As we all know this phase lasts just a few weeks as people return to 'normal' life routines and the fitness habit fades away.
|Image courtesy of www.dominichinde.com|
Let's start with the basics, people are busy and they mean well when they start a new regime in January...but life gets in the way.
So the first thing fitness professionals need to do is to remember that the majority of people DON'T live and breathe fitness. In fact many don't even want to go to the gym or to a class, they just feel that they have to.
For most people life away from the gym is much more enjoyable than life at the gym.
The Fear Journey
Please don't think that once a person has been for an 'induction' that they are now part of the #fitfam and are going to take 'selfies' in the club loo. Sometimes the fear never really leaves, it just diminishes a little as time goes on. So please stop and think hard about something I refer to as 'The Fear Journey'.
The Fear Journey is a little like the industry favourite 'member journey', except that it is located in the mind of each individual consumer. If you are a fitness professional and/or manager I implore you to read these points whilst picturing each different scenario in your mind.
ALL of the points below are taken from comments made at focus group sessions I have run for clients.
It starts with the fear of not being fit enough to visit a gym and then leads on to...
- the fear of walking through the main door of the club
- the fear of meeting a grumpy receptionist
- the fear of being laughed at
- the fear of being amongst strangers (all of whom are very fit)
- the fear of meeting a 'hard-sell' sales person
- the fear of buying a membership without really knowing the contractual implications
- the fear of not knowing how to 'work the lockers'
- the fear of not knowing where the loos are
- the fear of undressing amongst all of the fit people in the changing room
- the fear of forgetting something (trainers, shorts, t-shirt, knickers, socks...)
- the fear of getting lost in the changing room (and never being found)
- the fear of getting lost after leaving the changing room
- the fear of not knowing how to use the gym equipment
- the fear of not remembering how to use the gym equipment
- the fear of doing that first-ever class
- the fear of opening the studio door
- the fear of being unable to hide from the studio instructor
- the fear of being unable to hide from everyone else in the class
- the fear of being laughed at (again)
- the fear of mirrors
- the fear of your wobbly-bits wobbling
- the fear of being shouted at by the instructor
- the fear of being the most unfit/overweight person in the room/club
- the fear of not having the trendiest gym clothing
- the fear of still not being fit enough
- the fear of returning to the gym to do it all again...
Now I am sure you could add a few to the list above but these are some of the things that cause real fear and panic to new visitors. So what can you do about it?
My view is that you can make the journey much more fun and friendly. Start with the attitude that most people do feel uncomfortable in a new environment until they get to know it and the people within it.
Most importantly you must remember that it's the little things that make the difference.
How you tackle each point is entirely up to you and your team but I encourage you to do it as soon as you can.
After all, it is already the time of year when New Year resolutions seem like a distant memory!