Ask the Expert: Allison Flatley on Recovery
This month we spoke to Allison Flatley, an industry consultant, about recovery in health clubs.
Club Solutions: What trends are you seeing in recovery across the fitness industry?
Allison Flatley: Recovery is growing, and commercial health clubs are leading the charge. Higher education and university centers are also adding recovery services, typically to address student well-being and faculty wellness.
Personal trainers are adding recovery services to the end of their training sessions or offering recovery as an add-on service. Clubs have personal trainers teach the recovery classes, so it gives them the opportunity to be in front of potential clients. Recovery studios are also growing. The studios with the most growth offer multiple recovery services rather than one modality.
CS: What are some best practices clubs should keep in mind when incorporating recovery zones?
AF: Placement of recovery zones is critical. Spaces and clubs are more open, and recovery zones should be visible. Open walkways or glass walls ensure members see what services are available. While some recovery services need private areas, to promote and be a gateway for these services, recovery needs to be open and visible to your membership.
Clubs need to ensure their staff — regardless of the position they hold — are familiar with all recovery services you offer. When your staff sees the benefits of recovery personally, they will talk about it with your members. Schedule recovery breaks into their workday. Allow your staff to gift a recovery session to a member. Recovery should be a part of every member’s program. Educate your members that recovery helps performance and health. It is necessary for everyone, regardless of their fitness level.
CS: What are some common mistakes you’ve seen clubs make with recovery zones or offerings?
AF: Not having a comprehensive strategy with recovery. Clubs should decide if they want to offer self-service, staffed recovery solutions or both. Have a plan to introduce services, marketing and fees. Planning ahead ensures success. Another mistake is when clubs offer only one of something — for example, one massage lounge or one hand-held percussion tool at the personal training desk. One of something rarely works.
Fitness professionals like to share all the science behind recovery. This may appeal to some of your members; however, the majority of your members just want to feel good. Make sure you know your audience.