Wendy Jett earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky in therapeutic recreation. She has been teaching group fitness classes for 19 years and holds various fitness-related certifications. She has served as the corporate group fitness director for Global Fitness Holdings/Gold's Gym since 2000. She previously served as the group fitness director for Shapes Fitness Centers in Lexington, KY, for five years.


The holiday season may be one of the busiest times for your local mall, but unfortunately, it can be one of the slowest times for your club. Just when members need that daily dose of endorphins the most, they neglect to stop by for their workout. Two months and 10 pounds later, they arrive in droves for the quick fix. Energy and participation in classes explode in January, but how can we keep those numbers up over the holidays? A little creativity can go a long way when members are in the holiday spirit. Here are a few suggestions for spicing up the holiday participation in your club.

The 40 days of fitness. Participants in this program receive an attendance report card, which includes his or her name, their instructor's signature and a place to record each class/day from Thanksgiving Day through New Year's Day. Members turn in report cards after New Year's Day to claim prizes according to their attendance record. The club awards “A” prizes for attendance of 90 percent-plus days, “B” prizes for attendance of 80 percent-89 percent days, “C” prizes for attendance of 75 percent-79 percent days and “D” prizes for 70 percent-74 percent days attended.

The 12 days of fitness. If 40 days may be too much for your members, try the 12 days of fitness. From Dec. 10-22, members attend one class per day and are rewarded on Dec. 23 with a 12 Days of Fitness T-shirt tucked neatly into a holiday stocking.

Train to maintain. With the average weight gain during the holidays around 7 pounds, many members find it challenging to maintain their current weight through Jan. 1. Create a pledge board for members to sign to commit to maintaining their current weight through the holidays. Ask your personal training department to handle the weigh-ins at the beginning and end of the commitment timeframe as well as the distribution of prizes.

It’s a wrap party. Members can receive free gift wrapping while they take a class. Set a table up in your front lobby and put your staff to work for a couple of hours one night. Members are limited to two to three gifts wrapped while they work out. Mark the gifts properly and have members show ID for pick up. (If you can sweet talk a printer, the company may donate wrapping paper with your club logo on it.)

Hip hop holiday hoedown. Get those happy feet into the club for a holiday workout hip hop style, Latin style…whatever it takes. Dance has never been more popular, so now is the time to get your members prepared for those New Year’s Eve parties. Open your club to a local dance studio, invite members of local school dance teams and offer your members a pass for their dance partner.

Santa’s work(out) shop. Yes, even St. Nick needs a little exercise to keep his energy high this time of year. Invite members and their children for a workout party with Santa and his elves (be sure to reserve those costumes.) This program is a great way to relieve little ones' pent up anticipation and offer parents a great picture-taking opportunity.

Holiday heart yoga retreat. Fill your club with the warmth of gift giving by hosting a yoga workout in your studio for all members and guests who donate a scarf, hat, mittens or gloves to a local homeless shelter. In return, each participant receives a holiday candle and the satisfaction of knowing that they made the season a little warmer for someone in need.

The holiday season will be upon us before you know it, so now is the time to put a plan in action. Pick your dates, plan your events and begin your in-house marketing. Although the holidays can be a busy, stressful time of year, ultimately it is a time when people reflect on goodwill, friendship and appreciation of family. Take the opportunity to thank members for their loyalty over the past year, and you will be sure to see them throughout the New Year.