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MARCH 2014 LETTERS C WRITE TO REPLY


Do you have a strong opinion or disagree with somebody else’s views on the industry? If so, we’d love to hear from you – email: healthclub@leisuremedia.com


The leaving process is key to retention ‘battle’


What a great article by Mike Hill in HCM Jan 14 (p62), looking at why members leave health clubs. If operators act on this kind of research, we might get somewhere with the eternal retention battle. The two key areas for me in this


research were members’ first few visits, and the time after leaving. Clubs’ desire to provide perceived


A healthy balanced diet goes far beyond choosing between fat and sugar


Media must convey more accurate perspective on diet


The recent ‘Fat vs Sugar’ programme on UK TV (Horizon, BBC2, 29 Jan) was certainly good TV, but I’m not sure it dealt with the issue of diet in a way that was helpful, or indeed very balanced. Without knowing viewing figures, it


was clearly packaged up to be accessible, so I’m sure will have been watched by a lot of people – which is why I was slightly disappointed that it wasn’t able to take a more rounded approach to the subject at hand. Of course the nutritional element is important (and particularly the not- wholly-made-clear distinction between natural fats and those found in processed foods) but there are all sorts of other contributory reasons that, in reality, get in the way of people being as healthy as they should be. The programme didn’t make reference


to the psychological reasons for eating the wrong foods (food addiction, comfort


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eating, etc) or indeed the economic barriers. Given the scale of the UK’s obesity problem, healthy eating clearly isn’t an easy problem to solve, and my worry is that the programme may have left people with a skewed view of what sort of diet will really help them achieve better health/weight loss – which can be extremely demoralising in the long run. I’m sure the programme never claimed


to be the answer to the UK’s dietary missteps, but I do wish the mainstream media would acknowledge that diet is a far wider, more socially complex issue than whether you prefer bacon or a chocolate bar. Otherwise, even interesting programmes like this become about as useful as the next fad diet telling us to eat celery and blancmange seven days a week.


Debra Stuart CEO, Premier Global


Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital


Clubs have a duty to fi nd out why a member has left


March 2014 © Cybertrek 2014


value for money, coupled with industry recommendations to visit three times a week, set up many new members to fail before they’ve even started. A new exerciser might be aiming to visit once a week, which can already be a big step up. If the instructor says they need to come at least three times a week to see any results, this can destroy their motivation. Once a week is better than never; if we must encourage people to come more often, let’s wait until they’ve built up the habit. When members leave, regardless


of how difficult or easy you make it, you have a duty to find out why, then re-engage them. Most established clubs have 1.5 times as many ex- members as paying members, and 25 per cent would consider re-joining (Mintel, HCM Aug 13). Sending regular communications to ex- members is a no-brainer.


Guy Griffiths Director, GG Fit


March 2014


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PHOTO: WWW.SHUTTERSTOCK.COM/PAVEL L PHOTO AND VIDEO


PHOTO: WWW.SHUTTERSTOCK.COM/PAULSHLYKOV


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