Posted on May 24, 2013 by Lawrence Fagan
I just posted an article that dealt with how health clubs can sponsor a charity organization while promoting their health club business. Because Memorial Day is almost here, I wanted to give health clubs that are looking into sponsoring a charity some more ideas.
One of the most unappreciated and selfless professions is that of a military man. When people enroll into the military, they leave behind everything even everyone they love and put their bodies on the line to protect their nations. To be fair, helping war wounded or veterans should be considered a duty of every citizen.. To start, consider the one of the unsung charities that promote better quality of life for those soldiers who are wounded in action and war veterans.
Here are a few of those.
Semper Fi Fund
If you are familiar with military terminology, semper fi is a phrase that is associated with the marines. It means “always faithful”. The Semper Fi fund was established to help the marines who are injured in action recover, or take facilitate a better quality of life for the veteran marines. It is very difficult to tend to war wounds but the Semper Fi Fund tries to make the job as comfortable as possible. Thousands of marines have been benefited by this charity. The organization has had its share of struggles to keep the organization moving onward, but they attribute divine intervention as the source of their continuing service to those that have served us.
Operation Homefront is a non-profit organization that helps to take care of the families that soldiers leave behind, tend to soldiers who are injured in action, and even take care of the medical bills of war veterans. The organization’s motto is to provide financial, moral, emergency, and personnel assistance to families when the troops are in action. The organization was established in the year 2002 and till date, more than 741,000 families have been benefited by the generous gesture of this non-profit organization.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
Without doubt, Iraq and Afghanistan are two of the largest offensives that the United States has launched internationally. As a result, there are a number of wounded war veterans, physically and psychologically, from these wars. The IAVA, as it is popularly known as, supports these veterans and their families financially and morally. The organization is currently supporting over 2.4 million war veterans. It was founded by Paul Rieckhoff, an Iraq war veteran himself. His philosophy is that only a veteran will understand a fellow veteran’s need after the war is over and in times of trouble, which is true in a way.
Homes For Our Troops
The Homes For Our Troops initiative was started in a bid to help some of the severely wounded war veterans who could not manage to keep up their existing residences or could not manage to live in their homes. Some of them were severely handicapped. To help these people, Homes For Our Troops managed to generate a lot of funds and help build homes that are conducive for handicapped veterans. The veteran to whom the house would be handed was predetermined and the home is built according to the needs of the ex-solider.
National Military Family Association
The NMFA is a non-profit group that is dedicated to help the military men and their families lead a good quality life including all aspects to support a military family for its future. The organization is headquartered in Virginia and was started back in 1969. A group of war widows and wives got together and started this initiative which gained a lot of support from other patriots of the USA. The organization now receives donations from around the world.
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Posted on May 23, 2013 by Lawrence Fagan
With our economy at its current state and the rise in competition, it can be difficult to stay competitive in the fitness industry. You have to keep with the current fitness industry trends and fitness industry statistics to get in touch with your members and patrons. Staying current in the trends can also help you attract new members and retain your loyal ones. Avoid replicating the marketing ideas used by your competitors and instead, go for fresh ideas that can guarantee you success.
A primary focus that will always stay fresh and true in the minds of the majority are charity events. In order to organize a charity fitness campaign, first you have to select a few charities close to your heart. If you cannot decide from the countless options, then have your club members choose for you as part of the campaign. Select a date by which your health club members can submit statements summarizing why a certain charity should be selected, then you can personally select the one that impacts a member of your health club. Thereafter, organize a charity even that will not only promote your business but will also help one of your members!
1) Organize fun events –Organizing a fun event can help your business get recognition. Since existing members and prospective ones are given a chance to really participate, events are sure to give you your much-needed break in marketing. For instance, for the selected charity, organize a 5k walk or run. Set a minimal amount for the sign up but be sure to donate all proceeds to the selected charity. For incentive for participating in the walk/run, be sure to give away something related to your health club. Also keep in mind to classify different fitness levels/abilities and give away a prize to each. Getting the community involved in these events will help you win the hearts of many residents, some of whom might even sign up for a membership.
