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Reshaping Expectations: Healthy Body or Beach Body?

Posted by Kevin Talley on May 8, 2019 7:00:00 AM


This time of year as the weather warms, a familiar yet chilling phrase creeps into fitness: “Is your beach body ready?” But what exactly qualifies as a beach body is surprisingly vague. Typically, it just means slimmer than whatever body you currently have.

The problem with the concept of a beach body? It’s short-sighted and completely opposite of the mission of the fitness industry. It feeds into a culture of temporary fixes like crash dieting. You don’t want your members focusing on their health for just a few short months or motivated solely to “look good”. Fitness isn’t a fleeting goal, it’s a whole life change. Reshape your members’ view on wellness in four actionable ways.

Achievable Goals

We all have the friend who declares at 11:48 p.m. on December 31st that next year, they will be a different person! They vow to run a marathon, go vegan, work out twice a day, and give up cigarettes cold turkey, no problem. Except, it is a problem. Quick fixes -- typically -- breed quick failures.

Implementing new member evaluations with trainers is a proven way to assess health and roadmap achievable fitness plans right from the beginning of a membership. Trainers can map out a simple workout plan that fits each member’s initial assessment and starting point and gradually ramps up to a more rigorous routine over time.

Thinking Long Term

Sustainable change comes from introducing permanent healthy habits into a member’s life. While shorter programs like an “8-week burn” can give members results, they don’t provide lasting and healthy habits if the practices aren’t continued past the final class.

Make sure you offer long-term options in your fitness club like affordable personal training or ongoing group fitness classes. While the conventional wisdom is that it takes 21 days to form a habit, a 2009 study found that on average it takes around 66 days, and this can vary widely between people. The safer approach? Each member should take their time and keep at it!


Consider starting optional accountability programs members can join, in which participants receive weekly check-ins from club staff. Not meant to shame members who fall short but rather motivate them to stay focused on what they want to achieve. For a more direct approach, you can use your fitness center or studio’s CRM software to verify a member’s check-ins to the club that week. To foster encouragement, consider sending weekly texts with tips and motivational content.

Whole Health Changes

Health goes beyond a solid workout. Give your members additional resources by hosting events centered around other health areas like workshops on nutritional cooking or improving your sleeping habits. With the average gym membership costing $58 a month, these services can make a huge difference to members who can’t afford additional health resources.

Your business requires a long-term strategy too! Download our Club-Level Retention Scorecard to measure your club’s retention levels.   

Topics: Retention


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