Exercise is only one part of the health and wellness equation. Countless individuals have sworn off going to the gym when they couldn’t hit their goal weight or get their beach body, but in many cases, it wasn’t due to a lack of workout intensity — it was a lack of proper nutrition.
Nutrition programming could be the next horizon for your club, opening up new wellness and weight management possibilities for your members. When done correctly, nutrition programming may be the missing link to your members achieving the results they desire.
“We have a constant conversation taking place in our facilities, as well as digital content about nutrition, so we can highlight its importance as a non-stop narrative,” said Jonathan Aluzas, the membership director at Arena Fitness. “Good nutrition programming has the same coaching value as good fitness programming.”
But getting buy-in from members is one of the biggest hurdles to nutrition programming. An unfortunate yet common perception in society is nutrition doesn’t really matter as long as you’re working out.
“Food is an addiction, and sometimes, the allure is too much for some,” said Chuck Bent, health educator in the HMR Healthy Solutions weight management program at Baptist Health/Milestone Wellness Center. “It’s just amazing what people think is healthy — people don’t know what calories are.”
The same misperception of food has also challenged Arena Fitness. “The biggest challenge in nutrition programming is educating our members on the importance of nutrition programming,” said Aluzas. “People tend to have an ‘exercise first’ mentality when it comes to weight loss and health improvement, and it takes quite a bit of education to demonstrate that nutrition is almost always the biggest factor in body composition changes.”
When executed correctly, however, nutrition programming can be truly life-changing, and the results will speak for themselves.
For its nutrition programming, Arena Fitness turned to Balanced Habits.
“We use the Balanced Habits nutrition program with our members,” said Aluzas. “It is a complete, researched-based nutrition system that focuses on the fundamentals of sound nutrition and the development of healthy eating habits.”
Personalization has been the biggest benefit Aluzas has seen from the program. “The Balanced Habits LIFE Nutrition Coaching program is a one-on-one, personalized approach to nutrition,” said Aluzas. “It enables us to work closely with our members over an extended period of time, in a manner that enables us to teach and mentor them while supporting them in developing and maintaining healthy, sustainable behaviors.”
Tailored to the specific needs of each member, Arena’s nutrition programs provide encompassing solutions for weight loss, weight management and better overall wellness.
“All of our Balanced Habits nutrition programs include measurements, in-person check-ins, online training and follow-up to make sure we are supporting our members as much as possible as they learn a new approach to eating,” said Aluzas.
In order to accommodate a wide array of nutritional needs, Arena offers three levels of programming:
“The different levels of coaching allow us to match the proper program with the member’s level of commitment,” said Aluzas. “And the interactive nature has produced amazing fat loss and healthy body composition changes for our members.”
For members who are just feeling out the program, there’s BOOST. “Balanced Habits BOOST is an introductory, short-term nutrition coaching program that we include with every membership,” said Aluzas. “This ensures all of our members get some degree of supervised nutrition coaching.”
The next level is a deeper dive into eating well. “KICK START is our mid-level nutrition offering, and is a 28-day immersion into the fundamentals of nutrition, weight loss and the establishment of healthy habits,” said Aluzas.
And there’s an option for members who are committed to a total lifestyle change. “Balanced Habits LIFE is our premier nutrition program,” said Aluzas. “It’s designed to enable us to help our members establish a healthy, long-term approach to nutrition.”
“I actually started out as a client in the HMR program back in 2007,” said Bent. “I was in the program over two years and lost 100 pounds. I was keeping the weight off and still coming to classes, so they offered me a job when the opportunity became available.”
Like it has with Bent, the HMR Healthy Solutions weight management program at Baptist Milestone has been changing lives through fast, nutrition-based weight loss. “It’s all about fast weight loss,” he said. “We’ll help members get the weight off, then educate them on how to keep that weight off.”
Based on eating the right foods in the right portions, HMR was recently voted as the No. 1 fast weight-loss diet by US News, and has been growing in popularity across the nation. And the best thing about the program is how often participants get to eat throughout the day.
“We put you on about 1,300 calories per day and eating often — breakfast then snack, lunch then snack, dinner then snack,” said Bent. “And in the first phase of the program, you’ll be utilizing mostly our shakes and our entrees, along with your own fruits and vegetables. It’s very portion controlled.”
Once Baptist Health participants have lost a few pants sizes, they’re moved to the program’s second phase. “In the second phase of the program, we’ll ween members off our entrees and shakes, and introduce things like proteins and whole grains,” said Bent. “We educate them about eating properly, teach them how to read labels and get them writing in a journal the whole time. They’re learning how to get to their goal weight and then stay there.”
In addition to nutrition education, clients in the HMR program also get experience working out in Baptist Health’s facility. Proper nutrition and exercise, in conjunction, have been proven to change lives.
“We continue to see so many people be successful in HMR,” said Bent. “It really is life-changing when you give somebody their life back.”
These are just a couple examples of programs clubs have utilized to help their members with proper nutrition. Ultimately, it’s important to find a program that works for your members and team.
Once you do, it may just be the missing link to your members reaching their fitness goals.