Getting Mileage Out of Training ; March Madness -- Ladies' Style; Teens Fit For Camp

These innovative programming ideas motivate members to exercise using all offered programs and products.

Getting Mileage Out of Personal Training Personal Training Studio of Princeton, Skillman, N.J.

IT'S THE PROFIT centers that are the bread and butter for fitness facilities, so it pays to reward members who use services that bring in revenue above and beyond membership dues. That's the conclusion the Personal Training Studio (P.T.S.) came to, and it has paid off. "Our main 'niche' has always been personal training and personal services," says General Manager Steve Gore, "so we wanted to find a way to express our appreciation to our clients."

What P.T.S. came up with is the Gym Miles Program. Based on sky miles programs offered by major airlines, P.T.S.'s personal training clients receive miles as rewards for starting personal training programs, renewing or upgrading, and paying invoices on time. "These miles can be redeemed mile-for-dollar for any service or product we offer -- anything from water or T-shirts to personal training sessions or massages," explains Gore.
The program is definitely a benefit for the clients and the facility. "Personal training clients will use the miles to grab a quick water or protein shake, while others have purchased hot stone massages and free sessions," says Gore. "Some clients have even purchased training sessions for people who are not members, which has offered us a prospective client that we may otherwise had not had the opportunity to gain their business." All of this, he says, transforms into higher retention rates and increased client opportunities.

March Madness -- Ladies' Style Liberty Fitness, Fairfield, Ohio

WHO SAID BASKETBALL has to be a male-dominated sport? Not so at Liberty Fitness, a women's-only workout facility, where March Madness has been turned into a yearly contest to motivate inactive members to continue exercising on a regular basis.

As part of March Madness Ladies' Style, each contestant acts as their own bracket to compete on a line against each other, and the Final Four are awarded prizes. Contestants are required to complete a task in each of six rounds: 1) number of workouts (contestant who worked out the most advanced to the next round); 2) stretching after working out (contestant must stretch after each workout and perform one new stretch each day); 3) core workouts (three a week); 4) daily water (eight glasses a day); 5) weighted Hula-Hoop workout (whomever performs the longest); and 6) strength machine (final two contestants perform the most repetitions as possible for 80 seconds). Each member who completes the task advances to the next round, and so forth, until the champion is determined. In case of a tie-breaker in a round, each contestant is either given 10 attempts to make a desktop basketball shooting game basket (the most baskets advances to the next round), or they participate in fitness trivia. Prizes include a $50 dinner certificate, a 30-minute massage, a stability ball and an Acu Hoop (weighted Hula-Hoop).

According to Owner/Certified Instructor Jay Dennis, "In a women-only workout facility, the ladies love the idea to turn a traditionally male-dominated game/ time of year into something they could relate to and have a lot of fun doing." In 2004, its first year, Liberty Fitness saw a 56 percent increase in weekly workouts by participants because of this program. "This year, we had so many members ask for it again, we doubled our participation," says Dennis. And, "in 2006, we will probably double again." Dennis adds that four other Liberty Fitness franchises in the region like the program so well that they also implemented it at their locations, and witnessed the same results. And, as word spreads, numerous other locations are also planning a competition.

Teens Fit For Camp Audrey Moore RECenter, Fairfield County, Va.

WITH THE RISING rate of obesity in children, the Audrey Moore RECenter sought to fight the obesity epidemic in the teen population through its Teen Fitness Camp. Offered for the first time this year for one week in July and one week in August, the camp's goal was to provide teens ages 13 to 15 with a foundation in health and fitness, and to help them make it a part of their lifestyle.

During the camps, three counselors and one group exercise instructor taught teens the proper techniques, guidelines and benefits of different types of fitness activities, as well as provided nutritional information. Camp activities include baseline fitness testing, group cycling, kickboxing, strength training, yoga, Pilates, flexibility and nutrition. At the end of the camp, the teens were given the opportunity to earn a "Teen Weight Training Certification," which allows them to use the RECenter fitness room without a parent or guardian.

Overall, 25 teens participated in the camps, with 23 successfully earning the certification. According to Fitness Director Jennifer Gombo and her assistant Alex Welch, the camps have resulted in the teens participating on a regular basis in group fitness programs that they never even knew existed before.

Not only have the teens benefited, but the community has asked that the RECenter add additional camps throughout the year. "It is our hope that the success of this camp will help inspire other private and county agencies to take similar action and offer more and diverse health and fitness programs to the youth and teen populations," says Gombo. "Targeting the youth and teens of the country will help to increase not only the health and wellness of today's society, but also of future generations."

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