It’s practically a cliche, but it’s 100% true – as the silly season approaches, our health gets put on the backburner. And for us fitness professionals, that means our classes start looking a little bit empty! So how do you make sure that you’re not “out of sight, out of mind” for your clients over Christmas?

Keeping fitness clients during Christmas

Keeping fitness clients during Christmas is tricky, hence the infamous “Christmas slump”. Clients often become inconsistent with their training, opting for a drink at the bar, rather than a work out at the barre. And honestly, it’s hard to blame them. Work events, parties, vacations – there are a lot of demands during the silly season.

Your job isn’t to persuade them to say no to their invitations, it’s to make sure your business doesn’t suffer.

It’s all about momentum.

Hopefully your members have become locked into a routine leading up the more festive months. You want to capitalise on your clients’ progress and motivation, by helping them to keep their wheels turning.

It’s much easier to keep a good habit than it is to start one… so it’s your job to remind your clients of this.

1. Positivity, not guilt

Christmas parties, celebration food, reunion drinks… Christmas is usually filled with social events, food and alcohol. And that’s why we love it!

But remind clients that now, more than ever, they should be sticking to their workout plans! Because, as we know, it’s all about balance.

Although it can be a lot of fun, the silly season can also create a lot of stress. So, instead of harping on about being healthy, working off those calories, earning the indulgences, focus on feeling.

Remind your clients how exercise makes them feel – positivity is often more effective than guilt.

Of course, this works best if you consistently encourage your clients to think of exercise as serving more than just an aesthetic purpose. Exercise can:

  • help people deal better with stress
  • release endorphins to boost mood and self-esteem
  • increase energy
  • ease insomnia
  • provide fun, social events

If you make sure you’re talking about all the benefits of exercise, your clients are more likely to see working out as a mood boost and a de-stressor, and keep up the work during the holidays.

It’s not just about being healthy; it’s about feeling good.

2. Create incentives


Just like my childhood obsession with gold stars on a sticker chart (yes, I was that kid), competitions or freebies are a great way to keep your clients dutiful.

At Barre Base, we run an annual Christmas competition. Whoever gets along to the most classes before December 24th wins a prize! Our prizes usually include massages, spa packages, tasty treats and free class passes – a reward after all their hard work.

Everyone loves a bit of friendly competition, and a bit of extra motivation never hurts.

Black Girls Run has a great example of a challenge that takes people right through the holidays – as I mentioned earlier, it’s easier to continue a good habit than start a new one!

Bring a friend for free

Let’s face it, it’s easier to get along to the gym or a fitness class with a friend. Offering free passes for friends, or open days, is a great way to introduce new clients to your business, and encourage your regulars to get along in order to show their mates around.

December may be quieter, but come January, there will be plenty of fitness New Year’s resolutions being made. If you’ve gotten a new person into your class before the new year, you’re at the top of their mind when they’re setting new goals.

3.  Free Christmas fitness guides

We experimented with this last Christmas, and it was a hit! We created fitness guides for people to do at home, at the camping ground, or wherever they may have been over the Christmas break. All our clients needed was a chair.

Our guide was pinned on fridges, office walls and campervan doors for all eyes to see. Which meant that we weren’t just helping our clients – we were getting some exposure every time a friend or family member opened the fridge to grab the wine!

Fit Bottomed Girls created a guide that’s not just usable during the holidays, it’s meant to accommodate for holiday travel. A purpose-built guide feels much more significant to your clients.

Followers who see this guide will surely be thinking of Fit Bottomed Girls while they’re traveling now, instead of sitting in the airport reading a book and drinking a Frappuccino (guilty).

Some of your clients will be heading away on a holiday. It’s inevitable! So rather than worry about not seeing those people, make sure they won’t forget you.

4. Keep your social media fires burning

Yes, people may not be scrolling through their newsfeed as readily over Christmas. Although you never know who will need a little distraction from the family time! Having consistent social media during this time can really pay off.

A few FOMO-inducing posts is the perfect way to remind your clients of their goals, or what they’re missing out on by not showing up!

5. Practice what you preach

Everyone needs a break, including the fitness instructor or business owner.

It’s okay to close over Christmas, especially on the statutory days. If you already know your classes will be quieter over this time, why not offer a reduced timetable? This way, your clients don’t lose their routine, but you and your staff will get a well-deserved break, too.

Then, embrace your downtime. Use the reduced timetable to work on your business, practice a new technique, refresh your marketing, spend time with friends and family, take a class, or travel.

As Cassie Mendoza-Jones told us in her blog on slow client weeks,

Free time is not wasted time.

Out of sight, not out of mind

Holidays and quiet spells are inevitable in business, and it’s important to encourage your clients (and your staff and self) to take a well deserved break. And you’re allowed to have some fun, too! But, with a little planning, you can keep your clients motivated to keep training over Christmas – whether that’s from your studio, or a camping ground.

It’s about being creative, and innovative. Keep your clients motivated and engaged with competitions, guides, and reminders of why they love exercise, and why they choose you.