Sportsmith Blog
5Aug/15Off

Fast & FUN Ways to Stand Out in Your Community on National Family Health & Fitness Day

National Family Health & Fitness Day

Local fitness centers can help form the bridge between generations by showing families how they can be physically active as a team. National Family Health and Fitness Day, occurring this year on September 26, 2015, will be the 19th year in a row that the United States has devoted a day to events promoting family fitness.

The goal of National Family Health and Fitness Day is to make fitness fun and to show ways that families can remain active at all ages.

Fitness centers are in a unique position to promote a lifetime of healthy decisions when they can support a family’s goals, show ways to incorporate fitness into the everyday life of a family, and create a family-friendly workout environment.

Concerns

Although the benefits of healthy eating and exercise can be found in every magazine and on numerous television shows and podcasts, America’s youth still struggles with getting enough activity.

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, approximately half of America’s young generation between the ages of 12 and 21 do not regularly participate in vigorous activity.

Part of this is due to the removal of physical education classes from many school districts. If the classes have not been removed, they have been decreased to where only 19 percent of high school students participate in a 20-minute PE class five days a week.

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Physical Activity Recommendations

The U.S. Surgeon General recommends daily participation in moderate physical activity and suggests that youths aim for a 30-minute walk or 15 to 20 minutes of higher-intensity sport play. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ups the ante slightly and says adults, teens and children should aim for 60 minutes of daily exercise.

This can be divided up into smaller durations and does not have to be a continuous time period. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity each week, which can easily be achieved with 30 minutes of exercise five days a week.

 

Family Fitness Fair

Local fitness centers can promote these minimum fitness requirements by showing families that exercise is fun. A family fitness fair is a way to encourage members and nonmembers to use the health center, plus local health experts can be on site to provide wellness tips and testing with regard to:

  • Body fat
  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Weight
  • Blood sugar
  • Heart rate
  • Body mass index
  • Posture
  • Foot health

Many local hospitals can send a nurse to perform some of the health tests. Other local professionals, such as chiropractors, physician assistants and podiatrists, are delighted to share their services with the community.

By working with local health providers, fitness centers increase their networking, boost membership and show locals that they are invested in the health of their community members. Local fitness participants will choose to purchase memberships at health centers that invest in their families' wellness.

 

Enjoyable, Safe, Confident

Local businesses can easily support family efforts to achieve and maintain health. Adults and children alike should learn that exercise is enjoyable when it is performed safely. Plus, participants should feel confident in their ability to perform workouts and know that their bodies will do what they ask.

Trainers are an in a wonderful position to provide safe exercise instruction and help adults and children build their self-confidence. When an exercise routine is adapted to each fitness level, adults and children learn to work within their limitations yet push forward and reach their goals.

A family fitness fair on National Family Health and Fitness Day is the perfect chance for families to speak with a trainer without the pressure or intimidation of an intense sales pitch.

Trainers can be available for fitness consultations, fitness testing and to give examples of how personal training sessions benefit families. Family sessions can be scheduled as a way to maintain the family bond and keep each member accountable to the new routine.

 

Fun Run

At a family fitness fair, a health club can organize a fun run for families of all ages. The goal of the run is to finish the race, and families can run as individuals or perform a team relay if needed. Walking is encouraged and can be set up as a separate event.

A competitive atmosphere is not encouraged, as the goal is to make exercise fun and for each family member to feel confident in his or her abilities. A way to reduce the competition is to award everyone a t-shirt or to let families start and finish the run as they arrive instead of starting all the runners at the same time.

 

Triathlon

If the facility has a pool, an indoor triathlon can be set up — again, without competitiveness but simply to show participants an example of the three different sports. For instance, ask participants to swim for 20 minutes, ride an indoor bike for 20 minutes and then run or walk on a treadmill for 20 minutes.

Exercise sheets can be passed out and filled in the way one would fill in a bingo card. As family members complete each exercise station, they mark that square on their sheet.

 

Obstacle Course

One of the biggest and most popular physical challenges of the past few years is an outdoor obstacle course. Fitness centers can set up an outdoor obstacle course using available items such as chairs, aerobic steps, hula hoops, exercise balls, weight benches and more.

Imagine a course in which you walk the balance beam on steps, run tires through hula hoops, crawl under weight benches, jump rope for 20 yards and roll over the tops of balls. This fun way to exercise is something that parents can set up at home in the backyard, and health clubs can inspire this passion.

 

Games

Cake walks are fun events at many family gatherings and are a version of musical chairs. Participants walk around on images of goodies that are arranged in a large circle, and whoever lands on the predetermined image wins a cake. While fitness centers do not want to promote sweets, images of fruits and vegetables could be used, with participants receiving apples instead of cakes. Other games that encourage movement and are easy for fitness trainers to lead are:

  • Mother May I
  • Red Light, Green Light
  • Simon Says
  • Duck, Duck, Goose — standing, with participants marching or doing jumping jacks in place

 

Big Events

A way to draw in more community members is to include a large event at the family fitness fair. Schedule a strength team to perform eye-opening feats such as tearing phone books, ripping license plates or squatting with four people on their backs. These teams typically have a health-promotion message that will reach audiences of all ages. Members and nonmembers will arrive to see what the club has to offer.

