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Personalized Client Programming

Bridging the gap between science and fitness can drive your facility's competitive edge and grow your profits.

THE HEALTH/FITNESS INDUSTRY is now positioned to take personalized client programming to a new level by integrating modern technology with fitness and nutrition science. Whether an athlete preparing for competition, a business professional looking to survive the intense challenges of today's workplace or a busy mom balancing endless responsibilities, personalized client programming can help your members reach their goals.

A personalized client program is a fully integrated testing, training and nutrition system grounded in science, attention to detail and quality assurance. The program is driven by technological advances, fitness science research, assessment, follow-up training and a nutrition program.

The most important aspect of personalized client programming is to focus on making meaningful changes for clients by uncovering their strengths, weaknesses and individual differences. Each component of the system is a "reality check," intended to identify exactly where clients are relative to where they should be -- inside and out. The components provide a means by which staff can identify barriers to fitness, focus direction, fuel motivation and ultimately make the individual changes needed to reach specific goals.

While personalized client programming can operate as a stand-alone profit center, it is specifically designed to function as part of a total training continuum, in which testing results are part of a greater whole.

Personal fitness profile

Personalized client programming helps to pinpoint individual needs through a personal fitness profile, which consists of more than 50 predictive measures of health, fitness, performance capacity and biological age, known as biomarkers. These measures include a cardio profile (the heart, lung and muscle energy systems' response to exercise); body composition and type based on plethysmography (air displacement technology) and computerized somatotyping; a comprehensive blood biochemistry, including proteins, lipids, plasma vitamin/minerals, hormones, advanced cardiac risk panel and overtraining/ stress panel; muscular fitness functional analysis; extensive nutrition profile and nutrient prescription based on thermodynamics, diet composition and blood chemistries; and a series of proprietary inventories to assess quality of life, stress/recovery capacity and longevity.

At the conclusion of each assessment, an individual profile is created, and results are interpreted and explained. The extent of this preliminary assessment will depend on the desires of the client, expertise of staff and equipment available.

Once a personal fitness profile is created, fitness professionals must then lay the groundwork for the follow-up nutrition and training programs, establish a baseline physiological blueprint for each client, prescribe follow-up strategies, monitor responses over time and modify strategies based on those responses. This is not a one-time, one-size-fits-all approach, but rather a system for life based on sequential testing and follow-up over the years.

The key to the success of this program is the serial measurements over time, which are used to identify specific needs and direct the course of individual programming. Using this system, staff members are able to exact more information about a client's physiology, lifestyle dynamics and individual responses in order to recommended strategies. In those instances when a particular measure starts to move in the wrong direction (whether aerobic/muscular fitness, blood lipids, body composition, etc.), fitness staff will be able to address this issue in a timely fashion. The only limitation in the capacity to help a client is the number of times they access these services.

Facility and client benefits

The benefits of personalized client programming for both the facility and the client are significant. For the facility, the more staff members know about clients, the more they can help them reach their goals, which, in turn, promotes 1) enhanced client retention, 2) appeal to (recruit) new clients and 3) additional revenues. Not only does testing represent a significant profit center in and of itself, but, more importantly, it can be the linchpin for other programming in the fitness center, including personal training, and nutrition, weight-loss, clinical, sport-specific and wellness programs. Success in these programs will translate into an increase in the bottom line.

For clients, the results of these tests will not only identify individual goals, but will also help chart a roadmap to reach those goals. The results identify their physiologic blueprint -- exactly where they are relative to where they should be and, therefore, what impact their current lifestyle and genetics have on their physiology. The results not only identify individual strengths but, more importantly, critical weaknesses that may be blocking your clients' paths to reaching their goals. The program's results arm trainers and nutritionists with the information they need to design follow-up training, nutrition and lifestyle strategies, and ensure the safety of exercise participation.

Results are also a powerful motivation for clients to reach the goals set, and then maintain them once achieved. Most clients are inherently curious about how their scores compare with others of their age and sex. The goal is to get every client into the 75th percentile (very-good-to-excellent category) for each measure, which is consistent with good health, functional fitness and performance, and places them in the low-risk category for various chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

Test results are also used to monitor progress, determine whether the desired goals are reached in a timely fashion and, if not, why. This will help staff address any roadblocks encountered along the sometimes winding path to reaching client goals. These tests will also make clients aware of factors that influence their overall health, fitness and well-being, so, therefore, they function as an important educational tool. The results presentation serves as an educational opportunity to discuss what clients have to do to reach their goals. Finally, monitoring results over time helps identify problem areas, and continue with motivation.

Competitive advantage

There is a difference between what is currently being offered at most fitness centers, and this personalized client programming system. Virtually all current programs employ rough estimates of fitness, little precision (or "integrity in numbers"), virtually no consistency in repeated measures, and no true follow-up based on results to specific training and nutrition strategies. This program will be a significant addition to the health/fitness industry over the next decade, and will further help differentiate your clients' training and nutrition programs and results from others.
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