How to Increase Fitness Class Attendance: Step-by-Step

how to increase fitness class attendance

If you’re looking for answers to ‘how to increase fitness class attendance’, this article will help you do exactly that. 

Essentially, improving attendance can be achieved in 3 simple steps, all of which we’re about to break down so that you can check each one off your list. Those steps are:

Before we get straight to it however, if you are looking to advance your career and become a personal trainer, get started with our Personal Trainer Diploma! Find out more in our downloadable course prospectus.


Step 1: 4 Ways to Recruit More Attendees

#1 Increase Your Digital Marketing Efforts to Increase Fitness Class Attendance

how to increase fitness class attendance

Like any industry, marketing a business or service correctly and effectively is a must. 

Clients won’t just flock to you, you need to work hard to get your name out there and showcase why they should choose your fitness classes over your competitors. 

So what marketing channels can you utilise to recruit more class members?

Use Social Media to Increase Fitness Class Attendance

increase fitness class attendance

Having a social media presence not only gives your existing class members a way to contact you, but it’s a great way to reach your target audience and drive new people to enquire about your classes.

Sharing content to promote a business or service is something anybody can learn to do thanks to the fact that most of us are already familiar with using apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. 

One of the best things about social media marketing is that by putting in the time and effort to grow your page organically, it is technically a free marketing tool since you can utilise things such as:

  • Hashtags 
  • Following others with a similar interests
  • Asking people to share your page

You need to make your page look legit and get as much information on there as possible. Some things you could put on your social media pages include:

  • Times and dates of classes
  • Address of classes
  • Themed classes
  • Any other services you offer

Similarly, you could video your classes and upload them to show what it consists of. This will show people the best bits of your classes and create an advertisement to draw new customers in, take a look below at this fitness company that does this, The Zone.

increase fitness class attendance

Below, you can see a snippet of their extensive reels on Instagram, where they share teasers of their classes and enticing adverts to gain new clients.

They are consistent with their uploads and it is a great way for potential clients to see things like what the studio looks like and how their classes are held.

If you also offer personal training services alongside fitness classes, you should start a fitness instagram solely dedicated to your classes, separate from your other social media pages. 

Having a secondary account dedicated to your class services can help to fully aim your posts towards a specific market who are only interested in group classes. since some people enjoy fitness classes only, while some won’t be interested at all and are more inclined to opt for 1-2-1 sessions.

As a business owner, this can be a good move since it branches your business name into two different areas of training. Which can be super helpful when trying to reach further clients, for example take a look below at how a PT Instagram and a fitness class operator Instagram differ.

increase fitness class attendance

As you can see, we have highlighted the main aspects of how these differ. The fitness class feed focuses on advertising class times or new classes, whereas the PT shows transformations that clients have reached with her help.

Utilise Online Paid Advertising to Recruit new Clients

how to boost fitness class attendance

Something else that you might want to consider investing in is paid online advertising, which can help to reach new clients who are not aware of your business at all.

The two most popular channels when it comes to online ads include Google Ads and Facebook Ads which are linked to Instagram too. 

This is an investment tool that can really help drive traffic to your business site if you’re still in the process of building up a client base. 

Facebook & Instagram Ads

how to boost attendance in fitness classes

Social media advertising has become very user friendly, infact, once you turn your account into a business account on Instagram, you’re able to see your most effective posts.

When it comes to Facebook & Instagram feed advertising, you can control things such as:

  • Who you want to see your ad, including:
    • Age
    • Gender
    • Occupation
    • Interests
  • When you want it to run from and to
  • The location of those who you want to view it

The good news is that with social media paid ads, you know exactly what you’re spending. You can choose who you want to see your ad, how long you want to run it for and the exact cost, so this is a great option if you’re just starting out and are on a budget.

You can see below what running advertisements through Meta (Facebook & Instagram) actually look like when they pop up on the feeds of your target audience below.

how to boost attendance in fitness classes

As you can see, it is extremely beneficial that there are links outbound to the likes of “learn more” and there are direct calls to action for ad readers to use and this is how you will actually see a return when it comes to ad spending. 

As well as being able to choose who sees your ad, Instagram will tell you when one of your posts has a higher reach and interaction than your other posts.

