Motivate Your Group Fitness Members by Unlocking Their "Why"

18.05.2020 10:09

When it comes to workout motivation, no one’s perfect. Although you tell your members to give 100% of their effort during 100% of their workouts, realistically, you know that won’t happen. People have “off” days, where they’re physically or mentally unable to put maximum effort into their training. And that’s okay, as long as you know that they’re trying!

But what about when you see members stop trying?

Sure, they come to classes – sometimes. But they don’t seem to have the same interest or intensity as before. Every day is an off day. Members who have gotten results in the past have started to backslide. What causes this to happen? Chances are, they’re forgotten their “why.”

That “why” is the reason they originally signed up for your gym. It’s the internal motivation that kept them going. If your members forget their why, or their original why is no longer strong enough, they’ll stop going.

If you want to keep them, you’ll need to remind your members of their “whys.” If you have personal fitness trainers at your gym, you can ask them to speak one-on-one with clients. But since not all clients use personal trainers, you’ll have to find a way to reach them en masse.

One way to do this is to create a What Are You Fit For bulletin board. Hang a large bulletin board in your gym, outside a group fitness classroom, by the front desk, or in another high-traffic area. Set out a desk, paper, markers and tape/pins and a sign explaining that this is where members can write and share their reasons for getting fit! You can even allow them to share photos of their progress on the board.

People are proud of working to better their lives, their health and their bodies. How many posts on Facebook, Instagram and other social media channels like that do you see every day? Chances are, they’ll be happy to share on your “wall” as well.

Science has shown that we fulfill our goals more often when we write them down. This is because we get a reminder of what we’re working for every time we see that written goal. The act of writing itself also helps embed the goal more deeply into your brain.

Having your members share their answers on a public bulletin board will also help build community. They will want to support each other more if they can identify with each other’s reasons, even if they’re not the same. Additionally, seeing others’ answers will inspire members who don’t have a clear “why” to think more deeply about their own reasons, leading to increased motivation!

Here are some sample answers. Feel free to hang one or two on the board to jumpstart the process, or write and share your personal reasons for getting fit.


“I’m fit for my kids. I want to have the energy and ability to keep up with my kids. Before, I had to sit on the park bench and watch them play, because I’d get tired long before they did. Now I can run after them. It’s much better family time this way!” ~ Cara B.

“I’m fit for my mental health. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in college. For me, exercise has been one of the best ways for me to manage my conditions. I feel so much better when I work out, and proud of myself for accomplishing something.” ~Sarah

“I’m fit because I love exploring. I love to hike and camp. As I started to get older, I realized that the healthier I am, the longer I can do the things I love! So I started working out here to improve my fitness. I’ll still be up in the mountains when I’m 90!” ~Lynn L.

“I’m fit because I like proving people wrong. I’ve always been told that I’m “too thin” (my family is all tiny). And I’m short. People thought I was weak or fragile. I started to get in shape to prove them wrong!” ~Jamie

“I’m fit because I love a challenge. I ran track in high school and enjoyed it. I quit running when I went to college, but I always missed it. Not long ago, I decided to start jogging again, just around my neighborhood. Then I started working out here, too. I just try to do a little more each day!” ~Aaron H.

Please login to comment.