How to Make Exercise Fun: Eight Innovative Tips for Gym Owners

September 19, 2023

Exercise without any joy is far less likely to lead to positive outcomes or happy clients. When it comes to retaining your gym members and supporting their overall wellbeing, a fun and engaging fitness environment is crucial. Enjoyable workouts make people look forward to your sessions and keep them coming back. They’ll be more inclined to prioritise exercise in their weekly schedule if you can get them excited about it, rather than it being perceived as a necessary evil.

Working out doesn’t need to be a tedious chore, existing only to reach an end result. Creating inspiring routines means people get to enjoy the experience itself, as well as the feelings of accomplishment from hitting their goals. They’ll be less likely to feel resistance around keeping a consistent exercise plan, or stress and anxiety from neglecting their health. When clients can be proud of achieving what they set out to do and improve their fitness levels, it’s a huge boost to their self-esteem.

In this article, we present eight creative ways you can make workouts more fun.

Set challenges and competitions

Workouts can be made more entertaining by turning them into interactive games and challenges. For individual clients, set them mini-challenges with prizes attached. Short-term challenges could be anything from carrying out groups of repetitions to completing timed HIIT-style exercises. In the longer term, you could challenge your customers to maintain healthy new habits; rewarding them if they keep them up for a month, for example.

For groups, you could organise friendly competitions, such as step or squat challenges, treadmill sprints or obstacle course races. These activities encourage healthy competition that builds camaraderie, nurturing a sense of community while working towards milestones together. Put a leaderboard on the wall for everyone to visually reference and create a talking point, further incentivising people to participate with the chance to see their name at the top. Alternatively, you could share weekly results on social media, which members can repost and help to spread the word to their friends about what you do.

You could even partner with local businesses to offer discounts or source prizes. This approach not only increases member participation, it supports local communities and increases your reach for marketing your business.

Mix up the routine

Variety is the spice of life, so keep things interesting by changing how clients work out during each personal training session. Letting people call the shots can help them to feel more empowered by giving them control over what they do, while still maintaining an element of surprise.

You can come up with exercise combinations or target repetition numbers in various ways, such as:

Creating exercise bingo cards

Using classic decks of cards, pre-assigning exercises to suits

Rolling a single die, or multiple dice, to set numbered goals

Flipping a coin to choose between different options

You can still remain in control of the sessions so that clients know you’re not just handing over the reins to them. You want them to see that you plan ahead and take their health and fitness seriously, so bring in these fun elements of the unexpected as part of the overall schedule.

Host themed workout classes

Introducing themed workout classes is sure to make exercise more fun. Let your imagination run wild when it comes to ideation; you can even take suggestions from clients for each month’s timetable. With people’s consent, you could film certain classes for compelling social media content, which showcases the fun in your brand and encourages other people to sign up.

From Eighties-style aerobics to laughter yoga, disco-style dance parties to superhero-themed circuit training, the possibilities are endless and the more unique, the better. Members can look forward to trying different sessions that fit their interests, so it’s an innovative way to draw people in and keep class attendance high.

Move it outside

A change of location can do wonders for our mindset, particularly in the great outdoors. New scenery injects a sense of adventure into any fitness routine, while engaging the senses and bringing fresh motivation. Take advantage of nature’s mental health benefits, by running workout sessions or boot camps outside.

Consider a sunrise yoga class in the park, a strength training session in the gym garden, or a run around your local area. You can always trial outdoor activities to gauge the uptake, make them a regular summer series or facilitate higher-intensity exercise throughout the year, so that people still work up a sweat even when the temperatures drop.

Invest in fitness tech

There have been significant advances in health and fitness technology over the last few years. As this tech becomes increasingly sophisticated, you can use it to your advantage rather than seeing it as a threat. People still want to visit physical gym spaces for a shared sense of motivation and to enjoy social connection, so there are plenty of ways to let tech take your offering to the next level.

You can incorporate these tools into group classes or activities for people, or partner up with your clients during their PT sessions to have fun using them together. Wearable devices and fitness apps can help with tracking progress, setting goals, and competing with other gym members.

Incorporating VR technology into your business undoubtedly creates lots of fun, as transporting gym-goers to virtual worlds makes for an instantly immersive experience. There’s a wide range of devices, headsets and equipment providing gamified, otherwordly VR workouts, which can be a worthwhile investment for satisfied clients. From hiking up mountains to exploring underwater landscapes, modern tech can make cardio and strength training more engaging than ever before.

Work out together

Not every new idea needs to cost you anything; making workouts more fun can be as simple as joining in with your clients. Showing them how it’s done brings much more energy to the whole process and earns you their respect, as they appreciate the additional enthusiasm and commitment you put in. As they see you putting yourself through it with them, you can build a closer bond and they’re more likely to increase their efforts in return. It’ll be much easier to build trust and rapport, making people look forward to spending time with you and building their motivation for going to the gym.

The shared experience also allows you to provide real-time guidance on form and technique, ensuring safety and effectiveness. It elevates the overall training session by making it a collaborative effort. For that reason, don’t forget to celebrate your clients’ wins together. Getting excited about their achievements makes all the hard work feel that much more rewarding.

Offer bring-a-friend days

There are endless studies showing that many people enjoy exercise more when they work out with their friends. Sharing the experience adds a social element and provides mutual support, rather than seeing exercise as an isolated effort. These positive aspects can help people to feel more confident in the gym environment and reduce any feelings of anxiety.

Maximise the potential of this by introducing bring-a-friend days once a month or once a week, establishing your own rules about how often members can come along for free. This is a great way to recruit new gym members by letting new people try out your services. Thanks to social proof, their friend will do a lot of the work for you when they bring them along, by advocating for your brand. You could offer incentives for every friend who signs up for a full membership, from free months to prizes or cash rewards.

Tailor the fun to your clients

Everyone will have their own preferences for the types of exercise and approaches they enjoy. Ask your clients what they want from their sessions; put out suggestion boxes in the gym and send out emails to your customer base, or consider the specific aims of your personal training clients. Are they looking to change their physical appearance, improve their overall health and wellbeing, or do they love to continuously hit new performance targets?

Some people will find more fun and happiness in exercise techniques that offer destressing benefits, while others are in their element when they’re pushing their limits or beating the competition. Remember to keep clients’ fitness goals in mind and ensure that everything you do is tied to these, so that the fun serves a purpose and gets results.

Get gym insurance with Protectivity

Whether you’re a self-employed personal trainer, own a small gym or run a large sports brand, you’ll need to be aware of the potential risks that could impact your business. From third-party injury claims to commercial property damage and interruption to trading, the right gym insurance gives you peace of mind if things go wrong.

As a trusted partner in the sports industry, Protectivity understands the importance of making workouts safe and enjoyable for gym owners, personal trainers and your clients. That’s why we offer comprehensive gym insurance that gives you protection from a range of potential outcomes.

Read more about Protectivity’s gym insurance policy and obtain a personalised quote designed for your business needs.

This blog has been created as general information and should not be taken as advice. Make sure you have the correct level of insurance for your requirements and always review policy documentation.