Resting Classes in Gyms: Not as Stupid as They Might Seem

A smiling woman lies on her stomach on a mat as part of a "recovery class" at a gym.

Going to a gym to take a resting class—it seems laughable on the surface.

On March 27, the Wall Street Journal published the article “The Hot New Class at Your Gym? Resting.”

The short summary: Gym are reporting that pandemic-weary members “are seeing increased demand for gentler classes,” with many providing new offerings such as meditation sessions, yoga training and recovery rooms.

If you’ve ever put the workout Fran on the whiteboard or seen the effects of intense training, you might have shaken your head and ignored the article.

Here’s how it can help you improve the client journey at your gym.

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

Two-Brain founder Chris Cooper has presented this quote from Seth Godin many times:

“Don’t find customers for your products. Find products for your customers.”

I’ve definitely ignored that sage advice in the past.

For example, I considered posting a deadlift workout on our website for the day but actually making people run 5 kilometers when they arrived “because the cherry pickers needed it.” I internally rolled my eyes when some clients told me they didn’t like working on Olympic weightlifting and would prefer to do burpees. And I personally pushed through tough workouts on days when I really, really didn’t need them.

In the box community, we know intensity brings results. The evidence is clear. So we tend to focus on delivering intensity and pushing people to work hard and give ‘er every day.

But what happens when your customers are worn out, beaten up and depressed after two years of working from home, home-schooling restless kids, cancelling travel plans, dealing with insane inflation and worrying about being sick?

Are those people still fired up to roll into your gym and thruster until they vomit? Or are they looking for something different right now even though they signed up to push their limits?

That’s where the client journey and Goal Review Sessions come in.

What Do You Want Right Now?

Two-Brain mentors have gym owners “map the client journey”—the exact path every person will take through the business, from sign-up to cancellation. Along the way, it’s established best practice to review a client’s goals at least every 90 days.

In Goal Review Sessions, you analyze progress and highlight successes. Then you adjust the plan if needed. This is referred to as the Prescriptive Model.

So what if a hard-charging member hasn’t made a lot of progress lately due to a ridiculous work-from-home schedule that’s constantly disrupted by sick kids who can’t go to school? The member is stressed, tired and short on time. She knows high-intensity workouts would help her become fitter, but right now she’s just trying to stay afloat. Her goals have actually shifted from “reach the podium at masters competitions” to “try to stay sane and just do something three times a week.”

With that information, you can alter your prescription for that client:

“Given your current goals and situation, let’s pause our group HIIT program right now. Instead, sign up for personalized at-home coaching. I’ll provide three short, lower-intensity workouts each week as well as coaching on sleep, nutrition, recovery and stress management. We need to take care of you right now.”

Experienced gym owners will know that personalized service is actually more valuable to the client and the gym, and it’s also going to solve problems for this client. No, it won’t help the client win the Masters of the Universe Ultra-Intense Throwdownapalooza. But that’s not the goal right now. The goal is “just do something,” and if you don’t figure that out, the client will become increasingly likely to cancel.

If you talk to clients quarterly and review their goals, you can adjust them. And if you start to see trends—like 40 percent of your members are struggling with motivation—you can take a calculated, measured response to create a product that will solve their problems.

And that’s where “resting classes” might come in. Even if they seem ridiculous at first glance.

Remember: You sell progress toward goals, not a fitness method.

What They Need, Not What You Like

The point: You won’t know how to serve your clients if you don’t talk to them regularly about their goals.

You won’t know how to adjust plans for individuals whose circumstances have changed, and you won’t see opportunities to create new products and services for current clients. You’ll just continue fly blind, serve the same meals and hope your clients still want to eat them.

I’m not saying high-intensity exercise doesn’t produce amazing results. It does. And it’s the right prescription for some people.

But you’re a coach, and your job is to help clients reach individual health and fitness goals—even when the goal changes from “PR my deadlift” to “try to get seven hours of sleep and stretch for 10 minutes a day while managing the raging new stresses in my life.”

So be a coach, not a fitness dictator.

And start doing Goal Review Sessions so you’re always giving clients exactly what they need.

To find out how a mentor can help you with your client journey, book a call.


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.