“How Your Trainers Can Encourage Clients to be More Productive at the Gym” By: True Fitness

There are many challenges when it comes to making sure your members come to the gym. Every member needs different types of encouragement to stay motivated and accountable for their workouts, independently and for their personal training sessions or group classes. Even if the trainer cannot be there for every exercise, there are still ways they can help inspire members throughout their training.

Host a Social Media Contest

Keep members who utilize personal training opportunities motivated by launching a social media contest!  Before the contest starts, prep and countdown with members, remind them regularly leading up to the start of the contest what the prize will be if they win or participate.

Take engaging photos of clients on equipment to show their participation. After, encourage your trainers to post those same videos and photos on their personal profiles with a designated hashtag. The hashtag should be used by every participant and relate to the contact, name of the gym or something similar to track the winners accurately.

Remember – always ask permission first before taking or someone else’s photo or video!

Brag About Your Clients

Recognize members crushing their goals at the gym with client spotlights. Each month, post a member’s photo with a caption about why you chose to feature that member. These client spotlights are especially effective in raising awareness for your gym; it’s likely the member you feature may share the post to their own page for family and friends to see, but more importantly, they will feel renewed motivation to stay consistent in the gym!

Regularly Report Progress

A study from Dominican University of California found that stating a specific goal affects the likelihood of its success. Seventy percent of study participants who reported their progress to a friend each week were successful in reaching their goal.

Advise members to track progress through simple, small acts like taking progress photos every few weeks to a month. Set-up a specific time every few sessions to talk about goals and what goals have been achieved thus far, too.

Being a gym owner or manager isn’t without its challenges when it comes to member retention, same for trainers, you both want the best for clients. Push your clients hard, but push yourself as their trainer to show clients how far they have come and that you care about their fitness and overall well-being.


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“20 Years of Transformations & Inspirations: The Gold’s Gym Challenge is our Tradition” By: Dave Kenyon, Challenge Chairman


Hi Gold’s Gym Owners and Team Leaders!
We want to congratulate all the member contestants who participated in the 2018 Gold’s Gym Challenge!  They are all winners, for making the decision to join the Challenge, the commitment to see it through, and the courage to finish!  This program which started in 1998, celebrates 20 years of changing peoples’ lives through commitment, support and encouragement.  You and your staff are a big part of this by teaching and training members how to change their mind, their lifestyle and improve their health and fitness.
This week, owners and corporate staff are informing their winners at the local level.  Watch for a national Press Release to come out next week from Gold’s Gym corporate, with a full list of the national winners, and the top male and female champions!
I wrote this message to our members at Gold’s Gym Dutchess County, NY yesterday, and I invite you to share it with yours as well.  Contact Deb or Rachel if you want a word doc version.

The word Challenge is everywhere. I think it is the new fitness buzzword; or is it? Think about a challenge you have recently faced that had nothing to do with fitness. Maybe you had a financial challenge or a challenge with your family. When you think of these types of challenges, what emotions or feelings do you experience? Anger, disappointment, discouragement, even sadness.  Now think about a positive challenge experience, maybe a hike that you have never done before, or learning something new, like playing the piano, or guitar.

The word Challenge can mean many things, and we would like you to embrace every challenge you may face with a positive attitude that you will overcome it.

That is why we hold the annual Gold’s Gym Challenge every year in January, so you can take on something that is probably the easiest challenge you will ever face. A challenge to be a better version of yourself. For those of you that have gone through the Gold’s Gym Challenge you may say to yourself, that wasn’t easy at all, I sacrificed so much to change myself. But think about how you know feel and look? Was it worth it? Did you give it your all, or did you not take it seriously? I will let you decide that for yourself.

