Should gyms be encouraging members to take more rest days?

It seems like an idyllic situation to have hundreds of members hitting the gym every day, using your facilities to smash their personal bests over and over again. Since this marks a sure and steady client base, having this happen consistently would indeed seem to make a huge difference to your gym’s bottom line.

The reality, however, is that training hard for multiple days per week can lead to decreased performance, muscle soreness, and – ultimately – a big dip in your pool of regular gym-goers.

Gyms should, therefore, think about advertising the benefits of active rest days to their members.

Whilst this can seem counterintuitive for gyms – since you’d be actively encouraging members not to visit your facilities for a set number of times a week – there are some surprising benefits.

Proper rest can help to prevent injury

Any gym operator knows that every time someone completes a high-intensity workout, they are creating microscopic tears in their muscles. This is what allows the body to adapt and become stronger.

The problem is that not all gym-goers know this, particularly those who are new to their fitness journey.

In fact, when members – who don’t necessarily know what they’re doing in the gym yet – overdo their training or don’t rest enough, those microtears don’t have any time to recover and can easily become real injuries.

Whilst this can be a sprained ankle or a pulled muscle, members who overtrain are at real risk of Overtraining Syndrome (OTS). This affects the central nervous system and is caused by training too hard without enough rest.

If people overtrain for too long, they might find that their strength and conditioning progress fizzles out, their immune system suffers, and their mood drastically worsens. Instead of taking a rest day or two, members who overtrain might have to stop training for weeks or months in order to recover.

With this prospect looming, gym operators should be prepared to educate their members on appropriate training schedules and the importance of occasional rest days.

Better workouts mean happier members

When members have occasional rest days, they can maintain a consistent training routine with the same enthusiasm and energy from start to finish.

One of the biggest causes of people quitting the gym is a lack of motivation. As soon as members feel despondent, tired, and hopeless, they are far more likely to leave the gym. Overtraining to the point where every workout is dreaded without factoring in recovery time is a sure-fire way for members to reach this conclusion.

This is particularly true for those members who consistently work the same muscle group or always do the same workouts – from strength training and lifting weights to hitting the treadmill every day.

Encouraging active recovery days will ensure that muscles have the right amount of time to recover before another tough workout, and that your members stay motivated and engaged with their fitness journeys.

And when muscles are rested, workouts are much better and more energetic. How’s that for motivation?

Rested muscles, bigger muscles, more noticeable results

Rested muscles are able to build themselves up much faster – and much bigger – than overtrained ones. Proper active rest and nutrition allow little muscle tears to repair themselves properly, meaning that members who take rest days are likely to see better muscle growth.

And members who see faster results are likely to keep coming back for more. Rest days can increase motivation and therefore increase gym retention rates.

The benefit to your bottom line

Ultimately, making sure that your members are happy, motivated, and less injury-prone will have amazing effects on your gym’s retention rates. And when you retain your members, you have a steady source of income for the duration of their membership.

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