This means that they will suggest a post that would be suitable for a promotional post, in other words, a paid advertisement.

Google Ad Services

how to improve fitness class attendancehow to improve fitness class attendance

Similarly, you can use paid Google Ads, which are good to use when you have a professional website that you want to be at the top of the Google search results. If you don’t have a website, it’s best to use social media adverts if that's where you’re more active. 

Nonetheless, for those who do have websites, this is a good option. Having a website is a great way to hold important information like your class schedule, times and prices.

Something that is really useful about Google ads is the fact that you can target people in your area. For example, if your classes are held in Liverpool, you could choose to pay for your website to come up first for the search term “fitness classes in Liverpool city centre”.

When you search this term, the businesses that are first up on the results page are those with paid spots, as you can see below:

how to improve fitness class attendance

It is a great way to direct those interested in fitness classes to your website and location before they have a chance to look elsewhere!

Use Email Marketing to Recruit New Clients

how to improve fitness class attendances

Email marketing is effective in any industry, this is because it is a consistent connection to the end user. Getting the email of the end user is the first step so you must create some sort of incentive since your goal is getting new class members and increasing attendance. 

One idea could be exchanging an email address for a free class. 

For example, using the aforementioned marketing techniques like social media and paid ads, you can advertise this promotion. 

Take a look at this mock up below, this is a simple template on Canva where you can make aesthetically pleasing Instagram posts. 

how to improve fitness class attendance

You have created an incentive of a free class voucher for new customers and in return, you have their email so you can start marketing to them.

Ensure you put on your email instructions on how to opt-out if they don’t want any marketing coming their way, but so long as you send quality and actionable material, they won’t be opting out!

#2 Run Promotions for New Class Members to Get New Clients on Board

how to improve overall fitness class attendance

Promotional material is one of the key ways to boost fitness class attendance, as we mentioned earlier incentivising new join ups is a practice among most industries because it works!

Promotions for new people gives them a taste of the class without them losing out on any money. It sets a good impression, it’s the same with taster sessions with personal training, often, PT’s will offer the first session free or at least discounted. 

Some promotions that you could implement include:

  • First session free
  • 10% off monthly membership plan
  • Unlimited classes for the first week of any membership plan
  • Bring a friend to class and if they join, get your next class free

This is certainly a popular technique among fitness classes. For example, take a look at this class provider below who offer ‘trials’ for newcomers:

how to improve overall fitness class attendance

You can get the word out about these kinds of offers by utilising the aforementioned marketing techniques like boosting this particular Instagram post to your target audience. This way, you can choose the exact demographic who you want to see in terms of new potential customers.

These are a great way to bring new people to the class and if you’re confident in how well you conduct your classes, they will be coming back in numbers!

#3 Create a Referral Programme for Current Class Members

improving fitness class attendance tips

One of the best ways to increase fitness class attendance is by utilising your current members to bring along friends or family members. 

You can do this by creating a referral programme that incentivises your current members to talk to their peers about your classes by offering a reward to them if they bring a new member along to a class.

A referral programme might look something like this:

“Refer a friend to our monthly membership programme, if they sign up, you both receive your next month half price!”

The good thing about referrals is that you’re almost guaranteed to not lose money. Since the referrer only gets rewarded when the referral actually signs up, you’re not giving away anything for free. 

tips on how to get more clients to my classes

Plus, with this example, you’re benefiting both parties, the referrer and referral, all the while, you’re still not losing anything from your monthly income from this particular client since two half price clients will keep the price the exact same. 

If this referral chooses to stay on the membership after their first month, you’ve got another full price member on board. 

The key to an effective referral scheme is ensuring that you get the friends details, for example their name, number, and email address. That way, even if they don’t sign up there and then, you can add them to your email marketing list or reach out to them at a later date!

This kind of programme is a great way to benefit you, your current members and increase your fitness class attendance rates by bringing in some newbies!


#4 Utilise Google My Business to Reach New Potential Customers

how to get more clients to my fitness classes

Google my Business is a free tool that makes it really easy for people interested in what you offer to find your business and get to know who you are, where to find you, and how to get in touch.

We spoke earlier about how using localised terms like “fitness classes in Liverpool city centre” essentially tells Google that you are looking for local results. 

