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Strong Programs Backbone of Club

This medical fitness center not only serves its members, but has an array of programs aimed at its entire community.

With a 38,000-square-foot medically-based fitness center that recently underwent extensive renovations, you'd think the people at the Community Health Club of San Angelo (owned by San Angelo Community Medical Center) would just sit back and enjoy their success. Programs directly tied to the hospital, such as Outpatient Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab, Outpatient Physical and Occupational Therapy, the Diabetes Care Center, the 55-Plus Program and the Safe Kids Coalition, all bring in clients on a regular basis and keep staff busy. However, Community Health Club isn't satisfied with simply serving the hospital - it strives to serve its entire community. Says Co-Director Janet Charlesworth, "Community Health Club is committed to being the leader in wellness in our community. The club is our springboard ... as we continue to initiate programs for residents to become healthier." And programming is the fitness center's strong point. "We strive to offer something for everyone, as our membership age ranges from 14 to 92 years of age," Charlesworth says. For those younger, the Nursery is open seven days per week, and is a free service to members.

Community Health Club of San Angelo

San Angelo, Texas 325 947-2582; www.sacmc.com Date fitness facility opened: January 1992 Fitness facility size: 38,000 square feet Number of members: 4,100 Unique features/offerings: Two massage therapists, indoor swimming pool and whirlpool, wet and dry saunas, free towels and basic toiletries, free Nursery service (six weeks to 13 years old), indoor walking/jogging track, five racquetball courts, one half-court basketball area, one wallyball court
The extensive group exercise program, with more than 75 classes taught weekly by 30 certified group exercise instructors, is the base of Community Health Club's programming. Each month, the facility features a special class, such as Aqua Marine, Zumba or Triathlon Training. Regular classes include yoga, cycling, water aerobics, land aerobics and more. The facility also offers special programs for pregnant women. Its Two Fit program is available to any pregnant woman for $10 per month. A group exercise program for new moms, called Baby Steps, is also offered. Says Charlesworth, "This program allows the participant to meet and bond with other new moms, and get back into pre-pregnancy shape. Baby Steps also allows the new mom to take her newborn to class with her." In addition to programs to its members, Community Health Club has two programs that work with communities outside of its regular membership base. One of those programs is discounted memberships to active duty military and their families. Says Charlesworth, "We have a wonderful working relationship with our local military base, Good Fellow Air Force Base." In addition, the facility provides group instructors to teach four classes per week at the base, and also allows any active duty military personnel to take classes at the club free of charge. The other program is with Angelo State University. The fitness center offers discounted rates to college students for $25 per month and no activation fee. It also has an internship program that involves having one to three intern students per semester working at the facility. For community members who can't make it in to the facility, Community Health Club produces 90-second Living Well segments that appear on local TV newscasts twice per week. Another television program the fitness center is involved in is the Live at 5 newscast each Monday evening, in which a staff representative takes call-in questions from viewers on various health and wellness issues. Also, the fitness center recently started a weekly cooking show. Charlesworth and the hospital chef created a cooking show called Let's Eat. It is the only locally produced food show, and teaches people how to eat healthy, watch portions and make food taste good (www.letseat.tv). Another community-based program is a weight-loss initiative called the Get Healthy Challenge. The program began in September 2003 and is free. More than 5,000 individuals have participated in the program and have lost more than 35,000 pounds, according to Charlesworth. The fitness center conducts four challenges per year, each lasting eight weeks. It conducts weekly one-hour nutritional seminars at a local church for anyone to attend. Each participant is encouraged to wear a pedometer, log their steps and work toward the goal of attaining 10,000 steps a day. Where do all of these great programming ideas come from? Aside from creativity, planning and support from management, staff members regularly attend fitness conferences and trade shows, "which allows us the opportunity to network with other club managers to see what works well in their facilities," Charlesworth explains. Facility management also "looks closely at fitness trend reports to see what equipment is used the most, and what fitness classes are showing the most growth in popularity." Innovation is the base for Community Health Club's success. Says Charlesworth, "Our success is built on the foundation of providing excellent customer service to our members, while also challenging them with the latest and most innovative health and exercise programs."
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