Coach Kirsten leads a class through a group warm up

Giving New Gym Members a Winning Experience
Written Kirsten Ahrendt 

When a new gym member walks into your facility, making sure that they have a “winning” experience is up to you as their coach. We all remember how intimidating it was to walk into our first gym. You see fit people throwing weights around, and think “that will never be me”. This is why it’s so important for their first experience at the gym to be a special one. 

Use these tips to help a new gym members have a winning experience 

1. Make the gym member feel seen

  • Give them a personal check in beyond the whiteboard group talk towards the beginning of class, during a warmup, or at the start of part A checking to see how they are feeling, what they still have questions about for the day, any injury history you might not be aware of. Use open-ended questions to help, like “how are you feeling about today’s training?”, or “What questions do you have about today’s movements or stimulus?”.
  • Know their name and use it.
  • Know something about them & reference it so they have confidence that even if you haven’t coached them before, you know their “story”.

2. Help the member to feel confident and empowered by simplifying movement

  • Focus on what they CAN do, not what they can’t do. If they seem to have an “I’m the worst in the class” mindset, ask yourself…how can I give them a “win” in the class?
  • SIMPLIFY. When the program is overly packed or has many ‘complicated/technical’ movements, remove stations. Take them from 4 movements to 3 or even 2 if necessary. Try to keep only 1 technically-demanding or “new” movement in their part A or part B as necessary so that they don’t feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of new things they need to remember. 
  • Make subtle changes to complicated movements. Here are some examples: 
    • Use isometric holds instead of high repetitions
    • Make dynamic movements slowed down
    • Swap unilateral movements for bilateral
    • Give them something “hard” but “simple” if necessary. REMEMBER THE W-E-S Scale in StrongFit…Weight, Eccentrics, Skill… these are great variables to consider as a coach for new members to experience intensity without injury!

3. Follow up

  • In-person after class, let them know what they did well. Provide any additional 1:1 coaching/cueing you wanted to follow up with them on. 
  • Ask what questions still remain from the movements covered that day.
  • Follow up with an email if necessary with any additional feedback or links to videos for them to learn movement better. 

Ensuring that a new member feels included, wanted and welcome is the best way to ensure that they have a “winning” experience and continue to come back to the gym! Provide them with the best possible experience and get them off on the right foot in their fitness journey.

Invictus University

Want to learn more valuable skills about how to improve your coaching, create great experiences for your members and feel more confident leading classes? Check out Invictus University, designed by Invictus Master coaches to help take you to the next level. Get on the waitlist for our next cohort!

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Chip Boldin
Chip Boldin
January 26, 2024 5:12 pm

I know this is coach centric but members play a part in making new people feel comfortable, we need to welcome newbies into our environment. Saying hello and guiding new people to equipment is simple and goes a long way to welcoming them to a community.

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