This Is the Missing Piece in Your Fitness Studio’s Brand Strategy
By Sharad Mohan
When consumers today think about health and fitness, they often see it as another task to fit into an already jam-packed schedule. Get up, hit the gym, go to work, get home, meal-prep a healthy, nutrition-focused dinner, repeat. Time is a significant barrier to working out and staying active, especially for those who are in school, juggle multiple jobs, or are busy raising a family.
But here’s our proposition—consider the amount of time your clients commit to exercise schedules and diet and encourage them to commit a portion of that time to building habits.
Habits are automatic daily behaviors, and they have the power to majorly impact mental health and wellbeing. Habits can include seemingly small things—like daily activity, nutrition, sleep, meditation, and general self-care. They might seem small, but building habits over time is likely to enable clients to reach their goals. Not only do habits benefit active lifestyles (such as making time for workouts), they also play a significant role in our mental and emotional wellness, which is a growing priority for clients and trainers alike.
As consumers prioritize mindfulness, it’s important for fitness studios to play a part. According to figures from Marketdata, the American mindfulness market as a whole topped $1 billion in 2017 and should double that by 2022. Even the NBA and WNBA have incorporated mindfulness training into their coaching plan through Performance Mindset (a co-branded category within the Headspace app), intended to unlock their full potential.
For studios, as the world of mindfulness becomes a business, an incredibly exciting opportunity has appeared. Chances are your clients have taken a step forward to make behavioral improvements a focus of their lifestyle, as data shows that self-care apps and health-related devices are booming in popularity. It’s a great time for your studio to provide clients with the solutions they are seeking, such as habit coaching, and communicate to clients that your studio is a positive part of their life every single day, not just the one or two days a week they come in for training. Studios that are successful in this endeavor will suddenly be perceived as a core part of their clients’ active lifestyle, including mindfulness, sleep, nutrition, and of course, fitness.
Here is our three-step plan to get your studio refreshed and ready to tackle the habits boom!
Step 1: Self-care workshops
Launch a workshop that combines physical exertion with education: a session integrating exercise, mindfulness, and nutrition will provide clients with a workout of the body and mind. Given we’re in the summer months now, try offering an outdoor workshop at a park or a beach. This will establish healthy habits outside the fitness studio. Start off with a boot camp workout, featuring your personal training style, and follow it up with an educational session around the important of self-case. Lead your clients through some mindfulness strategies, such as meditation, stretching, healthy eating, and breathing techniques. Then, to finish it up, facilitate an open discussion with a Q&A on health and wellness where workshop attendees can share their best practices.
Self-care sessions should be delivered by people with the right training and education. If you don’t have someone on your team who has a background in health and wellness, a good first step would be to get certified with ACE’s Health Coaching Certification or to ensure you can provide your clients with the best possible training.
Step 2: Habit coaching programs
If your clients are interested in breaking bad habits and building good ones, then a habit coaching program is a perfect opportunity for your studio to help clients improve by just 1% every day. Start off by helping them focus on improving one habit every few weeks, over a one or two-year timeframe. It’s almost like you’re providing a lifestyle journey!
The easiest and fastest way to build out a habit coaching program is to get access to existing habit programs available, such as Precision Nutrition or Trainerize’s upcoming Habit Coaching program. As a fitness business owner, you can deliver those as they are, or by tweaking them to your liking. You can also build your own by researching behavioral psychology theories or hiring an expert.
Step 3: Habit coaching technology
Talk to your clients about the apps they use for mindfulness and meditation. As self-care and mental wellness become more popular, you’ll have an opportunity to offer your own branded app as an alternative.
Your fitness business community is a core part of your studio’s client engagement strategy, and it can extend beyond your gym walls into their phones and become a part of their daily lifestyle. Our upcoming Habit Coaching platform is one to consider as it matches flexible habit programs with a delivery mechanism that connects to smartphones and wearables, within a fitness app that’s branded by your business.
Now imagine that—your clients swapping out apps like Headspace or Calm with your studio’s own app. That sort of daily engagement with your clients could be the biggest thing you do to boost your brand.
Your clients want to achieve fitness nirvana—and habits are the key. By promoting training and technology for habits and self-care, your fitness business will play a key role in this significant shift in focus in the fitness industry. Habits are a necessary piece of every fitness journey, and we’re willing to bet that habit coaching will soon settle into its place next to personal training and nutritional guidance as the pillars of the industry.
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