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Technology-Fueled, People Driven

Fuel Fitness is a modern facility with a Southern touch.

The fitness industry has always been slow to embrace technology, but successful fitness centers know that it can be an important part of every aspect of the facility, from the front desk to the group exercise room. Fuel Fitness Club in Springdale, Ark., embraces technology, but doesn't forget the all-important human element, either.

Bragging rights for the facility come in the form of having the largest strength training floor in the region, a state-of-the-art cardiovascular area with a personal viewing screen on each piece of equipment, three group exercise rooms with the most advanced sound systems available, a fitness testing lab and an express training area for women only called Fuel Express. Says Owner Monte Johnston, "I have been told many times that it looks more like a health club you'd find in Manhattan rather than Springdale, Arkansas. The cutting-edge interior of Fuel Fitness was specifically designed in an innovative, unique and inspiring way. In relation to where we are located, our visual appeal is very unique."

Using technology, Fuel trainers work with each individual member "to drive them to physically be their best," says Johnston. The facility invested more than $30,000 for a testing lab that features BodPod body composition analysis, a VO2max analyzer and resting metabolic rate testing. The lab goes hand-in-hand with the initial personal training consultation where Visual Fitness Planner software is used to "map out a goal-driven plan for success with each individual member," says Johnston. Because of this software, Fuel "has a goal of driving our personal training EFT revenues to at least $30,000 per month by January 2008," according to Johnston.

Fuel Fitness Club

Springdale, Ark. 479 751-1600 Date fitness facility opened: Late 2005 Number of members: 1,500 Facility size: 20,000 square feet Group exercise classes: Les Mills Programs: 30 to 35 classes per week: RPM, BodyPump, BodyFlow, BodyCombat Extras/amenities: Daycare, dry saunas with eucalyptus, smoothie bar, an Express Training room for women only, towel service, a SciFit Isokinetic workout area and the Fuel Testing Lab
Even Fuel's group exercise program benefits from technology. The facility has more than 475 group exercise visits per week. It knows this because Fuel created a software program, backed by computers in each studio, that tracks attendance. This information is reviewed bi-weekly to monitor performance. Says Johnston, "We offer 30 classes per week, on average, and the design and atmosphere of our Fuel studios make our group fitness program attractive to all members and guests."

The marketing strategy for Fuel also takes advantage of the computer age. Explains Johnston, "We work very hard to market our website to drive people to visit the club via a virtual tour. We hope to capture the lead through a price quote request, then we follow up via emails and phone calls to invite the person to come in to the club." The facility began its first full-force marketing campaign this fall, which was based on a three-month combination of print media, cable marketing and direct mail marketing. "We mapped out this strategy with a consulting company, but first wanted to be sure the Fuel Fitness staff was trained properly to handle the new leads effectively," says Johnston.

Although Fuel is on the cutting edge of facility design and technology use, it hasn't forgotten that people are the most important part of running a facility. Johnston hand selected the fitness equipment for Fuel Fitness, based on his own experience as an "avid weightlifter." He was "diligent in finding the best equipment on today's market," he says. Fuel also has a full-time cleaning staff, "which separates us from most other health clubs," says Johnston. "We invest heavily in cleanliness, and do our best to always provide an impeccable presentation."

Fuel Fitness Club has the best that modern technology can offer fitness center members, and uses it to drive membership and personal training sales, and group exercise participation. It also uses technology to help members reach their goals, and as fun and motivation. The personal touches are never forgotten, as is noticed in the care taken to select equipment, and the attention to detail taken in the facility's appearance.

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