A fitness event is the perfect way to attract new members, motivate current ones, and create a buzz about your business. You can even use events to create new revenue streams that boost profitability. Learn the basics of event planning and get 13 fitness event ideas in this article.
Want to attract new members and keep your existing members happy? Fitness events are your friend!
Running a fitness event will help you reach new members and engage existing ones. As well as helping you create a buzz about your gym or fitness club. And even creating the opportunity to bring in extra revenue.
Fitness events come in all shapes and sizes. From a small gym event like a wellness workshop. To bigger ongoing events like a specialist training programme for a sports event.
To make your fitness event a standout success think about your audience, goals, budget, and promotion approach.
In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of hosting a fitness event and how to plan your event. Then we’ll offer 13 fitness event ideas to inspire you in 2024.
Let’s get stuck in!
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Hosting a fitness event can give your business a serious boost. A well planned event can bring a whole range of benefits.
Attract leads & sales
Fitness events can help you generate new leads and membership sign ups. Research suggests that 79% of businesses who run or take part in events made sales as a result.
Opening up your event to everyone can help future members learn more about your gym and the benefits of joining.
Boost member satisfaction & loyalty
Events are all about bringing people together. Creating shared experiences. And leaving a lasting positive impression.
Running events can help enhance your member experience. So, you build a loyal base of committed members. Boosting member retention, average length of stay, and profitability as a result.
Inspire word-of-mouth referrals
88% of people trust recommendations from people they know more than any other kind of advertising. And 77% of people are more likely to buy after receiving word-of-mouth advice. Word-of-mouth gym marketing is powerful!
Run fitness events that generate buzz and excitement. And you’ll leave attendees talking about your brand to friends, family, colleagues, and anyone else who will listen! Bringing about word-of-mouth recommendations and referrals that attract new members.
Create a gym member referral programme that rewards existing members and entices new members to sign up.Read more
Get free advertising
Fitness events give attendees something to talk about. Make the most of this by running a social media campaign around your event with a dedicated event hashtag.
By encouraging people to share photos and videos from your fitness event using your hashtag and tagging your business, you’ll attract user-generated content (UGC).
UGC is any type of content posted by others using social media, as well as review websites and forums. In other words, it’s free promotion for your business! And research shows 79% of people say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decision.
Raise money for charity
Running a gym event can help you raise money for a charity that matters to you and your members. Ask attendees to make a donation. Have participants collect sponsorships when taking part. And even donate revenue from event ticket sales to your chosen cause.
Build a new revenue stream
Thinking about putting on a paid for event? Or an event series paid for separately from a regular membership? This is a great way to use fitness events to build a new revenue stream of income into your business.
Even a one-off paid event can be a great way of boosting revenue for your business. And a great way to bring in extra income at a quieter time of year. For example, in spring or December when membership sales can dip.
How to plan a successful fitness event
Your exact approach to planning and the time you’ll need will depend on how complex the gym event you choose to run is. Here’s what to consider:
Before you do anything else, ask yourself ‘what do I want to achieve by throwing an event?’.
Lead generation. New membership sign-ups. Member retention and engagement. Brand awareness. Fundraising. Attract new income. Recruitment. You could have one or more goals that you want to achieve with your fitness event.
Make sure the goal, or goals, you set are SMART. That means they need to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. For example, your goal could be to attract 10 new membership sign-ups by the end of the event.
With your goals in mind, think about who your target audience will be. For example:
- Existing members
- Prospective members
- People training for a specific event
- Local community groups
- Other fitness professionals or those with an interest in working in the industry
- Other businesses
Consider what your target audience will want from an event. Think about how you’ll reach them. And what will persuade them to be a part of your event.
Events don’t necessarily need to be costly to run. Yet, it’s wise to set a budget and consider what you have available to spend to achieve your goal.
Costs to think about include:
- Venue (if you’re not using your own location)
- Signs & branding
- Any audio-visual equipment required
- Staffing – including any fees for influencers, speakers, DJs, guest instructors etc.
- Marketing & promotion costs
Consider setting aside a little extra for any unexpected costs that come up.
For your event to be successful you need your target audience to take part. So, you need to let them know about it and persuade them to be a part of it.
These are just some of the ways you can create a buzz to attract your target audience to your fitness event:
- Email marketing – use the gym marketing software features in your gym management system to send targeted, personalised email messages. Include details of your event in your fitness newsletter too
- Social media – create banners and post copy about your event with key details. Then promote them on your social media channels. Be prepared to answer questions. Remember to create and use a unique hashtag, so you can encourage UGC during and after the event
- Website – add details of your event to your website. Create a landing page that gives potential attendees all the details they need in one place. Make it clear how to sign up or register for your fitness event
- Posters & flyers – if your budget allows, you could invest in posters to display in your club (and/or anywhere else you have permission to). And flyers to handout to potential participants
13 fitness event ideas
Fitness events can help you attract new members, keep existing ones, boost revenue, and more. There are loads of fitness event options to choose from. When choosing a gym event think about your goals, target audience, budget, and the other resources you have available.
