Friday, 27 January 2017

The psychology of the January gym joiner

Everyone knows that the fitness industry has its best month for new member sales in January. These new members are looking for a new start in the New Year, perhaps setting resolutions to get fit, shed the extra weight from the end of year eating and drinking excess, and get in shape for that (distant) summer holiday. 

Of course, we welcome them into our gyms with open arms and direct debits. We make it very easy for them to join (double joining fees in January, anyone?) Some clubs offer incredible incentives to these new members in January, when they’re going to join anyway, and by doing so, the club devalues the membership, and instantly reduces the commitment of the new member. This means that gym inductions get rushed or missed, and your existing members are disenfranchised due to the busy-ness of the gym and lack of availability of instructors/equipment.

W_Minshull: Stormtroopers in Gym

Moreover, you have to consider the mindset of these joiners. In January, it is cold and dark (in the northern hemisphere). Our bodies natural instinct is to eat more to keep warm, so we’ve got some extra weight already, and that summer holiday really is a long way off still. These days, marketers are telling us a load of crap about blue Monday, how depressed we are, and trying to sell us stuff to ‘cheer us up’. An endorphin hit would certainly be welcome, but you can see that there are many reasons that these members are more likely to drop out of their fitness journey.

Unusually for this blog, there’s no advice, suggestions or solutions for your January joiners, at least in this post. There more of that coming in February, perhaps followed by a new member amnesty in March. Meanwhile, get ready for hard work, dedication, and focus on your numbers to get your January joiners to stick around.

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