I will say this – for those of you that took it seriously and really made changes to your habits and your lifestyle, GOOD for you!! That is why we created the GG Challenge in the first place. We wanted people to have a desire to truly improve themselves and make healthy habits a lifestyle they could enjoy forever. Yes, I did say enjoy. By enjoying this new lifestyle, I mean being able to live and be healthy and active enough to do whatever you want to do. So, going for a hike with friends is not out of the question. Learning to play a new instrument doesn’t feel like a taunting task. Having a family crisis or challenge, is a bit easier to deal with now that you have learned to sacrifice and make tough decisions.

You see, it’s not all about getting abs, or losing weight. It’s about being confident that you have control over what you do, and how you feel. Being able to say no when it really isn’t the best thing for you.

Being a better version of yourself takes practice and going through the Gold’s Gym Challenge is the best practice you can do. So, congratulations to all those who finished and made themselves better this year. And to those of you that want to have more control over your life, we will see you in January!

Dave Kenyon
Dave Kenyon
Gold’s Gym Challenge Chairman
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“Maximize Email Marketing with this Driver” By: Sneeze it


Digital marketing, in essence, is 90% relative to communication. Despite the vehicle you use to deliver a message, each business is communicating some form of a want or need to their audience(s). Today, we’re going to discuss one of the top performing vehicles of communication in marketing: email.

Marketers are continuously on edge, looking for ways to stand out and engage users with their email marketing tactics. While there are many new developments, one technique has taken center-stage — GIFs.

They say that a picture is worth one-thousand words, so an animated one must be worth even more, right? We certainly think so.

Here are a few reasons you might want to give GIFs a shot:

  1. Higher engagement rates – Movement is quicker to catch a reader’s eye and can encourage them to click-through to a landing page or offer, therefore serving a great call-to-action.
  2. Compressed information – Have you ever spent a considerable amount of time choosing or heck, even split testing a single graphic? With the use of a GIF, you don’t have to rely on just one. You can now condense information or images into a single piece of content.
  3. An alternative to video – On the flip-side, if you have an abundance of information stored in a single video but find that you’re losing your audience(s), compressing the information into a GIF might be your best bet! Also, video is still pretty poorly supported in email.
  4. They’re FUN – animation can add a touch of humor or even fun to what was once a boring email. It makes people want to look.

GIFs can communicate your message quickly and tend to shorten and simplify more complicated ideas in just a few short frames. More than that, they’re fun and can completely change the way your messages are perceived. If properly placed, well planned, tested, and made simple, you’re almost guaranteed to see a better performance rate.



It’s all about converting prospects into customers—the one measurement most digital marketing agencies shy away from. We work from the ground up, beginning with what it takes to turn a prospect into a customer and we work on converting your web traffic into solid leads.

Visit their wesite or email info@sneeze.it to learn more.

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“Three Keys to Retention, Why Is It So Hard?” By: Daron Allen, CEO, Visual Fitness Planner


If there are only three keys to retention, why is it so hard? Albert Einstein said, “If I had to save the world in an hour, I would use 59 minutes to analyze the problem and one to come up with a solution.”

The true understanding of a problem is to break it down into its smallest components. When we look at retention, it boils down to three keys:

  1. Environment
  2. Community
  3. Results

Environment: the club itself has to be well-designed, well-equipped, and clean.

Community: creating a true community where members are connected to each other, or to at least one member of the staff, in some way outside the walls of the club.

Results: quantitatively demonstrating on a consistent basis the results a member is achieving.

The three components to Environment:

(a) as an industry we have tried to be all things to all people – we have designed environments that resonate with some, but leave the majority of people feeling cold and alienated.

(b) in terms of equipment, we have it all – more than the consumer even understands or could ever use. Generally, people don’t leave our clubs because we don’t have enough equipment.

(c) the last component, cleanliness, has been a huge emphasis in the industry for the last 10 years and has made significant progress; it’s rare now to walk in a gym and find it unkept or unclean.

