Why do people stick around your gym for the long-term?
Is it excitement? Novelty? Education? A combination?
Any of these might be the primary reason. But people QUIT when they stop learning (that’s most important,) stop finding your service novel (second) or stop finding the gym fun (important, but not most important.)
I study human behavior and motivation more than I study weightlifting now. After almost 20 years in the fitness industry, I know the long game is more important than anything else. I’m finally starting to understand why people quit gyms and why coaches stop coaching. Education is the linchpin.
There’s a ton of research on employee retention and education–more on that on the TwoBrainBusiness site. But coaches should know one thing about keeping their clients engaged:
When they stop learning, they’re done.
One of the ways we ensure constant teaching is through the 90-Second Rule: ensure every client in every class receives at least 90 seconds of one-on-one instruction.
90 seconds doesn’t sound like much. But it’s enough time to watch a client do a squat, suggest one point of correction, watch them perform, and move on.
After all clients have been covered, the coach returns to the client who needs the most support: the person at the limits of their competency, or the girl going for a PR.
My friend Sean Manseau uses a technique he calls “sharking,” where he’s in constant circulation and looking for movement faults. I like his strategy, but prefer to be proactive and provide coaching to everyone regardless of need.
I do the same for coaches: teach in advance instead of reactively. Because when coaches stop learning, they’re done.
The 90-Second Rule creates a minimum standard of constant learning. If clients want more, they can simply move to personal training. But little nuggets, delivered over time, is what keeps them moving down the path. When the nuggets disappear, so do they.