Why should health clubs consider offering fitness assessment tests?
RR: The question should be why more clubs aren’t offering a variety of comprehensive fitness assessments to their valued members who are eager to know their overall fitness and health status, and are quite willing to pay for this service if properly presented and packaged. Wellness and the “exercise is medicine” themes espoused by the American College of Sports Medicine, Medical Fitness Association, Medical Wellness Association, Cooper Institute, etc. are presenting huge opportunities for those clubs who have already come on board. So the real question should be, “Why not my club and why not now?”
What mistakes do you see health clubs making when it comes to offering fitness assessments?
RR: Without a doubt, the number one problem is they do not understand the true value of a comprehensive fitness assessment and their opportunities to increase membership sales, personal training appointments, client/medical referrals, corporate contracts, and of course, the retention value experienced by those who have already embraced this best practice to achieve these benefits.
What best practices can you offer to help avoid those mistakes?
RR: Two key points here:
- Do not rely on inexperienced fitness staff to dictate your fitness assessment and or wellness strategies because most of these “well intentioned” employees are clueless when it comes to the “why” and “how” to properly incorporate fitness assessments into your programming for maximum results
- Do not offer initial fitness assessments without a commitment to provide a follow-up assessment within 60 to 90 days. Why? Because the real payoff for your club is when members are realizing realistic and reliable results. This will not happen without a consistent opportunity for your members to be reevaluated, and all the talk about evidenced-based outcomes will be impossible to achieve without providing this ongoing service to your members.
What should operators look for in a fitness assessment partner?
RR: Operators should be primarily interested in a company that is focused specifically on fitness and wellness technology solutions with a track record. Longevity in our industry is difficult to achieve without continual innovation and excellent customer service which should also be a serious consideration. Most importantly, operators need to take the time to really learn and listen from others who have been successful in implementing fitness and wellness strategies and not buy into gimmicky solutions or fads that often fade from view in a very short time. Finally, standardization, along with proper staff training and compensation, are critical factors in achieving success when providing fitness and wellness assessment services to your members.