Solution

Become the Solution

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Become the Solution You struggle with retaining members and signing up new clients. How could you not? With the proliferation of low-cost health clubs, wearable technology, home video exercise plans, and YouTube workout videos that go viral within hours, traditional fitness facilities face enormous challenges these days — and experts tell us we’re only at the beginning of what will be a sea change in the way the fitness industry operates. In this blog space there’s been a lot of talk about facing the challenges by building communities; investing in trainers, staff, and other human resources; and incorporating technology. Here’s another approach to consider: becoming the solution.
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Help Your Clients Make It to the Gym

Help Your Clients Make It to the Gym

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Help Your Clients Make It to the Gym Every year around this time of year, it feels like someone has turned the dial up a couple notches. Whereas earlier in the fall everything was just busy, suddenly now everything is insanely chaotic. Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving break mean quite a few no-school days, and there always seem to be a couple professional development and parent-teacher conference half-days around the same time. At work, everyone is scrambling to finish projects before the end of the year, and all of those projects seem to land up on your desk at the same time. Meanwhile, you find yourself invited, in the span of three weeks, to more parties than you’ve been invited to all year. And then there’s the holiday shopping, cooking, planning, and wrapping to do (don’t even ask me about season’s-greetings cards — I gave up on those years ago).
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Take Advantage of Special Events

Take Advantage of Special Events

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Take Advantage of Special Events Wandering around among witches, dragons, princesses, and Harry Potters this Halloween, I watched my own little ninja’s jack-o-lantern fill up with various forms of sugar, and I despaired — not at the thought of all the junk food he’d be consuming, because I knew that after a few days the novelty would wear off and he’d forget about it, but at the thought of all the tempting treats that would be sitting in my cabinet over the next couple months. While I’m pretty good at defeating sugar cravings day to day, Halloween candy undoes me. There’s so much of it, it’s all so accessible (when my son’s not looking), and it ignites so many nostalgic childhood pleasures.
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Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

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Childhood Obesity Awareness Month It’s back-to-school month — and Childhood Obesity Awareness month. Even if your fitness facility caters mostly (or exclusively) to adults, you can contribute to the effort to draw attention to childhood obesity and its devastating consequences.
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HIIT It at the Gym

HIIT the Gym

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HIIT It at the Gym I (and millions of other people) have a new obsession: high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Seemingly everyday there’s a new study showing how effective it is as a method for keeping the heart in shape, burning fat, increasing muscle, and generally just feeling great. But what I love most about it, and I know I’m not alone in this, is how quickly it’s over. True, for the seven, twelve, twenty, or however many relatively brief minutes you’re doing it, you think you’re killing yourself — but then you’re done (done except for the fact that, as an added bonus, you raise your metabolism and continue burning calories at rest).
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The Best Approach To Providing Recovery Services

The Best Approach To Providing Recovery Services

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The Best Approach To Providing Recovery ServicesThis week, the IHRSA blog asks an interesting question: What is the industry standard when it comes to recovery services for members? How much is too much (or is there even, in this case, such a thing as “too much”)? What kinds of services should clubs offer, and how are they best implemented?
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Functional-Fitness

Adapting to Functional-Fitness Trends

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Last week, the New York Times ran an article about the functional-fitness trend. “Vintage exercise machines have recently become the padded shoulders of the workout world,” the article states, “swept aside for a fresher look.” In other words, out with the leg presses, biceps curlers, and seated torso rotations, and in with the kettlebells, medicine balls, and weighted sleds. Anything that gets you working out in ways devised to help you perform daily activities, like lifting, bending, and climbing stairs, constitutes the latest trend, the article says.

To experience the trend for herself, the writer of the piece, Julia Lawlor, signed up for a class at the UXF (“ultimate fitness experience”) Training Zone in the New York Sports Club at 59th Street and Park Avenue, in Manhattan. The class started out with jumping jacks, frog jacks, walkouts, and mountain climbers, she says, in addition to speed and agility drills.

After that, participants were asked to cycle through six exercises: a backward lunge with a kettlebell, a squat thrust, a swinging of the kettlebell from one hand into the other, an upper-body exercise using bands suspended from metal frames, a sled-pulling exercise, and a rope movement drill.  “I was breathless, my throat burned, and I felt as if I were slogging through mud,” Lawlor writes “…UXF, I concluded, really stands for ‘utter exhaustion and fatigue’ zone.”

But the fact is that, no matter how exhausting clients like Lawlor might find a functional-fitness workout, they keep coming back for more. The International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) concurs with the article, stating that workouts like the one Lawlor describes are taking over as a trend. “Functional-fitness workouts are pushing other workouts into the corner of clubs, and even out the door,” IHRSA wrote recently in a blog post.

For health clubs, this means facing a need to adapt. In the fitness industry, perhaps more than in other industries, service providers have no choice but to incorporate the latest fads into their facilities; they have to offer the classes and regiments that will bring members in. But does this mean that old standbys like the machines listed at the beginning of this post should be tossed out?

Probably not. While adaptation is necessary and creating a supply to meet demand is only healthy business practice, it is also the case that tried-and-true methods — like common workout machines, plain free weights, and even simple aerobics classes — have their place. Some members will always prefer a routine they are used to, rather than a trend they might fear will disappear soon or could be discredited by future research. The ideal for any club, of course, is to make room for both. One thing is for sure, as Julia Lawlor discovered: Adapting to functional-fitness trends is a must.

The Early Bird Catches the Great Deal

The Early Bird Catches the Great Deal

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The Early Bird Catches the Great DealI’ve always wondered how it feels to get in a good workout at 3 a.m. I don’t belong to a 24-hour gym, though, so there isn’t much of an opportunity for me to try. But this winter I came close. My gym launched a “sunrise special”: For $29 extra a month, members could access the facility starting at 5 a.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. on weekends.
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Reality Television and You

Reality Television and You

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Reality Television and YouWe live in interesting times. The convergence of reality television with the national obesity crisis and a new level of health obsession has created opportunities for the fitness industry that never existed before. Last month, CBS’s Undercover Boss featured the CEO and founder of New-Jersey based Retro Fitness; last year, the CEO of Modell’s sporting goods shop appeared on the show. Now, a new season of Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition is starting up on ABC, and exercise technology company NuStep has a product in the limelight.
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fitness incentives

Kid and Me Classes

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fitness incentivesMy son’s in first grade, and it’s his spring break. I don’t love traveling during spring break, given how crowded attractions can get and how miserable airports can be. I prefer to save the travel for off months and arrange fun things for us to do near home instead. Because it’s just him and me, and because I want to take advantage of the fact that he’s not yet embarrassed to be seen with me in public (I have another four or five years, right?), we’re pretty much attached at the hip during times like these. It’s all well and good, but what happens when I need a workout? He knows how to run me around in the park, that’s for sure, but sometimes it’s just not enough (…)
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