What is Total Fitness? One of the best definitions of fitness comes from the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. It describes fitness as, “the ability to carry out daily tasks with vigor and alertness, without undue fatigue and with ample energy to enjoy leisure time pursuits and to meet unforeseen emergencies.”
To truly achieve this level of “Fitness,” I would argue that nutrition is 80 percent of the equation. Just ask any professional athlete and they’ll tell you, “If you really want to achieve your goals, you need to get your diet right.” I could also argue that if your members were achieving their goals your retention would skyrocket.
More and more, people are realizing the importance of making healthier food choices and health club owners have the opportunity to lead the way in educating and supplying their members with often the missing ingredient to Total Fitness — nutrition.
What can health clubs offer to help members achieve Total Fitness?
Healthy Food Products: Americans are beginning to seek healthier food choices and they are becoming aware of the dangers of processed foods and synthetic ingredients. Do the products you are currently offering fit this criterion? If any of your products are engineered by science and loaded with artificial and synthetic ingredients, then you may be undermining the very message you are trying to convey, which will ultimately undermine your credibility.
Your juice bar and/or front counter should be your “Nutritional General Store” of healthy food options, equipped with the latest natural products that will help your members achieve their goals. Folks that work out are hungry. Why not capitalize on this? Feed them! It’s a win-win for your member and your bottom line. Seek out the latest food trends and target those products. Find a supplier that can offer you a variety of those products so that you don’t have to go shopping and then offer the products in a streamlined approach segregating the products into groups like low-glycemic and high protein. Don’t be fooled by tricky marketing ploys that sell unhealthy products labeled as low fat or calories. Read labels! Why? Because your members are reading labels too.
Recovery Shakes: Do you sell Recovery Shakes? If so, how do they measure up nutritionally? Are your shakes made with real or synthetic food products? Do they contain syrups and added sugar? Do they offer the right balance of protein, carbs and fat relative to performance goals? The recovery shake may be the single most important meal that your members consume in a day, especially as it relates to their workout goals. Did you know that the calories consumed within a four-hour window of a workout are the most important calories in a day? So, make sure that you are offering the best products for their bodies. By offering only the healthiest shakes, you are giving your members something that is truly necessary for reaching their performance goals.
Supplements: Fact — your members will spend money on themselves if they think the supplement they are going to buy is going to be effective. People love to be able to walk up to a juice bar and order a shake that is specifically designed to meet their needs. Some people are working out to burn fat while others are trying to gain muscle. Some are looking for extra energy, while others are looking to increase their intake of fiber. By offering a broad spectrum of supplements both for your shakes and as a retail item on the shelf, your club makes it easy for customers to obtain nutrition when they need it most.
Exercise and nutrition are a team. They work together to help us achieve Total Fitness. If your members don’t eat well post workout, they may be negating all of that hard work. Help them get it right and you’ll have a member for life.
Dan Young is president of Performance Food Centers and is certified in personal training and sports nutrition. He can be contacted at 888.PFC.9151, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit them online at www.performancefoodcenters.com.