Nutrition is the Missing Link

It has been proven that exercise alone cannot and will not produce the desired results for members in terms of weight loss. Think of it as an equation — exercise + proper diet = weight loss. This equation has proven successful for Linda Woodruff, 48, of Houston, Texas.

Woodruff has been a member at The Houstonian Clubs & Spas for about three years, and this year found success with the club’s Resolution Shape Up program, a program that incorporates cardio, strength training and nutrition. During the program, members meet weekly with the staff dietician, Melissa Hawthorne, R.D., L.D.

“[Nutrition] really does make a difference,” Woodruff said. “I do exercise regularly, but when I’m eating properly it just makes the difference.” The 12-week program began in January. Woodruff lost 10 pounds and several inches. The inches lost had the biggest impact she said. She has signed up for another round of the program.

Having exercised in the past and yo-yo dieted, Woodruff decided to commit herself at the beginning of 2011 and signed up for the program. She initially was signing up with a friend, but wound up going it alone. “The accountability was a huge factor to being successful,” she explained. “It wasn’t easy at first. Keeping up with what you’re eating for your daily logs was time consuming, but worth it.”

The knowledge Woodruff has gained will serve her for a lifetime. She is now more aware of how foods are prepared, what can be healthy off the shelf and how to make better “bad choices” in restaurants. “The biggest thing for me to learn has been portion control. I don’t always eat well, but we are so over served when we go out. Now I know what a real portion is.”

Woodruff’s nutrition education has served her family as well. “The trainers and Melissa talk about how your choices affect those around you. You are with people, you affect people by what you’re doing, what you’re cooking.” Woodruff’s youngest daughter has met with Melissa to learn to make good nutrition choices. Her entire family is active at The Houstonian and Woodruff is happy to lead by example.

During the program, Melissa showed Woodruff and other members how dietary guidelines have changed, how to read nutrition labels, how a body burns calories and many other tips and facts. She said that Melissa has been instrumental in going over exactly what to eat and how much.

The group learns something new each session, Woodruff said. A demonstration showing members the amount of sugar in a Coke soft drink left an impression. “It makes a difference to see a bottle full of sugar. I showed my kids.”

“Success stories are awesome,” Woodruff said. “There’s a big poster at the gym advertising for Resolution Shape Up with before and after shots and it’s really great to see someone that has accomplished their goal.” Clubs that have success stories with members should share them. Members can never be too inspired to meet their goals.

Woodruff said that she would tell members and clubs alike to invest in a dietician. “The results are just so different. It really makes a difference. People just don’t realize the sugar and fats in their food. People don’t really get it. They don’t have the knowledge.”

Is your club investing in some kind of nutrition help for members? Even if you are a smaller gym, could you partner with someone in the local community? Members need help and direction when it comes to their diet. It’s your responsibility to steer them in the right direction. -CS

By Ali Cicerchi

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