Sunday, 7 August 2022

Your Dream Gym - The story behind the Podcast

Your Dream Gym is a podcast for the fitness industry that talks one-to-one about people’s exercise, motivation, favourite workouts, and helps to raise profiles and boost networking opportunities. It’s available on all popular players including Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, etc. 

Katie Lewis talked to Guy Griffiths about the inception and growth of the podcast from The Collective.

Your Dream Gym

How long have you been into podcasts?

I’ve been a huge fan of podcasts since 2014, when I listened to the first episode of Scroobius Pip’s Distraction Pieces. I typically listen to music while working or on the train or a plane, but podcasts accompany me on long drives, runs, and in the gym. I love listening to conversations, learning about new things, but for me, it’s mainly about being entertained.

What are your current favourites?

Monday, 1 August 2022

Gym membership pricing and coffee comparisons

As we approach September, the second busiest month for fitness memberships in the UK, thoughts turn to membership sales, strategies, and price models. 

It’s clear that lots of leisure pricing is stuck in the past. Whether we’re talking about joining fees, memberships, or selling the monthly payment as “less than a cup of coffee per visit”, revolution is needed in many organisations.

Tuesday, 12 July 2022

Why are Dogs twice as popular as Gyms?

7 in 10 people in the UK want to be healthier post-pandemic

[PHE Survey Jan 21]

Many people working in the fitness industry expect all these people to come into a gym and workout.
Surely all those people want to join a class, lift some kettlebells, and run on a treadmill?

How are dogs twice as popular as gyms?

Owning a dog is really good for your health. Time magazine has lots on this here.

Friday, 3 June 2022

WFH, Health, and Health Clubs

This article talks about how health clubs can help improve corporate wellbeing, without selling classic gym memberships.

The effects of the COVID pandemic will be felt for many years after the last positive test result. One of the big business and cultural shifts has been the fast-track evolution of working from home (WFH). While many have been doing this for years, not everyone is benefitting. There are some serious repercussions on health, both physical and mental, as described by this report in HR Magazine, which claims remote working is “as dangerous as smoking”

Clubs losing members who are WFH 

Health clubs and gyms have been hit hard by the changes in working practices, with fewer people in towns and cities for a 5-day working week. On the flip side, some independent clubs have benefitted slightly from people wanting to train closer to home, twinned with the general trend of supporting local, smaller businesses. But the big city gyms are feeling it the hardest at the moment.

Tuesday, 10 May 2022


This article examines how staff retention is becoming tougher, whether money is the answer, and how creating more purposeful staff can help.

Retaining staff has always been difficult in the fitness industry and has a knock-on effect contributing to poor member retention. Low pay is often cited as a factor, but teachers and nurses face similar challenges. Their sense of purpose and vocational work are things that are channelled by good fitness professionals. You have the ability to significantly improve people’s health and lifestyle, extending or even saving lives.

PT in the Pandemic

Of course, the pandemic has exacerbated the issue. Some PTs and group exercise instructors have gone it alone, running sessions online, in the park, and building an online or remote following. They blame a lack of support from the industry during lockdowns, which forced them to go direct to members and clients to maintain some level of income. 

Monday, 6 December 2021

Reasons Not To Discount Your Membership in 2022

January is just around the corner, and most clubs are hoping for a windfall of new members. It’s normally the best month for fitness membership sales, but for the last two years, many clubs have missed January due to lockdowns. By just opening your doors to members (fingers crossed), you should have the best January in recent memory. But getting loads of ‘new’ members is relatively easy. How can you maximise revenue and retention, and really put your business on the path to recovery?

You don’t need to go full “Centre Parcs” and double your joining fees in January (although I’ve written about this in the past – read more here). But discounting, waiving joining fees, and offering financial incentives is not a positive business strategy for many reasons. Let’s look at some of them.

Thursday, 11 November 2021


Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. It's also a workout that appeals to the super-keen fitness enthusiast. But more of that later. First, we focus on sales, marketing, and retention of health club memberships. Visits are up, yet revenues are down. It’s the opposite of the Parkrun phenomenon where finish times are getting slower. Read on to find out more. 

Lots of clubs did not experience the new member windfall predicted for September. If you are able to continue trading, you might now be starting to pin your hopes on January 2022. But unless you make some changes, the trend of lower sales and rising attrition is likely to continue. 

Visits Up, Members Down

Some club KPIs are looking positive. Visits and visit frequency are up. There are more active members (those who have visited in the last 30 days) as a percentage of total members. Your keen members are visiting more than before, and even the regulars are finding more time to workout and boost their health and fitness. However, the stats look better because there are fewer members. 

Tuesday, 12 October 2021


The fitness industry needs a retention reality check now more than ever. For each club or chain that claims sales are up, and recovery strong, there are several more who are very aware that their membership attrition is rising.
This seems to be more prominent in the public sector, but private, independent, and budget gyms are all feeling the effect, where they are measuring it. Whether from analysis or conversations, clubs that know their numbers recognise the issue.

