Oct 22

Holiday Exercise Do’s and Don’ts

Posted: under Exercise.
Tags: , , October 22nd, 2012

You’re busier than ever. You barely have time to deck the halls and trim the tree, much less time to exercise for an hour or so. Should you just forgo your exercise routine and wait until the New Year? Is it even worth going to the gym or out for a walk if you haven’t been consistent? Won’t the calories just add up anyway? Read the rest of this entry »

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Sep 27

Healthy Holiday Eating

Posted: under Fitness.
Tags: , , September 27th, 2012

We have parties to kick off the Super Bowl, and bring in the goodies to prove it! Valentine’s Day is full of chocolate; Halloween is even more abundant in sweets. Then we have champagne brunches, birthday parties, lavish dinners, and other personal celebrations too.

Very often we mix food with unhealthy consequences. There are digestive problems and weight gain, plus other side effects that could be avoided with the use of a little common sense.

A holiday feast does not have to be a recipe for disaster. Consider the traditional Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Skinless, white meat turkey offers a lean source of protein. Baked sweet potatoes are low-fat and potassium-rich side dishes. The key is to enjoy your holiday treats in moderation. Nutritionists tell us to apply the 80/20 rule. 80% healthy food and 20% treats.

When Holidays are upon you, here are some healthy cooking alternatives. Substitute high-fat ingredients with low-fat options whenever you can. Mashed potatoes can taste great even without butter or sour cream. Make them with broth and season them with thyme and garlic, for example. Use nonfat toppings instead of homemade whipped cream for desserts, but make it special with a little ground nutmeg and some thawed orange juice concentrate.

If you’re a guest, offer to bring something such as a platter of colorful veggies, with broccoli, sliced peppers, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and snow peas. Along with that, bring an assortment of low-fat dips or a main-dish lasagna prepared with spinach and low-fat cheese.

Resist the temptation to eat a food just because it’s there, and reserve the calories for what you love. For instance, potato chips and peanuts are nothing special and might as well be skipped, but Grandma’s pecan pie is a rare treat to be savored. If you sample a food and find it doesn’t appeal to you, simply find a tastier replacement.

Ever notice how guests seem to gather in the kitchen or around the buffet table? Fill your plate (preferably a small one), then find a spot away from the food. If you stay within arm’s reach of the offerings, you’re more inclined to keep picking and nibbling even after you’re full.

There are plenty of tricks to help keep you from mindlessly over-indulging on food and drink.

Chew gum so you don’t keep putting food in your mouth, remind yourself that carrying a plate around the whole party looks terrible, and follow every alcoholic or high-calorie drink, such as eggnog, with a glass of plain water.

This will prevent you from having one after another.

Another trick is to write down everything you eat. This will make you realize just what you are consuming, reading the truth helps you come to the point of no denial.

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Sep 19

The Short on Shin Splints

Posted: under Fitness.
Tags: , , September 19th, 2012

People with flat feet or low arches tend to overpronate. Shin splints can also be caused by underpronation or supination. This is when the foot rolls outward when stepping. People with high arches tend to supinate. Other causes can be doing too much too soon, walking or running on hard surfaces or wearing worn out shoes. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sep 18

Tips for Dealing With Heat Stress During Physical Activity

Posted: under Fitness.
Tags: , , September 18th, 2012

Whether athletes like it or not they are predisposed to heat exhaustion while training during the summer months. If the temperature and the relative humidity are both above 80 degrees, precautions need to be taken to avoid both injury and illness. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jul 31

Approaching Sponsors

Posted: under Fitness.
Tags: , , July 31st, 2012

In approaching local businesses to sponsor your program, your primary selling tool will be the exposure that they will receive. Sometimes member-owned businesses are easy sales for a program like this. To recruit sponsors, first send an initial letter outlining the program. Follow with a telephone call and an in-person visit with project materials. You should market the co-sponsors in any and all promotions used for the project. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jul 19

Pricing too Low is the Biggest Mistake we Make in the Club Business, Part 5

Posted: under Fitness.
Tags: , , July 19th, 2012

If a competitor came in and offered a higher price membership it wouldn’t take away a huge number of members from the low-price operator. It doesn’t have to. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jul 19

Pricing too Low is the Biggest Mistake we Make in the Club Business, Part 4

Posted: under Fitness.
Tags: , , July 19th, 2012

Again, we aren’t selling a commodity, we’re selling a service. And in most services, the consumer thinks that the highest priced service is the best. For example, if you’re suffering from some terrible illness, do you want the cheapest doctor you can find treating you? If you are in serious legal trouble, do you want the cheapest lawyer you can find defending you? Read the rest of this entry »

