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grey market: we must offer the
it’s staff inexperience, not
right exercise and environment
their fi tness levels, that
intimidates members
I was intrigued by the Talkback
read the article in the April feature on staff fitness levels and
issue of HCM entitled New whether we’re leading by example
Perspective, written by Colin (HCM March 09). Similar to when
Milner, CEO of the International we discuss retention, the panel
Council on Active Aging. I’m seemed to be scrambling to create
disappointed at the advice that he’s an ‘aren’t we great’ image.
offering to clubs as I think he has missed I’m not sure, for example, how
the fundamental point: clubs in the
we can actually measure being
UK are simply not offering the type of healthy as opposed to simply being
exercise or the environment that the
fit. There must be several criteria
majority of this older market wants. for judging a healthy lifestyle, some
Speaking from many years of of which may be hard to quantify.
experience in the health and wellness
The fact is, our industry offers
sector, I’ve seen senior people pushed
low pay rates and attracts a
into memberships at conventional gyms,
young workforce. The majority
only to have them become yet another are enthusiastic about fitness and
attrition statistic at the end of their wellness, but are inexperienced in the
fixed-period membership. For the last

A workplace. It’s this inexperience and
four years, I’ve been working closely attitude towards clients – not their
with the over-50s market and have come
fitness levels or muscular appearance
to understand that the type of exercise – that intimidates members.
they want to do, and the environment If we employ a young workforce,
in which they want to do it, simply isn’t we have a responsibility to develop
provided by mainstream fitness facilities. their customer care skills and
The over-50s market, and ladies in attitude so that, with guidance and
particular, want to feel comfortable The over-50s, particularly women, time, they will develop into staff
when they’re exercising. It’s as much want to feel comfortable exercising who lead by example and who have
about the social scene for them as it is the ability to address the broad
about the exercise itself. Long gone are improving fitness levels and enhancing spectrum of members’ needs.
the days when these members would weight loss in a sociable environment. Yes they should practise what
want to be seen sweating it out on the If we want to provide for our ageing they preach, but we shouldn’t
treadmill wearing an MP3 player. members, we need to truly understand pretend we don’t have our little
Power-assisted equipment is a the customer and what they want. vices like everyone else.
successful alternative for this market, racheal browes graham mcpherson
offering a way of maintaining or uk sales director, shapemaster gm, bannatyne’s health club, ayr
the letter
Taking early legal advice can often prevent
a problem becoming a dispute. The team at
of the law Croner Consulting answers readers’ questions
A 1

6-year-old boy injured himself on our running machine nearly four years
ago. Can he still claim compensation?

While the normal rule is that a claim for personal injury must be brought (ie
a court claim must be issued) within three years of the accident, there are
a number of exceptions. When a child is injured, the clock starts ticking on his
18th birthday, so in this instance he is well within the time limit for claiming. Of
course he still needs to prove fault on the part of the club, such
Fitness staff shouldn’t pretend
as lack of instruction or supervision, or faulty equipment.
they don’t have their little vices
8 Read Health Club Management online june 2009 © cybertrek 2009
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