How to Start a Fitness Community During COVID 19

 In podcasts

Do you have a true fitness community?

People are social beings. There’s so much documented about longevity and health connected to social connections. This COVID19 has gone on long enough that everyone to some degree is missing the connection with their groups, attending events of like-minded people, and the health benefits that come with it.

If you are in a fitness center if you’re in one, the same people aren’t all choosing to be there in a group. Schedules have changed such that the same faces aren’t there for those members that do come in.

You can be a solution to this problem and provide yourself with a unique way to learn what offers right now may be of interest to your prospective members. You can use this as both nurturing for current clients and attractive for prospective clients.


  • Facebook groups
  • Zoom town-hall meetings (so people can see one another)

The idea is to create a community within a community. You may think you’ve done that with your membership. The reality is some of your members have nothing in common. You want to find ways to connect people to each other, not just to you. Then serve them in that group.

Think clusters of smaller groups with special interests.

Ideas for Developing small fitness community groups

  • Classes for kids – movement, snack-making, stories
  • Parent’s night off – read to them, play games with them, teach them card tricks, teach them to skills or tricks or drills, do yoga with them. Teach them a dance.
  • Cooking and meal prep classes – focus on a problem not a food (time, food sensitivity, dressings & dips, BBQ marinades & sauces, substitutions for sugar, eliminating gluten, etc)
  • Expand to wellness and health habits
  • Speak about immunity & exercise
  • Bring in experts regularly

How to Handle the Workload

Got a team? Have one of them do one a week. Give each day of the week a theme. Focus on doing them Monday- Friday and use the weekend to send them out in emails. (to your segmented list that wants them). By the way this segmented list is the key to your success.

If you’re still emailing everyone on your list every time you email, now more than ever you’re killing your success. If you send all your emails out to all your customers, you can’t nurture your people with what they really want.

You ignore their behavior which is a clue that you’re not talking to them about anything that’s interesting to them. If customers aren’t opening your emails because the title or the contents were never for them if they did? It’s a pretty sure thing that you’re never going to sell them.

Don’t Forget Fitness Community Segments You’ve Ignored

How long have you been ignoring the people on your list that your personal trainers have the least in common with? The guys in the weight room more than you think they should be? They definitely have something they want. They’re there early every morning or every night after work.

There is probably something they would respond to if you started talking about it. You can talk about protein needs, recovery, ability to gain lean muscle or avoiding injury from XXX by switching out to ABC. Wouldn’t there be value in finding out if you’re leaving money on the table?

More Topics to Get You Started

Have a nutritionist or health coach teach cooking or simple ways to eat well. Get specific. Teach to a special audience. Teach to older adults. Teach to moms with young kids. Teach to the cooking-for-one older or younger segments. Do a segment on salads in a jar, making dips and dressings, talking about the difference between keto and paleo.

Have your massage therapist teach a myofascial release session. Although you think that will decrease the need for their work you couldn’t be further from the reality. Random bits of information in videos ultimately give you the opportunity to serve first, engage with them, gain trust, and see that they need and want more structure than just this.

Do It Live

If you’re a procrastinator worried about what people will think, getting flustered or getting it perfect? Focus on the real connection when you’re human. No one wants perfect. Be relatable, especially now. Everyone has roots grown out, unruly hair, has gained a couple pounds, is a bit forgetful… talk about that in fact. Fitness community is not about perfection and platforms to speak. It’s places to connect.

Do it live even if…. There doesn’t seem to be a large live audience. There’s something about live that is attractive and real and raw (Just like I would say if you’re not recording live classes you’re teaching (and you’re paying people who aren’t working?) you’re crazy! You should be recording your spinning instructors, your yoga classes, your Zumba classes, and sharing those with your customer base.

Whether you gift them a new video weekly in a member’s area and organize by category or you use this area as a new product to sell right now, it’s gold and you’re wasting an opportunity.

After You Have the Live Meeting

Share the recordings in emails. Segment your list for those that want the food, the core, the stretching, the yoga for cyclists & runners…. Whatever your themes are. Don’t make the mistake of doing what you want to do. Base this on the most popular classes you have (the ones that were packed) and poll your customer (Survey Monkey or Typeform) base.

Don’t Skip the Survey

Let them tell you what they want. Segment your members into personal training clients, group fitness attendees, and the rest. You might also include massage therapy clients.

How You Ask Is Everything

Ask a few short questions. To develop a fitness community you have to get answers.

Include a list of some of the topics above. Have them check the ones they’re most interested in.

Then ask them to list them in order of importance – say their top 3.

Include one open-ended option for them to add a topic that would support them most. What’s your biggest challenge right now? What topic area interests you most?

Have them include their gender, age, and email. With the email you have a way to segment them or follow up with them.

A Real Fitness Community

Everyone has a voice and a vote. I know you have to set the Standard Operating Procedures and contrary to popular belief the customer is not always right or going to choose what they need. But people buy what they want. So you will find out what they want and be able to serve them, engage them, support their messy lives right now, by asking them.

If you’re not emailing your best customers, your next customers, and your prior customers regularly you’re missing an opportunity that they’re finding online in other groups. Why not yours?


Subscribe in iTunes 

Flipping 50 Fitness Specialist 

12+ Marketing Fitness Ideas Podcast

Show notes

Start typing and press Enter to search