SIFT Workout is a personal training facility that offers an atmosphere that resembles a luxury hotel or spa.

SIFT WORKOUT

Oceanside, Calif.; 760 439-2348; www.siftworkout.com

SIFT Workout (which stands for Structured Interactional Fitness Technique) is a personal training facility that "offers the best in fitness equipment and format within an atmosphere that resembles a luxury hotel or spa," according to Owner/Manager Lea Roberg Chao. Along those lines, the training center offers amenities such as towels, fresh flowers, coffee in the morning and fresh fruit at all times.

More spacious than typical personal training studios, this center is never crowded, since it only allows up to 12 members into the facility per hour. What is also unique about SIFT Workout is that it offers unlimited "personal-trainer-supervised workouts" for one flat rate per month, Roberg Chao explains. Members pay $300 to $500 per month, and can come every day, if they like. All trainers are employees, full and part time. Employees are required to have degrees, as well as certifications. Certifications come from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).

The SIFT program is designed to offer appointments every 20 minutes from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Members make their appointments based on their schedule, not the trainer's availability. "Members don't know which trainer they will have for their appointment, but if we are doing our job right, they won't care -- they will always be given a consistent personal training experience," says Roberg Chao. Also, members and trainers all know each other, which allows for a comfortable and familiar environment for the members.

Trainers monitor and encourage members as they work through three components of fitness: cardio, muscular strength and endurance, and functional fitness. Functional fitness includes flexibility, agility, balance, core stability and range of motion.

The same trainer may work with up to four members at the same time, each moving through their own program at their own pace. Each member's program is designed specifically for their level of fitness, and is progressively adjusted to meet their health and fitness goals, Roberg Chao explains.

To develop a personal fitness program, members have two one-hour initial consultations with a personal trainer. During the fitness assessment, the trainer reviews medical history, discusses health and fitness goals, and evaluates current fitness level. Following the assessment, there is a one-on-one orientation and workout session.

Nutrition consultations are also offered "as an added value to our members, and in an effort to encourage their success," says Roberg Chao. Each member receives a one-hour nutrition consultation. Ongoing consultations are then offered as an additional service.

Members of SIFT Workout have a mean income of $75,000, and most members are executives and business owners. "As a result, we are very careful about where and how we promote and market our facility," Roberg Chao says. Referral programs work the best for the training center, and it has "heavy involvement in several local chambers of commerce and their activities," says Roberg Chao. "Donations to community fundraisers, usually in the form of silent auctions, have been very effective for us."

The fitness center's success and good member retention numbers, says Roberg Chao, "is due to the environment that is created for members: great customer service, cleanliness and attention to detail. We give our members what they're missing in the big clubs."

Facility Stats

* Date fitness facility opened: October 2003
* Fitness facility size: 4,500 square feet
* Number of members: 101
* Strength equipment: Life Fitness selectorized machines
* Cardio equipment: Life Fitness