Skip to main content
Customer Retention

5 Secrets to Eliminate Intimidation at Your Fitness Studio

As fitness studios rebuild, you can attract new customers who are unattached to gym memberships. The key is to eliminate the intimidation factor.

July 19, 2021

As fitness studios rebuild, there’s tremendous opportunity to attract new customers who’ve fallen away from their routines and are temporarily unattached to gym memberships. The key is to eliminate the intimidation factor.

Roll out the welcome mat and strategically communicate a sense of support and welcome – especially for first timers – and your fitness classes will fill up. What better way to build your fitness business than to be known as the place where coming as you are is not only welcome, but celebrated.

Gymtimidation is real: A 2019 survey found that one in two Americans have been found to be intimidated at the thought of working out with other people at a gym. The study, conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with Isopure, also found that 37 percent of those who have never worked out think they are too unhealthy to even start exercising.

The good news is, you have a huge untapped market just waiting to be reached and inspired.

1. Use Class Names and Descriptions to Clearly Communicate Skill or Intensity Level

If you teach classes or host training sessions that need to be split into different skill or ability levels, make sure that it’s simple and clear on your class schedule so that potential students know exactly what they’re signing up for.

If your classes are truly all-levels, make sure to state this in your class description and make it clear that brand newbies are welcome and will be supported in learning the ropes, while the class will be challenging enough for advanced practitioners and regulars to get the intensity they need.

2. Create an Introductory Class Series for Beginners

One of the best ways to reach out to new students and build your membership base is to offer a “how-to” series to introduce your fitness classes and method. Beginner’s fitness classes appeal to customers who may not have had a regular fitness routine and to those who want to switch up the type of workout they do.

Beginner’s series are a great way for your existing customers to invite friends and family to try your fitness classes. Consider creating a promotional offer that gives graduates of your beginner’s series a discount if they choose to purchase a class pass or membership. Punchpass fitness business software makes it easy to set up a recurring series of classes, manage class registration and attendance and take payments.

3. Be Conscious of Your Fitness Brand Imagery

From your website to social media and email marketing – do the photos you use match your ideal customer’s real life reality? While you want to be aspirational and visually communicate the results your classes and programs deliver, if people in your community are led to believe that everyone in the studio will be thin, sporting skin-tight spandex and muscle-bound, that can be intimidating/enough to stop them from wanting to show up.

Before and after photos, where appropriate, or customer testimonials that represent the ages and fitness levels of your community, are some of the most compelling visual brand elements fitness studios can use for web and social. Photos of real people working out together are also far more compelling than stock photos, even if they’re not as “polished.”

New customers will be attracted to images of smiling, high-fiving, friendly people who look just like them. Consider the average age range and racial demographics of your community. Your end goal is for that new person who is questioning whether or not they can do it, to be inspired by someone just like them, who overcame their fear and is now beaming with pride of accomplishment.

4. Set New Students at Ease Before They Attend Their First Group Fitness Class

Add a “your first class,” FAQ, or “what to expect” page to your website. Include the following content:

  • What level of health or physical fitness is required?
  • What should students wear? Is it ok to show up in sweats and a t-shirt? Do students need moisture wicking gear?
  • What to bring (water bottle, towel, props, a lock or gym bag).
  • Information about facilities (Are there lockers or showers on site? What type of props do you provide? Is specific equipment required?)
  • What type of pass does a first-time student need for class?
  • Do you require advance registration or are walk-ins ok?
  • Do you have an introductory offer?
  • What is the appropriate in-class etiquette? For example, are cell phones allowed? When is the best time for a new student to talk with the instructor about any injuries or concerns?
  • What is the temperature of the room?

5. Give Special Attention to First Time Students

While we know you’re already warmly welcoming every student to your fitness classes, make sure to give extra love and attention to first time students. It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of checking everyone in for class, chatting with regulars and setting up your classroom.

Take a moment to pause and remember that it took a lot for that new person to get dressed, drive to your class, breathe deep and walk in. They may not know where to put their belongings, set up for class, which props to grab, or how to find the bathroom. Ask if they are comfortable with hands-on assistance if that is part of your instruction.

Take extra time to help them register, be sure to say their first name, express your genuine gratitude and excitement that they are joining you, and point them in the right direction. Add personalized notes about the student’s life and goals to their Punchpass profile so that you and your instructors can see them at a quick glance each time they check in.

Many successful instructors have a practice of either introducing each new student during class or giving them special encouragement and saying their name.

And make a point to check in with new students after class and invite them back! Use Punchpass to its fullest by and send a thank you email right from your Punchpass class screen when class is over 🙂