In this instance, somebody searching “group fitness classes in Liverpool city centre” is looking for fitness classes local to liverpool. When somebody types this in Google, they’re met with these results:

how to increase fitness class numbers

All the end user needs to do is click one of the boxes, just like how we have highlighted above. This is why having a Google My Business page is so important, because this information that you provide to Google, will help bring your business up at the top of the search engine results page.

You’ve probably used Google my Business more than you think, if you’re unaware of what it looks like, take a closer look at an example below when you click into the business of choice for the search term: “group fitness classes liverpool city centre”

how to get more clients to my fitness class

As you can see, it holds relevant information that Google will take into account when finding and pulling up relevant resources for the end user. We’ve highlighted some of the most useful factors of this feature, including:

  • Location
  • Opening Hours
  • Phone number
  • Reviews
  • Website link
  • Directions

There are huge amounts of benefits that come along with using this and all commercial gyms utilise this too, as you can see the top results are the likes of PureGym and the Gym Group. 

Since Google will always be one of the first tools that people will use when looking for a new class to join, it is a must to list your business on there for people to find. Ensure you include as much information as possible and you could even prompt your current class members to leave some reviews too. 

Step 2: 5 Ways to Improve Your Classes

#1 Create Feedback Forms for Current Members to Fill in to Improve Fitness Class Attendance & Quality

how to get more clients to my fitness classes uk

We just mentioned the importance of feedback from your clients to keep your classes enjoyable, and reach your ultimate goal -  to increase fitness class attendance. 

Feedback forms are super easy to use, whether it is utilising technology like Google Forms or simple paper forms for class members to fill out on their exit of the class. 

This gives you the opportunity to find any common opinions that need addressing and there are some ways you can do this to make it as transparent and honest as possible.

First, have these responses anonymous. If your class has genuine opinions but doesn’t feel confident in sharing them, having anonymous responses will allow them to be more honest which is what is going to help you the most.

Something to keep in mind when you’re designing your feedback forms is to ask open ended questions. Avoid any questions that require a yes or no answer, you want to get as much from the client as possible.

For example, instead of saying:

“Did you enjoy today's class? | Yes or No”

You could say:

“What did you enjoy most about today's class? | …”

This goes for all the questions you ask, this is the sole way to improve, by seeing your class through somebody else's eyes they will pick up things that you won't.

This is a super easy, cost effective way to retrieve valuable information. You can create these forms on Microsoft Word, Google docs or make a branded one on Canva, simply print some out so you always have some in your class studio.

You could even make online feedback forms on the aforementioned Google Forms. Whatever channels you decide to use, they’re all going to bring in valuable feedback to improve your business.

#2 Take Further Fitness Courses to Improve Your Class

how to grow fitness class size

Another way to improve your instruction and increase fitness class attendance is to progress your own career. 

CPD courses are widely popular for those who want to improve their class instruction and to properly deliver a class with an informed background. 

For example, running a kettlebell class with no experience could potentially be difficult, but, if you have taken a kettlebell instructor course

Not only will you feel confident in your ability to instruct, your class will trust you even more if you advertise further qualifications behind you and your experience will show in the quality of your class.

Some popular CPD Fitness Courses that could benefit your fitness classes include:

These can inform your overall practice and make you a more qualified and confident fitness class instructor.

#3 Keeping on Top of Fitness Trends is Another Way to Boost Fitness Class Attendance

how to increase fitness group size

Something that we see more and more every year are fitness trends, so why not capitalise on them?

Fitness trends come and go, but there is almost always another one to replace the last. Just like clothing, body types seem to come in and out of trend which means people focus on one particular part of their body more than others.

The past years, it has been all about big glutes in women and in turn, you see programmes and classes dedicated to building bigger glutes. You don’t have to just take our word for it though, take a look at this article below from Women’s Health:

how to grow fitness class size

If you’re keeping on top of trends, who's to say that your class won’t be at the top of the next Women's Health article? 

You could tailor a class to a popular fitness trend by utilising the feedback forms we mentioned earlier. You could potentially have a question on your feedback forms that asks:

“What is your current favourite kind of training?”