 

Challenges

To prepare students for the Presidential Fitness Test, stations can be arranged at a family fair that include pushups, sit-ups, stiff-arm hangs, pull-ups and flexibility testing. Handouts can be provided to identify the preferred ranges in each of these categories, and trainers can help set up a mini workout that improves a student’s ability to do the exercises.

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Family Group Exercise

Fitness trainers can lead group classes for families by team-teaching a sample session. For example, four instructors can stand on each side of the room, as if it were divided into north, south, east and west. The instructor in the north position leads the warm-up and a portion of a kickboxing class; then, participants turn to the instructor on the east side of the room for 15 minutes of Zumba.

Next, participants turn to the back of the room, or south, for strengthening exercises, followed by a turn to the west instructor for abdominal work and a cool-down. Participants get a taste of each class in a fun and highly motivating atmosphere, which will encourage them to return for a complete group fitness workout.

 

Lasting Impression

Fitness centers can help families remember all they have learned by having handouts available. These can include healthy recipes, fitness tips and reminders of ways to incorporate exercise into everyday life, such as:

  • Parking away from the store doors.
  • Using stairs.
  • Walking the dog.
  • After-dinner walks.
  • Pushups or crunches during commercials.
  • Hula-hoop afternoons.
  • Dance jams in the living room.

 

Communication

Health Clubs should collect family contact information and keep communication open as to how they can best serve their members. This communication goes a long way toward helping people reach their health and wellness goals, especially in families.

According to research from the College of Family and Consumer Sciences at Iowa State University, parents who maintain open communication with their children are more likely to have children who make healthy food choices and participate in physical activity.

One way trainers can encourage this communication, say the researchers, is to provide role-playing opportunities in which parents have easy, natural conversations regarding healthy choices.

A family fitness fair on September 26, 2015, is a way to make fitness fun and promote National Family Health and Fitness Day. With a little preplanning, this day will be something that community members look forward to each year and to which they will return in order to see what new fitness trends have emerged.

SPORTSMITH™ has been supplying fitness equipment parts and fitness products to health clubs for 20 years, and by keeping up with the trends and technologies we have kept our customers engaged and satisfied with our customer service and wide array of products. Click here to learn more about how we can help your health club stay current and well stocked!

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20Jul/15Off

12 Reasons People Quit a Healthclub

12 Reasons People Quit a Healthclub

Your bottom line isn't affected by whether or not people enjoy going to a health club; it's affected when they quit going to one. You can't save every customer, but if you know the top reasons why people leave a club, you can start trying to address the problems before they even start. As always, keep in mind that this is survey data with people reporting directly. Sometimes people won't say or don't even know the real reason that they actually quit. For example, they're not likely to admit that they're just far too lazy to work out, regardless of the consequences.

In this four part series we will examine ways you can use member interest to bolster your bottom line. Be sure to Subscribe to receive the upcoming articles in this series.

  1. The Cost.

It's a decent percentage that's taken out of members' paychecks each month for a gym, especially when you factor in all of the other expenses that can come up in a month. Considering they know it's possible to fill balloons with sand and buy an exercise tape, it's probably pretty hard for them to justify continuing to pay far heavier fees to keep going to a gym. Your biggest job in marketing is convincing them what they're getting for the costs. Whether it's equipment that is safe and easy to use, instructors for classes that will push them when they want to stop or a healthier lifestyle, make it clear that they can't get these things at home.

  1. Lack of Attendance 

If people don't get into a routine right away when they join your club, it's pretty much all downhill from there. They need to make the time during their busy work weeks, and often the gym is all too easy to skip. Excuses are incredibly easy to make, especially as an adult, but a true devotee will find a way to get their workouts in (even if they're in Siberia.) This can be a hard one to market against, but try putting up posters that help create reminders for them, such as, "After work, it's gym time to unwind." Once people have a response built up in their head, such as, "As soon as I turn the keys in my car to go to work, I turn left to go to the gym," you'll be able to keep your members for longer.

  1. Location 

You can't help it when someone moves, because at that point, the person's entire routine is disrupted — he or she will no longer be turning left to get to the gym anymore. This might seem trivial, but it really isn't. It can take a long time for people to recover from a change, and it can be very difficult for your business not to become the casualty here. Or sometimes, people sign up thinking that your gym isn't that far, but then after a while, even that 10-minute drive can just be too daunting to make. Again, your literature and materials should be focusing on creating a routine here as much as possible. Your club would be the one constant amidst change.

  1. Found a Free Place to Exercise

How can you compete against free? Well, exercise is always free, but there's a reason why people pay to do it. Equipment, access to pools, spas, classes and so forth are certainly one part of it, but a lot of people also won't do it unless they're somehow invested in the process. For example, if I don't go, then I'm just losing $30 a month. Remind your customers that they likely wouldn't stay on track if they had no financial incentive to work out.

