Marketing with Free Fitness Assessments

The word “free” is sure to catch the attention of students. But what about putting the word “free” in front of “fitness assessments”? At the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the campus recreation center’s personal trainers hosted free fitness assessments at the beginning of the Spring 2016 semester.

On January 19, 20 and 21, the personal trainers spent about 30 minutes with each participant, assessing their health. But, the idea behind hosting these assessments went beyond just pursuing student wellness. “We wanted to get our personal trainers out there; it’s a marketing technique that we’re trying,” said Lydia McCall, the program assistant for personal training.

In the free fitness assessments, height and weight, blood pressure, resting heart rate, and BMI were gathered. After taking these measurements, participants were run through a 15-minute workout in an empty racquetball court. McCall explained they hoped the assessment would show participants several things: if they were out of shape, if they enjoyed personal training and data they could use to compare their level of fitness in the future.

McCall said they got the idea for holding free fitness assessments from outside of the rec center. She explained her and another trainer have previous experience working at private gyms. “A lot of gyms, especially if they’re in the private sector, what I’ve seen they’ll do is if [someone signs] up for a membership they get a free fitness assessments with a personal trainer,” she said.

On top of marketing personal training as a whole, McCall said the personal training program has been struggling with recruiting participants for partner training. While it has been offered for some time, she hasn’t seen many members take advantage of it. So, she hoped to show participants in the free fitness assessments — who typically came in pairs or small groups — that they could sign up for partner training.

In hindsight, McCall said she would have begun marketing the free fitness assessments earlier. It was an idea thought up late in the Fall 2015 semester, giving her and her team a short amount of time to plan and implement it.

With lessons learned from the first year of holding free fitness assessments, McCall said she hoped the assessments would continue as an annual tradition. “Obviously, it’s a good way to get your services out there. It’s a great marketing opportunity,” she said. “The personal trainers have a chance to market themselves, their personality, their training type, and get them individually out there as well.”

Photos by Daniel Bayer.

Heather Hartmann is the editor for Campus Rec Magazine. She can be reached at

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