Feature Article - March 2011
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Fit To Be Tried

Top Trends in Fitness Programming

By Deborah L. Vence

In the future, "You will see more opportunities [for youth]. It's happened in the last few years, the youth sports markets. As a good revenue stream, you have to look at health club operations: They get most of their members through the door through normal business hours of 2 to 5. There's not much going on in the clubs at that time," McCall said.

"But, if they have a kids' program going on after school, you can increase the revenue stream. A lot of health club companies are starting to look at that. We can use this time as a business model, but addressing childhood obesity solution," McCall said. "Taking underused resources and manpower and applying it to an area of need. It all comes down to resources. Time is the most precious resource."

ACE's top 10 fitness trends for 2011 showed that more youth-focused classes and clients will be popping up in gyms thanks to the national attention and focus on childhood obesity. Schools and fitness centers also will incorporate more exercise curriculum for the youth population and take advantage of ACE's Operation FitKids curriculum, which recently has been revamped and expanded with a new program targeting students in sixth through eighth grade.

Social Networking

Facebook and Twitter are not only popular methods of communication and socializing these days, but increasingly being turned to as a means of communication and a marketing vehicle for corporations. And now, health clubs are jumping on the social networking train to keep in closer contact with clients and help serve as an online motivational support system to complement personal training sessions.

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"You are starting to see a lot of personal training studios putting information out there. They might write a blog, [make] a three- or four-minute video and put it on Facebook. It links people in and provides information, new research that's out about exercise," ACE's McCall said.

"To be healthier, the big value is for trainers to use those sites, with daily or weekly fitness tips, or you can send a link to a YouTube video, [and get] two or three nutrition tips when you travel on the road," he said. "You are starting to see companies using social networking—personal interaction with personal training. [They can] leverage that and stay top of mind with who they are working with. [Through] Skype—you can get a list of exercises, and I can watch them and coach them through it. It involves close contact with their clientele."

Another benefit, too, is that it allows for a different revenue stream—one you can take advantage of when clients are traveling.

"If they're traveling, we can schedule it remotely—through Skype or online video applications," McCall added.