20 Aug 2018 | Digital editions, magazines, websites, e-zines, handbooks and contract publishing for the leisure industry

Leisure Opportunities issue 742, 2018 is now out!

Blogs:

Read blogs by writer:

Liz Terry
CEO,
Leisure Media

Kate Cracknell
editor-at-large,
Health Club Management

Tom Walker
Journalist,
Leisure Media

Our guest writers:

Aleatha Ezra
Director of park member development,
World Waterpark Association

Jennifer Fields
Communications Coordinator,
Association of Zoos and Aquariums

Brad Irwin
Partnerships development manager,
Natural History Museum

Michel Buchel
President of Ecsite and CEO of NEMO, Amsetrdan,
NEMO

Julie Becker
Communications and Events Manager,
Ecsite

Eva McDiarmid
Chief Executive,
ASVA

Kurt Janson
Policy Director,
Tourism Alliance

Peter Ducker
Chief executive,
Institute of Hospitality

Maria Zolotonosa
Project Manager,
Ecsite

Ian Taylor
CEO,
SkillsActive

Ufi Ibrahim
Chief Executive,
British Hospitality Association

John Goodbody
Sports Journalist

Sam Coulstock
Customer Relationship Director,
Springboard

Lucy Schweingruber
Fundraising and Events Manager,
Ecsite

View all guest writers

Food for thought

06 Feb 2015
by Kate Cracknell, editor-at-large, Health Club Management
64 per cent of people have no idea how many calories the average person needs to maintain a healthy weight

Imagine a scenario where everyone knows exactly how to look after their bodies. Where people are aware of their precise individual nutritional needs, as well as the best exercise programming for their body type. And imagine a scenario where they’re getting all this knowledge and guidance from their health club.

Now flip to the current situation: in a recent YouGov survey, 64 per cent of people had no idea how many calories the average person needs to maintain a healthy weight, let alone their own body’s specific requirements. Many were also unaware of the calorie content of their favourite foods and drinks. Commissioned by Diabetes UK, British Heart Foundation and Tesco, this survey provides an important reality check. No wonder obesity rates are soaring.

And the fitness sector isn’t doing enough to help at the moment, with the quality and availability of nutritional advice and programming still poor at most clubs: as a general rule, the focus is very much on ‘calories out’ at the gym at the expense of helping members better manage ‘calories in’ throughout their day.

So why is this? The importance of weight loss as a motivator is well documented: based on their retention research, Dr Paul Bedford and Dr Melvyn Hillsdon estimate it to be one of the main reasons for gym attendance for between 66 and 80 per cent of members. Similarly well documented is the importance of balancing calories in versus calories out: educating weight loss-focused members in this will set them, and with it the club, up for success.

There’s therefore a huge commercial opportunity for the fitness sector to grow its reach and drive loyalty by providing the nutritional guidance people so badly need. It wouldn’t even require a fundamental change in business model: both sides of the fitness/diet offering are deliverable through existing mechanisms, and many clubs already have the necessary expertise in-house among their staff.

Operators could bring nutrition centre stage alongside fitness, introducing DNA testing as the basis for bespoke exercise and nutrition plans – potentially even exercise that takes place entirely outside the gym. They could sell monthly health and diet memberships that include body composition analysis to track progress. Crucially these memberships would also embrace behaviour change and offer a solid foundation of education – not just a better understanding of balancing calories, but also teaching people to consume the right essential nutrients in the right quantities for their body, rather than empty calories (see Health Club Management 2015 issue 2 p28).

Operators could also introduce eye-catching ways to bring the basic ‘don’t eat more than you burn’ principle to life around the gym floor: include a tracker in the new memberships so people know exactly how many calories they’ve expended in the gym; publicise details of typical calorie burn for each class on the timetable; and include calorie content on in-club menus and vending machines.

Ignorance lies at the heart of many bad choices. Give members the information they need to be accountable to themselves, and watch how many reconsider immediately undoing that hour in the gym with a post-workout latte.



Tags: Health Club Management  health & fitness 

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