Community is all about connections. The industry has tried to be efficient and use technology solutions (email, text communications, etc.). Those tools are good for branding, marketing and sales, but at the end of the day, do little in the way of promoting deep connections. The promotion of deep human connections needs to come from the members feeling a sense of community where they are all striving for the same goal of becoming healthier and more fit. Connecting members together around a common goal, so they can support, encourage, and inspire each other, is how true organic community is formed. The role of the fitness staff in helping form the community is that of a leader showing a clear path to goal achievement, (i.e. personal training staff leading team training). The other role of your fitness staff is to be a connector, by encouraging member participation on the club’s social media platform. Now, this is where technology can assist clubs with social media platforms that can bond your members together – all focused around members supporting, encouraging and inspiring each other.

Results are the differences – think about that. If one of our keys to retention is showing results, that means we have to demonstrate to members the differences. So, what are the differences? Unfortunately, now, we let the member determine the differences, (i.e. Their goals, weight loss, the shape of their body, dress size, feeling better, blood pressure, etc.). These are all good overall outcomes, but they are poor lead indicators of results. We need to make sure we are celebrating with our members lead indicators of results when they achieve them, (i.e. increasing the weight, increasing reps, lower heart rate during exercise, increase number of push-ups, increase flexibility – the list can go on forever). These lead indicators of success are what we should be celebrating with our members. With almost every visit to the club there is some measurable level of improvement with almost every member. We have to have a systematic way of demonstrating results so the member has the ability to celebrate with the other members of the community. It starts with a clear assessment during the fitness consultation, understanding the member’s goals, where their level of fitness is currently, and what small individual milestones they can achieve over the next few weeks.

So, as Albert Einstein said, we have spent the last 59 minutes analyzing the problem. Now, what is the one-minute solution? I know it sounds simple, but as with most great answers it is simple – Team Training.

Think about it. Your club is probably already well-designed, well-equipped and you spend a great deal of time making sure it’s clean; so, check off item number one – environment. Now, we can spend the remainder of our one minute coming up with solutions for community and results. Nothing fosters community better than people working around a common goal (i.e. team training), and nothing has been proven to yield greater results than high-intensity interval training. Your team training instructors can direct people to a social media site where all the members of the team can encourage and support each other, at the same time celebrating their results. With team training, our trainers have the opportunity to point out, celebrate and encourage the small victories members achieve during the class, (way to go, you did four more push-ups in 60 seconds than you did last week, your box jump is increasing, you did 10 Burpees today – that’s amazing). When team instructors can point out and celebrate with the member every small achievement, quantifying results for the member is no longer a problem.

Members who like the environment, work out with friends, see results and receive encouragement with every work out are not the members leaving your gym.

Can team training really solve the industry’s retention problem? No, nothing will ever completely solve the retention issue, but it provides an opportunity to significantly help improve retention rates.

If you’re already running team training, congratulations! If you need help starting a program or getting a higher percentage of members involved, contact a VFP consultant.

VFP+ (1)
CEO, Visual Fitness Planner
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“ACA Reporting Requirements for 2018” By: Melissa Knowles, Vice President of Gym HQ- A ClubReady Company

aca.pngIf you’re like many business owners, your attention span and patience for understanding the current Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements wore thin long ago.  Will it be repealed? Replaced? What changes will we see? What are you required to do under the current legislation?  The only thing that may seem clear at this point is that nothing is clear!  Meanwhile, the IRS has announced that it is still moving forward with ACA reporting on the 2017 tax year with the 2018 deadlines. During the first week of October 2017, they published final forms and instructions to help employers prepare for reporting on health coverage they offered to their employees in the 2017 year. While Congress hurls daggers back and forth across the aisles, we’re here to arm you with the latest guidelines and reporting requirements so you may prepare for year-end 2017.

ACA Reporting Deadlines for 2018

FORM 1095-C and FORM 1095-B

Due to employees Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Employers are responsible for furnishing their employees with either Form 1095-C or Form 1095-B by Wednesday, January 31, 2018. Employers are still responsible for filing copies with the IRS by Wednesday, February 28, 2018, if filing by paper or Monday, April 2, 2018, if filing electronically (same as Form 1094-C or Form 1094-B).

