It's oh so QUIET!

Gyms are getting quieter, there's no two ways about it. After a massive surge in membership sales and gym attendance, the inevitable, winter season plummet is underway.

What does that mean for fitness professionals then?

If you're experienced, you will have experienced this year after year. Busy start of the year, quieter summer, picks up once holidays are over, then begins to die down as the weather changes, days get shorter and winter approaches.

If you're new to this industry, don't panic. This sort of thing happens each year, in all gyms across the world. Only the strongest survive (and continue to train through the dark, cold and wet winter months)

Now you know this, it's the perfect time to alleviate the loss of clients by running challenges, competitions and events to keep the numbers up and gain new clients or continued income, whilst current clients drop sessions and (or) take a rest.

Often, this time of the year people need more motivation to stick to their goal. The average client won't have much to train for except "keep weight off" before Christmas (where inevitably, they'll put weight on) The more experienced (often male) gym goers will use this as "bulking season" or an excuse to over indulge in food and drink, whilst others will simply go through the motions.

This is where you and your challenges come in. Launching an autumn challenge is a good way to get those that need the motivation. to take part in group training which gives them a snippet of personal training at a fraction of the cost.

Popular themes include "Little black dress" challenge or "Black tie" challenge as those who work in offices (or any environment really) prepare for their staff Christmas ball / party - This type of challenge aims to assist the participants to "fit" in their party suit or dress and can often include a reward for "the biggest loser" - Another popular theme.

Call it what you want, but a challenge with a popular theme, or goal will create more interest than a simple "6 week challenge" with no real focus or USP.

Often, once the clients begin to dry up, PT's use this time to drop their prices, and do so drastically. Prices are chopped from £30-40 per hour right down to £15-20 per hour to appeal to more potential clients. The problem with this is firstly you're belittling yourself by charging less, understandably to try and make more money. You're then discrediting all the hard work you had to do to gain the qualification and then further potential CPD you have undertaken and, often, the cheaper option isn't always best (especially when paying for a service) This tactic has the potential to back fire - "why is he/she so cheap"? this can often bring up unwanted debates/attention - But, we get why PT's do it!

Recently, I paid a visit to a gym (no names) and spoke with a newly qualified PT (started in April) she mentioned she was really busy when she started and throughout the summer, but as the gym is getting quieter, so is she. We spoke about running a challenge, a themed "little black dress'" challenge. We ran the idea to management who'd stated "no-one has ever tried it, do it" and off she went! Priced correctly, this could attract a good amount of people, without the PT having to drop their own prices and without potential participants having to break the bank, a win, win for both parties!

Once you have some years under your belt as a fitness professional, you will be able to budget accordingly. But very rarely will you get told this information upon qualifying or enquiring about becoming a personal trainer. A year or 2 into the role and you'll learn Jan/Feb to June/July can be very lucrative months, July/August tend to quiet down with summer and school holidays taking place. September to October/November is steady with November/December tending to be quiet months whilst people prepare for Christmas.

Plan your budgeting around this and you won't get that shock when clients' begin to drop off late November and you're left with the bare minimum, having to charge £15 for your previous £30 an hour session!

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