How to keep your gym clients engaged in 2024 and beyond

Feb 7, 2019 - 8 min read
keep gym members engaged

Did you know that a staggering 50% of new gym members stop going within the first 6 months of their start date?

In addition, statistics reveal that around 8% of male fitness clients tend to cancel their memberships within the first year, but the number rises significantly to about 14% for female clients.

Therefore, the key to the success and sustainability of your fitness business lies in your ability to increase member engagement.

Prospective clients become your most effective marketing tool if they get engaged, spreading the word about your fitness business through positive reviews and social media channels.

Whether you run a gym, fitness studio, or personal training service, the importance of client engagement cannot be overstated.

Why do you want engaged clients?

Engaged clients can be seen as advocates for your gym, driving your business growth. However, the average gym membership lasts approximately 4.7 years.

Therefore, keeping fitness clients engaged should be one of the top priorities for your gym. Here are more reasons why:

Client Retention

Clients are part of a community, and they value the experience you provide.

This translates into more extended membership durations, reducing the need to constantly attract new clients to replace those who leave.

Check out our blog on membership retention ideas

Reduced Acquisition Costs

Fitness clients often become your best marketing tool as they spread the word about your gym through positive reviews, word-of-mouth recommendations, and social media posts.

Increased Revenue

Existing clients are more likely to purchase additional services, such as personal training, nutritional guidance, or merchandise.

They are also more prone to participate in premium classes and events.

Business Stability

Members provide a level of stability to your business.

This is because they are less likely to be influenced by seasonal changes and are more committed to their fitness journey year-round.

Competitive Advantage

Current members choose to return to your gym over others because of the unique experience and sense of community you offer.

Sustainable Growth

Engaged clients don’t only contribute to business success today but also set the stage for sustainable growth in the future.

The foundation of loyalty and engagement that you build will continue to pay dividends in the form of ongoing revenue and reduced churn rates.

By retaining existing clients and creating an environment that attracts new ones, you’ll ensure that your fitness business not only thrives but also continues to grow in the highly competitive fitness industry.

How to keep your clients more engaged?

1. Fostering a Sense of Community

In the world of fitness, the sense of community is a powerful force.

It’s more than just the physical act of exercise; it’s about being part of a group that shares common goals and offers support and motivation.

Fostering a sense of community within your gym or fitness studio can be a key strategy in keeping fitness clients engaged.

Here are a few ways to foster a sense of community:

  • Group Fitness: Strengthens bonds through shared classes and encourages social interactions.
  • Online Interaction: Create platforms for clients to connect, share, and support each other.
  • Mentorship Program: Experienced members guide newcomers, deepening community ties.
  • Recognition: Celebrate achievements and milestones publicly to inspire and unify.
  • Personal Engagement: Know clients personally, show interest, and create a strong connection.
  • Client Feedback: Collect input to tailor community-building efforts to client needs.

Virtuagym allows you to stay in touch with your clients through your own online community.

2. Mobile App Convenience

A gym’s mobile app has become a vital tool in keeping clients engaged and satisfied.

Here are a few reasons why you should have a mobile app:

  • Convenience & Accessibility: Mobile apps offer easy access to vital info and services, catering to today’s fast-paced, on-the-go lifestyle.
  • Personalization: Apps offer tailored experiences, including personalized workout plans, progress tracking, and goal-specific recommendations to boost satisfaction and motivation.
  • Real-Time Updates: Keep clients informed instantly through push notifications, fostering engagement and connection with the latest gym news.
  • Booking & Reservations: Mobile apps allow flexible class bookings, helping clients commit to their fitness routine based on their schedules.
  • Progress Tracking: Apps help clients monitor and visualize their fitness journey, motivating them by showcasing their progress over time.
  • Feedback & Ratings: Apps collect valuable feedback to improve services, showing clients that their opinions matter and boosting engagement.
  • Wearable Integration: Apps sync seamlessly with fitness wearables, simplifying data tracking and encouraging continued goal monitoring.

Check out Virtuagym’s app for personal trainers.

3. The Power of Challenges

Fitness challenges provide a structured way for clients to set and achieve goals, and the competitive element can be highly appealing.

These can revolve around various fitness aspects, such as weight loss, strength gain, endurance improvement, or even lifestyle changes like healthier eating.

