Thursday, October 05, 2006

Weight Loss Session and Business Basics for Trainers

It’s the first day of the Club Industry show, and the music is pumping and the attendees are trying out the new equipment on the show floor. I’ll walk the show floor this afternoon, but in the meantime, I’d like to tell you about the seminars I attended this morning.

Casey Conrad, founder of Healthy Inspirations, revealed the keys to creating a profitable weight loss program during her session from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Casey offered real-world tips that attendees could take back to their clubs and weight loss centers. Here are some of the lessons I learned from the session.

1. Give the weight loss program a different name and advertise it separately from the club. To establish different identities, consider giving out separate phone numbers for the club and weight loss program.

2. Determine if you want to target new members or existing members.

3. Since the majority of weight loss clients are often women, make sure they feel comfortable attending the weight loss program and working out at your club. Consider sectioning off a space specifically for the weight loss program by using plants and dividers.

4. Give your weight loss clients personalized attention when they’re working out on the equipment so they don’t feel intimidated.

5. Show your advertising to people outside the fitness industry to see if they will be effective for normal, everyday people who want to lose weight.

6. Hire people who have had difficulty losing weight so they will have empathy and understanding for your clients. “You must have people who are not fitness Nazis run your program,” Casey says. “Your clients need to know that they are not alone and you understand the struggles they’re going through.”

7. Create a program that can be duplicated easily by having consistency.

8. Weigh your clients three times a week rather than once a week so they will be held accountable for their weight loss or gain.

9. Make sure you have attendance requirements and follow up with the customers. If one of your clients doesn’t show up for a session, give him or her a personal call to remind him or her to come into the center. “When a woman is left alone, she will blame you for failing in the program,” she says. Casey advised the attendees to ask for their client’s contact information when he or she signs up.

10. Ask the clients to sign a success agreement that states that your club has the right to contact them if they don’t show up for weigh-ins or consultations. Then if they tell you they don’t want to come in anymore, send them a copy of the success agreement.

11. Plan convenient, fast, family-friendly meals. A mother doesn’t have time to cook one meal for herself and another for her family. Make it easy for her to prepare nutritious meals so everyone will be healthy.

12. Make sure your clients are aware that just because they are working out, it doesn’t mean they can eat whatever they want.

13. Keep your sessions with your clients short.

14. Make sure your clients stay properly hydrated by giving them a water bottle with your club’s brand name on it at the beginning of their session.

15. If you are working with women in menopause, on antidepressants or with a thyroid problem, it may be difficult for them to lose weight. Keep this in mind when setting goals for these clients.

Business Basics for Fitness Professionals
The second session I went to dealt with business basics for personal trainers. Fitness professionals packed the conference room to listen to Lisa Coors, a former business professor and the ACE Personal Trainer of the Year 1st Runner Up, talk about business basics.

In her presentation, she said that fitness professionals can use their business skills to make more money.

She covered the following areas of business skills—economics, marketing, management, business ethics, and accounting/finance. To get the attendees engaged in her presentation, she handed out a quiz that asked them to write the full names next to acronyms such as CEO, EBIT, LLC and SBA.

Lisa then had everyone spend two minutes writing down his or her vision for a fitness product or service.

To drive more business, fitness professionals can ask their personal training clients the following questions:

What do you like the best and least about training with me?
What do you like the best about the club?
What is one thing you’d like to change, and how would you do it?

To get free business advice, she advised the attendees to go to their local university and ask the business professor and students to visit their health club to give them different insights.


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