The social side of the gym

Vivacity Gyms have always been friendly places to exercise and get fit. The rollout of coffee mornings and other social events aims to further encourage that sense of community

Stepping up the social side
Gym manager Emma Joyce explains why the social sessions were set up 

Tell us about the social events – what are they and why were they set up?
The social events mostly comprise coffee mornings and evenings, with free tea, coffee and snacks. They were set up to give gym members the opportunity to talk to the gym team and like-minded people. It means they can ask the Vivacity team any questions, although people tend to for a good old chat! There’s quite a social feel to the place anyhow, so most people want to come along. They’ll come down after a class, enjoy a coffee and catch up. It’s also offers a chance to give feedback, so we can continue to improve and provide great service.

What can people look forward to?
We have held regular coffee mornings at the Regional Fitness and Swimming Centre for about four years, but it’s only recently they’ve been rolled out to other Vivacity gyms. The original sessions started with a small group of people meeting up after their class. and going to a local coffee shop One of the other gym instructors went along with them, which got me thinking that perhaps we could arrange these socials ourselves – put them on at the gym and pay for them too. So instead of having to head elsewhere, members could gather here.

Getting everyone together must help members to get to know each other. Are they any other advantages that you’ve noticed?
Some of the events will now include an inspirational talk. For example, I’m getting Lisa, one of our personal trainers, to share her own motivating weight loss story. The coffee mornings and evenings are also a great way to let people know what else is going on. We tell them when the new timetable comes out, share details of new classes and generally keep them up to speed about anything else that’s happening at Vivacity gyms.

Social sphere

Rebecca Holmes, Vivacity’s Customer Experience Manager, shares her hopes for the gym social events

Why did you decide to expand the social events from the Regional to other Vivacity gyms?
At the end of last year we conducted some customer research to better understand why people visit Vivacity gyms and what keeps them coming back. One item of feedback was that gym members wanted more social activities and a greater sense of community. So we thought about how this could be achieved. The obvious first step was to expand the coffee mornings from the Regional to our other sites. These mornings are very popular, so it makes sense to trial them at our other Vivacity gyms across Peterborough. The first coffee morning at Vivacity Premier Fitness saw about 25 people drop in throughout the morning. We’ve also now run social sessions at Hampton Leisure Centre and at Werrington and Bushfield Leisure Centres. The aim is for each site to have a social event at least once every three months.

Are there plans to further expand the scope of the social sessions?
The coffee mornings and evenings are just with the gym instructors. It’s a chance for a bit of engagement between our customers and instructors. Members can come and talk about their training plans, set fitness goals or raise any concerns. But we’re also now running some evening workshops. In our first workshop one of our personal trainers, Mike Chapman gave a seminar on how to get running and stick to it. It was aimed at anyone thinking about getting into long-distance running. Over 25 people turned up to listen to’ Mike. We are also looking at running nutritional evenings. At Vivacity Premier Fitness we offer beauty treatments, so we hope to run a treatments evening with Radiance Beauty, so people can come along to try out some of the products or maybe enjoy a massage. And at Hampton Leisure Centre they run a lot of Les Mills sessions, so we may organise a full day of these sessions, with a social element alongside where members can find out about new activities we’re bringing on board. We want to develop a programme of speakers and activities for people to look forward to.

What do all these social events mean to you?
For me it’s about bringing members together – getting them to meet new people and maybe finding new gym buddies too. The events are relaxed, so people can ask the questions they don’t usually feel they can. We’re all like-minded people and it’s a brilliant way of bringing everyone together

Friendly and informative

Judith Lucas attends coffee mornings at the Regional Fitness and Swimming Centre
I’ve been to all of the coffee mornings. I see most of the regulars there and meet new people too. There isn’t really the time to do that in the classes – most people rush off afterwards – so the coffee mornings offer time to just catch up and have a chat. We take it in turns to bring whatever we can, so there’s usually cake, biscuits, and fruit of course! Some of the instructors are there too and, if you’ve got any questions, they’re always happy to help. The coffee mornings have definitely helped to foster community spirit. They bring a lovely social element and make going to the gym worthwhile. We’re all very encouraging and supportive of each other. I live in Longthorpe but choose to travel over to the Regional because of the people there.

Find out more

● Vivacity offers a range of gym membership options: 01733 864000,
● Learn more about upcoming coffee mornings/evenings and health and wellbeing workshops

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