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The Fitness Assessment Experience

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fitness assessment

The vast majority of people join a gym to accomplish one task: lose weight. Of course, what they really mean is “lose fat.” So their very first visit to a gym, they bring with them misconceptions of what weight means, and weight is what they use to judge their progress.

As a result, we’ve already got an uphill battle to climb. Because as we move members along their fitness journeys, compositional changes in their body may result in their total weight unchanged, or even larger than when they first started. Carefully preparing them for this realization and properly setting expectations early on are vital, and there is no greater time to do that than in the context of a fitness assessment.

However, fitness assessment has traditionally been an afterthought. The typical tools are invasive, inaccurate and detract from the great user experience we want our members to have. Let’s face it: Pulling out a set of calipers and pad of paper out of a drawer is not “sexy,” and the fancy reports from BIA devices don’t build a lasting impression. Not many people are talking about their segmental body fat at the water cooler the next day.

But things are changing. Body surface imaging, sometimes called body scanning, is completely transforming the fitness assessment process, making it easier to communicate “body transformations” and “volume” changes, but qualitatively and visually. And the right body scanning solution can completely transform the experience into something that is sticky — leaving a deep impression that people talk about.

Making the Connection 

Greg Maurer, the vice president of fitness at Workout Anytime, has mastered how to set expectations with a new member. “In my training days, I would get to the bottom of why they are here,” he said. “Usually, their motivation to ‘lose weight’ is driven by some emotional reason — they want to look better for a significant other, they want to feel like they are young again, or they are nervous about their health.”

Maurer then proceeds to ask members how they would feel if they accomplished their real goal, but their weight didn’t change. “Everyone gets confused at this point,” says Maurer. “They ask, ‘How could I look good, but not lose weight?’”

At this point, Maurer proceeds to pull out his model props of fat and muscle. He’ll say, “See this pound of fat and this pound of muscle? They weigh the same, but one is larger than the other.”

As a result, the connection is made visually. Getting people to understand that fat takes up 22 percent more volume than muscle is how Maurer communicates not to trust the weight scale. People love visuals. Now, Workout Anytime’s franchisees use 3D body scanning to help members better understand and achieve their goals.

Making It Stick

Having a body scanner as part of the fitness assessment process introduces a “wow factor.” When people see their scan results, two things happen.

One, they recognize themselves, which builds instant credibility into the process. Unlike BIA devices, when presenting body fat percentage and other metrics, they don’t need to take your word for it, or the machine’s word for it. With body surface images, they instantly confirm it’s right — they immediately buy into the process.

Second, they recognize a flaw in their body. For most, it’s fat. For many, it’s posture or the lack of definition. When investigating body scanning solutions, look for solutions that leverage these two points. You should be able to zoom, rotate and pan a model to show a body in its full view. The scan should be immediately available for viewing. Waiting around for scans to process in the cloud isn’t sexy and marketable. Look for solutions that enhance the experience by providing goal setting tools and play nice with your current process.

Raj Sareen is CEO and co-founder of Styku, the leading 3D body surface imaging technology in the fitness industry. For more information call 323.372.2628 or email raj.sareen@styku.com.

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