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Do You Have the Right Staff

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At this time of year, there is a list of something or other health related everywhere you look — the hottest fitness trends of 2012, the best research of 2011, the 10 myths you should ignore, and so on. You may even have your own list of goals or resolutions or things to-do.

After reading a bunch of these lists, I found one item that really seemed important to me and might seem just as important to you and your business. It was about how fitness coaches, described as multi-specialty personal trainers, were going to be on the front line of health care providers.

The reason given for this is that because of the increases in co-pays and deductibles, the general population will have to take better care of itself. In addition, there are going to be increasing numbers of insurance-subsidized fitness programs that will lead a trend which will force fitness professionals to seek out medically based certifications and referral relationships, among other things.

There will also be a need for alternatives to traditional healthcare systems. Individual policyholders will want to take control of “the preventative work on their bodies and minds.” And with current economic conditions as they are, gyms and clubs stand in place to fill that need.

What better advantage could we have than that we are already partnering with clients and patients to improve their lives? We interpret fitness trends for them. We de-mystify lots of the information that they see in the news, and we provide services that they really want and need.

Anyone trying to take control over their body today would absolutely have to look at what and how they eat. With obesity being one of the biggest concerns today and health insurers looking at ways to cut costs, the obese or overweight could be risking their health coverage if they don’t slim down.

To really improve our members’ lives in this difficult economic climate, we must provide nutrition education along with fitness. One can’t exist without the other any longer if an individual is to meet their health goals and optimize their self-care. This may be the best time to encourage your trainers to increase their skill set with a nutrition-based certification.

You should have at least one nutritionist on staff by now, but if a personal trainer has more advanced specialty training, that would really help. In a fitness setting, it is not mandatory to have clinical training. There are excellent nutrition certifications available that are fitness-based and still meet the requirements for acceptance into major nutrition associations.

Don’t get left behind when health care turns to us for help. Be ready with a full menu of health services for your members.

Judith Samuels, M.A. is a certified nutrition and wellness consultant and master personal trainer at Sport&Health Clubs in the Washington D.C. Metro Area. She can be reached via e-mail at judi@judisamuels.com.

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