Feature Article - November 2007
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Survival of the Fitness

Adapt to Evolving Fitness Trends and Demographics—or Be Left Behind

By Kelli Anderson

Child's Play
Kids Action Fitness, Denver, Colo.

Three years ago, Rick Schliebe, managing partner of Club USA in Southwest Denver had a concern, which led to an innovative idea. As reports continued to sound the national alarm about childhood obesity—with latest estimates at over 30 percent—Schliebe decided to create a fitness facility devoted to a unique, holistic approach to the problem behind the statistics.

Equipped with kid favorites like Dance Dance Revolution, Tazer and 3-Kick as well as many equipment standards enhanced with virtual reality screens such as treadmills and stationary bikes, the facility is clearly geared to younger clients. Even more impressive is the staff of nutritionists, coaches and therapists—all with degrees in youth development and dedicated to the special needs of children.

On July 6, 2007, Kids Action Fitness opened its doors to an enthusiastic community.

"It was unbelievable," Schliebe said. "We ran over 1,200 people through here—it was bigger than we thought it would be."

When asked what makes this approach different than others contained within facilities designed for adults, Schliebe was quick to respond. "I think other facilities can't copy the educational program. It's what makes us different than anybody else."

The programs are set up by age group, and although "fun" is the main course on the programming menu, the ingredients are nothing but healthy.

"We make them learn nutrition," Schliebe explained. "They go through a Power Point presentation and take a test. We show them what muscles they're using, show them how to use the equipment, and they have to be willing to get into shape."

With a customized approach, Kids Action Fitness is intended to address the needs of both children who are overweight, as well as children wanting sport-specific training to improve their athletic performance. In either case, the targeted approach of fitness for children is most likely just the beginning of even better things to come.