If you start to see a pattern emerging on multiple clients wanting the same thing, all the while being aware that there are always fitness trends floating around the industry, you could start to offer these targeted classes.

This isn’t to say that you should slap any old class on your timetable and wing it, but when you feel like a fitness trend is truly effective on the body and people are going to be happy with the results, do your research and add a new class to the schedule!

#4 Make Your Classes Sociable to Boost Fitness Class Attendance

how to grow fitness class sizes as an instructor

Something that people love about fitness classes is the social aspect, it is a place where friends and family can go together and people can make new like minded friends. 

You should encourage this among your class and work on improving the relationships between one another, including you as the instructor. 

You could do this by holding social sessions before or after classes so people can get to know one another. This might involve coffee mornings before people head to work or evening dinners when you and your class have reached a milestone together. 

Combining the social aspects with the fitness class itself makes it more than just a workout and will improve the energy and atmosphere of your classes overall. Not only that, but allowing other clients to bring along their peers to these social events could even entice them to join the class if they’re not already a member.

Ultimately, this will help to create positive discourse around your classes and make members truly excited to turn up week on week, inviting their friends along too.

Another way to break the ice and encourage a sociable class environment is to use partnered exercises during the class. This can help to improve confidence in those who lack and make newcomers feel like a part of the group. 

It can be daunting joining a new class, so making it as welcome as possible will really improve your reputation as a class and entice new members while retaining the current ones.

#5 Take Inspiration from Successful Classes

how to make my fitness class more successful

Something really great about the likes of social media is the fact that we can see and celebrate the success of others.

To increase attendance, you'll need a successful fitness class and what better way to do this than take inspiration from successful fitness classes already out there?

Do your market research and find out what is going well in the fitness class industry and replicate it in your own way. There is a reason that certain classes do so well, take Les Mills for example, they’re now an international brand based on sharing their class choreography!

Taking inspiration from the right people who have packed out classes week on week is a great way to head in the right direction. 

In most commercial gyms, if you take a look at their timetable you can see the most popular classes and how they’re packed out every week, so why not hold similar styled classes?

If circuits are a big hit, add it into your schedule, if people want to wind down with a yoga class why not try offering a yoga session? 

Things are recycled and re-adjusted because they work well in any industry, you can do the same in your classes too!  


Step 3: 4 Ways to Retain Attendees

Another of our fitness class tips is that you should be thinking about how to retain them once they’ve joined.

Your client retention strategy is just as important as gaining new class members, so below we have 3 of the best ways to keep your class clientele around for the long haul.

#1 Don’t Implement an End Date For Their Sessions

how to keep clients in a fitness class

You want to avoid implementing any sort of end date as much as possible, this is because you’re essentially making it easy for them to leave when their time is up.

Make sure that you’re making it easy to sign up and stay around, so putting your clients on a rolling contract is the best way to do this.

Even when you use a pricing structure like advertising blocks of classes, you should ensure that after that they don’t have to re-apply and that they are put straight onto a rolling contract. Blocks of classes might look something like this: 

how to increase fitness class attendance

This is an example from a popular fitness class provider “Barry’s” and this is how block sessions work in terms of the more you buy the cheaper the price. While this still is an effective approach in terms of income (you’re guaranteed a block income from a client) it can be restrictive. 

However, their popular memberships option doesn’t include an end date which is what you want to be ultimately pushing for the most.

how to increase fitness class attendance

As you can see, we’ve highlighted how they state it is an auto-renewal process, meaning clients would have to cancel to leave the classes.

If you’re also a personal trainer, you might already be used to this. You should always avoid an end date. Once your client decides that they no longer need or want your services, they will no doubt let you know that they’re ready to leave!

Essentially you’re selling a service, a ‘membership’, would you ever see PureGym putting an end date on their membership? No, it is a consistent direct debit taken from you every month until you go through the effort to cancel it.

You should be doing the exact same thing for your clients, it makes yours and their life much easier and increases motivation for the clients.

#2 Incentivise Being a Long Term Member

how to increase fitness class attendance for instructors

You may have heard the word ‘incentivise’ many times throughout our tips here and this works for current clients too. 

You don’t want to only provide benefits for newcomers, you should show your appreciation for your long term clients too. 

This means incentivising both new and old clients alike, so how do you do this? 