A big part of the problem is the industry’s blind optimism and eternal focus on sales and new members, rather than engagement, length of stay and customer value.

Optimism is good, and the fact that many members have returned to your club after the enforced closure is great news (although these are not new member sales). Genuine new members are signing up, but you must take a close look at how these new and returning members are getting on before you start signing up more. The more you fill a leaky bucket, the more it leaks!

There are countless explanations as to why more members are leaving at the moment, and it will vary from club to club. But here are the top three reasons we’re seeing from member and client experience and feedback.

Saturday, 11 September 2021


7 in 10 people want to be healthier post pandemic, according to a Public Health England Survey (Jan21). But fewer than 2 in 10 have a gym membership.

Many clubs are struggling to recover their business post lockdown. Your core customers returned quickly, but it is taking time to rebuild confidence across all sectors, not just fitness. Dormant members have not returned. A handful of new joiners are looking to improve their fitness, but many more are needed to meet increased overheads and deferred liabilities. 

New strategies are needed to tap into the health seekers who do not want a gym membership. You need to understand than most people don’t want to go to a gym. But at the same time, most people want to be healthier.

The Health-Check

The appointment can take many forms, but fundamentally, it involves measurement, coaching, and follow-up.

Measurement can be any combination of body composition scales (bioimpedance analysis or BIA), a 3D body scan, or traditional scales, tape measures, etc. To appeal to more health seekers (regular folk, not fitness fanatics), the less intrusive the better. Think about standing on scales while holding handles versus wearing tight clothing versus skinfold callipers.

The appointment then moves to coaching. This typically involves explaining the specific measurements that are relevant to each client, listening to their goals, and helping them to build themselves a plan for activity, nutrition, or lifestyle.

Lastly, it’s time to book the follow-up appointment. When would they like their next measure – in one month, or two- or three-months’ time? Most go for monthly measures and coaching appointments to keep them on track and to see results.

A Recovery Strategy

The health-check appointment is a great offer to bring members back into the facility. Some clubs are charging for this (£20-50), others are offering a limited number of funded appointments to selected ex-members, leads or prospects. 

The focus is not on re-joining the gym. All messaging clearly states that this is not the goal, some clubs even say the gym is at capacity. 

Boost Confidence and Future-Proof Business

Offering one-on-one appointments helps to bring people into the club at a time they are comfortable with. Depending on your set-up, the client doesn’t need to visit the busy gym floor or attend a crowded fitness class.

In the unhappy event of future lockdowns, there’s a chance that one-on-one appointments could continue (as with individual PT or other health appointments). So, health-checks help to future proof your business, to continue offering services and stay in touch with all your members going forwards.

Build New Business Streams

There is no need to sell the gym to your health-check subscribers. They know you have a gym. If they want to run on a treadmill or lift weights, they know where to come. 

However, you can sell a plethora of add-on services to support and grow your health-seeker business. Coaching around lifestyle, nutrition, sleep, and activity will help clients to work towards their goals. Supplements and food could be sold direct from the club, or in conjunction with a local or national distributor. 

Think about exercise equipment, programmes, and plans (don’t send your members to Argos or Sports Direct). Provide access to your online classes, workouts, tips, trackers, logs (or create new ones). These services and products will help your new members and existing members to get more value, ensure they come back for their measurements and stick around longer.

Grow Healthy Communities 

All these schemes can help clients individually or in communities. You already have your in-club member community. Now there’s an opportunity to bring more people together with common goals and needs, who will support each other and help your groups to grow. The health-check is an entry point into these communities, which will provide added value and retain your subscribers. They don’t need to be a member of the gym, but they are a member of your club.

Health Seeker Strategy

Developing a strong health seeker strategy and getting all staff on board is vital…

  1. Model your programme around your existing staff and technology, or recruit and procure if needed
  2. Set pricing for initial appointment and ongoing subscription
  3. Agree campaign targets, demographics, channels
  4. Discuss additional services and upsell opportunities, define pathways 
  5. Develop staff buy-in, understanding, and personal gains

Staff development and delivery is critical to the success of these programmes. You need the right coaches on board, with the right mindset, and an ability to listen and learn.

Make the switch from a Gym to a Health Club

Talking about health more than fitness will open more ears and generate more leads and prospects for your club. Talk to them about health-checks, and how you support people’s health, and you will win many more members. Mention the gym, or fitness-tests, and many will lose interest.

Download our Health Seekers Playbook or get in touch to discuss how you could attract and retain more health seeker subscribers.

This article was originally published in Gym Owner Monthly Magazine. Click here to read the full issue.

Wednesday, 11 August 2021


Fitness business owners are facing a conundrum at the moment. Booking your gym visit became the new normal for a lot of members during lockdown, but as restrictions ease, should clubs continue to make their members pre-book sessions, or let members visit ad-hoc?

There are a lot of strong opinions and debates on this topic. Customer choice is important, but you also need to consider the business needs and model, and how you can best serve the majority of your members, not just the hardcore (aka the loud ones!)