What does addicted rats have to do with the gym business? Should CrossFit gyms be worried about Globo gyms starting programs like 'GoldsFit' (non-CF CF classes copying as much as possible)?
First lets talk about the big gyms copying the movement side of what we do. The people who need to be taking notice of trends like this are the ones who think they are in the fitness business (and not the relationship business).
Globo gyms will be offering ALL of the features and benefits you can dream of (and then some), and they will do it for 1/4 of the price... Open 24 hours, dozens of class types, showers, towel service, snack bar, pro shop, sauna, pool, yoga, childcare... Premium programming, certified coaches, new equipment... Social media campaigns, television commercials, celebrity endorsements...And it will be $30-50 per month.
Trying to compete with that is a race to the bottom.
In the relationship business, it not about amenities or 'perks'. It is about getting to know, and taking care of, people. It is about keeping coaches around for 10+ years so they can develop as professionals and keep clients for 10+ years.
The way to distinguish yourself from the globo gym moving into the market is to focus on human connection. Develop classes and use programming that foster people getting to know each other while getting better. Use social media as a tool to get people involved in each other's lives and to highlight your 'every day' clients. Have regular community events, charities, and encourage people to have parties with lots of gym friends in attendance. Squash drama and celebrate those who embody the community and inclusion attitude.
Pay your coaches to do this via performance based pay and hybrid memberships (not hourly or salary), to make sure they are making a professional wage that will keep them in the industry the rest of their life.
People want fitness results. Probably the most important ingredients in results are consistency and time.
The secret to producing the most consistency and keeping people around the longest is human connection (with their coaches and with each other).
Now this brings us back to the Rat Park studies...
Here is a longer video about addiction and human connection if you are interested: https://youtu.be/PY9DcIMGxMs
We need to view our gyms as the human version of 'Rat Park' if we want them to give up the addiction and habits of poor dietary choices and a lack of physical activity. The more we can get them engaged with each other, and engage them ourselves so they can make big changes in their lives.
Will the Globo Gyms be able to replicate this?
I seriously doubt it.
Their version of Rat Park may have all of the colored tubes, hamster wheels, soft bedding, etc., but it will always have large quantities of 'rats' flowing through due to the nature of their business. When the 'churn' is high, it makes the regulars even more insular and less likely to accept new teammates. It also makes them seem very 'cliquey' and aloof to the outsiders (even if this isn't the case).
Focus on your own Park and the humans in it. Don't look for more people, look for ways to cement bonds and keep people longer.
You don't need heroin in people's shaker cups... You need people who shake their lives together.
Our programming at Thrivestry is designed to get people gains, but it is also designed to build connection. Email me today if you'd like to know about what options might be right for your gym.