The Price of Headphones in your Gym

The Price of Headphones in your Gym

A Gym­music Blog by Ste­ve Hayward, UK Count­ry Manager

When you look at your clients in your gym wor­king out what do you see? Do you see a lot of your cus­to­mers wea­ring headp­ho­nes? If so, that might just be a sign that you need to make some chan­ges in your gym befo­re your num­bers start slipping…

Many people see headp­ho­nes as a vital part of their gym kit, I’ve known people turn around and head home wit­hout having done their wor­kout because they have for­got­ten (or not char­ged) their headp­ho­nes!  The­se people will always wear headp­ho­nes, they like the sen­se soli­tu­de it can pro­vi­de, they like the musical bubble they have crea­ted for them­sel­ves, it can give them focus and it can be a means of saying to the rest of the world “I’m here to wor­kout out, I’m not inte­res­ted in hea­ring from any­one else”. 

In most fit­ness envi­ron­ments you can expect about 20% of cus­to­mers to be wea­ring headp­ho­nes (I’ve even seen a num­ber of gym users stick to their headp­ho­nes even when the gym had hired an ext­re­me­ly talen­ted DJ to live mix for their cus­to­mers! Even then headp­ho­nes usa­ge was at about 5%… the­re real­ly is no plea­sing everyone!)

At the other end of the spect­rum is a discount 24 hour gym I went to in Inner city Lon­don, they had very high headp­ho­ne usa­ge, over 80%. Amazed by this, I spo­ke with the mana­ger and asked him why this was so high, their res­pon­se was “If I could get it to 100%, then I would. The more people using headp­ho­nes the fewer fights we have!!!” They were INTEN­TIO­NAL­LY playing very few tracks on a high level of repeat (and even clas­sical music from mid­night to 6am) to encou­ra­ge headp­ho­ne use throug­hout their customers!

BUT if you look around your gym and you can see about 50% of people wea­ring headp­ho­nes then you have a chal­len­ge on your hands and the first thing you need to do is wor­kout why… 

The most frequent cause is the music. The main fails that will sky­roc­ket your headp­ho­ne usa­ge are:

  1. Playing the radio. Per­so­nal­ly, I would walk out and not even bot­her to come back if the gym I’m in plays the radio. Ina­ne, jol­ly, pri­me time chat? The news? Inter­views? Are the­se going to get me to run a PB or lift a PR. No, they are not. Ditch the radio today.
  1. Playing the same old, tired play­list again and again. See abo­ve. Repeats crea­te a sen­se of Ground­hog Day and if you’­re wor­king out hard, that is not what you want.
  1. The Gym Mana­ger that only ever plays what THEY like. You have to ditch your ego, you have to sac­ri­fice a litt­le somet­hing for the sake of your gym go-ers; stop playing that Skrillex*/Metallica*/Skid Row* album and broa­den your musical horizons to match that of your cus­to­mers (or your tar­get customers).
  1. Your gym cul­tu­re. This is a tough one, but to crea­te a great gym, it’s one you need to be awa­re of and tackle head on. If all the women in your gym are wea­ring big headp­ho­nes and the jocks in the weights area aren’t lif­ting that much and high fiving a bit too often, you might have a problem. Per­haps it’s time to be more on the floor, or have a qui­et word with some of the more res­pec­ted regu­lars and see what they think. Chances are you have a small num­ber of high­ly dis­rup­ti­ve per­pet­ra­tors who will head back under their rocks when a light shi­nes on them. 

The advan­ta­ges of low headp­ho­ne use in a gym are clear:

  1. Your staff can talk with your cus­to­mers. This one is vital, as you move around the club in the dai­ly execu­tion of your duties it is far easier to let your cus­to­mer know about the things that are going on, if they are not wea­ring headp­ho­nes. “Oh hey, by the way, there’s a Push Up Chal­len­ge on this week” or “If you like using the bike, you should join our Group Exerci­se class at 7pm” all the­se litt­le prompts and remin­ders help your gym mem­bers feel like they are part of a club, not just atten­ding a room with some exerci­se kit in it. That will keep them coming back and that will impro­ve your reten­tion numbers.
  1. Your cus­to­mers can speak with one anot­her. The­re are fewer things wor­se for our men­tal health and our sen­se of well being than not being com­mu­nica­ted with, there’s a rea­son that if you’­re a bad pri­so­ner, you get sent to iso­la­tion. If your gym users can speak with one anot­her they can encou­ra­ge one anot­her, they can help one anot­her and in the long term this helps keep brin­ging people back.
  1. You crea­te a good atmosp­he­re. Clo­se your eyes and think about what it would like to walk into your gym on the per­fect day. I’m gues­sing the sun is shi­ning as you head in, recep­tion gives you a smi­le and wave and you go to get chan­ged, there’s a brief chat with a couple of people chec­king with you to see how your day is going and what you have plan­ned… Now ima­gi­ne eve­ry­one is wea­ring headp­ho­nes, no one is tal­king, it’s heads down, no eye con­tact; feels dif­fe­rent just thin­king about it, doesn’t it?

