Thanksgiving is a few weeks away and many of your clients are likely approaching the holiday with a bit of caution. So much family, so much food, routines are thrown out the window—during this time, your studio should be a safe haven where anyone can go to clear their mind, feel appreciated, and, of course, work up an appetite.


While the importance of deepening relationships with your clients isn’t a new concept, it’s something you’ll want to focus on this time of year. Many of your students are likely feeling overwhelmed by and underprepared for the demands of the holidays. Your role is to help them create a plan that will keep them on a steady, healthy path in the days and weeks to come.

To that end, aim to finish your classes—whether it’s yoga or barre or kickboxing—by setting an intention. Guide your clients to not only create a goal for the day, but one that will also carry them through the rest of the year. The intention should be achievable, but also flexible (it is the holidays, after all!). Encourage students to associate their intention with how good they feel after having just completed a class. This mix of emotions—pride, happiness, strength—will keep them coming back to your studio again and again.


Kids don’t want to go to a school where they feel bullied or shamed and the same goes for clients heading to the gym. Make your messaging during the holidays super positive—don’t focus on overeating or gaining weight, but rather on using exercise as a tool to de-stress and clear your mind. Commend students for taking the time to come and work on themselves. After all, fitting a grueling workout in between cocktail parties and holiday shopping is something worth celebrating. And it’s also worth reminding your students that while the class itself may be difficult, the gratification derived from completing the class beats it all.

As gym owners, you are champions of fitness for your clients. If your studio were to have an in-house celebrity, you’d be it—which means even the smallest encounter with a client can hold a lot of weight. Take the time to ask regulars and newbies alike about their intentions, encourage them to come whenever they can fit a class in during the holidays, and let them know you are thankful—Thanksgiving is all about being thankful, right?—for their continued business.


And keep them coming back! What’s the best way to do that? Classes, classes, classes. Consider scheduling an 8 a.m. workout on Thanksgiving Day, and be sure to have a full docket in the days following. Thanksgiving-themed classes in the week leading up to the big day can be a fun way to enhance your normal roster—think belly-focused classes, or playing Planes, Trains, and Automobiles on TV screens with your normal soundtrack blasting overhead.

Does your town have a Turkey Trot that you can sponsor? If not, host one! Or organize a free outdoor yoga class Thanksgiving morning. Or a 6 a.m. rise-and-shine walk about town. Participating in the community will introduce your studio to potential new clients, while simultaneously building loyalty amongst regulars. As always, be sure to promote any outside-the-studio events with signage in-studio, and shout-outs from instructors during classes.

Regardless of the type of fitness you’re offering this month, the overall mantra we’re suggesting is one that is cozy and compassionate. Yes, clients come to you to get a great workout. But they also come for the support and the community you’re offering, and they’re going to need that more than ever this time of year.