Another perk is that these types of events normally get a lot of publicity because local news networks will love reporting on GOOD news (hopefully). This means you get free press while helping the community and showing everyone that your health club is compassionate for their members and your business gets recognition. Since existing members and prospective ones are given a chance to really participate, events are sure to give you your much-needed break in marketing. For instance, for the selected charity, organize a 5k walk or run. Set a minimal amount for the sign up but be sure to donate all proceeds to the selected charity. For incentive for participating in the walk/run, be sure to give away something related to your health club. Also keep in mind to classify different fitness levels/abilities and give away a prize to each. Getting the community involved in these events will help you win the hearts of many residents, some of whom might even sign up for a membership.
A community weight loss challenge may even be a huge success. These events are sure to get your current members pumped up and excited. With excited members, you will also get more referrals and more loyalty, which translates to more success. But it is also important to understand that if you are organizing a charity event, the focus should be kept on the cause or charity instead of on your gym.
2) Give great deals and discounts – Promoting your health club can be as easy as putting up a deal on a website. Select a time period in which you promote a certain amount to donate of the discounted service to the selected charity. These deals and offers are a great way to convince new members to try out your gym too. For instance, you could give offers like a highly discounted package for personal training or a discount on one month membership but that you will additionally donate $10 for every signup and $15 for every referred signup.
3) Social media promotion – Marketing experts know that social media marketing is very effective for promoting businesses. If your gym does not already have an official Facebook or a Twitter account, create one today. This can help you get in touch with your existing members and see what they have to say and what charities they support or want you to support. Give them an offer for an attractive deal if they can help you get more followers. For instance, you can give them an offer for one month free membership if they bring in 50 new followers. The same concept is true for “likes” and “shares” when you are organizing charity awareness or events. Social media is one of the best ways to send across that message to your existing members. Those members can also help promote your event by inviting their friends or referring them to you.
~May is Arthritis Awareness Month…please be aware that arthritis does not discriminate and can effect anyone. Please have compassion for those in chronic and disabling pain.
Topic for Discussion: Does your health club sponsor a charity? Which one?
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Posted on May 22, 2013 by Lawrence Fagan
For best results and recovery, you need to be mindful of what you eat and drink after exercise. A good diet post exercise speeds up your recovery and enables you to train consistently without feeling tired the next day. When you take in the right food, your muscle and tissue repair process is boosted as you replenish the lost glucose stores and re-hydrate yourself.
Your first priority after exercising should be replenishing the lost fluids. To determine how much fluid is lost, weigh yourself before and after exercise. For every pound that you lose, you must drink 20 to 24 ounces (3 cups) of water or sports drink. If you have forgotten to weigh yourself, you can check the color of your urine. It needs to be clear in color. If it is concentrated or dark in color, it is a sign that you are dehydrated and need to drink more water.
If you want your post exercise drink to be more than just water or a sports drink, you can opt for chocolate milk. This drink has the right combination of proteins and carbohydrates, which is essential for recovery. In fact, studies have shown that there is no difference between the recovery resulting from drinking chocolate milk and sports drinks. Chocolate milk is known to decrease the level of creatine kinase more than sports drinks, which is an advantage. Creatine kinase is an indicator of muscle damage.
The most vital thing is consuming carbohydrates after exercise within about 15 minutes so that you can restore the glycogen in your body. Glycogen is the main source of energy that is utilized during exercise. Further, you need to consume about 0.3 to 0.6 grams of carbohydrates for each pound of body weight post exercise and you need to do it within 2 hours. If you wait for a longer period, you risk storing just about 50% of the glycogens in your muscles.
Proteins give you amino acids that are necessary to rebuild the muscle tissues that invariably get damaged as you do intense exercises for prolonged periods of time. Proteins also increase water absorption from the intestines and keep the muscles hydrated. Another important benefit of amino acids that you receive through proteins is strengthening of immune system where you develop stronger resistance to infections such as cold.
It is believed that consuming carbohydrates and proteins at a 4:1 ratio is most ideal as it results in higher glucose stores in muscles than carbohydrates alone. But you need to be careful as to the amount of proteins that you consume, as more protein can inhibit rehydration and replenishment of glycogen. Most sports recovery drinks conform to this ratio but if you find them too expensive to consume daily, you have other options.
