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Do the Write Thing

One last thought about details. They say the devil is in them, and by goodness, they are right.

Yes, I know. As a fitness professional, you are busy. There are reports to be run, personal trainers to train and front desk staff to hire or fire. Not to mention making sure the facility is clean, equipment is in proper working order and the locker room isn't a mess. As someone who's worked in clubs, I understand how much work it takes to keep a club running, but that's no excuse to let details fall by the wayside.

For example, a sign promising your members that 30 minutes of daily cardio exercise will help them “loose weight” doesn't take on the same meaning as “lose weight.” That extra “o” may seem like an insignificant detail, but it completely changes your message. Instead of helping rid them of their “extra” skin, you're saying it will give them droopy, floppy skin. Hurray! Just what you were hoping to do!

Here's another good one. A few years ago I popped into a club for a quick workout while I was away on business at a trade show. The facility was nice and clean, and the staff was pleasant. The club had an elaborate entertainment system, and local ads ran at the bottom of all the televisions. Every three minutes a text banner promoting the club's newest personal training program flashed across the screen. It read, “Meet with one of our personal trainers, and find out how you can trim your waste today!” Um, pretty sure they meant “waist” on that one. And, if not, I don't think I want to meet with any personal trainers to discuss my waste.

Just recently, while touring a college recreation center, I noticed another painful misspelling: “Please re-rack your dumb belles.” I was actually really offended they were referring to their female members in such a chauvinistic and demeaning manner.

The moral of the story is to please notice the little things. Although you might not have a magazine editor in your facility noticing every grammatical error and misspelling that accidentally gets tacked up on the wall, some members do take note. In fact, on some fliers and posters, I've actually seen members take the English language into their own hands by editing the fliers. Staring at the same misspelling on the group exercise schedule for six months must get to some people. Somehow the hot new “wok out” schedule just makes you want to “wok out” the door and not come back (possibly stopping for some good Chinese takeout on the way home).

A sloppy club, even when the sloppiness just relates to the signage, can imply the club is in trouble. So, take note, pay attention and don't let the little things slide. Read your signage closely, do some quick editing (believe it or not, but spell check doesn't catch everything), and don't be afraid to check out an editing book at your local library.

Don't “weight” until the last minute either. Pay attention to those pesky details, as insignificant as they may seem, or you may soon “loose” your members for good.

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