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TALKBACK everyone’s talking about . . .

gym programmes C

all me old-fashioned, but I strongly believe a personalised programme is part of what having a gym membership

is all about. When I was looking into joining a gym recently, whether or not they offered programmes was one of the deciding factors, especially as they all charged around the same price. I didn’t want to be given an induction and left to my own devices. With a couple of health issues, I wanted an expert opinion on what I should be doing. But it wasn’t all about hand-holding;

having a fi tness assessment and setting goals with an instructor would help me get to know the staff and build

a sense of anticipation about what I was going to do. I also felt that having the reference point of a programme would keep me motivated and make a difference to my fi tness. Knowing that an instructor has invested some time and thought into my goals makes me feel like I’m not in this on my own. From the gym’s point of view, these

consultations are a great way to get to know a client, making it easy to engage with them. They help break down barriers for those who think gyms are intimidating, and tick the boxes in terms of customer service and retention. It’s true that not offering


lucy alcock dw sports • national pt services manager


rogramming is still an essential requirement of the fitness

experience. However, it has evolved and will continue to do so. We now offer a three-fold solution

for the next generation of programming. All members have the option of a complimentary session with a personal trainer for a full lifestyle and postural

analysis, before a programme is written specific to their needs and goals. This is especially helpful to members with medical conditions or injuries, and those who are new to exercise. Meanwhile, free 30-minute group training sessions are provided

to our members on the gym floor on an ongoing basis, with content adapted to suit all ages and abilities. Themed programmes are the newest addition – such as ski fit, powerhouse and kettlebell workouts – and are also free of charge. The future? Interactive programming is the next avenue for

us. The need for fitness programming has never been stronger, but it now needs to be delivered in all shapes and sizes. Listening to our members and non-members alike is critical to its evolution, and using our expertise to respond to their requirements remains the key to its ongoing development.

mark talley la fitness • fitness director


don’t think programming is a thing of the past. If anything, LA

Fitness is moving closer towards it, offering a greater range of programmes – particularly on the gym floor. All new members are offered

appointments and reviews, including a personalised programme based on their primary goal. However, in the

past we’ve found that, once people are inducted, they tend to disappear into the ether and there are limited opportunities for staff to interact with and motivate them. As we want to continue influencing members to achieve their fitness goals, we have programmed the gym floor with the introduction of crew classes, workshops and clinics. Run in groups, these deliver quality interaction, exercise and education in 15-minute chunks. Each club runs eight of these sessions a day – five within

defined peak times – when all the staff interact with members. These sessions give members the chance to talk through issues and have helped make them feel really looked after. Member surveys show that customer satisfaction, enjoyment and their perception of value for money have improved dramatically since these programmes were introduced.

” 24 Read Health Club Management online february 2011 © cybertrek 2011

kath hudson • journalist • health club management

Are individual gym programmes a thing of the past? Are they a good use of staff time, and do members even want them? Do they need to evolve, or are they fine as they are?

book personal training sessions, but I personally think members should expect some element of guidance in return for their membership fee – unless it’s as cheap as the budget gym model, where members understand that extras will be shaved off. But in this economic climate, is

phasing out individual programmes an effective way of cutting costs? Are there other ways of offering programmes that can still help members achieve their goals, but that are less labour-intensive for operators? Is it inevitable that the gym programme has to evolve to survive? We ask the experts for their thoughts.

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