Afte­rall it could even be a health issue… Have you ever come back from the gym and qui­et­ly, at home, put your headp­ho­nes on and lis­te­ned to music? With the same set­tings I just used for 2 hours, it was waaaay too loud! Not having noi­se cancel­ling headp­ho­nes I rea­li­sed I was having to have the volu­me up and up to overco­me the exis­ting music in the gym, the sound of the tread­mill and all the other background noi­se in the gym.

You owe it to your­self, your staff and to your cus­to­mers to invest in a bet­ter music ser­vice than just flip­ping on the radio, or the same old playlist. 

*All great bands, just not the same thing over and over again, please!

How To Make Your Own Brand of Workouts

How To Make Your Own Brand of Workouts

With Set4Play making your own bran­ded wor­kouts is easy and it means you can set your­self free from expen­si­ve third par­ty pro­vi­ders and har­ness the skills of your exis­ting Group Ex instruc­tor base. 

If you are a gym deli­ve­ring Group Exerci­se to your mem­bers you are like­ly to alrea­dy have a solid base of group fit­ness Instruc­tors. Some of them may be free­lancers, some could be direct­ly emplo­yed eit­her way you have (unwit­tingly) alrea­dy overco­me the most dif­ficult step in crea­ting your own brand of Group Exerci­se: pul­ling toget­her a team who can pro­vi­de the classes.

In that team you will have a wealth of inna­te talent, expe­rience and educa­tion as well as a huge com­bi­ned sum of years of deli­ve­ring group clas­ses: talk to them, see what they like, see what they think the mem­bers of your gym like, unders­tand the key areas that don’t just make them tick, but hum like a fine­ly tuned engi­ne. Now come up with your ‘Brands’. Wit­hout get­ting into the who­le mar­ke­ting deba­te about the natu­re of ‘what is a brand’, think of it like this, somet­hing catc­hy that chi­mes with the sty­le of your gym and your cus­to­mers. Then give it a name that you won’t be embar­ras­sed to tell your cus­to­mers about!

Now think about the core fit­ness areas you want to address, Group Ex has a few well trod­den paths that should not be neglec­ted: ab wor­kouts, HIIT workouts/circuits, leg wor­kouts, upper body wor­kouts. Plus you can come up with a few novel group ex wor­kouts that will work well with your demo­grap­hics and cus­to­mer base.

Now the fun bit starts, get in touch with Gym­music and start a free trial of Set4Play. Take advan­ta­ge of our free trai­ning and get a hands on, per­so­nal­ly deli­ve­red star­ter ses­sion to unders­tand the softwa­re. Invi­te your Instruc­tors along too - after all they might be hel­ping make your new and deli­ver your wor­kouts. Once you have a play­list its as easy as 1,2,3,4.

  1. Use the power­ful search func­tio­na­li­ty to find the tracks you love. Pick from the sig­ned ori­gi­nal artists cata­lo­gue or our roy­al­ty free libra­ry (don’t wor­ry you cant go wrong, we’ve care­ful­ly selec­ted all our tracks with fit­ness and wor­kouts in mind). Pick your favou­ri­tes for futu­re refe­rence and pop the­se in a play­list. Our libra­ry is huge, but if you cant find a speci­fic tracks you can always order in and we’ll get it for you.
  1. Make your mix! You’ve pro­bably been bam­booz­led by Mix Meis­ter befo­re. Set4Play is not that. We use cle­ver, intui­ti­ve tech­no­lo­gy to make mixing a simple and quick plea­su­re. No pre­vious expe­rience neces­sa­ry! It’s real­ly straight forward. The inter­face is obvious. Match your tracks to the work/rest periods in your wor­kout struc­tu­re, may­be add some sound effects to deno­te begin­ning or end of seg­ments, may­be add some cho­reo­grap­hy points to prompt your instruc­tors during the wor­kout and you’re rea­dy to go.
  1. Having ensu­red all your instruc­tors have the Set4Play app on their mobi­le pho­ne, eve­ry instruc­tor on your account gets your mix. It’s down­loa­ded to their device so they can play it offli­ne or when there’s poor recep­tion. This gives them plen­ty of oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn your wor­kout ahead of the first wor­kout and we can even deli­ver your notes, instruc­tions and video via the plat­form to help them get it right.
  1. Deli­ver bril­liant clas­ses that you cont­rol!. With a simple inter­face, count up and count down and on screen remin­ders to help your instruc­tors deli­ve­ring group exerci­se clas­ses with Set4Play is easy to do. Plus there’s some big but­ton cont­rols to cover eve­ry even­tua­li­ty. The mix for your wor­kout is total­ly secu­re, you can even pull it and chan­ge it if you need to. 

