5 Key Components of a Top Notch Fitness Facility

It has been over 6 years since my facility State of Fitness opened its doors and less than six months since our corporate location with our new corporate location. To say we have are committed to continuously find ways to be the best fitness facility in a corporate or public location is an understatement. Here at SOF, we are constantly looking for ways we can improve. Our customer service,  cleanliness, training model, and training tools are high on our priority list! Each area needs daily attention to truly be the BEST.

We wanted to open up a personal training based facility that was clean, has up to date equipment, and unmatched customer service. We wanted it to be absolutely unlike anything else in the surrounding areas, as well as the state of Michigan. We feel that the consumer needs to have a place where they can get expert guidance in a fun, comfortable, welcoming and clean environment.

The health and fitness industry is growing at a very rapid rate and along with that comes more fitness facilities. With so many choices these days, large-scale health clubs, CrossFit boxes, 24-hour gyms, barre studios, and more, deciding where to join isn’t easy ! The tough thing is figuring out which one works best for you! Here are 5 things to think about when deciding which fitness facility to join:

  1. Professionalism

The first and foremost thing that someone should look for is what professionals are available at the facility. A solid fitness facility should always have a well-educated group of personal trainers. They should all have a college degree in a related field, years of experience, and nationally accredited certifications. You should also see if they have specialty certifications such as Functional Movement Screen, Precision Nutrition and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists. These individuals are there to help guide you in the right direction when you decide to embark on a proper exercise. They are the leaders in helping educate you to lead a healthier and more active lifestyle. Find a facility
that has owners invested in the day-to-day operations and live the life of fitness pro.

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2. Customer Service

You want everyone from the front desk worker to the owner and director of the facility to be visible, eager to help, and care for each individual member that walks through the door. I am a firm believer that each person that works at the facility should be interactive with members and clients regardless of their position at the facility. They should not view you as just another member. They should show you that they are interested in listening to you about everything from your personal life to what you want to see done differently at the facility.

    3. Cleanliness and Organization

There is nothing in the world that is a bigger turnoff than a dirty facility. A fitness facility must always be as clean as possible. The locker rooms, mats, benches, and floors should be the high priority when keeping the facility clean. Hand sanitizer, spray sanitizer, and clean towels should always be available at the facility. If the facility is not clean, it is a big red flag. Go somewhere else.

Not only should the facility be kept clean, it should also be nicely organized. All dumbbells, weight machines, weight plates, and other pieces of equipment should be put away in a safe and orderly fashion. This helps control traffic and flow of members. It gives the members a better understanding of where everything is located, and helps reduce the risk of injury. There is nothing more appealing than a neat, clean, and efficient fitness facility.

  1. Up-to-Date Training Methods and EquipmentSOF

The fitness world is evolving very quickly and with that comes new ideas for equipment and classes. A fitness facility should always be looking out for the newly available equipment and training. Personal training in a private, semi-private, and group setting should be the cornerstone of any facility. Trainers are the most educated people when it comes to fitness. Each member, or potential member, should have the opportunity to work with a trainer on a regular basis or at minimum meet with a trainer to get him or her pointed in the right direction. Specialized programs on nutrition, injuries, and lifestyle should round out the programs offered at a facility.SOF 2

Machine based training is a thing of the past and is not how we need to be doing fitness. A fitness facility should have plenty of room filled with Kettlebells, slide boards, free weights, TRX straps, ropes, medicine balls, and other functional training tools. Plenty of cable stations, foam rollers, speed and agility equipment, and functional cardiovascular machines such as Concept 2 rowers, AirDyne bikes, treadmills, and stair steppers should round out the equipment list.

  1. Environment 

With everyone leading a busier lifestyle these days, it sometimes makes it tough to work up the motivation to even go to the gym. Having a place to go workout in a fun, welcoming, and energetic environment makes it all the more motivating to lead a more active lifestyle. You should walk into a fitness facility and be able to leave your problems at the door and know that you will have a hassle free workout. The key to helping people lead an active lifestyle is to provide continued support and motivation. Everyone needs to feel like someone is interested in helping them stay healthy.  They can then look forward to being surrounded by a great group of people.Class

Group and semi-private training provide a fun atmosphere for people to train. They have friends and make new friends that they can work out with. They share common bonds and motivate each other. It is tough to do this fitness thing on your own. Having a coach and other people in your group to train with makes it much easier to stay motivated and holds you accountable.

You Deserve A Great Gym Membership!

Customer service means knowing every member’s name. We continually go out of our way to help meet the health and fitness needs of our members and guests. We pride ourselves on keeping a clean and neat facility. If an area of the club does not look clean enough, we make sure to make it a top priority to clean it as fast as possible. It not only looks clean, it is clean! If a piece of equipment breaks, it is fixed or replaced promptly. Our staff is high energy, caring, and encouraging. Our members also provide a motivating and welcoming atmosphere to make everyone feel comfortable in a group and semi-private training setting. All of us feed off each other to get in the gym, work hard, have fun, and get results!

I am very proud to say that State of Fitness (and the people that are there) rock!

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Stronger From The Ground Up

Most people don’t know this but good human movement starts from the ground up. Before we stand, walk, run and jump, we start on the ground. As Gray Cook puts it, we need the 4 B’s: Breathe, bend, balance and bounce. When we are born, we do not have the ability to do much. As we age, we begin with tummy time, crawling, rolling over, standing up, and eventually walking. The funny thing is that as we continue to age, we lose the ability to do these primal movements.

