Building Member Engagement and Loyalty Through Exercise Programming
The next article in our blog series is all about the importance of programming, and the benefits of a structured programme design in ensuring continuity and consistency in class delivery.
The key thing to remember is that it all starts with the individual.
People want to feel safe and competent when carrying out activities, regardless of their level; It doesn‘t matter if we’re referring to members who are learning new exercise sequences, or trainers who are already experienced in leading the courses.
In this blog post, we’ll look at...
- How adults learn
- The ‘why‘
- Your first driving lesson
- Course concepts that really retain members
1. HOW ADULTS LEARN
To understand the relevance of predefined programming, it’s important to know how and when adults learn in the first place. Here are a few facts:
- Adults can learn at any time, it doesn't matter how old you are. However, it’s worth being mindful of the impact of ageing on learning, with some older people often using their age as the reason why they struggle to learn.
- It is true that learning requires more energy as we age, but this shouldn’t stop anyone from wanting to learn.
- There must be a real reason for the ‘learning‘. Everyday experiences are often managed and controlled by our subconscious to provide cognitive skills for the really important things.
2. THE 'WHY'
Adults learn when the act of learning is deemed useful and rewarding. If this is the case, learning is more likely to be repeated or continued.
If this process is additionally supported by the fact that the learner feels that he/she will have lasting success with it (intrinsic motivation) or that he/she receives positive feedback (extrinsic motivation), this effect will be strengthened.
If optimisation suggestions are also part of the feedback loop that help to confirm or improve the result, this leads to even stronger motivation.
Adults like to learn. The more relevant and comprehensive the content, the more longlasting and easily-recalled the learned knowledge is.
This should be the underlying attitude to our thoughts and actions when designing a course concept or programming for adults.
3. YOUR FIRST DRIVING LESSON
When introducing new concepts, tact is required. Sometimes it helps to put ourselves in an uncomfortable learning situation to better understand our clients' feelings (known as ‘reframing‘).
Put yourself in the situation of your first driving lesson and remember the thoughts you had before starting the engine for the first time. Buckle up, put your foot on the clutch, turn the key, look over your shoulder and accelerate. At the time, these processes would have taken up many of your available resources. Today, after many years of experience, driving has become second nature and we can talk on the phone, converse or do other things at the same time while driving.
How did you feel after you moved the car for the first time in the first driving lesson?
I can tell you how I felt: I was very, very happy. I had crossed a previously insurmountable barrier. It was an incredible sense of achievement for me! I wanted more of it.
But how did this feeling come about after I felt so nervous about this moment beforehand? And how did I acquire this competence in the first place?
- The driving instructor explained everything to me in a very structured way and with full attention, and made sure that I got to know and operate all the safety-relevant systems of the vehicle.
- He exuded a lot of calm and control in the first session.
- By asking me questions, he made sure that I was competent enough to meet the requirements.
- By providing praise, he made me understand that I could believe in my movements and actions in connection with the car.
The structured, systematic approach to novice drivers is well thought-out, and turns unexperienced people into knowledgeable and competent learners.
- This process is called a completed learning curve.
Let's apply this in a fitness context and combine it with our knowledge about learning as an adult...
4. COURSE CONCEPTS THAT REALLY RETAIN MEMBERS
Everything that members can see, feel and perceive triggers feelings in them.
This can be feelings of motivation or even feelings of rejection.
The feelings I develop with a new concept depend on the following factors, among others:
- What colours and shapes do I perceive?
- What emotions do light, materials and sounds trigger?
- Do the course titles sound realistic and feasible to me?
- Can I cope with the technical challenges? (apps, monitors, etc.)
On the one hand, external circumstances form the experience, and on the other it‘s the approach and the social interaction that also form our members' perception.
Everyone wants to learn new things without fear. If you make sure in advance that members get the following questions answered in the process, you can be sure that you are teaching an interested and attentive listener and learner:
- Why do I do it?
- What am I doing?
- How do you do it?
Curiosity is a fundamental human trait. Through negative experiences (e.g. pressure to perform, negative learning experiences, life circumstances), adults have unlearned this curiosity. Through the right approach to the development and implementation of group training programmes, we cover these needs and thus ensure maximum safety and high-quality training for exercisers, from beginners to advanced.
The advantage of systematically designed classes is the fact that the planned sequences can be constantly repeated and not forgotten. Likewise, a real progression of the lesson plan is possible because weight and repetitions are used in a targeted way.
Participants experience supercompensation – that is the theory that when an appropriate training load is applied following an appropriate period of recovery, an exerciser’s body is prepared for a greater future training load. This process is essential for improving fitness levels and can determine the success of the workout, at least from the perspective of physical developments.
How a well thought-out programming and the corresponding small group training concept can look like can be seen here.
In part two of this blog, we’ll look at what gyms can do to provide a motivating and engaging training space for members, and how the Official Hammer Strength Box programming has been designed to deliver the ultimate member training experience.