A few examples of failed wellness and health club offerings for new "not yet fit" members:
1. The "Fitness Evaluation"
This is an initial offering for new members that generally includes time spent with a certified fitness professional whereby the new "not yet fit" member gets an overview of their current level of fitness (or lack thereof) and the fitness professional suggests a work out program for the person.
2. The "Fitness Orientation"
This is a similar venue to the "fitness evaluation". Both are designed with an imagining that somehow the new"not yet fit" member will become so inspired that they suddenly and without warning combust into a motivated regular exerciser!
3. The "Equipment Orientation"
This initial new member offering is the most misguided of all. It presumes that by having a certified fitness professional explain how to use the equipment correctly, the new "not yet fit" member will now be motivated to work out on their own.
4. The "Free Session(s) With A Personal Trainer"
This new member program is based on double false assumptions. One is that the session(s) with the personal trainer will inspire the new "not yet fit"member to become an exerciser or client. The second false assumption is that the personal trainer in 90% of the clubs who have no idea how to create a client from this opportunity will nonetheless create a client.
The industry model for assisting the people who make a decision to join is extremely misleading. The "free fitness assessment", the "free fitness evaluation", the"free equipment orientation", the "free session (s) with a personal trainer" DO NOT create a regular exerciser where one did not exist before these weak offerings were engaged.
What does the new "not yet fit" member really need? They need personal training. They DO NOT need a couple of sessions and done. The DO NEED a comprehensive personal training program that will educate, motivate and lead the person away from their sedentary lifestyle. "Joining a club" is now and has always been viewed as a "membership" by the wellness center or health club. It IS NOT. It is a lifestyle modification opportunity and should be viewed as such.
The new "not yet fit" member will not change long-term inactivity based upon one or two meetings of any kind with a fitness professional. What they NEED is behavior modification. How does one attain and sustain true and lasting behavior modification? Through a continuum of professional education, motivation and leadership. In a wellness center or health club personal training offers the best solution.
The new "not yet fit" member is very likely to drop out in a short period of time without personal training being offered as a continuum of lifestyle change and behavioral modification. When this has not happened, the "not yet fit" member explains upon cancellation to the club or business that it's "the economy". With insufficient knowledge of member failure dynamics the club or business buys into that excuse and the person who wanted to change their quality of life devolves back into their old lifestyle and nothing happened except that their failed thinking has been reinforced.
Imagine these two scenarios:
New Member A joins and becomes active in regular exercise. Previously they were inactive, but for whatever reason they are now active. They were barely able to afford the membership, but joined anyway.
New Member B joins and does not become active in regular exercise. Previously they were inactive, and even after they joined they remained inactive. They were barely able to afford the membership, but joined anyway.
The economy then softens. New Member A Is affected financially, but due to their experience in positive lifestyle change through regular exercise, they remain a member. New Member B has not experienced anything related to regular exercise and it's potential benefit so they quit. Why do they say they are quitting? The economy. The truth? Lack of results.
Again, what does the industry offer these "not yet fit"folks in hopes of creating a regular exerciser where there was not one before they joined? "Free fitness evaluation", "free fitness orientation", "free equipment orientation" or "free session (s) with a personal trainer".Very ineffective.
Think about the people who are joining who are "not yet fit". Only a very small percentage engage these programs. The already fit reject them outrightly. So what is the purpose? None that is quantifiably accurate.
In most clubs or wellness businesses that do not yet understand the true dynamics of personal training the culture evolves with a plethora of excuses as to why personal training doesn't work or won't work. The trainers want to do "fitness assessments". Here is a formula to quantify the lack of success through ineffective offerings; In the first five months of 2010 how many people signed up at the club (s) _____ How many actually did their "fitness assessment"? _____ What about all the others who did not and are are likely going to cancel? How many of the ones who joined and went to their "fitness assessment" became personal training clients? _____ If not many then they too are at risk for cancellation due to the "economy" so to speak.
The home grown excuse diatribe continues with "our members can't afford it", "It's too expensive" and "our personal trainers don't want anymore personal trainers". This is an example of Henry Fords, "Think you can, think you can't, either way you're right" in practical application. It also exemplifies two other relevant quotes; "The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic." John F. Kennedy; "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is a symptom of insanity." Albert Einstein
It's time to reject failed thinking and look at the real possibilities of true success potential. Time to over ride the negative obstacles that create the perfect storm of mediocrity or worse. The real goal is to create strong and success oriented personal training offerings in as many clubs as possible that offer the best chance for success to the "not yet fit" folks who decide to join.
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