Op-Eds

Opinion: Why Gym Owners Should Care About Performance Tracking

November 29, 2021 by
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Wodify
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In 2011, I walked into a CrossFit gym and was handed a notebook by a coach who told me, if I wanted to, I could keep track of my performance after each workout. As a previously avid weightlifter, I knew the importance of tracking results, but CrossFit was a new challenge for me. 

In order to track my progress, I would have to write down complex workouts with varying types of results – weight, rounds, reps, time, and more. On top of that, the variety of workouts made it near impossible to find my previous results when we repeated a movement or benchmark (what’s my Fran time again?). Eventually, I gave up on the notebook and resigned to just scribbling my results on the whiteboard after each WOD. 

As I continued on my personal CrossFit journey, I began to notice a revolving door pattern at the gym. Some would join for a few months and then leave and I couldn’t understand why. When I asked the gym owner, one of the explanations was that people weren’t seeing the physical (neither in the mirror, nor on the scale) results they were looking for. These people were clearly making progress as demonstrated by faster and stronger performances during workouts, but had nothing tangible to prove it, and therefore, felt like they were aimlessly trying to reach a goal. 

That’s when I had an ‘aha’ moment. If there was an easier way to track performance then people would have the tangible results they were hoping for and stay a member of the gym for longer. In addition, if a gym owner or coach only had to enter the workout once into a computer as opposed to trying to manually record the leaderboard and all PRs on the whiteboard, I could save them a significant amount of time. 

Over the holidays in 2011, I designed the tech platform, and in May of 2012, myself and a few developers built the first version of Wodify – a simple digital performance tracking tool. Over the next few years, Wodify would take off in CrossFit and strength & conditioning gyms around the world. We knew it was a helpful tool for gym members to record their workouts, but what we learned was that gym owners needed Wodify because it was a powerful retention tool. We had found a way to make gym owners more money and save them time, while also empowering their clients to reach their fitness goals.

That’s when I had an ‘aha’ moment. If there was an easier way to track performance then people would have the tangible results they were hoping for, and stay a member of the gym for longer.

Ameet Shah

I have heard some gym owners and coaches say that tracking results is only for competitors and that leaderboards create too competitive of an environment in their gym. While I understand where they are coming from, our data shows that a gym’s 90-day retention rate has the potential to increase by 20% if that gym goes from not having members track performance whatsoever, to then maximizing their adoption of performance tracking. We found that gyms that maximize their use of performance tracking have higher engagement, a closer community, and therefore, higher retention than gyms that do not. Therefore, when you are thinking about starting to offer performance tracking at your gym, you should broaden your perspective to consider the additional benefits, specifically retention – which is one of the most important metrics that separates profitable gyms from struggling gyms.

Today, Wodify does much more than just performance tracking. We have never had this many highly engaged and talented team members working at our company and we are working hard on some exciting things to come in 2022. I’m humbled that thousands of gyms around the world trust us to power their entire business operation and client experience. If you are a Wodify customer or user, I want to sincerely thank you for being part of our journey. If you aren’t yet, you can get in touch with our team.

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