There’s no denying the impact of gamification on the health and fitness sector in recent years. 

From the introduction of wearable tech – and the daily workout challenges on Apple Watch, Fitbit and Garmin –  to the release of over 71,000 health and fitness apps in 2021 alone, gamification is here to stay. 

But what exactly does that mean? Could your gym benefit from gamification? And if so, how? 

Let’s start with the basics. 

What Is Gamification?

Gamification is the process of applying gaming themes, structures and principles to traditionally non-gaming situations. 

One example might be collecting points, stars or stamps every time you visit your favourite coffee shop. Another might be completing listening challenges on your favourite podcast app. 

For the health and fitness sector, gamification is all about making exercise fun and entertaining by introducing games to play, goals to reach and badges to win. 

The daily workout challenges on fitness watches are one good example. The rising dominance of MyZone, Peloton and other goal-based workout routines are another.

Why Is It Important?  

Gamification is important for the fitness industry – and your gym in particular – because it’s a great way to encourage prospects and members to stay active. 

Keeping fit is often a chore for many people. But if you can make working out fun, and turn coming to your gym as more of a challenge to beat rather than a chore that must be done, you’ll keep members coming back.

And the more interested and engaged your members are, the more likely they’ll stay loyal to your gym. 

By gamifying workouts, classes or your entire membership programme, you will:

  • Attract more prospects and find it easier to convert them
  • Help members try new workouts, new classes and new equipment 
  • Build loyalty and improve your retention rates

Gamification will help you increase your bottom line, attracting new members and retaining existing ones. 

But how do you do it?

How To Bring Gamification Into Your Club

There are many different ways you can bring gamification into your club, depending on how much you’d like to implement and how far you’d like to go. 

Whether you’d just like to introduce a simple ‘frequent visitor’ reward chart or gamify your entire fitness offering, you could:

1. Encourage members to record their goals and achievements

The first step to most gamification involves the ‘player’ (your member in this case), creating their own profile to record their progress. Encourage your members to set their goals and record the achievements they make on their fitness journey, and they’ll immediately want to keep working towards their goals. 

This could be on a simple paper progress chart you share at induction, or it could be a part of your gym management solution ecosystem. And if you introduce the ability for members to share their progress with others, you’ll add a little healthy competition to further encourage activity in your gym.

2. Set new member challenges to complete 

Introducing gamification as soon as a prospect joins your gym is a great way to get them invested early. They’ll also help your new members find their way around your facilities and encourage them to try out all the different areas of your gym. 

Set basic challenges to complete – 10 minutes of exercise on every cardio machine or 5 different classes tried for example – and offer small prizes for completion, like a free drink or guest pass. 

3. Integrate fitness tracking apps

There’s no shortage of wearable tech and fitness apps, and they’re certainly very popular with members. Many can be used with your existing equipment, so encourage your members to connect to your machines to improve their workout tracking. 

Members could then sync their fitness data with others, creating a mini-community within your club and the potential to compete in challenges against each other. 

4. Create your own leaderboard

Of course you don’t always need the latest apps to gamify workouts. You could simply set up your own leadership tables – a large board in reception for example – and set new challenges each week. 

These could include anything from the fastest 10k cycled to the longest time held in Warrior pose. You may challenge members to see who can complete most reps or who can burn the most calories. You could even set up a monthly obstacle course around your gym that requires lots of different skills and abilities. 

The key here is to make sure any task you set is a fair challenge – or is split into categories for different fitness levels and demographics – to encourage everyone to take part. 

5. Hold team events or team classes 

Healthy competition always boosts engagement, and team activities will build camaraderie among your members. If you have teammates to train with, you’re more likely to keep up your fitness regime. 

You could hold monthly tugs of war, circuits, relay races, dance-offs or any other activity where members can form teams to compete. And of course, a leaderboard – with prizes for the winners – is a must! 

6. Invest in new technology 

Lots of new machines and new equipment comes with gamification options built in, so if you’re due for an upgrade, they might be worth exploring. 

Integrated TV screens on treadmills and bikes for example, might include virtual reality options to help immerse members in a different environment when they’re working out. One popular running app for example – RunZombies – encourages users to imagine they’re being chased by zombies to help them get more from each session. 

7. Remind your members to visit 

One of easiest and simplest ways to bring gamification into your club is to use your gym management software to notify members of their recent visits, congratulate them on regular attendance and encourage them to keep up the good work. 

If they haven’t been for a while, you can remind them with a little nudge. You might even like to offer attendance prizes for the most regular visitors. 

Attract And Keep Members With Gamification In Your Gym

There’s no doubt that gamification works in a wide variety of sectors and industries. It can work for your gym too. 

Gamification helps make working out more fun and more attractive, which is a great way to entice new members and keep your existing ones engaged. 

There are lots of different ways to gamify the experience members have in your club, and the right software can help you manage many of them. 

Find out exactly how Xplor Gym could support gamification in your gym, by requesting a demo today. 

Article by Xplor Gym

First published: 14 March 2022

Last updated: 09 February 2024