You can eat one medium-size banana with a glass of milk but make sure that the milk is low fat. A bowl of granola with a one cup of low-fat milk also serves the purpose. If you like yogurt, you can mix it to half a cup of fresh berries. If you want something that is a little more substantial, try almond butter smeared on whole wheat toasts. You can also consume your regular bowl of whole grain cereal with low-fat milk.
You can also prepare a recovery smoothie yourself. Just add a banana, a cup of strawberries, 3 egg yolks, a cup of rolled oats, quarter cup of wheat germ, 2 cups of milk (fat-free), and a quarter cup of plain, nonfat yogurt. Put these in a blender to puree until smooth, add ice, and puree again. If you do not have enough time for this, just consume raw eggs along with a scoop of protein powder. But choose whey protein (as it is easily digestible) instead of soy protein.*
* Click here to find out more information on how to consume raw eggs safely.
Posted on May 21, 2013 by Lawrence Fagan
Having a good ventilation system is important for the health club experience and environment.
Fact: Most gyms are indoors and many people are sweating and breathing in recycled air.
Problem: Risk of infection is high in gyms with poor ventilation systems.
Factors contributing to the problem:
1) Viruses, germs and bacteria thrive;
2) Humid areas compound the problem;
1) Foul smell;
2) Shortness of breath;
4) Your members will experience incomplete workout sets and poor performances;
5) Ultimately resulting in member avoidance, cancellation, and bad reviews;
6) Waste of money.
Real World Experience:
I know of a health club that nearly lost its entire membership base due to a mysterious illness that happened inside the premise. Members started getting ill with flu. It happened so fast that nearly half of its members got sick within a week. It even affected the employees. Sanitation officials concluded that it was caused by poor ventilation. The gym operator was required to put in additional ventilation.
Don’t Let This Happen to Your Fitness Business:
We don’t want this to happen to our gyms! Using air fresheners will make the air around smell better, but it will just mask the real problem. Gym operators need to be vigilant and proactive in anticipating problems related to ventilation.
Steps to Improve Air Ventilation:
1) Install blowers;
2) Update your air-conditioning units with bacteria absorbing filters;
3) Add windows if permits will allow;
4) Provide a consistent supply of disinfectants to your members including hand sanitizers, isopropyl alcohols and soap;
5) Train ALL personnel to immediately wipe areas used by members. Make everyone responsible, not just the janitor or cleaning crew;
6) Keep your bathrooms, changing rooms and equipment clean. Doing this will also help in member retention.
7) It is vital to spray disinfectants on gym equipment; this should be done before opening the gym to our members and periodically throughout the day.
8) If possible, offer free clean towels. Some clients don’t bring their own towel;
9) Connect with your local sanitation companies. You will be amazed at the sanitation product lines they offer, and of course you can benefit you and your staff of the free training that usually comes with it.
10) If it is flu season, be cognizant of who may be suffering from a virus and gently request them to go home and take care of themselves. This gesture alone can save your business, employees, and other members from the potential infection. Some clients will be offended but let them know that you are doing this for their own benefit.
Your members use your facilities to improve their health and attain their goals. However, if going to your gym gets them sick, then you are doing a great disservice to them. Be aware and active to protect your members, gym reputation, and yourself!
