I have a way to broaden your scope of training, increase your member population and most importantly improve your profits.
If you haven’t heard, our population is aging rapidly and soon the largest percentage of adults will be over fifty. A large percentage of those people are educated, have worked for twenty-plus years for the same company and are anxious to enjoy their “golden years.” To enjoy those years, they will need to seriously focus on their health and wellness, change their current lifestyle and begin a fitness and wellness program. And, most do not belong to a gym, fitness club or have a personal trainer. To greatly support this information, hospitals have been keying on this age group for the last ten years by building large fitness and wellness facilities with rehabilitation services, and spending large sums of money on enormous marketing campaigns.
So, it is time for you to join the race for the aging population by creating a new and exciting fitness and wellness program for the aging. This program is directly marketed to older adults with health and wellness issues, time on their hands and money to spend. You will need to focus on three main issues: resistance training, cardiovascular conditioning and nutrition. The first two focus areas will be addressed in this article. As for nutrition, I suggest you contact a registered nutritionist in your area to help you design basic nutritional guidelines for your new members.
Before we get into training protocols and programming, we need to consider the person, or persons, you will be targeting and training. They are older in age, which directly relates to bone density and muscle mass. Most have below-normal cardiovascular function and possibly complicating conditions such as Diabetes, hip or knee joint replacement, or other ailments. They also may have never stepped foot in a gym or fitness club in their life, so they are going to be highly intimidated and fearful of injury. The programming must take into consideration functional training with multiple muscle groups in action, along with a cardio component. So, what you have is circuit training with cardio intervals. I also suggest you offer it in a group setting, in a large area that is separate from the main club area and outside, if possible. One of the aging programs I have seen is based on ballroom dancing with exercises incorporated into the program. It is very dynamic, loads of fun and one heck of a workout for those in the class, and they love doing it. There are numerous resources to help you with this new aging fitness and wellness program. I suggest you visit the International Council on Active Aging www.icaa.cc and AARP www.aarp.org. You may also consider hiring an older person to teach the program because it may help members feel more at ease in this new environment.
When you develop your protocols you should also consider how to increase the intensity of the programming, and this is where the weight vest comes in. There have been numerous studies done by highly reputable institutions like Harvard, Stanford and USC on the aging population and on bone density loss, as well as studies documenting muscle mass loss among the aging. In every study mentioned above, a weight vest was utilized with one of the case study groups to increase resistance. And, in all studies, the weight vest groups showed higher levels of improvement in bone density as well as muscle mass than the nonweight vest groups. This is significant information and a large percentage of the aging are aware of the studies; they just do not know what vests to buy, or where to buy them. By incorporation of a weight vest into the program, you will educate the participants as well as give them an additional training accessory. Also, if you offer a weight vest for sale in your club, you can create a secondary stream of revenue.
While weight vests are not new, they have been improved greatly and they are extremely useful training tools. You can use a weight vest in virtually any activity, exercise or sport-specific drill. Weight vests are utilized in sports rehabilitation, bone density protocols as well as for youth and adolescent Autism as a focusing tool. The drastic improvements in vests have made them safe, highly effective and they fit better — this is why you are seeing such a buzz about weight vests. I recommend you do your research on weight vests, buy one, and use it to get a better understanding of how you can use a weight vest in your gym.
George Morrison is the Developer of the Xvest, and a Strength & Conditioning Coach. He can be contacted at 800.697.5658, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.