The U.S. Army (www.Army.mil) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

7 Tips to Keep Members Engaged During the Holidays

1. Make it competitive

The element of competition can add an extra motivator to keep members engaged with the club despite busy schedules. Some clubs run challenges throughout December, with a points system and prizes awarded for attending classes, working out, and attending club events.

2. Consider adding a few seasonal classes

New, temporary offerings can help get people excited about coming in during the busy holiday season. For example, try shorter, higher intensity classes to appeal to busy members, or meditative yoga for those feeling stressed by the season. Some gyms have also offered special, large classes on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve.

3. Host an event or party at your club

Fostering a sense of community is great for retention, and social events can help build that community. Try running a special workout, a racquetball or squash tournament, holiday race, or throw a holiday party at the club (or off-site).

4. Offer guest privileges to traveling members

If your members work out while traveling, they’re more likely to keep up with their workout regimen once they’re home. If you’re enrolled in The IHRSA Passport Program—a free IHRSA member benefit—your members who travel during the holidays can enjoy discounted guest privileges at a worldwide network of participating clubs.

Beginning in 2019, The IHRSA Passport Program, powered by TrainAway, will make it easier than ever for your members to search for and purchase discounted gym passes at a participating IHRSA club using a mobile app. If you’re an IHRSA member, enroll through TrainAway to get started.

5. Get into the season of giving

During the holidays, many businesses partner with charities in their community. For example, clubs have raised money for charities like the Santa Foundation or set up collection sites for local food banks or Toys for Tots.

6. Offer additional resources to help members off-site

If members stay fit on the road or when they don’t have time to come to the club, they’ll be much quicker to resume their routine after the holidays. Try offering resources like at-home workouts to help them maintain their fitness.

7. Consider the benefits of wearable tech

Not only does wearable technology make a great holiday gift, it can also be a useful addition to club challenges and programs. For example, clubs can host step challenges to help keep people moving around the holiday season. Our member-exclusive e-book “Wearable Integration 101” will help get you started.

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Alexandra Black Larcom @ihrsagetactive

Alexandra Black Larcom, MPH, RD, LDN, is the Senior Manager of Health Promotion & Health Policy for IHRSA. She spends her days working on resources and projects that help IHRSA clubs offer effective health programs in their communities, and convincing lawmakers that policies promoting exercise are an excellent idea. Outside the office you'll most likely find Alex at the gym, running on the Charles River, or, in the fall, by a TV cheering on the Florida Gators.