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12 Days of Fitness: Engaging Your Members Through the Holiday Season


For many, the holiday season is about food, fun and festivities, and that does not always leave much room for fitness. Getting members to the gym during this busy season can seem like a difficult task. 

I’m sure many of you can relate to empty studios, deserted fitness centers and plenty of front row parking as members are swooped into the celebrations and to-do lists that consume this time of year.


Keeping members engaged by giving them an appropriately festive reason to make time for the gym is the key to making sure studios stay packed, fitness centers are abuzz, and parking lots are full. It only takes one or two unique ideas to grab the attention of your gym-goers. 

In keeping with the jolly holiday theme, here are 12 ideas for engaging your members through the holiday season:

  1. Giving tree and charity. ‘Tis the season of giving. Give your members something to feel good about by supporting a cause. Set goals and post progress toward the achievement, giving your members the warm fuzzies when they enter your facility.
  2. Pop-up classes. Seasonally themed pop-up classes help build excitement toward your programming. By calling the class a pop-up, it creates a sense of urgency so members will feel they will miss out if they do not get in now.
  3. Bring a buddy. Who does not like to workout with a friend? And who knows? Maybe that buddy will sign up too.
  4. Family classes. Holidays are a time for family, so make fitness a family affair. How about a Family Flow or Parent Tot Circuit?
  5. Theme days. Creating a theme (such as wearing green and red, or decorating with bows) helps build unity and inclusion. Moreover, it makes for great marketing.
  6. Holiday Bingo. Create a Bingo card based on visits, classes attended or tasks completed in your facility. Give prizes to those who complete their Bingo card. 
  7. Discount of the day. Post a different savings each day. This could be done advent calendar-style or “12 Days of Christmas” themed.
  8. Competition. Friendly competition always sparks a little fire. Even an accountability/weight loss program could help your members to keep diets in check through the holidays.
  9. Shorter high-intensity interval training (HIIT) classes. Anybody can find 30 minutes a day to workout, even during the busy holiday season.
  10. Daily short circuit challenges members can do solo. An individual challenge means members can workout when it is convenient for them. This could be part of a member competition.
  11. Family holiday activities. How about a gingerbread house competition, a snowman building competition, or cookie decorating? It does not always have to be only about fitness. Building a community and making members feel like family will only boost your likelihood of retaining them as members.
  12. Gift wrap services while members workout. Offering a gift wrap service in two to three-hour blocks is a great service for your members, and one they would appreciate. You could solicit volunteers and take donations for a charity.

Do not overwhelm your members by trying to do everything, but finding one or two fun ways to make members’ lives easier or keep members engaged will ensure your members do not forget about your facility through the holiday season.


Sandy Wiedmeyer is the fitness manager at Pleasant Prairie RecPlex.

Sandy Wiedmeyer

Sandy Wiedmeyer is the fitness manager at the RecPlex in Pleasant Prairie Wisconsin, and a member of WIFA as a Midwest Global Ambassador.

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