The September Fitness Boom: 5 Ways to Make It Happen
By Chuck Leve
The fitness industry has long touted the “September Boom.” And while it may be true that some folks have a bit more time to invest in fitness—it’s up to the studio to make this transition as easy and desirable as possible for clients.
In other words, don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Here are 5 strategies to help you do exactly that.
1. Treat it Like a New Year
It may be September but you can think of it as New Year’s from a couple of perspectives. It’s four months before the January rush, and if you create a four-month challenge for your clients, it will take them through the challenging holiday season.
In many locations it’s also a new year in terms of the changing season. Now that the kids are back in school and vacation is in the rear view mirror, it’s a perfect time for a “new you/new year/new season campaign.
2. Connect With Your Community
Many communities celebrate residents having more time to fitness due to school starting up again. Chicago, for example, connects fitness and the world-famous Field Museum in a program called Fitness at the Field.
Be an involved community supporter and promote programs like these to your members and clients. They serve not only as stimulation for clients to “get back into it,” they also serve as strong brand awareness and differentiation for your business.
3. Be a National Player
Saturday, September 24 is home to Family Health & Fitness Day USA, a nationally-recognized day to promote physical activity. Local organizations throughout the country host family-related health events utilizing the venues of local schools, park districts, YMCAs, malls, health clubs, fitness studios and other locations.
Wednesday, September 28 is National Women’s Health & Fitness Day, a unique national program — with participation by local organizations throughout the U.S. — that focuses attention on the importance of regular physical activity and health awareness for women.
Consider holding a special event to celebrate or join something already in the works in your community.
4. Create a September Fitness Challenge
Many studios have had strong success re-introducing a fitness regimen to their clients in the form of a “September Fitness Challenge.” After the long, hot summer, it’s time to inspire them with something exciting, new and measurable.
Out of the box programs can be a real stimulant to client involvement–and fun! From dance to martial arts there’s always new programming available that’s complementary to your current offerings. Mix things up, play with different training techniques and even work in a nutritional component when possible.
And make sure your programs are at least 4-6 weeks long. Research has shown that it takes about a month for new behavior patterns to stick. To find out what others are doing, check with your fellow owners, post on peer blogs, or contact the Association of Fitness Studios (AFS).
5. Tune in to Your Clients
Motivation is a very personal thing. Different people are motivated differently and your clients are certainly no different. Therefore, be sure to clearly understand the needs and goals of your clients–and then serve those needs and attack those goals.
Weight loss goals are unlike bulking up, nor the same as toning. Whatever the needs of your client, lay out a full program with specific objectives in an achievable time frame. Make sure it’s a combination of activities that your client will enjoy doing and then turn your attention to day-by-day, workout-by-workout motivation.
One way is a self-challenging structure to a customized program. Small, incremental advances will serve as strong motivation as your clients see progress being made.
September is a wonderful opportunity for studio operators to retool and rekindle their offerings as members and clients re-enter their gym mode as the seasons change. After all, new and fresh can be a true stimulant to enhance the member experience.