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30 Minutes to Cardio Success; Happy Faces Make Happy Members; Getting Them Fit for Life

Innovative programming ideas aimed at motivating members to exercise with all featured programs submitted by readers.

30 Minutes to Cardio Success 30 Minute Fitness, Great Neck, N.Y.

30 MINUTE FITNESS in Great Neck, N.Y., knows that it takes both strength and cardio workouts to get their members the results they desire. So, because they are a small, personal training studio that specializes in 30-minute one-on-one weight-training workouts with a certified personal trainer, they needed to come up with some way to encourage their members to perform cardio as well. What they came up with in 1998 is the Cardio Contest that runs each year in February in celebration of National Heart Month.

Vice President Jane Levy says the contest "is fairly simple. Members report the time they spend on any piece of cardio equipment each day during the month of February to the front desk staff. Each time the member reports to the front desk staff, their time is recorded in a training log. At the end of the month, whoever has spent the most time working out on our cardio machines is the winner." The facility also rewards the member who is most improved, so that the intimidation factor is removed for those who are either new or not in great shape. The rules are that the maximum amount of cardio time is limited to 30 minutes each day to make it fair to all members at all fitness levels, and time has to be reported immediately after the workout. Any type of cardio equipment can be used in any combination during the 30 minutes. Winners receive free workouts, massages and promotional items, including T-shirts, sports bags and baseball caps.

The contest is advertised in the facility's January and February newsletters, and signs are posted all over the gym. On average, more than half of their members participate in the contest each year. "Members who usually run out the door after working with their trainer stay to run on the treadmill for 30 minutes," says Levy. And, some come in on their "off" days, and many continue the cardio workout routine long after the contest has ended. The facility wins, too. When the contest is over, photos of the winners and a press release are sent to the local papers who print the stories, providing free advertising for the center.

 

Happy Faces Make Happy Members The National Training Center, Clermont, Fla..

WHAT CAN A fitness facility staff do to show members how much they really appreciate them? The National Training Center staff in Clermont, Fla., want to be sure their members knew how much they are appreciated, so each year, since opening in 2001, they offer Member Appreciation Month in May. According to Services Manager Cindy Schooler, "The month is themed with happy faces and a slogan, 'You Are the Reason,' with banners and all print materials highlighting the theme."

As part of Member Appreciation Month, new members receive a free, two-week membership and 50 percent off their initiation fee, as well as a water bottle and koozie when joining. For current members, a variety of activities and give-aways are offered: Punch Card Madness is a program in which members who participate in three out of five activities listed on the punch card can win a chance in a prize drawing. The idea is to motivate members to try different activities and to attract them to less visible areas of the facility. The Fitness Trivia Contest challenges members to answer weekly questions about cardio, strength and nutrition, and those who answer two out of four correctly win a chance in a weekly fitness equipment prize drawing. Member Appreciation Coupons are provided to members for services offered at the center and through local partners. Discounts are offered on personal training packages, massage therapy services and free two-week guest passes for friends and family. Customer Satisfaction Surveys are passed out to members, and those who complete them receive a free pedometer or water bottle. On Member Appreciation Party Day, the facility provides bagels, fruit, healthy cookies and punch throughout the day. And, on Surprise Wednesday each week, the facility provides a coupon or giveaway from a local business -- especially popular with restaurants.

"Member Appreciation Month has gone a long way in retaining our members and making them feel like this is their facility," says Schooler. "The cost is very minimal ($2,000 max), but the rewards are tremendous!"

 

Getting Them Fit for Life Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center, Detroit Lakes, Minn.

DESPITE THE PLETHORA of information about what it takes to live a healthy lifestyle, most Americans are failing in this regard. So, the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center, Detroit Lakes, Minn., created a program called Adult Fit for Life. The 12-week program teaches participants about their weight, weight loss, nutritional needs and exercise.

Participants must agree to a 12-week commitment during which they attend weekly classes and complete weekly assignments. Classes consist of such topics as water and your meals, journaling and your food, small changes in food and fitness, portions and label reading, etc. The exercise component consists of body composition and fitness testing, and cardio and strength activities. Three groups have been through the Adult Fit for Life program, with 12 participants in the first group who lost a total of 175 pounds, 113 inches and 51 percent body fat; 14 participants in the second group, losing a total of 199 pounds, 107 inches and 73 percent body fat; and 14 participants in the third group, losing a total of 230 pounds, 117 inches and 75 percent body fat.

"The program's success has been tremendous," says Chief Operating Officer Shelly Stowman. "We have a waiting list for the next several sessions booked throughout the year. Our members have benefited from the program through the relationship with the personal trainer, the camaraderie found within the program, and the ongoing support classes we offer." In fact, it has been so successful that they have developed a similar project for youth called Youth Fit for Life that will debut in the fall for students in kindergarten through grade 12.

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