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How to motivate people to exercise

Motivation is an obstacle that most people have battled with when it comes to exercise. The feeling of having to get up in the morning and get active can often feel like an uphill battle.

Motivate peopole to exercise

Gym owners are all too familiar with these motivation woes. Approximately 14% of New Year's resolutioners quit by the end of February. This behaviour is not for lack of desire but stems purely from people's battle with getting motivated to work out. 

Maintaining motivation is crucial to success. Member churn is a constant problem that can cause some gyms to go out of business entirely. In this article, we will show you how to motivate people to exercise. 

We're going to cover a range of topics, including:

  • Why member engagement matters
  • What motivates people to exercise
  • Motivational obstacles (excuses)
  • Winning tactics to motivate people to exercise

Armed with these tips and strategies, you'll keep your members motivated, so they keep working out at your gym. 

Let's get started! 

Why member engagement matters

Some people among us can will themselves to get up and exercise each morning with little help from the outside. That fire burns within them and is the driving force behind their motivation - think Kobe Bryant and his insane worth ethic. Others, on the other hand, do require a little extra push. Some encouraging words from a loved one or a workout buddy to keep them moving is all the help they need to get up and move. 

It is this group of people that gym owners most need to focus on. According to data from the IHRSA, about 80% of gym memberships go unused. This behaviour is caused by a lack of motivation from people who need that little extra push to keep going. For this reason, maintaining communication is critical amongst these individuals to boost their engagement. A member who is happy and engaged in the process of working out (particularly at your gym) will keep coming back for more. 

It is also a crucial element of member retention and reducing churn. Gym and fitness facility owners know the pain of member drop off all too well. It makes forecasting and budgeting next to impossible when you can't accurately predict how many of your members will be returning each week, month, or year. With more engaged members, you dramatically decrease the likelihood of them cancelling their membership. 

So remember; communication, engagement, motivation, and retention all go hand-in-hand. Healthy communication will bolster engagement which in turn increases engagement, motivation, and retention. As you will discover in this article, motivation is a key factor that gym owners need to consider among their customer base. In the next section, we'll explore the topic of what motivates people to exercise.    

What motivates people to exercise 

Many gym owners have begged the question: What motivates people to exercise? The truth of the matter is that everyone is different. Some people get motivated by those around them, while others have exercise goals that keep them focused. This section will discuss some of the biggest factors that motivate people to exercise. 

By knowing these factors, you'll better understand how to motivate people to exercise. 

General health 

This one is pretty obvious and probably the most common reason for exercise. Staying active is proven to increase overall health and well-being. For the average person, general health is the key motivating factor that keeps them exercising. A simple jog, light exercise at the gym, or swimming are all positive activities that increase your general health and keep many people motivated to continue.


Age is another common motivator for exercise. For many, the desire to stay healthy and active actually increases as they get older. This attitude is often rooted in the fact that the older we get, the more prone we are to other health issues. By remaining active and fit, these ailments can be minimized or avoided, and one's overall life expectancy can increase. 


Weight problems are a huge issue for many people. This problem ranges in severity from people who may have just been a little too glutinous over the festive period to people with eating disorders and obesity. Whatever the case may be, weight loss will continue to be a driving factor for many people to exercise. 

Stress and anxiety

Exercise is also great to reduce stress and anxiety. Sometimes a tough day at work or problems at home with the kids can cause enormous levels of both. By exercising regularly, many reap the benefits of lowering stress levels to clear their heads and press on with the day. 


Often exercise is the byproduct of the environment around us. Often, the proximity to a gym or a place to exercise can be a motivational factor of its own. Having to travel a great distance can be disheartening because of the time it takes to get to and from your home. By the same token, having a gym across the street or inside the house can be all the motivation needed to work out. 


The social element of exercise is a prevalent motivating factor. Exercise is often just an excuse for people to socialize with their friends or peers. It's a great way to get up from the couch and out of the house while doing something positive and healthy at the same time. Many people also need a friend or workout buddy for motivational support. Sometimes it can be challenging to kick themselves into gear and get into the routine of working out. 

Re-engaging members

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Motivational obstacles (excuses)

Let's be honest; there will always be obstacles to exercise. In reality, though, these obstacles are merely excuses that people come up with to avoid working out. 'I have no time, I'm too sore, or I'm too busy' are common phrases you'll hear from people to avoid working out. 

In this section, we're going to cover some of the most common obstacles (excuses) to overcome for exercise. As a gym owner, you must be aware of these common obstacles to provide solutions for your customers to get over them.

