According to a survey conducted by global marketing research firm, The Nielson Corporation, 81% of Millennials are either currently exercising or would like to.
This is great news for campus recreation departments looking to create more opportunities for students to get involved in physical activity.
Intramural sports will continue to draw participation from those who desire to compete at the recreational level, however there is even more opportunity to connect with the students who enjoy exercise as a hobby apart from a sport.
The trend of “fitness as a sport” is reflected in the current exponential growth and market saturation of health clubs, performance centers, boutiques, training studios, and high volume/low cost gyms. Some students will land on campus a great distance from home and be forced to leave their #fitfam behind. This is an opportunity for campus rec departments to support the incoming class programming options beyond traditional intramural sports.
PJ Stahl, Power Systems Master Coach and owner of Lock Box LA, has created a strong #fitfam at his facility. We asked him what he does to cultivate the community inside and outside of his member base. Here are PJ’s tips for “growing your #fitfam”:
It is important to always be engaging and challenging your members to keep them coming back for more. In my experience, I would recommend incorporating these key tools to maximize engagement.
- Social Events – Host one social event per month and each quarter make one of these events a bigger event for more inclusion. These can be anything from a get together at a park for a BBQ, a group bowling night, or an outdoor adventure hike. These events create a sense of friendship and community outside of the gym, where people can connect and create lasting friendships. Doing events outside of the gym creates a more comfortable environment to connect members.
- Community Competitions – Create or participate in one community competition per quarter. At Lock Box LA we do Reebok Spartan Races, Nutrition Challenges, and our own fitness competitions called WOD-A-PAIR and PROJECT STEEL Challenges. These competition events create camaraderie when the members must work together towards a common goal to achieve success. These are some of the most fun and memorable moments our members have with their new successes and personal records reached at each event.
- Seminars & Clinics: Provide 1-2 seminars/clinics per quarter. One of my favorite quotes I tell my coaches and trainers is “Motivation Through Education”. It is not only our job as Fitness Professionals to be educators, but these events will teach your members new techniques and skills that they will have forever. Educational events will set yourself apart from other facilities by showing your members your staff’s high level of knowledge and will keep your clients wanting to apply what they have learned. The cycle of education and application will keep them coming back for more.
The good news at the center is the Millennial generation has an appreciation of physical fitness and a high percentage of this group will be landing on campus looking for ways to get and stay active. Adding social experiences, fitness competitions, and even educational seminars on how to avoid the “Freshman 15” are all great opportunities to connect your co-ed community through the ‘sport of fitness’.