We’ve all breathed a collective sigh of relief to have 2020 behind us. And while there are, no doubt, considerable challenges ahead, this past, pandemic-impacted year taught a lot of valuable lessons in terms of what people need from their home fitness facilities – to stay healthy, safe and sane. Here’s a New Year’s primer on the consumer trends and ideas to get the most out of your fitness facilities in 2021 and keep residents engaged, healthy and coming back for more.
Engage Your Tenants
From politics to the pandemic, there has been a lot on everyone’s minds in the past year. But the clean slate that January and February present, are an excellent opportunity to make and implement a plan to re-engage your tenants and residents with your fitness amenities. Launch a 2021 fitness challenge for residents and challenge residents (and their neighbors) to go virtually head-to-head and log treadmill miles, complete on-demand exercise classes or log workout sessions in the gym. Try incentivizing participants with gift cards to local restaurants or stores that are open.
Make Fitness Planning Easy
Over the busy holiday period and winter months it’s typical for fitness to take a back seat to the rush of the season. Residents get out of the habit of working out, lose momentum with their schedules and need a little encouragement to get back on track. Make a plan to communicate and motivate them regularly. Start with an email aimed at helping them plan their fitness experience on-site: how to reserve your fitness facility when so many people are working out from home, instructions and work out plans for using existing or any new cardio equipment and any changes you’re making to the facility. Weekly or bi-weekly emails with work out tips, exercise programs for people with busy lives and nutritional planning ideas can help motivate and engage residents without a lot of time investment for your management team.
Consider Indoor-Outdoors Workouts
Many fitness clubs are looking at more flexible workout spaces to ease congestion and help mitigate Covid-19 fears of crowded fitness facilities. If weather permits, consider creating flexible fitness spaces in your outdoor areas. Can firepit patios for resident social gatherings also serve as yoga class space on mornings and weekends? Some equipment like mats, free weights and exercise balls can easily be transported in and out of your facilities to expand your fitness footprint when the sun shines. If you’re not already providing live instructor classes for residents on occasion, moving to outdoor spaces can create easy opportunities to do so, without tying up your indoor gym space for other users.
Embracing Digital First Workouts
Digital fitness content, virtual classes and streaming instructor-led sessions were growing rapidly before the pandemic, but all have enjoyed an explosion of popularity in the past 12 months. Millennial and Gen Z residents are digital first in their jobs and lives, so prioritize engaging them with existing and new content in your class and workout portfolio. Provide ready-made workout programs that incorporate different kinds of classes and experiences from HIIT calorie-burning sessions to instructor-led classes built around treadmills, ellipticals and bikes. An A-Z quick guide of the content types, classes and instructors in your portfolio may be a good way to familiarize tenants with all content as well as new classes and offerings that you add. If you have on-site instructors for weekly classes, make sure to integrate them into your digital offerings too. Are their opportunities to conduct sessions via Facebook Live or other apps?
Reassure Residents to Keep them Content
A lot has changed in the past year – for the better. Residents know and understand that all facilities from clubs and retail locations to the fitness facilities on their doorstep are doing everything they can to keep everyone safe. But make sure to reinforce this on a regular basis. Post signage and share updates on the protocols, procedures and steps your team are taking to keep your communal spaces safe and healthy for everyone. Make sure residents know too the latest requirements on where a mask indoors to work out and mark areas on your facility floor for social distancing at all times.