Here are 13 fitness event ideas to inspire you:
#1: Gym open day
A gym open day (or open weekend) is a fantastic way to show prospects and existing members what your club has to offer. With effective planning and marketing an open day can help you:
- Showcase new classes on offer
- Get members trying different classes and workouts
- Promote your PT offering
- Attract referrals
- Sign up new members
- And more!
You can go as big or small as you like with a gym open day. The more you can offer, the longer visitors will stay, and the more engaged they’ll be with your club.
Work with your gym staff to plan the day. Choose a date that gives you enough time to plan for and promote the day. You’ll need at least a month. Set targets for the day. Have a timetable. Offer appointments for tours and with PTs.
If you are trying to attract new members during your open day, it can help to have an incentive. Create promo codes. Make sure members know about your gym member referral programme.
Also, have a way to capture details of prospects who aren’t quite ready to sign up yet. So, you can stay in touch with them.
#2: Gym challenge
Want to motivate your members to show up and make use of their memberships? Run a gym challenge! Gym challenges give members a new goal to work towards. A goal with a set timeline and plan to follow.
Challenges also bring members together, interacting, competing, and cheering each other on. So, you can build a sense of community and belonging at your club. And that helps build gym member motivation and loyalty.
Your challenge could last a few weeks or a month. For example, a distance or visits challenge.
Or, you could make it an event held at your gym where members can participate or spectate. For example, an AMRAP or MURPH challenge would work in this format.
Make your gym challenge as accessible as possible. Create categories and options to suit all groups and abilities.
#3: Charity event
With a charity event, the money raised for your event goes to your chosen charity. This type of fitness event will help you increase awareness, build community and give back to a good cause at the same time.
Select a charity that will resonate with you, your team, and your members. Perhaps there’s a local charity who have played a role in your, a team member, or a member’s life.
Or, you could even create a poll to let members choose a charity. So, they feel involved and more motivated to attend.
Generally the most effective ways to raise funds are to sell tickets, charge an entry fee, and/or ask members to raise sponsorships. Ideas for charity fundraising fitness events include:
- A special class with a guest instructor or group of instructors
- A marathon-style event, e.g., a walkathon, spin-athon, row-athon, etc.
- A competition – e.g., a HYROX style workout or bootcamp challenge
- A talk and meet & greet with a sports star
#4: Launch party
Introducing a new group fitness class? Have a new facility or recently refurbished area in your fitness club? Yes?! Then you have the perfect excuse to throw a launch party!
Launch events are a highly effective way to generate a big buzz about your new facility, class, or service.
Event attendees get the opportunity to try out your new offering. Have refreshments available and give attendees the opportunity to mingle. So, it really becomes a special experience.
Promote the launch party on your social media. And by email to existing and prospective members. Consider inviting local journalists and influencers to gain even more exposure for your new offering.
#5: Marathon event
Think spin-athon or Zumbathon and you’re on the right path here! It could be a bumper 2-hour class or even an all-nighter. A marathon style fitness event (with or without the actual running part!) is a fantastic way to challenge and engage members and prospects alike.
Offer a cool-down and rest zone for those wishing to take a break. Set up a refuelling and rehydration station. And make it easy for prospects to sign up for a membership during this event.
Use the gym booking software features in your club management system to create this event, take bookings, and track attendance.
#6: Guest instructor
Many group fitness class goers attend for the instructor just as much as the class itself. And most gyms will have their own superstar instructors. Yet, every so often it’s good to mix things up and invite a guest instructor.
Do you run classes with well-known instructors or master trainers (like the Les Mills class programmes)? Consider inviting guest instructors to teach one-off classes at your club. Or, even work with fitness influencers to put on exclusive bootcamps.
Much like Marathon-style classes, these sessions will help you bring in more members. As well as attracting prospects eager to take part in a class with a celebrity instructor. Use your gym management software to take bookings and promote the class to maximise attendance.
#7: Guest DJ
Not every gymgoer will want to take part in classes or bootcamps. Yet, music can make or break a workout for many gymgoers. So, think about having a guest DJ come in and play in your gym for an evening.