Which do you file?

Companies providing minimum essential coverage to an individual during 2017 must file an information return reporting the coverage. If an employer had at least 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) on average, the employer is considered an Applicable Large Employer (ALE), is subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions of the ACA, and is required to file Form 1095-C.  Employers with fewer than 50 FTEs are not subject to the shared responsibility provisions.  If no minimum essential coverage was provided to employees, no reporting is required.  If coverage was provided, Form 1095-B should be filed.

These forms help employees complete their individual tax returns by providing important information regarding their health coverage for the previous calendar year. On Line 61 of individual tax returns, employees must show whether they or their family members had minimum essential coverage.

Employers should report the following:

  • Proof of Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC)
  • Employee ID number
  • Social security numbers of the employee and his/her dependents (not spouse)

FORM 1094-C and FORM 1094-B

Due to the IRS via paper: Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Due to the IRS electronically: April 2, 2018

This form functions as “proof” that Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) provided the coverage they were required to under the Employer Shared Responsibility Mandate. It also functions as the cover sheet used to transmit forms 1095-C or 1095-B to the IRS.

ALEs with more than 250 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) are required to file electronically.  Those with fewer than 250 may file on paper or electronically.

Employers with less than 50 FTEs who voluntarily provided minimum essential coverage and therefore filed Form 1095-B for all covered employees, should also file Form 1094-B.

FORM 8809 (Extension Request)

Employers who expect to miss the stated deadlines should file for an extension.  To apply for an extension, submit FORM 8809 on or before the due date.


Failure to file complete and accurate Form 1094-C or Form 1094-B by the form deadline will result in penalties equal to $250 per form, not to exceed $3 million per year. Failure to file and furnish correct information on Form 1095-C or Form 1095-B could result in a $500 per form penalty for employers.

Since the required reports are somewhat time-consuming to complete manually, consider outsourcing the process to a 3rd party.  GYM HQ utilizes Paychex as our preferred payroll platform for our clients.  They offer ACA reporting as an add-on service.  This is a great way to ensure that reports are accurate and timely.  If you’re preparing the filings in-house, start preparing now.

  • Ensure you understand how to complete all the required forms.  Instructions can be found on the IRS website.
  • Start determining the reporting you’ll need to pull from your payroll software and benefits website in order to complete the required forms.  Sometimes this involves building out custom reporting.
  •  Determine if you qualify as an Applicable Large Employer (ALE). See our guide on this.


  • Start communications with your staff on what they should expect.  Three primary messages to convey are: what form they’ll receive (Form 1095-C or 1095-B), why they should care (information is needed to file their taxes), and when they should expect to receive this form (by January 31st).


Melissa Knowles


Melissa Knowles
Vice President
Gym HQ / A Clubready Company
GGFA Think Tank Panel

Melissa Knowles has over a decade of industry experience, her knowledge spans many areas: strategic operations, development of staff training materials and programs, cost savings analysis, reporting development and implementation, gym hqfitness department overhaul, client retention systems, and corporate management. She’s especially well versed in all operational and HR focused areas; and she holds an HR certification through SHRM. What makes her uniquely qualified as an industry leader is her time spent “in the trenches”. Melissa is a graduate of the University of West Florida and holds an MS in Exercise Science and a BS in Sports Medicine.
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2017 Good Deeds

As we get ready to welcome the New Year, we would like to continue our GGFA tradition by taking this opportunity to share some of the extraordinary things that some of our franchisees and suppliers have been doing in their communities. We wish everyone a joyous Holiday Season and a happy New Year!

MU_Marketing_Logo_NEW (4)Muscle Up Marketing makes giving back a priority starting with donating $5,000 to the Rally Foundation to help find a cure for childhood rally-full-logo-400x200cancer. They sponsor several kids through the Angel Tree program to help provide them with a good Christmas. And this year they are making a donation to Toys for Tots for every job done during the month of November.

Jon Butts, Muscle Up President, says “Its always feels good helping out those that need it most!”



