Athlete Retention: Your Affiliate Gym’s Most Important Success Factor

athlete retention

Affiliate gym success hinges on athlete retention. Of course, Affiliate gyms must acquire athletes before they can retain them, but the importance of retention can’t be overstated. Retention affects every aspect of an Affiliate business, and poor retention may be costing Box owners more than they realize. 

How Retention Impacts Businesses

Most Affiliate gym owners understand retention plays an important role in their overall success. However, many owners are surprised to learn that it costs up to 10 times more to win a new customer than to keep a current one. 

The importance of athlete retention goes beyond lost revenue and the cost of replacing a canceled membership. The longer an athlete belongs to an Affiliate gym, the more they connect and strengthen the community. Long-time, consistently engaged athletes are more likely to refer qualified leads to their Affiliate gym as they understand the community well enough to recommend it to their personal networks. That means athlete retention can actually increase new membership sales. 

How Retention Impacts Athletes

Affiliate gym owners and Coaches are passionate about the industry and helping others live healthier, happier lives. To keep helping athletes and having an impact in the community, Affiliate gyms must focus on retention. It’s an obvious point but still worth making; if an athlete isn’t in the Affiliate gym, they are presumably missing an opportunity to change their life for the better. 

Retention has a multiplier effect on Affiliate gym communities. That is, the longer an athlete has belonged to an Affiliate gym, the more likely they are to encourage other athletes during and after workouts. Successful Affiliate gyms are filled with these athletes who are staples of the community and bind everyone together, from uplifting words to inspiring fist bumps. 

Raise the Bar on Athlete Engagement

To reset the focus on retention, Affiliate gyms should start by improving athlete engagement. There are many ways to improve athlete engagement, and one of the most effective opportunities is to enhance the workout tracking experience. More specifically, make workout tracking fun and rewarding with a mobile app designed to fuel community engagement. These mobile apps allow athletes and Coaches to communicate with workout results. 

Affiliate gyms go from good to great when they master athlete retention. To master this, owners must focus on engaging their community by creating memorable experiences both at the Box and online. 

Kinnick McDonald is the senior director of marketing for Zen Planner. She can be reached at or visit to learn more about Zen Planner and SugarWOD joining forces