Make a fitness event of it by setting the right mood with lighting that will excite members, without distracting from their workout. And create an area for socialising with a bar/juice bar, so attendees can mingle after their workout. Even invite entertainers along for the evening.
You could make it at themed night with certain types of music and encouraging members to get dressed up too. For example, an 80s party or a rave night. Create tickets and market your guest DJ event to encourage non-members to attend too.
#8: Train together programme
Do you often have members training for the same triathlon or marathon? Or perhaps you’re affiliated with an event like HYROX?
Think about offering an ongoing fitness event like a training programme. Giving participants with a common goal access to specialist coaching and structured workouts. As well as the opportunity to support one another.
This could be a programme that’s available to members at a discounted cost. As well as opening it up to casual visitors on a one-off basis.
Work with coaches who can create training programmes that help participants to achieve their goal. Consider partnering with a nutritionist to design nutrition plans. And set up private groups where participants can chat (for example, using Facebook or WhatsApp).
When those taking part in the programme compete in their event, whether it’s a marathon, triathlon, or HYROX, make sure your club goes along to cheer them on. You could even invite other members to attend with your team.
#9: Pop-up class
Take your club out on the road and run a pop-up class. A gym event that’s not in the gym at all! This is a great way to showcase what you and your fitness instructors have to offer.
Partner with local businesses to provide classes for employees. You’ll help these businesses boost employee wellbeing. Or, look for other locations where you could put on a pop-up class. For example, a local park or the beach. Make sure you have the right permission to run your class.
This could be a free or paid class. It’s a fantastic opportunity to promote the memberships you offer. Consider creating a special offer and promotion code for those who sign up after taking part in your pop-up class.
#10: Meet & greet fitness event
Create ‘an evening with’ style event and invite your members along for an evening to hear from an inspirational personality. For example, an athlete or fitness influencer.
Try and choose a star who your target audience would most connect with.
That could be a local boxing hero if you have members who train this way. Or a social media influencer who your young members follow. Alternatively, if you are a bodybuilding gym, invite a winning bodybuilder along.
Look for a sports and fitness star who has recently published an autobiography. This can be a good way of identifying someone who’d be willing to do this type of fitness event. And it can be an opportunity for them to promote and sell copies of their book too.
Make it a ticketed event with a short talk from or an interview with your star guest. And follow this with a meet and greet. Where attendees have the opportunity to spend a little time with your star guest. Ideal for asking questions and getting autographs too!
#11: Wellbeing workshops
Wellbeing continues to be one of the biggest fitness trends. So, help your members look after their wellbeing by offering focused workshops.
These could be ticketed fitness events open to members and non-members for a fee. Work with specialist coaches and trainers at your club or in your area to create appealing workshops. Ideas include:
- Yoga masterclass
- Meditation workshop
- Healthy cooking tutorial
- Relaxation techniques class
- Stress management workshop
- Mindfulness masterclass
- Ice bath and breathwork workshop
If specialist facilities are required that you don’t have at your fitness club, consider holding your workshop off site. If the location is not easily accessible via public transport or parking is a challenge, you could offer a minibus from your club to and from the workshop.
#12: Personal trainer educational workshops
Your club needs great personal trainers and this fitness event idea is just the ticket to build a network of the best ones. And will showcase what your club has to offer!
Give new and aspiring PTs the chance to build their skills with a series of workshops. Consider partnering with a specialist training company to deliver these. You’ll be able to grow your network of trainers. And make your club known as the go-to-place for PTs.
Promote your workshop events on social media. Where group rules allow, post details to local and relevant groups to reach new audiences. Have information available during and after the event on opportunities for PTs to work with your gym business.
#13: Themed events
Finally, everyone enjoys a themed event and a fitness event is no exception. Valentines works well as an example, but you could also do this for Halloween, Christmas, and the summer.
Run a bootcamp where members can work towards shared goals. Create a themed challenge, like the 12-workouts of Christmas with a different workout every day. Or, invite members to get dressed up with your theme in mind for a class to seasonal music.
The wrap up…
Fitness events offer many benefits for gym owners and operators. Attract leads and sales. Boost member satisfaction and loyalty. Inspire word-of-mouth referrals. Get free advertising. Raise money for charity. And even build a new revenue stream.
Running a successful fitness event takes planning. Set goals for your event. Decide who your target audience is. Set a budget. And create a buzz to get people along.
There are plenty of fitness event ideas. The best ones for your gym business will depend on your goals, target audience, budget, and resources available. Start small and build up to bigger events.
The right gym management software will free up your time so you can focus less on admin and more on running awesome gym events! Book a demo to see Xplor Gym in action.
Article by Xplor Gym
First published: 08 January 2024
Last updated: 19 February 2024