 

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Many of us look at exercise as running, biking, swimming and lifting weights. These are all true forms of working out but are not the only thing we should be focusing on. Let me explain. As we begin life in the “real world”, starting when we go to school, we begin to sit more and not move as much. Kids move more than adults, that’s for sure. When we get to about the college age, we sit even more and move even less. At that time, we start to lose some abilities we once acquired simply by growing up. As time goes on, we lose the ability to roll over, get up off the ground, kneel and squat. This may sound silly to you but this is true and well documented.

It is not news that we sit too much and don’t move enough. So you should understand that our posture and strength diminishes as we age. So how can we get pure core strength and mobility back? We can do this by simply starting on the ground and working our way up. These “primitive” patterns can help us increase core strength, improve movement patterns, and help us get back to moving how we were made to move. Let’s go back to basics and reclaim what we once had but lost over time due to our daily limitations. Include the 5 movements below in your daily warm-up and watch all of your athletic movements improve.

The Turkish Get-Up

Start by lying on your side  (for purposes of explanation we will assume you start on your L. side). With your L. hand grasp a kettlebell or dumbbell (15lbs or less). With the weight in your hand roll onto your back and press the weight straight up like a bench press. The R. leg will go straight out in front of you while the L. knee stays bent with the foot on the ground. Place the R. arm on the ground to stabilize your body and use your L. leg to help propel your body up off the ground. Do all of this while maintaining the weight up above you with the arm extended. Next take your R. leg and kick it behind your body. If you can’t do this part of the TGU then stop there and go back to the ground slowly. Once the R. leg is behind you from this lunge position stand up while maintaining the weight up in the air. Now reverse everything you just did and go back to the side lying position. Do this as many times as you can until technique breaks down. Please don’t perform reps with poor form. Quality over quantity on this one!

Inch Worm

This simple exercise helps increase core stability, shoulder stability and improves overall flexibility. It mimics a crawling movement while maintaining a strong core. You simply keep your arms and legs straight at all times while walking your hands out as far as possible, keeping your body straight. Walk back in maintaining the same posture and repeat.

Bird/Dog

Starting on all fours on the ground is an essential movement to everyone. The “quadruped”, better known as “on all fours,” is a position/movement we lose as we age. The bird dog is the perfect movement to mimic core rotary stability when we are younger.

You simply start on all fours in good alignment and then extend the opposite arm and leg. As you return, pull the hand and knee to the ground together and back out to increase the challenge of the core rotary stability strength.

The bird-dog is an essential core exercise that can be incorporated into most strength training protocols. The bird/dog requires asymmetrical trunk stability in both the sagittal and transverse planes of movement. Consider this an effective exercise to maintain a healthy low back.

Bear Crawl

If you have kids, I am sure you can remember the first time your child started to crawl. It was an amazing part of the growing up process. Do you remember how much they struggled at first? I do. There is a reason for this. Crawling is hard work! Once we start to walk, we forget about crawling. Walking is a much easier way to move around. We humans always take the path of least resistance. What we forget is that the hard stuff can benefit us.

At State of Fitness, we use crawling very regularly. Our clients have a love/hate relationship with the crawl. They notice that the more they crawl, the better their shoulders feel and the stronger their core becomes. They also get a great metabolic effect from the movement thus leading to more fat loss. Try crawling for 40 meters and see just how great of an exercise it is!

Spidermans

I learned this exercise about 6 years ago and have kept it as a staple in my programs ever since. This exercise helps improve hip mobility as well as core and shoulder strength. You start in the push-up position and then lift one leg and try to put it right next to your hand. If you watch a young kid, they do this with ease. For adults, we have lost strength and mobility so it is a little harder.

If you want to gain strength, improve movement, improve your sports and just plain feel better, sometimes you just need to start with the basics and get on the ground.

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The Rise of The Personal Trainer

The personal trainer is the health professional of the future. In the next 5 years, your personal trainer or team of personal trainers will be the ones that you go to for advice on improving your health. With health care going the way it is, prevention will be the key to longevity and quality of life.

Empowering

Simply going to the doctor to get a script will not be your answer. Understanding how to workout, eat, rest, breathe, move better, and feel better will be your new script. This is tough to do on your own, so you will need a coach, a motivator, a leader. Someone who cares.

A personal trainer. Here is a message to personal trainers. With this comes added responsibility. We are no longer just meatheads that love to workout and then decide we want to become a trainer. We are highly qualified professionals that work on getting at least a 4-year degree and various certifications, we attend workshops, conferences, read books, write, and learn as much as possible on how to perfect our craft and help others. It is not just about counting sets and reps and telling our clients to eat chicken and broccoli. It is so much more than that. We are mentors, coaches, and leaders. Make sure you take this job seriously if you want to be taken seriously.

To all of the clients, the responsibility also falls on you. Right now only 17% of the population has a gym membership. Most of those gym memberships are only costing $10-$20. If you pay for a cheap gym membership, you get cheap service and results. The future of the gym membership will be looked at as an investment, not a cost. How can we spend more money on our cable bills and phone bills and less on our preventative health? You don’t have to break the bank on your gym membership and trainer, but you do have to reallocate your budget to improve your health.

Trainers, remember this: what you do matters. What you do changes lives. Take your job seriously. To everyone else, remember that you matter. You need to take your health into your own hands. It won’t be easy and it won’t be cheap. Just remember that you matter, so take care of yourself before it’s to late.

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