Running a fitness facility of any kind is a hustle and maintaining a solid membership base while attracting new patrons can require a great deal of effort. Maintaining an effective marketing strategy, keeping your facility clean and welcoming and offering competitive promotions are all crucial for retaining your existing clients and drawing in new members.

However, one of the most effective ways to engage new members is often overlooked by business owners; and that is to host community-wide fitness events in your neighbourhood. By hosting free fitness events that anyone can be a part of, business owners can attract new clients to their gym and impress their existing members, gaining credit for bringing the community together in a fun, inclusive way.

What’s more, so many community events can be completely free to host, so you can bring home the bacon without breaking the bank! To get you started, we’ve compiled five community fitness event ideas for your business.

community fun run 5k

Host a Run, Hike or Bike Event

Outdoor runs, hikes and biking events are some of the best ways a facility owner can promote itself to the community. These free, inclusive events attract individuals of a wide variety of fitness levels who are interested in challenging themselves with physical activity; a natural target group for any fitness business.

Hosting a 5K fun run around the neighbourhood, a hike on a natural trail or a bike ride around the city is the perfect way to get people from the community outdoors and mingling with members of your facility. While hosting these kinds of events can be completely free and promoted online, owners may consider giving out a ‘swag bag’ at the event that gives even more incentive for participants to check out their gym, including either a membership coupon or free class pass.

group yoga class in a community center

Community-Wide Fitness Challenges

There’s no better way to bring a community together than to create an opportunity for some friendly competition amongst its members. Hosting a community-wide fitness challenge is a fun way to increase engagement with a business while encouraging potential patrons to visit or interact with the facility for the first time.

Promote these events by posting on your social media platforms and engaging with existing members, making sure to mention any challenge prizes and incentives to referring non-members.

These fitness challenges should have a set duration and should feature a very specific goal with clear instructions; challenges could include a 30-day Abs Workout challenge, a Yoga Every Day challenge or even a Plank Day challenge. No matter what the activity, make sure it can be done at home so as not to discourage non-members. Choose a theme for your challenge that is fun, easy to publicize, has a clear way of tracking performance or progress and allows for prize incentives for the successful participants.

boot camp group doing sit ups

Weekend Fitness Boot Camps

It’s likely that a large percentage of community members in a gym’s local area wish they were in better shape but feel like they don’t have time to . Business owners can take advantage of the community’s likely desire to be healthier by hosting weekend boot camps that help participants shed pounds or reach performance goals quickly. Boot camps are a great way to build confidence among potential patrons of a fitness business.

Weekend boot camps are also a great way to bring new life to a gym during busy times of the year. Many fitness professionals find that the height of summer and the depth of winter are times when a business struggles to attract patrons. This is likely because people feel too busy during these times of years to keep up with a regular gym routine.

Offering a quick, weekend-only boot camp is a smart way to attract patrons who feel like they don’t have the time to make use of a gym or fitness club membership.

senior woman doing stretch with her dog

Community-Driven Novelty Classes

Most gym owners are familiar with the trend for yoga classes to be graced by cats, dogs or even goats. Hosting these free or inexpensive novelty classes in your neighbourhood is a great way to make your facility stand out and give participants an experience they’ll never forget.

When it comes to hosting a novelty fitness class in any area, remember that nothing is more important than catering to the audience; after all, a community fitness schedule should fit the spirit of that community. If the gym is in a community with a strong agricultural presence, it might be most suitable to host goat yoga, cow tai-chi or any other farm animal workout. If the gym is in a more urban area, it might be best to opt for a cat- or dog-based fitness class.

Regardless of the location, offering this kind of unique fitness experience is an awesome way to promote your gym, to get non-members talking about your facility and even to get some great photos of people enjoying your services.

group yoga class outdoors in a park

Donation-Based Community Fitness Classes

One new business strategy in many industries is to operate a store or service that asks for donations in lieu of using set prices. This strategy might not seem to make much sense financially, but offering donation-based fitness classes can be a quick way to infuse new life and new money into a business.

When a gym offers community-wide, donation-based classes, individuals who might not be able to afford attending otherwise are more likely to show up and pay what they can. As well, individuals who are able to pay the full amount will generally donate at least as much as they know the class would regularly cost. This approach is inclusive to all and shows the members of your community that you care.

Fitness facilities can also consider partnering with a non-profit community organization to make these kinds of workouts more successful. To employ this strategy, gym owners need to find an organization that also serves the community and whose mission is popular and respected. Then, gym owners can publicize that they will give a set percentage of the total donations for each class to that organization.

group selfie post workout


Keep in mind that knowing your community is key to event success. Fitness business owners should take time to determine what types of events would be most successful in their area and cater to those characteristics. With good planning and great promotion, community fitness events like these can prove to be the perfect marketing pick-me-up for any fitness business.

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