'There's no time'

Juggling the different facets of life is complicated. Between kids, work, school, and other responsibilities, there often isn't much time left in the day. Unfortunately, it's exercise that is often an afterthought or a leftover from a busy day. However, there is always time to fit some exercise into the daily routine in most cases. A quick gym class or home workout are two easy ways to stay active without burning daylight.   

'It's too boring'

Many people claim that the reason they can't exercise is because of boredom. Indeed, exercise can sometimes be a bit mundane; however, boredom mostly stems from the individual and not the exercise itself. There are countless ways to exercise, and each offers a unique experience. The best fitness facilities will provide a wide variety of options to cater to the needs of people with differing interests. 

'It's not convenient'

Many people use the excuse of inconvenience as an obstacle to exercise. This attitude stems from growing impatience by people who require convenience at all times. As a gym owner, it is vital to put your client's needs first and make their lives as easy as possible. There are many options available like the Perfect Gym Mobile App or Client Portal where customers can manage their membership more efficiently. 

'It costs too much'

Cost can be an obstacle to exercise. However, this excuse might hold the least weight because exercise is literally free. OK, we know gym memberships aren't free, but it doesn't cost anything to go out to the park and exercise. While that may be the case, it's important to keep in mind that some of your customers might not have as deep pockets as others. By providing flexible payments or pay as you go options, you will open your facility to a broader range of clients. 

Work Harder

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How to motivate people to exercise 

Now that we've covered both the factors that motivate people to exercise and the potential obstacles to exercise, it's time to discuss some winning tactics to help motivate your customers. Maintaining high motivation levels amongst your clients is crucial as it pertains to retention. By implementing these tactics, you'll go a long way towards keeping them motivated, engaged, and exercising at your gym.


Earlier in this article, we discussed communication's role in keeping members engaged and motivated. So, how do you go about communicating with your customers? Communication is a tricky field to tread - too much, and it'll start to get annoying while too little will see engagement levels drop. You need to stay mindful of this scenario and find the right balance that works for you and your customers. 

Communication can also become somewhat of a tedious task. We're sure you'd much rather focus on other parts of the business. That's where Perfect Gym can help. With Perfect Gym Marketing Automation, you can automate everyday communication tasks for members to help increase engagement levels and retention rates. Send emails, push notifications & SMS alerts to keep members motivated during lapses of attendance. 

You can also craft smart email campaigns to segmented audiences amongst your customer base. This kind of communication is extremely valuable because it allows you to personalize the messaging depending on the audience. For instance, if you have a segment of inactive or churned customers, send them a special promotional offer to come back to the gym. 

Provide a personalized experience 

Every member is different - so why should their experience be the same as the person next to them? To keep everyone motivated, you need to provide a unique experience for every member. There are many ways to do this successfully. For starters, providing facilities that cater for multiple people is essential. Female only studios or providing a diverse range of classes are two such examples.

The personalized experience doesn't stop with the gym itself. Providing a high-quality online experience is also vital. The Perfect Gym Mobile App allows users to interact with your club effortlessly for bookings, payments, club games, and much more. You can even send push notifications directly through the app with words of encouragement. Push notifications are a highly effective means of keeping members engaged and motivated. Send reminders for upcoming classes, promotions, contract renewals, club announcements, and even motivational messages straight through the mobile application. 

Track performance

Tracking performance is a great way to stay motivated and on track with fitness goals. For many people, this reminder of progression helps them get up and keep going each day. There are several methods to track performance, like manually logging output in a notebook or more sophisticated methods such as tracking apps or wearables.

Modern gyms provide options for tracking performance with smart equipment and integrations with 3rd party solutions. Like Perfect Gym! PG integrates with some of the leading equipment providers such as TechnoGym, Precor, Life Fitness, and Milon. Members can easily track key performance metrics during their workout to stay motivated and measure their progress over time. 

Don't give up

Source: Unsplash


Motivation is not always easy to find. For many, exercise or working out is easy to ignore during a busy day juggling kids, work, and other responsibilities in life. The uphill motivation challenge is difficult to overcome for gym owners.

Thankfully there are ways to get around it. Implementing tactics such as regular communication, providing a personalized experience, and means to track performance are three such options. By understanding why people become unmotivated, you stand a better chance of reinvigorating them to get up and exercise at your gym.

If you want to learn more about some of the features mentioned in this article, then get in touch with some from Perfect Gym today! 

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