If you’ve been on a varied fit­ness jour­ney for any rea­so­nable amount of time you’re going to have expe­rienced great group exerci­se clas­ses and not so great ones. We aim to help you take that guess work out.

You can make as many mixes and crea­te as many clas­ses as you like. You can enable mixing for some, none or all of your instruc­tors and get them to help you build a libra­ry of great wor­kouts. Don’t like a mix? As an Admin you have final sign off and can take down any mixes that aren’t up to your brand stan­dards. Instruc­tor lea­ves, you can pull your mixes or clo­se their account. We pro­vi­de you with total control.

You’ve got this far, just one more step: use the con­tact form on our web­si­te to order a free trial and get underway today. 

I Hate Playlists

I Hate Playlists

Blog Post by Ste­ve Hayward, UK Count­ry Manager

I hate Play­lists. I think part­ly the problem is the sty­le of wor­kout that I do. I’m a litt­le too old now to be buil­ding big muscle and my pas­sions are run­ning, kay­aking and clim­bing so when I go to the gym, it tends to be for two hours at a time, wor­king endu­rance rat­her than gai­ning bulk.

A couple of years ago I was trai­ning for the Devizes to West­mins­ter Canoe race; a 125 mile non stop race from one side of the count­ry to the other in a double canoe. For us it was 25 hours (the quick teams do it in 18 hours!), but we did come in 30 seconds ahead of a pair of Roy­al Mari­nes, so we were well chuffed.

In trai­ning, I switc­hed gym three times. This was enti­re­ly because of the music they were playing. It very quickly got to the point whe­re I could pre­dict the next track plus I hate wea­ring headp­ho­nes, they are so anti-social. Being in the gym for 3 hours a time 4 times a week gave me a very low tole­rance for hea­ring the same tracks again and again. I have no idea how the staff coped hea­ring the same songs day in, day out.

It’s for this rea­son when I heard about how the Gym­music Pin2 Music Strea­ming ser­vice works, I loved the concept from the start. They have a huge libra­ry, but ins­tead of pic­king up indi­vi­dual books, you can grab enti­re ais­les, who­le sections!

The Gym­music Pin2 music strea­ming ser­vice DOESN’T use Play­lists. We use tech­no­lo­gy com­bi­ned with a specia­list team of high­ly expe­rienced music experts. If you own or work in a gym here’s some things to think about when making your playlist.

Making a Play­list takes time. This costs you money, you are effec­ti­ve­ly paying someo­ne to put music toget­her and even then, you need to main­tain the lists you have made. Upda­ting Play­lists takes even more time. This is time you should be using to keep your clients happy!

Any­one can make a Play­list, very few people can make a GOOD play­list. If your gym has 100 clients wor­king out, the like­li­hood is that only one per­son will like the music that’s playing; the per­son that made the play­list! Fact is that most gyms are run by guys. Guys play guys music. It’s all very well having a play­list that keeps the big guys who like to lift hap­py, but how is that Skril­lex going to work out for the two ner­vous new­bies who have just arri­ved in your gym for the first time? Will they be back?

No mat­ter how big your Play­list, you will always hear repeats. This is because of the way that Play­list ran­dom play works. Many ser­vices and par­ticu­lar­ly MP3 players don’t keep a track of which tracks have alrea­dy played, this means the laws of chance are at play for you to hear the same song twice in a row. A very anno­ying inter­rup­tion to your work out.

Play­lists are sta­tic. This means if things chan­ge in your gym in terms of the clients needs, you are stuck with the tracks that are in that list. With Pin2 from Gym­music you can meet your client needs in a second, inc­rea­se the ove­rall tem­po in seconds. Want somet­hing roc­kier, slower, more pum­ping, just chan­ge the dash­board set­tings and the tech­no­lo­gy finds the tracks to match your needs. Our high­ly expe­rienced music team makes sure that you get the right balance of music to give somet­hing to everyone.

