5 things I wish my gym did online

For a few years before 2012, I had convinced myself that the best workouts would come from outdoor activities. To this regard, I shunned all gyms and indoor pools for bike rides, pilates, long walks, the weekly “nature” walk with the dogs, and the occasional tennis/basketball games. Moving from Beirut to nearby suburbs really had me reevaluate all outings. Optimally, you want your designated hamster-wheel to be nearby. But if it’s not, then it needs to have an edge- and that’s exactly what gyms in Beirut lacked. The only ones that you might consider joining all basically offered the same programs, machines, and sometimes pool. They had pretty much the same clientele, and often failed to deliver what they promised in terms of hygiene, atmosphere, and comfort.

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Last year, I discovered Fitness Zone had taken up the old Racket Club locale in Baabda- proximity, an “edge”. So while I’m overall very satisfied with my membership there, here’s what I wish they’d do online:

  1. Post updates: whoever is managing their Facebook page and Twitter account is already doing a good job of posting cool updates every now and then. I’d suggest varying the nature of the updates. While they already use SMS for most of their updates on opening hours and classes, they could consider pairing those with updates on their different social media channels. Let us know what’s happening.
  2. Be consistent: posting at random frequencies can deter your audience from engaging and make it seem as though you’re not really interested in connecting with your community of gym-goers. Make it a habit to post at least once or twice per day for a start- I’d say that would make sense for a business that’s open for at least 12 to 17 hours per day. Maybe aim for early morning, working hours, and peak gym hours to get people motivated?
  3. Motivate: to say that healthy living and diet apps are a trend would be an understatement. Quantifying your progress is not the only attraction; the motivation that comes, programmed within the apps, is a great factor. A quick search on Instagram will show how many healthy living and fit motivation accounts are popular. Use your posts to motivate your community; that’s definitely a win-win situation.
  4. Empower and encourage customers: one of the things I love the most about my gym is how welcoming the staff┬ápeople are. They can tell when you’ve made progress and will throw in the occasional encouragement. So when it comes to their online presence, they could consider profiling success stories, interviewing some of their most dedicated clients (weightlifting fans, swimmers, yoga amateurs, etc…), talking to trainers and teachers about what inspires them in their clients.
  5. Educate customers: it is probably a safe bet that anyone who goes to the gym is at least the slightest interested in leading a healthy lifestyle. Most of your customers probably don’t have the time to read different nutrition and health websites and look up ways to integrate what they learn into their daily lives. You know about workout routines, what to eat before and after*. Share it!
  6. Ask for feedback: I had to slip that one in, I can’t say that enough.

Do you interact with your gym online? What, about their approach, do you like or not like?

*Also, that could be a great way to highlight all those healthy smoothies and shakes you offer.