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How to Create a More Inclusive Fitness Business

Muscular guys with six-pack abs. Tall, slender women with waistlines ranging only from 24 to 26 inches. For years, these are the images that people usually associate with fitness gyms. And that’s no news to us. After all, that’s how the media advertise fitness gyms. In reality, though, everybody deserves to feel welcome in these facilities. Gyms are not just for individuals who aim to maintain their well-sculpted physique. We all need diversified types of exercises that we enjoy. These can be dancing, cycling, strength training, and more. It is best to do workouts like these in a fitness center under the supervision of a professional trainer. So, how can you create a more inclusive fitness business? We’ll discuss this and more.

Why the Need for Inclusivity?

Granted, choosing a specific niche for your business comes with advantages. For example, you’re able to gather like-minded individuals in one community. They’re similar in age, cultural background, social status, and interests. Some businesses also cater to gender-specific clientele only. Doing so creates distinct branding and communicates messages that resonate with your target market.

Nevertheless, adopting a more inclusive business model for your fitness center has its unique benefits. Inclusivity means that you offer products and services that cater to a wide range of markets. They’re more diversified groups of people in terms of age, gender, social status, physique, physical abilities, health status, culture, and race. As mentioned, everybody should feel welcome to work out regardless of their background. We all deserve access to proper exercise facilities and professional coaching. A fitness gym should be a place where you don’t feel judged as you walk in. Instead, it’s a friendly space where you can safely express yourself and confidently work toward achieving your fitness goals.

Image by Anupam Mahapatra from Unsplash

How to Make Your Fitness Business More Inclusive

We’ve heard inspiring stories of an athlete who completed triathlons with one leg missing. Some men and women were once severely obese but were able to achieve a healthier weight. We love stories like this. But not everyone has the same level of confidence that they have to even sign up for a gym membership. It’s human nature to want to feel a sense of belongingness.

So, when you walk into a gym, you’ll wish to see a place where it’s okay to have stretch marks and it’s perfectly fine even if you feel like you’re too skinny or too fat for that sexy activewear. As the gym owner or manager, the goal is to make everyone feel that they do fit in. Here are some tips that will set you up for success.

Products and Services for Different Target Markets

Create fitness programs that are specially designed for various client groups. You can come up with training programs more tailored for specific body types or individuals recovering from certain health setbacks. Some families want to exercise as part of their bonding activity. Why not design fun, family-friendly dance classes?

If you’re selling fitness-related products, make sure clothes like tank tops and t-shirts are available in different sizes. Yup, even double-plus sizes. If your product catalog includes top rated green powders, make sure you provide a variety of options with specific benefits. For example, some green powders aid digestion while others are protein-rich, thus beneficial for building lean muscle mass.

Image by Danielle Cerullo from Unsplash

Facilities Designed for Special Clientele

Ramps instead of stairs. Availability of elevators. Wide entrance doors. Comfortable resting area. These are just some features that contribute to a facility that’s friendlier to persons with disability. Check the entire facility for environmental barriers. Remove any hazards or anything that make it difficult for people with physical limitations to access the facility.

If you have family-friendly classes, arrange family-friendly areas around the fitness center too. Some families who wish to participate in dance workouts may have small children. Therefore, you can also designate a play area for them. Changing stations and private nursing cubicles may also come in handy. Include a kid-friendly menu in your in-house cafeteria too.

Image by Arisa Chattasa from Unsplash

Diverse Trainers and Staff with Specialized Skills

Instead of hiring instructors just because they have a fitness certification and years of experience, why not look beyond the basic qualifications? For example, does the applicant himself have a unique fitness journey to tell? Perhaps, he used to battle against obesity but is now a healthy, muscular guy. Or maybe someone has been amputated with one leg, but he’s a placer in a marathon. You can also look for applicants who can communicate through sign language. This way, you can create exercise programs tailored for the deaf and mute.

Marketing Messages that Promote Body Positivity

The posters on the walls of your facility, the lifestyle photography for your social media pages, and the videos for your ad should communicate that individuals with model-worthy bodies are not the only ones welcome in your musculoskeletal center. Additionally, show that your gym does not only cater to a particular race or nationality. Instead, people from different cultural backgrounds can feel comfortable as they walk in.

Variety of Languages

Try to look around the neighborhood of your fitness center. From which countries did the expatriates living in the area come? If there are Korean nationals in the area, they’ll love K-music blasting through the gym. Bonus if you employ Hangul-speaking staff!

Image by Bruce Mars from Unsplash

Flexibility in Terms of Timing and Accessibility of Classes

Some fitness gyms are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So, busy professionals can conveniently drop by anytime for their workouts. Can you be more flexible when it comes to fitness class schedules?

Also, if you can offer online workout classes, this will be more convenient for pregnant women who don’t want to leave home to exercise or some individuals who are too shy to join an in-person class.

Fitness is for Everyone

Regardless of a person’s background, age, gender, and health condition, he deserves convenient access to fitness facilities and expert guidance. The atmosphere should be friendly and welcoming. Have you identified areas where your fitness business can transition to a more inclusive model? Jumpstart the change now!

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