How to Incorporate Recovery Into Your Members' Workouts

Chris Smith is the president and CEO of Fitness World, leading the operation of 17 clubs across British Columbia, Canada. In this latest edition of our “Step by Step” series, Smith walks us through how to incorporate recovery into your members workout and how that impacts member retention. Here’s what he told us.

As holistic approaches to fitness, health and wellness continue to emerge, active recovery is quickly becoming a standard part of fitness routines. Clubs want to provide it, and members are curious to learn more and put it into practice.

Active recovery serves both mental and physical wellness and is when you do some form of movement that is less intense than your average workout. Incorporating low to moderate intensity movement on rest days helps the body recover by increasing blood flow to muscles and tissues, reducing stress and anxiety and promoting relaxation. Practices such as recovery-focused classes in between workouts and accessible recovery tools boost circulation, giving muscles what they need to repair after a tough workout.

For club owners and organizations, the trend offers a unique opportunity to support members in more areas of their fitness journey with expanded in-club services and overall, more touch points to connect with members.

The trend in active recovery is a huge growth opportunity for owners and businesses to invest in services that promote relaxation and muscle recovery while supporting member’s overall physical and mental wellness.

Three benefits of incorporating active recovery services

Supports overall member retention. Recovery services and amenities helps engage new and current members for longer. Members who participate in active recovery are less at risk of injury and therefore, less likely to cancel or freeze their membership. These services are also setting members up for success in reaching their fitness goals and, as we know, members who see positive results and reach their goals are more likely to maintain their membership.

Increases membership engagement by investing in and providing recovery services that offer opportunities to serve members before and after their workouts. It turns your gym into a 24-hour service provider, and not just a 1-hour per day experience.

Creates additional revenue opportunities. Enhancing member experiences with new amenities and services offers an opportunity to restructure pricing models – whether it’s an overall bump on current membership levels or an add-on approach, recovery tools can bring in an additional source of revenue. At Fitness World we surveyed our members and analyzed our marketplace to determine what dues gap offered a compelling reason to buy.  We then adjusted our dues from one tier to the next where the recovery tools came into play. We take a bundled approach to our amenities and services, where as we want the value proposition for the member to facilitate an easy decision-making process. I think each model needs to weigh how they price these services and what fits their mission and vision. For us at Fitness World we charge about $15 more a month for a membership that includes all locations, Group Fitness, and all of the recovery tools.

To incorporate active recovery services, consider the following: 

What role does education play with your club? With over 27 years of experience in the fitness industry, and as president and CEO of Fitness World, I have seen the tremendous impact education plays in empowering people in their fitness journey, which is why innovation at our clubs is built around educating members on the importance of a pre- and post-workout routine. This prioritizes members’ overall well-being, promotes healthy muscle recovery and helps to prevent injuries.

How much space do I need? Depending on how large your gym or studio is, you can create a recovery space that correlates with the size of each location. Larger facilities may have space for a dedicated recovery zone, with large massage chairs, saunas, etc. Smaller studios might want to opt for more functional elements that can be put away when not in use, such as percussion massagers and other small recovery tools.

Should we add extra recovery features? Internally, our number one goal has always been to provide the facilities, support and services to help our members achieve their fitness goals, and rest and recovery plays a large role in this journey for everyone. In addition to offering in-club and online active recovery classes, such as Recover+Reboot, Body in Balance, Pilates, and Yoga, which all provide a dynamic fusion of functional movements and stretches that help to realign, rest, and re-energize, we have scaled our recovery-focused amenities significantly over the last couple of years. Incorporating a dedicated recovery zone into every Fitness World facility and providing members with the latest in recovery technology such as HumanTouch Massage Chairs, Infrared Light Therapy, HydroMassage, Hyperice Recovery Tools, and more, we are not only promoting recovery on rest days but we’re creating a supportive and engaging environment where members want to be.

Chris Smith is the president and CEO of Fitness World, leading the operation of 17 clubs across British Columbia, Canada. He is also the founder of British Columbia Personal Training Institute (BCPTI), serves as VP on the Board of Directors for IHRSA (International Health & Racquet Sports Association), and has recently founded ATFW, a digital media company focusing on All Things Fitness & Wellness and TRAIN by FW, a forward-thinking studio concept.