We mea­su­re the BPM of each track. Beats Per Minu­te gives an insight into the tem­po of the track and enables us to unders­tand the wor­kout ‘power’ in each tune. It also enables us to cue up tracks next to one anot­her that have a simi­lar BPM which means your wor­kout stays seam­less and the music doesn’t have any jar­ring tem­po drops. It also enables you to select the ran­ge of inten­si­ty that you want to match the acti­vi­ty going on in the gym. Our com­pe­ti­tors do not do this.

I hate Play­lists. But I love Pin2.

What Some Gyms are Doing Wrong: Music

What Some Gyms are Doing Wrong: Music

Blog Post by Ste­ve Hayward, UK Count­ry Mana­ger at Gymmusic

I’ve been to a lot of gyms, more than most people. It’s part of my job to unders­tand a gym’s client base, the atmosp­he­re, the sty­le of the place and then help them set up our Pin2 music strea­ming ser­vice accor­dingly to match their needs.

Visi­ting all the­se places (all pre-Lock Down!) led to some inte­res­ting situations/conversations and I thought I would sha­re some of the more inte­res­ting ones here. I’m not going to men­tion any names but I am plea­sed to say that most of them are now using Pin2 and so their situa­tion has radical­ly changed!

Gym Mana­ger #1
“We don’t need a new music sys­tem because most of our clients wear headphones”

I heard this when I first star­ted at Gym­music three years ago and I was stun­ned! It was no surpri­se that the gym was one of the most soul­less emp­ty spaces I’ve ever been to. The music they were pro­vi­ding was from the TV! At the same time they won­de­red why their num­bers were down and that most people only stayed a month or so. Key lear­ning: a great, up beat music mix gets your clients tal­king and if they have friends at the gym, they will stay longer!

Gym Owner #2
“I play what I like and not­hing else”

This guy was a clas­sic case of a guy who wor­ked out a lot, who even­tual­ly got his own gym, then expec­ted all his clients to be like him. At the same time as flip­ping that worn out 80’s hea­vy rock CD in the music sys­tem he was won­de­ring why he was struggling to att­ract any women and youn­ger people to his gym. Lear­ning: a good music mix will plea­se a broad ran­ge of people.

Gym Mana­ger #3
“We just put on a Spo­ti­fy playlist” 

That’s exact­ly what most gyms are doing. You are not doing anyt­hing dif­fe­rent to the com­pe­ti­tion, it just isn’t special any­mo­re. This isn’t matc­hed to your clients wants or needs. And then what hap­pens? Eit­her you hear the same songs over and over again (some­ti­mes in the same order if you havent hit shuffle play) or you spend an hour or two each day ‘cura­ting’ your play­lists… this is clas­sic not­hing work, it doesn’t make much dif­fe­rence and is time con­su­ming. Again it’s unli­ke­ly (unless you have a pro­found music know­led­ge) that the time cost­ly results will pro­duce a good mix.

Gym Mana­ger #4
“I let my staff play what they like” 

This is tric­ky ter­ri­to­ry, but it fails to work more often than it does. What you won’t hear is the col­lec­ti­ve groan from your clients as your hea­vy metal fan PT queues up his Slayer CD again… I’m not saying Slayer is bad, if that’s what your cus­to­mers like, but it’s about pro­vi­ding what your clients like to lis­ten to not what your staff like. Eve­ryt­hing in mode­ra­tion and in a wide and varied mix is a far bet­ter reci­pe for success. You want your staff focusing on your clients, not nip­ping off to chan­ge discs/playlists all the time. The other dan­ger with this is that it’s very easy to get into client complaint ter­ri­to­ry: that gangs­ter rap mix that sounds so on your headp­ho­nes is per­haps not ideal for a public space whe­re the­re is a spect­rum of age ranges…

Gym Owner #5
“I just spent £50k on new weight mac­hi­nes, why should I spend even more money on music…”

Fas­ter than a fancy paint job and defi­ni­te­ly chea­per than a new Smith Mac­hi­ne, revi­sing the way you deli­ver your music is the CHEA­PEST way to total­ly revi­se the atmosp­he­re in your gym for the bet­ter, get more people sig­ned up and keep them with you for longer.

So there’s a quick round up of some com­mon mis­ta­kes, none of them par­ticu­lar­ly bad in their own right, but you will lose clients over time if you’re not crea­ting the right atmosphere.

Check out more of the func­tio­na­li­ty of our Pin2 fit­ness music strea­ming ser­vice here and don’t for­get to request a free trial and expe­rience the dif­fe­rence for yourself.