Does your facility feel like a second home to your members?

Pat Barber Culture, Gym Management

Most people spend the majority of their day in 3 places: work, your gym, home. Or two places if they work from home.

Think about that for a second.

Your gym is someone’s second home.

When you think about your facility that way, it kind of changes everything.

You have to reframe the space entirely, and then ask yourself:

  • Am I creating a gym that’s a good second home?
  • Is there space for people to hang out?
  • Am I encouraging people to treat the space that way? Or to feel that comfortable, that at home?

There are a few different ways to do this.

You could create a zone or area for people to lounge in before and after classes, a space where people can hang out and chat without getting in the way of another class.

You could host weekly potlucks with games and fun activities.

You could offer specialty clubs or classes (yoga, mobility, etc.) so that people come around more, not just using your space for 3 workouts a week.

Talk with your team about it.

Kickstart the brainstorm by thinking about the difference between these two questions: “How could I improve my gym?” vs. “What can I do to make this gym a second home for everyone?”

On the surface, they seem very similar. But the first is so vague that your members would probably give you some long wishlist of features that wouldn’t actually lead to a stronger community. Complimentary towels. Showers. Better locker rooms. A bigger space.

The second question, though, is not about features. It’s about providing members with an experience, a feeling, an emotion. It’s collaborative and warm. It’s about community and social connection. “Home” is more than just a place, it’s about relationships.

When you focus on providing your members with a second home, and when you ask them how to do that, what you’re really asking is, “What can we do to make this place yours?” instead of saying, “We’re the owners of the gym you attend. What are some improvements you’d like to see? We’ll review your answers and see if it’s in the budget.”

So, how do you, or can you, make your gym a second home?⠀

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About the Author
Pat Barber

Pat Barber

You might know me from the CrossFit Games, where I’ve competed since 2008, but I have also been the Head of Coaches Development for one of the largest CrossFits in the world. I have the honor of being one of the few L4 coaches, and I still love teaching L1s and L2s for CFHQ (I’ve put about 15,000 coaches through their L1’s). I'm husband to the most wonderful woman in the world, and a father who loves surfing, Magic: The Gathering, knife making and good coffee.

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