The Top 3 Reasons Why Your Gym Members are Leaving

And What You Can Do To Make Them Stay


Although the month of January is the best month for new memberships in gyms and fitness centers, unfortunately, most new members don’t make it past the five-month mark. A recent study showed that 80 percent who joined a gym in January quit within five months.


            More than half of members join a gym or health club to:

  • Feel better about themselves

  • Look better

  • Lose weight


            The top three reasons people cancel their memberships are:

  • It’s too expensive.

  • They could exercise somewhere else for free.

  • They weren’t using their membership.


Funny how the top reasons people join a gym have nothing to do with the top three reasons people cancel their memberships.

Could it just be that the unsaid reasons they leave is they aren’t feeling better about themselves, they aren’t looking better and they aren’t losing weight?

If the gym experience could help them reach their personal goals, perhaps there would be fewer departures.

What can you do to serve your members in order to help them reach their goals and retain their membership?


Get Personal

  • Develop an orientation program for new members. While you can’t make them attend, you can schedule several on different days and at different times each week during January to make it as convenient as possible.
  • Set up an individual appointment for each new member to meet with them, discuss their health and fitness goals and devise a personal plan for them. This may seem extreme, but ask yourself how many of your competitors are doing this at no charge? Ask yourself, how much does it cost you to recruit a

Member and how much will you lose if they quit after five months?

Run a contest and offer a prize to the person who loses the most weight in three months. Offer a free membership for the rest of the year to the winner.


Get Web-Savvy

  • Develop a new member’s section on your website and include:
    • Orientation information
    • Staff photos and names
    • Post simple videos teaching how to use equipment
    • Record brief interviews with class teachers about their class and the benefits it provides.
    • Offer workout tips, health tips, nutritional tips


  • Set up a five-month ‘drip’ email campaign for new members to help them remember why they joined and keep them motivated.
    • Welcome the member
    • Give them an overview of the gym,
    • Encourage them to try a class
    • Invite them to orientation,
    • Make their appointment for a free consult
    • Offer nutritional advice from a local dietitian.
    • Reinforce the benefits of gym membership


  • Post on Your Facebook page at least once per day to build community, awareness and to inform. Encourage members to ‘like’ the page.
    • Recycle content from the website and drip campaign for Facebook posts.
    • Ask members if you can take ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos and post after they have met a major goal.
    • Post health tips, workout tips, nutrition tips


Get Information

When members do decide to cancel their memberships do more than just give them a few reasons to check off on their cancellation form. Ask them pointed questions to really understand why are leaving. Read between the lines and see if there area areas of weakness in your gym that you could improve upon, thus increasing retention rates.

Ask questions like:

We hate to see you go but we understand that sometimes life necessitates change. However, we’d love to know why you have decided to cancel your membership: __________________________

How often did you work out with us? (Per week, per month)

What did you enjoy most about working out at our center?

Where do you think we have room for improvement?

Do you plan to join another gym or center? If so, why?



            A week after the new member has left, send them a personal thank you letter from the gym manger or owner, thanking them for joining the gym and letting them know your door is always open to them. Let them know they will remain on your email list unless they choose to opt-out at some point in the future. Even if they continue receiving your emails, if they are full of helpful information, you could build goodwill and get them back next year.