Training for... Fitness training to balance, strengthen and supplement...
...what, exactly? To be fit and healthy, lose weight, tone one’s figure, reduce stress? Exactly! These are the most common reasons for people to go to fitness studios. Even so, there is also an attractive target group comprising serious athletes who train in fitness studios to ensure that they are in perfect condition for their sports. Players of team sports like football, handball and basketball, runners, climbers, cyclists, skiers, triathletes, tennis players and golfers – all of these people are athletes who are passionate about their sports, and often have been for many years, and who need to be fit so that they can pursue their passion. These people have very different goals for fitness training. Let us take a closer look.
Athletes know their bodies, and they know what their bodies need.
In contrast to members who may be signing up for their very first fitness studio membership or who many only do sports occasionally, athletes are very well informed. They know their weight, and they know their percentage of body fat. They know which muscle groups are required for their sport, and they are aware of their weaknesses. They may well have dealt with an injury or two, and they may even have had to start over from scratch. When they are in the fitness studio, both their approach and their training are different. Basically, they aim to maintain their fitness level and to eliminate any muscular imbalances. With selected courses, training with their own bodyweight, and using exercise equipment, their goal is to build up the muscles that stabilise and protect their joints. The overarching goal: to prevent the injuries that can arise in serious athletes.
Why do active athletes even bother with training in a fitness studio?
Some might think that people who play competitive sports already receive sufficient support and supplemental programmes from their athletic associations and clubs. This is not always the case, however. There are a number of reasons why active athletes end up taking advantage of fitness studios:
Players of team sports, as well as outdoor sports enthusiasts, have very full schedules during the seasons when their sports take place. They train on multiple occasions with their team-mates during the week, or do so alone, in accordance with a strict training plan. When the off-season comes around, they are often left to their own devices. While it is true that some clubs and associations offer joint training sessions during the off-season, these are seldom as frequent or as intense as the training to which these athletes are accustomed. It is during these times in particular that they turn to fitness studios for an additional challenge or for a chance to prepare themselves.
- Outdoor vs. Indoor
Runners, cyclists, climbers, skiers, triathletes, tennis players and golfers are all at the mercy of the weather when it comes to practising their sports. They are particularly likely to take advantage of additional training in a fitness studio when it is cold or wet outside. For some people, in fact, it is actually impossible for them to pursue their normal training – this includes racing cyclists, for whom wet asphalt poses too much of an accident risk, and golfers when their courses are closed due to flooding. For others, training outdoors on days like these is simply too unpleasant. In these cases, the goal is use training in a fitness studio in order to get ready for their next outdoor training and make sure that they stay fit.
- Non-existent or insufficient opportunities in their club or association
Not enough indoor sports facilities, too few volunteers, a lack of financial resources – it is not easy for sports clubs and associations to maintain athletic programmes for their teams and competitive athletes. Naturally, the top priority is always to ensure that they are able to offer multiple opportunities to participate in the particular sports discipline for various age groups and genders. This means that there is often no scope for additional fitness or off-season training. The athletes are left to their own devices, and they are forced to find their own opportunities outside of their club or association if they wish to maintain the necessary level of physical fitness for their sport.
- Enjoyment and a change of pace
Competitive athletes are generally interested in sports. They follow the latest sports trends and they love being active. As a result, when they visit a fitness studio, they are often keen to try out new things, focus on other activities and simply have fun. They meet up with friends whom they do not normally see in when training for their sport, take part in group fitness courses together, or enjoy the chance to let someone else show them what to do – without having to strive for concrete goals.
One possibility: Programmes for specific sports disciplines
Athletes train differently. One method for reaching them is to customise the fitness studio’s programme. Individualised support and personal training can be used to target the elimination of muscular imbalances and prevent injuries in the member’s sports discipline. To do this, it is absolutely essential that there be professional trainers or physiotherapists, ideally with experience in the sport being trained. Special group fitness courses can also be used to create a programme dedicated to a specific sport. Depending on the season, the fitness studio can offer athletic training for players of team sports. Other examples include ski gymnastics, bodyweight training for endurance athletes, and ‘yoga for ...’ programmes. Yoga fitness in particular offers an opportunity to train strength, endurance and flexibility without putting too great a strain on the body. Breathing can be used to activate every single muscle, no matter how small. In addition, yoga constitutes a calming respite from performance training. It is not for nothing that yoga & cycling tours and surf & yoga tours are so popular. Yoga is a meditative on-trend sport that offers a good counterpoint to sports disciplines that are full of action and extremely demanding physically.
Reaching athletes: Using different forms of address and partnerships
It is not just a fitness studio’s programme that needs to be tailored to appeal to active athletes – they also want to be addressed differently. Advertising messages such as ‘Get fit’ and ‘Lose weight’, just like campaigns focused on new year’s resolutions, simply do not appeal to athletes for whom sports already play a key role in their lives. The key is to highlight the advantages that training in a fitness studio offers for people who want to complement or supplement their normal training activities. Seasonal programmes are another area that should be the focus of communications. It may even be possible to enter into partnerships with local sports clubs and associations, and to offer discounts for active club members.