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Team-Based Weight Loss; Cleaning for Retention; Fit Study for Women

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

Team-Based Weight Loss

The Body Garden, Huron, S.D. Television programs are often the impetus for successful programming ideas at fitness facilities. And the Dr. Phil's Weight Loss Challenge inspired Charlotte Henley, owner of The Body Garden, a co-ed circuit training facility in Huron, S.D., to begin a similar weight-loss challenge in her facility. To participate in the six-week program, members sign up for a team and are provided with the resources to keep track of their progress. "They need to stay on a food plan, drink water, exercise 30 minutes each day and write in a journal," explains Henley. Participants earn one point for each behavior for each day of the week, for a total of 28 points each week. And, they can earn bonus points for performing extra physical activity outside of The Body Garden, which was added to inspire members to integrate physical activity into their daily lives. At the end of the competition, points are tallied and the team with the most points wins the grand prize, which has been money, a meal prepared and served by the staff, or a night of glamour and gourmet. Prizes are also awarded to individuals for most weight lost, most inches lost and most extra bonus points. The competitions have been a huge success with members, according to Henley, and they have also brought in new members. In the latest competition, which occurred this spring, 45 members participated on nine different teams, and they had a 99 percent retention rate.

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Cleaning for Retention

N Shape Fitness Center, Dale City, Va. It may seem basic, but a clean facility is anything but. Members notice when a facility isn't clean, and, often, rather than complain, they merely leave. Retention aside, a dirty facility increases the risk of bacteria growth and disease being spread. But the motivation to have a clean facility for Co-Owner Joanna Drohan of N Shape Fitness Center, Dale City, Va., exceeded the fear of losing members. Instead, she found herself cleaning instead of spending quality time with her members or selling memberships. So she decided to implement a "cleaning list" with 27 cleaning tasks every month. "These tasks included things like cleaning the inside of our drink cooler, cleaning mirrors, sweeping our front sidewalk and vacuuming underneath treadmills," says Drohan. The list is provided to employees who have the opportunity to earn an extra $1 per task. And, it has worked. The employees "challenge each other to see who can clean the best and do the most tasks," Drohan says. And the members have noticed, too. "I believe [the employees] really care about the cleanliness of our club now, especially when members tell them 'thank you,'" says Drohan. "The members love a clean club and love seeing employees keeping it that way. This is truly the best $27 we've ever spent!"

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Fit Study for Women

Ladies Workout Express, Whitinsville, Mass. Successful marketing ideas are not a dime a dozen. It often only takes one simple, yet creative idea to gain positive exposure for your fitness center, and to pick up new members while you're at it. The Fit Study idea by Nina Bedard, owner of Ladies Workout Express, Whitinsville, Mass, was just that: simple, yet effective. Bedard placed an advertisement that stated the facility was looking for "50 women between the ages of 25 and 70 to sign up for our Fit Study." To participate in the three-week study, the women would be expected to work out at the facility a minimum of three times a week, answer a questionnaire at the end of each week, and agree to be weighed and measured at the start and finish. In return, the women received full use of the facility, free of charge. Sixty women responded to the ad, and Bedard decided to accept them all. The result: 42 new members signed up for memberships (some of them joining on their first day because of the incentives offered). "We were able to expose our club to a number of new women who might not otherwise have come in to exercise," says Bedard. "They loved the club, the workouts, and discovered how great they felt after exercising." Despite that it was a lot of work for the fitness coaches who prepared for the study and the constant ringing of the phones, Bedard says it has been one of the most successful short-term programs she has conducted. "I plan on doing this at least once a year from now on," she says.

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