However, when thinking of creating challenges, make sure you take these points into consideration:

  • Clear Goals: Set clear and achievable goals
  • Time-Bound: Have a set duration as it makes them manageable and provides a sense of urgency
  • Competitive Element: Create a sense of competition within the group, encouraging participants to push themselves to outperform others.
  • Accountability: Get your members to track their progress on your app
  • Rewards and Recognition: Offer rewards or recognition to boost motivation of new members

Also remember to offer support and resources to help clients succeed. This could include nutritional guidance, workout plans, and access to personal trainers or coaches.

Check out our most recent blog on how to create online challenges.

4. Fitness Events and Client Engagement

Hosting fitness events is an excellent strategy for keeping clients engaged and enthusiastic about their fitness journeys as they offer a change of pace from regular gym routines.

  • Engagement: They add excitement and a fresh perspective to workouts, motivating clients.
  • Social Connection: These events foster a sense of community, helping clients make friends and stay accountable.
  • Motivation: Specific event goals reignite motivation and push clients to reach new heights.
  • Idea Generation: Fitness events introduce new activities, preventing workout boredom.
  • Client Retention: Event participation boosts commitment, making clients more likely to stay with their gym or studio.

Here are some ideas of events that cater to a variety of interests:

  1. Themed Fitness Parties: Host theme-based fitness parties, such as ’80s workout nights, superhero-themed classes, or beach-inspired workouts.
  2. Charity Runs and Walks: Organize charity runs or walks to support a meaningful cause. Participants can feel good about working out while making a positive impact on the community.
  3. Outdoor Workouts: Whether it’s yoga in the park, boot camp on the beach, or a trail run, the change of scenery can be refreshing and engaging.
  4. Dance and Zumba Nights: Arrange dance-based fitness events, such as Zumba nights or salsa dance workouts. Dancing is not only an excellent workout but also a fun social activity.
  5. Fitness Challenges: Set up fitness challenges, such as a month-long fitness competition or a series of mini-challenges. These can include elements like strength, endurance, flexibility, and nutrition.
  6. Guest Instructors: Invite renowned fitness instructors or trainers to host special workshops or classes. Clients often appreciate learning from experts in the field.
  7. Team Competitions: Organize team-based fitness events, such as relay races, obstacle courses, or group challenges. The competitive spirit can be a strong motivator.
  8. Fitness Retreats: Plan weekend retreats that offer a mix of fitness classes, relaxation, and wellness activities. These immersive experiences create lasting memories and bonds.
  9. Sports Tournaments: If space and resources allow, consider hosting sports tournaments like volleyball, basketball, or even a mini-Olympics event.
  10. Celebrity Workouts: Invite local sports or fitness celebrities to lead workouts, Q&A sessions, or meet-and-greets. These events can create a buzz and attract a wider audience.

5. Introduce ‘Bring A Friend’ Referral Program

One happy customer from your gym can yield up to 9 referrals, which boasts a 30% higher conversion rate

By offering your members a discount for them and a friend to your studio classes, not only do you benefit from an extra potential member but you also increase the chance of both of them staying with you for an extended period of time.

Running referral schemes also increases the community feeling in your studio as members are more likely to train with someone they already know. Many pepole prefer to exercise with at least one friend, and if their friend doesn’t go to your fitness studio, your member could be at risk of churning.


By focusing on increasing client engagement, you’ll create a deeper level of commitment and loyalty among your existing clients.

They’ll be more likely to achieve their fitness goals and explore the various fitness classes, personal training options, and special classes your fitness business offers.

Moreover, you’ll stand out in the highly competitive fitness industry and continue to grow your existing client base.

Utilizing modern tools like gym management software, mobile apps, and push notifications will help you engage members and keep them informed about class offerings, special promotions, and milestone celebrations.

Additionally, hosting fitness events and challenges can inject excitement, motivation, and a sense of community into your fitness clients’ journeys, helping them stay focused on their fitness goals.

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Abril Llado Mendoza

Digital Marketing Intern US/UK

Abril Llado works in US/UK digital marketing at Virtuagym. She loves learning new things and has a passion for fitness and health, which she shares through her blog posts. Abril is currently pursuing her bachelor's degree in Public Administration at Erasmus University, with a minor in Business Management