These innovative programming ideas motivate members to exercise using all the offered programs and products.
Fit Into Your Jeans
As women get older, they are forever trying to fit into that perfect pair of jeans. Julie Luther, owner of Julie Luther's PurEnergy Fitness Center, Greensboro, N.C., knows this, so she created a program to help her members and other individuals in the community, while at the same time promoting a local clothing boutique.The Fit Into Your Jeans promotion was held in the fall of 2006, and sponsored by PurEnergy Fitness Center and Maribeth's South of 7th Boutique. It ran for four weeks, was limited to the first 16 people who signed up, and was open to all members of the community. According to Maribeth Hudgins, owner of the boutique, to market the program, both the facility and the boutique ran ads in local publications. In the weeks following the ads, Luther says she received approximately 350 emails inquiring about the program. The program kicked off with a Lunch and Learn held at the boutique, at which Luther talked about how bodies change and how to set realistic goals. Of the 16 who attended the Lunch and Learn, 12 signed up for the program at a cost of $250. Approximately half of the participants were members of the fitness center, and the other half were non-members (non-members were charged $60 more than members). Participants took part in classes that included lower-body exercises and cardiovascular circuits, and a healthy eating plan. Classes were offered three days a week in the day and at night. Each participant was measured before and after the program, and each set a specific goal to attain in order to fit into their jeans. Of the 12 participants, 11 succeeded in reaching their goals. While the prize - a free pair of designer jeans from Maribeth's South of 7th Boutique - was for the first 10 who reached their goal, the boutique gave a pair of jeans to all 11 winners. Not only did the promotion make 11 women happy by getting them into their favorite jeans prior to the holidays, but Luther's PurEnergy Fitness Center benefited from the promotion. PurEnergy offers programs to the community throughout the year.
Many facilities want to help members with their weight-management goals, but, unless they opt to participate in personal training, there are few options to working with members one-on-one. So, to expose members to the weight-loss benefits of personal training, Pro Fitness Plus, New Castle, Pa., decided to offer a weight-management class.The class was "designed to help educate members on how to exercise, eat healthy and live a healthy lifestyle," says Vice President Joshua M. Proch. It met once per week for 12 weeks, and each week a different topic was covered, such as macronutrients, grocery shopping, eating out, hydration, fad diets, exercise myths, emotional health and more. "The class is set up as a group discussion, with the instructor leading the discussion," explains Proch. Members weighed in at the beginning and end of the program, as well as weekly, and had their body composition measured. At the end, one member won the prize for class attendance, weight lost, percentage body fat lost and exercise consistency. The prize was a free one-month personal training/membership package. Results of the class were posted in the facility and in the monthly newsletter. Nine members, all women, participated. The winner was a regular at the facility who had been working with Proch previously, and who joined the class "more for motivational reasons," says Proch. Another, reformatted, class is scheduled for the first part of this year.
Many fitness centers focus all of their efforts on adult programming, missing out on another population truly in need. But others, such as Columbia Athletic Club - Juanita Bay, Kirkland, Wash., are turning the tables."With childhood obesity reaching epidemic proportions, and P.E. and health classes being taken out of schools, I realized [that], as a fitness professional, it is up to us to ... give youth the guidance and education needed to take care of themselves and learn to live healthier lives," says Fitness Director Brandi Ohlsen. So, in 2002, the facility began Iron Kids, a once-per-month fitness training program for 10- to 12-year-olds and 13- to 15-year-olds. Iron Kids covers basic nutrition (food guide pyramid, calories, etc.), choosing appropriate snacks, basic anatomy/physiology, and what happens to the body at exercise and rest. "Before going to the cardio and strength training areas, we cover the ACSM guidelines for cardiovascular, muscle strength/endurance and flexibility," says Ohlsen. Then, the kids are taken to the exercise floor and set up properly on all of the cardio machines and a full-body circuit, and are shown how to incorporate bands, balance training and light free weights into their routines. They're also given a flexibility routine. After finishing the program, the children are given a bright yellow card, which must be carried with them while on the fitness floor, so that parents and trainers know they are able to use the machines. As of this writing, the facility has had approximately 250 children complete the program, averaging four to five kids per session. "Since we started this program, we have seen the youth of the club get fitter and happier," says Ohlsen. "I always check in on how they are doing, and they say that they see an improvement in their activities at school [and in their] sports, and [they] just feel better about themselves, which is what it is all about."