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Jul 19

Pricing too Low is the Biggest Mistake we Make in the Club Business, Part 3

Posted: under Fitness.
Tags: , , July 19th, 2012

The club simply can’t provide service because the owners don’t have the additional revenue and probably don’t believe in it anyhow. Each day the club is judged successful or not by the amount of sales generated that day. Note here that there is no other revenue in these clubs from multiple profit centers because this style of club can’t control them. Why? Because all the real people are in sales and the rest are warm bodies who are passing through on their way to other jobs. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jul 19

Pricing too Low is the Biggest Mistake we Make in the Club Business, Part 2

Posted: under Fitness.
Tags: , , July 19th, 2012

More members not worth cost

But the preeminent sacred cow of all time in the fitness industry is setting the price low so the club will attract more members. The rule was that the lower the price was set, the more members, or higher volume, the club would attract. For example, why set your monthly price at $40 and limit your membership? Why not set it at $20 and attract a lot more members? Read the rest of this entry »

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Jul 19

Pricing too Low is the Biggest Mistake we Make in the Club Business, Part 1

Posted: under Fitness.
Tags: , , July 19th, 2012

Year after year, decade after decade, the incoming generation of new owners following those who have gone before them will make the same mistake the industry has made over and over again. What’s this catastrophic mistake each generation in the club business seems doomed to repeat? We set our prices too low. It seems like the biggest and most oft-repeated mistake would be something more dynamic to talk about. It’s not about opening with the wrong partners. It’s not about being totally undercapitalized. It’s not about dumping your spouse and running away with one of your good-looking personal training clients. It’s simply that we price the gym too low for the market.

The cost of price wars

Historically, the industry has always kept the price low by waging price wars against our competitors. In the ’70s a member paid around $20 per month for a membership to a typical mainstream health club. In the ’90s, in markets such as Denver, Colorado, a person can still join a fitness center for about $20 per month. There is even a national chain that advertises $19 a month in all of its markets. Is this a loss leader, something we offer cheap but then try and up-sell when the client is in the office, or is this price a play to gobble up the market, which is also dumb because it assumes every person in the country is only concerned about price?

The cost of opening a gym has increased by 1,000 to 4,000 percent in most markets around the country compared to the ’70s, but the owners are still trying to charge the same. They still believe that price drives the memberships even though today’s sophisticated members have proved that this is no longer true.

The problem with the price being too low is that it affects virtually every other part of the business. If the price is too low, the club is forced to produce an unrealistic number of sales. If the price is too low the collectibility of the memberships may decrease.

And most importantly, if the price is too low, the multiple profit centers in the club may not work because the club is filled with price-driven members — the cheapest human beings on the planet. Keep in mind that it’s hard to sell multiple profit centers to guys who bring empty milk jugs full of sports drinks. And senior citizens who are in on the lowest membership possible aren’t likely to kick in for that expensive nutrition program.

The misunderstood price

Pricing has grown to be the biggest mistake because it’s so misunderstood. It’s often left to last when it comes to developing a business plan because it seems so simple: Look at what the competitor charges, set our prices a few dollars lower, and then claim that our club is better that anyone else’s. Therefore, the member is getting a better buy from us. Again, does the member really logically believe that your business can be the best and the cheapest at the same time? Or does it seem logical to the consumer that he or she will really have a good experience and get enough help and service in a business that prices itself at $19 per month?

Setting a price has almost taken on magical proportions to some owners in the industry. “Find that one magic price and every potential member will buy.” The myths associated with pricing have evolved to become some of the biggest sacred cows in the business. “Sacred cows” are beliefs that are repeated so often they become the unquestionable truth.

For example, one very entrenched cow in the industry might be, “You have to have a childcare room in the club. Most members won’t use it but they want to see it when they join.” Another cow might be, “Without aerobics you’ll never get any women in the club.” And don’t forget an all-time favorite, “Cash is king. You have to go for all the cash you can get when you open your club.”

All of these premises were thought to be the absolute law at one time or another in the industry. And all eventually were proven to be untrue.

Clubs don’t have to have childcare to be profitable, cardio and other styles of group workouts such as group cycling replaced aerobics eons ago. Cash lowers the return-per-member so substantially that most owners, especially those that run multiple units, are much better off without the cash.

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