Power Systems donated fifteen boxes of Thanksgiving dinners to needy families through KARM, Knox Area Rescue Ministries. Baskets of Hope provides families in need with a complete Thanksgiving Dinner for up to six people.Baskets-of-Hope-Flyer.png




Gold’s Gym in Jackson, TN hosted its 13th annual Turkey Day 5K. 800 runners showed up to help raise money for Jackson’s Regional Inter-Faith Association. In it’s history, the Turkey Day 5k has contributed “somewhere in the range of $90,000” according to Gold’s Gym Owner Steve Roten. Watch this news clip covering this tradition and see the special unexpected participant.



Throughout the year ABC Financial partners with multiple organizations to provide gifts and donations to those in need. This year was their 4th year participating in the Arkansas Food Bank’s Summer Cereal Drive. They surpassed their goal and collected 2017 boxes of cereal and raised $1,853. ABC also collected boxes of blankets during their Annual Blanket Drive held on the ABC campus. Items such as blankets, socks, gloves and even jackets were donated to the Salvation Army to those in need during the cold, holiday season. For the 6th year, ABC Financial has partnered with Arkansas Children’s Hospital to raise money and collect toys through their Festival of Stars Toy and Donation Drive. This is a huge opportunity for the ABC family to give back to the community and they say that they truly enjoy participating each year. Last year they collected $4,241 and 415 wish list items during. We can’t wait to see how much they raise and donate this year!

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“Fitness Professionals Must Evolve During An Era Of Rapid Technological Change” By: Bryan O’Rourke, MBA

11.28.17Business as usual in the fitness industry is no longer good enough. In fact business as usual is dead. In a world where choice is expanding and business models are being reengineered there is only one place left to innovate and that place is with you as a professional. You are at the center of a raging storm of change fueled by digitization, mobilization, augmentation, disintermediation and automation. By continually learning, enhancing your skills, innovating your abilities, and opening your eyes to possibilities will you will make a bigger impact during this time of exponential change.

Science fiction is now becoming science fact. Think about self driving cars and computers that can learn and think. The way we work will never be the same and the skills we require will evolve. Success or failure is happening faster than ever before. So how should you respond ? How will you as a fitness industry leader seek opportunities during one of the most transformational times in history ? You must drive change and not be driven by it.

Fitness industry disruption is the new normal and change has become truly exponential. Things that used to be dumb will become intelligent. Ports, cities, farms, health clubs and even our bodies will all be connected and intelligently interfaced. Quantum computing is fueling big data and the Internet of things is fueling machine learning. We are only just beginning and the impact to fitness will be transformational.

The good news is that anything that cannot be digitized or automated will become extremely valuable. Human traits, traits that great fitness professionals like you exhibit such as creativity, intuition, emotion and ethics, will become even more important. Technologies are very good at simulating but not at being. Technology will do more of our work in the fitness industry but this will allow professionals like you to focus on things that can’t be automated.

We all have to start thinking about this future and what might be, not what is. We must immerse ourselves in the immediate future five years out and go beyond technology to gain human insights and wisdom. Technology represents the how of change but fitness professionals  and their clients represent the why. The future is in creating holistic business models. We must be flexible, continuously learn and seek not single improvements but complete transformations; not individual systems but the creation of new ecosystems.

Humanity is where true and lasting value will be created in the fitness industry and that means you. People will relate to and buy things because of the experiences they provide. The future is happening and the way forward is to embrace technology but not become it. The future is in technology but the bigger future lies in transcending it. Let’s embrace the change upon us and realize we are in the midst of the greatest opportunity for the fitness industry that has every existed in history and you friends are at the center of it.

unnamed-3.jpgBryan O’Rourke is an advisor, speaker, author and investor, who serves in a variety of executive and board roles in the fitness industry. He is considered a leading expert on technology and recently joined the IHRSA board of directors. To learn more visit bryankorourke.com and for the latest follow him @bryankorourke on all the major social networks.

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