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How VIDA is Making its Mark through Innovation


December 2021 Club of the Month, presented by ABC Fitness Solutions:

VIDA, est. 2006

VIDA, with six locations throughout DC and Virginia, is making its mark through an innovative approach to member and staff care. Examples include the inclusion of a Diversity & Inclusion Board, Medical Advisory Board, Personal Training Scholarship Program and much more. 

Here, learn from Aaron Moore, the director of operations at VIDA, on how the brand supports its community and is looking toward the future.

Tell me about VIDA and what makes it stand out from others:  ​

Our key differentiator is the number of brands present under one roof, each set up as its own independent entity following its respective industry best practices. These include VIDA Fitness (gym), Aura spa (spa), Bang Salon (salon), Penthouse Pool and Lounge (restaurant and pool club) and SweatBox (studio fitness). 

Why do members choose VIDA? How do you meet members’ needs?  ​

Clean and friendly are the two most common words referenced on our Early Member surveys. We have a detailed onboarding process and member journey that includes both automated checkpoints as well as a personal human touch. Our members know we will help them identify and achieve their goals, then set new goals to keep them constantly motivated.

VIDA supports its community in a number of ways. One example is the personal training certification for disadvantaged communities. What can you tell me about that and how it came about?  ​

Our Personal Training Scholarship Program has been an amazing experience and we’re grateful to NASM for partnering with us on the initiative. It came about as one of many things we did in response to the George Floyd murder and the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020. David von Storch, our founder, decided he wanted to create an opportunity for the Black community in the DC area with something centered around our core competency. He decided to purchase 10 NASM certifications with his personal money and mentor 10 aspiring Black personal trainers to get certified, then launch their careers. NASM was inspired and donated an additional 10 certifications to match our purchase. Thus, we had twice the impact out of the gate. David and NASM have since committed to making this an annual scholarship program, so we now have another 20 scholarships available for 2022.

What is unique about VIDA’s culture? What are the values and what importance do you place on people in the club — members and staff?  ​

A few things. Our company culture is a fairly comprehensive document with a lot of training resources, but I’ll highlight a few of my favorites. First, we have three “Magic Words” and they are Positivity, Challenge and Training. We are positive, always, above all else — there is zero tolerance for negativity in our culture. We challenge each other constantly to get better and do better in every aspect of the business. We provide the training so every team member can grow and develop while taking excellent care of our members. Second, we are intentional with our commitment to diversity, respect, equity and inclusion to create a community where everyone is welcome and valued.

Tell me a bit about the DEI and medical board and the importance of these entities. What are their roles? 

​Our DIB (Diversity & Inclusion Board) holds our leadership team accountable to the standards we’ve all agreed upon surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). They challenge us and make sure we never get complacent. Their two biggest accomplishments thus far are the NASM scholarship program and formalizing our hiring process into a highly detailed document with resources and a checklist. 

The Medical Advisory Board helps us maintain a safe, healthy and effective wellness experience that is consistent with the scientific principles generally accepted by the medical community. We are in regular communication to evolve best practices and promote the benefits of physical activity. Together, we are developing an array of accessible programs to progressively increase the percentage of the DMV population that engages in regular exercise.

What’s a trend you’re seeing in the fitness industry that other operators should keep on their radar?  

​As an industry, I think we’re finally starting to understand where marketing intersects with technology. You need lots of automation for efficiency while maintaining the personal human touchpoints that facilitate deep, meaningful relationships with members and employees. You used to have to look outside of the industry for these solutions, but we’re now seeing an abundance of available software solutions designed specifically for the fitness industry.

If you could give one piece of advice to other gym operators, what would it be? 

​It’s been a rough two years, but now it’s time to rebuild. Look at your employee pay ranges and benefits to make sure you are properly benchmarked in your geographic area. Your team is your greatest resource. Make sure you have the right people and that your comp packages provide an opportunity for long-term career growth. Also, make sure you are not overstaffed. Hire only what you need and take really good care of those people.

Created in partnership with ABC Fitness Solutions. Visit abcfitness.com for more information on how they can help your fitness business.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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