24 Hour Fitness Launches Behavior Change Program and Research Study

24 Hour Fitness, San Ramon, California, has launched a behavior change program and research study to explore what motivates gym-goers with the goal of creating lasting habits, the company announced.

The company has partnered with the University of Pennsylvania’s Behavior Change for Good Initiative (BCFG) to launch this month a 28-day science-based interactive digital program called the StepUp Program. The program was developed to encourage more visits to the gym and, ultimately, better health and fitness for life by creating long-term, healthy habits, according to a media release from 24 Hour Fitness and BCFG.

24 Hour Fitness members and future members who are at least 18 years old can participate in the program. The BCFG’s goal is 200,000 participants.

For the first time, the researchers will be able to continually test and improve a behavior change program by incorporating the latest insights from their research into massive random-assignment experiments and the developed solution will reach millions, according to the release.

“We are delighted to expand our leadership role in the fitness world with this first-of-its-kind partnership with BCFG,” Chris Roussos, CEO of 24 Hour Fitness, said in the release. “Their groundbreaking work will be a game-changer in the education and fitness arena and will help us to better equip our members, and perhaps all consumers worldwide, so they can live their best lives now.”

Frank Napolitano, president of 24 Hour Fitness, added that the StepUp program “is science in action and every participant’s path will be different.”

Through the program, participants will receive personalized support and incentives to keep them on track and engaged.

“Our ultimate goal is to help create a world of healthier people, and this program will be a huge step in that direction,” Napolitano said.

Led by Angela Duckworth, professor of psychology in the Penn School of Arts and Sciences, and Katherine Milkman, Wharton School associate professor of operations, information and decisions, the BCFG initiative at the University of Pennsylvania unites leaders in the social sciences, medicine, computer science and neuroscience to solve the problem of enduring behavior change, according to the release. BCFG connects this scientific team, including Nobel laureates and members of the National Academy of Sciences, with partner organizations to test and improve a behavior change program incorporating the latest insights from researchers. This program focuses on improving people’s daily health decisions.

“We want people to integrate fitness into their lives more regularly and make more visits to the gym,” Duckworth, co-director of BCFG, said in the release. “So, we’re going to test delivering 28 days of support designed by scientists at Penn and other leading research universities. People will get several diverse types of support that may include videos, educational materials, a scheduling tool, incentives for gym visits, and text reminders about workouts, among other elements.”

For one person, putting out gym clothes the night before works like a charm. For another, it might be a workout buddy that helps with accountability. For a third person, success might require something completely different. With this is mind, the scientists behind StepUp have created a program that can provide customized support with the goal of helping 24 Hour Fitness members reach their health and fitness potential.

“Solving the problem of enduring behavior change is our single greatest opportunity to improve lives because countless daily acts like whether we show up for class, how we spend our money, whether we exercise, and what we consume cumulatively shape our life outcomes,” Milkman, co-director of BCFG, said in the release. “In the United States today, 40 percent of premature deaths are caused by behaviors that could be changed, one in three families has no retirement savings at all, and half of college students drop out before earning a degree. Behavioral science has the potential to radically change all these outcomes—and more.”