Can You Create Gym Influencers to Solve Content Problems?

A gym clients sits and uses a ring-light tripod and smartphone to create a video about her workout.

Some of your best clients are “fitfluencers”—but they might not know it.

Once they do, they just might solve content-creation problems at your gym.

A head shot of writer Mike Warkentin and the column name "Pressing It Out."

Over the last five years I’ve talked with hosts of gym owners about media. The majority of these owners have two problems: creating media and posting it.

The second problem is relatively easy to solve: You schedule time for posting or pay a staff member to post to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and so on.

The first problem is much more challenging: You can’t post if you don’t have content. And some gym owners struggle mightily to produce content.

As social media evolves and becomes an even greater part of the world, you might use your clients to create a solution for content-creation problems.

Fitfluencers”: By Choice or By Request

About a year ago, the gym chain GoodLife came up with a clever “fitfluencer” ad campaign.

Here’s the text from the Instagram post:

“We’re looking for FITFLUENCERS to star in our new ad campaign. 6-pack or 60 thousand followers? NOT REQUIRED. All that’s required is just being you – REAL BODIES, REAL PEOPLE AND REAL INFLUENCE, because to us EVERYONE is fit to be an influencer.”

The company accomplished its goal, and GoodLife started using people in a campaign that’s still going. They posted “fitfluencer journey” videos and “fit-tip Fridays” content. They compiled clips of their influencers, and they used them in ads with taglines such as “anyone can be a fitfluencer” and “fitfluencer—your own way.”

It should be noted that none of the influencers are huge bodybuilders with 4 percent body fat or ultra-shredded bikini competitors wearing sequins.

All in all, the campaign was a solid example of marketing wizard Seth Godin’s adage “people like us do things like this.”

You can use the exact same principle to solve content problems in your gym.

Los Angeles Times: “Inside the World of L.A.’s Gym-Influencer Ecosystem”

The Influencers in Your Gym

As I said above, many gym owners struggle to produce content or get their staff members to do so.

One solution: Create your own “fitfluencers” or leverage the ones who are already cranking out content in your gym.

In a recent poll in the private Two-Brain Growth group on Facebook, 55 percent of 40 respondents said clients film in their gym while training (I actually thought this number would be higher, and I suspect it will rise over the next year).

A few details from comments left by owners:

  • Clients sometimes lean phones against walls, water bottles or other objects to film.
  • Some gym owners provide a tripod or magnetic phone holders that stick to pull-up rigs and other metal surfaces to make filming easier.
  • One gym owner has a clear filming code for coaches: The primary trainer is there to coach, not film. But a secondary coach can run a camera if a client requests some assistance.
  • Some gym owners would never consider having tripods for client use, while others think it’s a great idea.
  • Filming has become “excessive” or “intrusive” in at least one case, and the owner had to address the issue (think live narration of her workout to a degree that distracted coaches and other clients).
  • Several gym owners have systems in place for staff to film and file media for use by the gym.
  • Gyms definitely get great—and free—exposure when clients publish the content they create. This is not up for debate. One gym owner: “They tend to post and tag us. Their friends go ‘wow’ and ‘oooo’ and ask where they train. It helps.”

I’m going to push past the problems “excessive filming” can cause in a gym. I’ll just say that your gym should have a media policy in its waiver, you should outline your rules in a code of conduct for members, and your staff should know what’s permitted and what’s not.

“TikTok Shaming and Your Gym: Got a Code of Conduct?”

We’ll just focus on the super-valuable organic output produced by members who film themselves or others.

Your Plan

Here’s your simple plan:

1. You might take small steps to facilitate organic media production. Consider getting a tripod or some magnetic phone holders members can use. You might even create a branded “selfie wall” with good lighting. Direct people there after PRs and say “tag us when you post the pic!”

2. If members are filming, ask where they’re posting. Then be sure to follow them online, engage with the content and share it as widely as you can.

3. If members are filming and not posting, ask them to post their clips. Or ask them if you can post the video to the gym account to show them off. You can get a ton of content just by saying, “Do you mind if I post that video, too? Great! Please text it to me.”

4. If you have perfect clients who might be open to the idea, gently encourage them to film themselves from time to time and post the clips or send the videos to you. Sample prompt: “Congrats on the PR! Would you mind filming yourself for a minute? Just explain what you did and how you feel.”

5. Finally, you could formalize an arrangement with a prolific, engaging member who creates a ton of content. What if that member pumped out five videos a week for your gym? (If you take this path, be sure to list the exact deliverables and terms so there are no issues.)

Organic Content for the Win

While microgym owners might not want full-fledged influencers narrating live streams during whiteboard talks and putting tripods where they interfere with other members, organic marketing is incredibly valuable in 2023.

Real people who produce real videos that show off your brand? Most companies would kill for that.

You’ve already got great people, incredible visuals and compelling stories in your gym.

All you have to do is get someone to hit “record” and then post the content.

If you do that, I guarantee you’ll get some very warm leads who are already connected to your best clients.


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.