By Chris U. ~Gym Owner and Operator of Bulldog Gym
Posted on May 20, 2013 by Lawrence Fagan
We have recently seen an immense increase in profitability of the fitness industry. This also means that there is an attractive prospect in terms of jobs and businesses in the industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that the number of jobs within this industry is expected to increase by more than 23% over the next 10 years.[i] The bureau also said that the number of jobs available under “fitness and recreational sports centers” even went up to 484,200 in 2010.[ii]
Economists justify this prediction by looking at how businesses and corporations are offering health club memberships to their employees as incentives.[iii] Besides this, baby boomers are being encouraged to exercise regularly, so that they can stay healthy and fight the effects of aging.[iv] Let’s look at the current situation of fitness centers and jobs in the fitness industry:
According to the annual surveys conducted by the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), there has been a significant increase in the number of health clubs, gyms, and other fitness centers.[v] From the list found in the Yellow Pages, there are 30,500 fitness centers in the US as of January 2012.[vi] Back in 2005, this number was just around 26,830 and gradually increased over the years.[vii]
The number of people deciding to join a fitness center has also risen to a significant amount. According to the IHRSA statistics, the number of health club or gym memberships has increased from 41.3 million in 2005 to 50.2 million in 2012.[viii] The most current reports show number of people who have at least used a health club in 2012 increased those with memberships by 8 million in the same year.[ix] This means that as of January 2013, there are approximately 58.5 million Americans who are utilizing fitness center via membership or other type of status. [x]
Number of personal trainers
With these statistics, it might be safe to say that there are attractive prospects for jobs in the fitness industry. The number of personal trainers has also risen incredibly over the past few years. According to the Labor Department, there were 231,500 personal trainers in America as of 2011.[xi] This is a 44% increase in the numbers from 2001.[xii] That’s why you find so many people who are trying to turn their passion for fitness into a successful career.
Economists from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest that occupations like fitness instructors and personal trainers are the driving force in the success of the fitness industry.[xiii] According to their calculations, the number of people in these occupations is expected to increase by 31.7% by 2020.[xiv]
The IHRSA also reported that the total revenue in the fitness industry reached $21.8 billion in 2012. [xv] This is a significant increase from the $20.3 billion made in 2010 by the industry.[xvi] Since 2008, health club memberships rose by 10%, while the number of non-member patrons also increased by 5%.[xvii] This particular number went up from 7.7 million patrons in 2008 to 8.3 in 2012. [xviii]
The Physical Activity Council Topline Report revealed that over 60% of Americans regularly participate in fitness sports as of 2012. [xix] This is the fifth consecutive year in which these numbers have remained stable at 60% or more[xx]. This goes to show that the fitness trend is not going away soon in America and the fitness industry is only going to grow stronger each year. All in all, fitness is a profitable industry in the US and the numbers will only continue to rise.
[i] Club Solutions, Fitness Industry Jobs Expected to See Substantial Growth, on the Internet at http://clubsolutionsmagazine.com/2013/02/fitness-industry-jobs-expected-to-see-substantial-growth/ (visited May 18, 2013).
[v] IHRSA, U.S. Health Club Membership Exceeds 50 Million, Up 10.8%; Industry Revenue Up 4% as New Members Fuel Growth, on the Internet at http://www.ihrsa.org/media-center/2011/4/5/us-health-club-membership-exceeds-50-million-up-108-industry.html (visited May 18, 2013).
[vi] IHRSA, About the Industry, Health Club Industry Overview, on the Internet http://www.ihrsa.org/about-the-industry/ (visited May 18, 2013).
[ix] IHRSA, 58.5 Million Americans Utilize Health Clubs, on the Internet at http://www.ihrsa.org/media-center/2013/5/8/585-million-americans-utilize-health-clubs.html (visited May 18, 2013).
[xi] The New York Times, Business Day, A Jobs Boom Build on Sweat in an Age of Belt-Tightening, on the Internet at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/01/business/for-personal-trainers-a-boom-fueled-by-a-belt-tightening-age.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 (visited May 18, 2013).
[xiii] Club Solutions, Fitness Industry Jobs Expected to See Substantial Growth, on the Internet at http://clubsolutionsmagazine.com/2013/02/fitness-industry-jobs-expected-to-see-substantial-growth/ (visited May 18, 2013).
[xv] IHRSA, 58.5 Million Americans Utilize Health Clubs, on the Internet at http://www.ihrsa.org/media-center/2013/5/8/585-million-americans-utilize-health-clubs.html (visited May 18, 2013).
[xvi] IHRSA, U.S. Health Club Membership Exceeds 50 Million, Up 10.8%; Industry Revenue Up 4% as New Members Fuel Growth, on the Internet at http://www.ihrsa.org/media-center/2011/4/5/us-health-club-membership-exceeds-50-million-up-108-industry.html (visited May 18, 2013).
[xvii] IHRSA, 58.5 Million Americans Utilize Health Clubs, on the Internet at http://www.ihrsa.org/media-center/2013/5/8/585-million-americans-utilize-health-clubs.html (visited May 18, 2013).
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