We’ve spoken about referral programmes, which can be very beneficial for current clients as well as new ones. This is a way to make your current clients happy by allowing them to benefit from bringing their friends along.

Ultimately, making their time more enjoyable, while still being able to take advantage of a discounted price. 

You can also incentivise long term class members by discounting long term memberships, for example, if they decide to opt for a 6-month or 12-month membership, you can discount this price. 

You can see this in action below, from a company that runs fitness classes, Move.

how to increase fitness class attendance for instructors

As you can see, the more activities you opt for, the better ‘deal’ you’re getting.They also choose to advertise their memberships on a weekly bill basis, which often looks more attractive at first instance because the price is of course lower than what is billed at the end of the month.

Many commercial gyms take this approach, but you must be careful to tell your clients that their membership will still continue to roll onto a month-by-month basis once the long term agreement is up.

This means that you’re not implementing any end date which we will talk about next, while still giving them the opportunity to take advantage of discounts.

#3 Set New Goals and On Going Objectives

how to increase fitness class attendance for instructors

Goals are a crucial part of any kind of fitness training program, SMART goals are something you have probably heard before and they’re a really great way to keep clients on track. 

Though these are more predominant in PT sessions, there is no reason why you cannot implement goals into your classes in order to keep clients motivated and retain their custom. 

When a client joins your class, you could ask them what their goal is? By investing this interest into your clients they’re bound to stick around long enough to reach them! This is particularly true if you’re keeping on top of their goals and are tracking their progress. 

Maybe once a month you could have a check in with class members on how they’re getting along with their goals; if they’ve reached them, encourage them to create new ones.

For example, one goal you could set for your clients is:

“To move up intermediate level in boxercise class”

Having classes based on intermediacy that they can move up in and work towards can be a great mechanism of keeping your current clients motivated, while also working as a way of retaining clients for the long run.

The goal is to ensure they always have something in front of them to reach, in order to avoid plateaus and to actually keep their place in your class. 

#4 Keep Your Classes Exciting and Varied to Increase Fitness Class Attendance

how to increase fitness class attendance for instructors

When you’re looking for ways on how to improve fitness class attendance, you should be doing a little self reflection.

Too much of anything gets boring, and the same goes for your classes. 

The same class schedule day in day out with no variation can get modain and eventually, class numbers may start to drop off because of this. This is why you need to be changing things up and keeping your classes exciting and enjoyable. 

However, you don’t want to differ from the typical schedule too much, it’s all about striking a balance between keeping it varied and enjoyable while keeping the bones of the class the same. 

You can do this by varying music choices and getting your class involved with the process. For example, you could ask your class members their favourite song of the week and incorporate it into the class. 

You could also test out new classes, for example, ask your clients what kind of class they enjoy resistance classes or cardio or a mixture of the two. 

You should let your class know that you’re going to try out new classes and ask for feedback. But, like we said, don't completely change the class altogether since there is a reason they’re coming in the first place! 

For example, if your members might want to take part in a CrossFit class. You could then become a CrossFit coach and relay a hugely popular class that is loved internationally. 

This is an example of keeping the bones the same, but improving it and changing it up for some versatility and enjoyment. 


Before You Go!

Whether your goal is to gain new clients, retain your current ones or just generally improve your classes we hope our tips helped you along the way.

Don't forget that if you want to take a step up from a career in fitness instructing and become a personal trainer, check out our Personal Trainer Diploma. Find this and many more advancement courses here in our downloadable course prospectus.


Become a Personal Trainer with Origym

Why not start your career off in the right way and join thousands of other students by enrolling on our Diploma in Personal Training?

Written by Kimberley Mitchell


Having gained a B.A Hons degree in Media, Culture and Communications, Kimberley has gained experience in areas of web journalism, website production and marketing.

Alongside this, Kim expanded her knowledge and passion for fitness, by becoming a fully qualified fitness instructuor and personal trainer. Kim has also gained specialist qualifications in yoga, nutriton, spin and many more.

After working in the industry as a PT, Kimberley went on to study an MA in Digital Marketing and continues to expand her knowledge in the industry. Her main focus is to keep up with current trends and communications with a focus around health & fitness, writing and being creative.

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