  1. The Crowds

Having a crowded club seems like a dream come true, but it can work against you too. You obviously can't make more physical space unless it's gotten to the point where you absolutely need to construct an add-on, but you can rearrange your layout to fit in more machines. People don't like to wait, and if their favorite equipment or classes aren't available now, they might not want to risk that type of hassle the next time. Again, these can seem like trivial matters. Maybe it was only once that they had to wait, but that one incident can lead to a negative association with going to the gym.

  1.   Injury

There's not much you can do about this one. No matter how safe equipment is, people will still find a way to use it incorrectly. The main thing to do here is let them know that your policies are flexible and that they can ease back into working out and building up their strength again. Also, make it clear that staff is there to help people with technique so injuries don't occur.

  1. Didn't Fit In 

Some people go to a gym just to meet people, and some people want to remain entirely anonymous. If people feel like they can't talk to the other members, then you obviously can't force them to feel comfortable. What you can do is hire intuitive staff who can treat people the way they want to be treated. If they can either give people space or make them feel like a part of a family (whichever one they're more likely to want), then you can create a sense of peace around their visits.

  1. Lost Job

Again, you have no control over this one, but you can let people know that your policies are flexible for when they get back on their feet.

  1. Don't Like to Exercise

Exercise is supposed to release all these endorphins and make people happy, but if that were true for everyone, you'd see a lot more people working out. Adults understand that sometimes they have to do things in their lives that they don't want to do. Exercise is something they need to do to make themselves live longer, better and more fulfilled lives. Don't necessarily tout the reasons why exercise is good for them; they already know that. Have marketing materials that show that you understand where they're coming from, but that ultimately, they're better off continuing to do something they hate to do.

  1. Couldn't Achieve Fitness Goals

People have this image in their minds that they're going to become ripped or a supermodel after they start going to a gym. It doesn't help that impossibly attractive people are featured in the ads. Yes, it can help people become motivated to sign up, but it can also serve to discourage if people don't start looking like that sooner rather than later. This is the time to be specific. Any step is better than no step at all. This is the message you need to hammer into everyone with whom you're in contact. Your trainers should not be pushing extra sets on people or giving them goals they can't accomplish. It takes a special kind of employee to realize who needs to be pushed (because some do need that) and who needs to be encouraged just for doing something at all, but they're worth it. Little changes can lead to larger shifts in people's lives, but it takes time.

  1. The Intimidation Factor

Gyms can be intimidating for beginners. A person walks in for the first time and knows nothing. Others in the gym already know how to use the equipment, know the staff and have a routine. It can take people a while to feel comfortable, so the key is baby steps. You can encourage someone to just try one machine for the day. Test it out, and then go home. The next time, the person can try another machine or possibly even a class.

  1. Not Enough Help

Your staff members are working with people, so they need to be people-pleasers. Everyone wants something different, and it's a lot to ask of your employees to do a difficult (but doable) type of mind reading. Your employees should at least know the basics, such as when people are uncomfortable with attention or when they require more guidance then just a simple point of a finger if asked where the treadmills are.

These are all things that can be addressed with the right values instilled into your health club. It may take you some time to see the benefits, but your customers will appreciate the extra efforts put forth by your dedicated employees.

So often, it's hard to see the forest through the trees, but the truth is that it doesn't take a lot these days for a person to give up on a company. Just one broken machine or wrong comment can turn someone off forever. You won't be perfect, but a consistent and forward-thinking approach will always pay off.

SPORTSMITH™ has been supplying fitness equipment parts and fitness products to health clubs for 20 years, and by keeping up with the trends and technologies we have kept our customers engaged and satisfied with our customer service and wide array of products. Click here to learn more about how we can help your health club stay current and well stocked!

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Survey source The 2015 IHRSA Global Report

9Jul/15Off

12 Reasons Your Health Club Members Stay

healht club membersYou probably know as a health club operator that it's easier to keep a customer than to pick up a new one. Your current client base already knows where you are, how you operate, the membership fees and what you generally have to offer to them. Making a switch takes a lot of effort and a disruption in their routine; however this advice is often lost to owners because they're far too focused on expanding business as opposed to keeping it. You don't have to make big gestures or a huge 'thank you' statement, but you should have a general idea of what exactly keeps them coming back into your doors.

Their primary goals in staying with a health club doesn't appear to be what you can do for them, the crucial factor is about what they can do for themselves. In this way, you just need to be the best possible vessel for them to reach their goals.

In this four part series we will examine ways you can use member interest to bolster your bottom line. Be sure to Subscribe to receive the upcoming articles in this series.

So let's look at the top 12 reasons stay at a health club, so you can make the right choices when trying to entice them to keep their membership with you.
  1. Toned Bodies

They already have seen what their history with you has done for their bodies. They've seen the results and just want to keep those results. Giving them constant reminders that simply by walking in the doors again and again, they immerse themselves in the idea of keeping their bodies as pure and strong as possible. They are likely already addicted to the endorphins, so it won't take much to please them so long as you keep giving them a reliable place to exercise.

  1. Their Overall Health

These people aren't necessarily looking to win any beauty pageants. They just know how important it is to exercise, so they continue to come back to a place to keep their circulation, cholesterol and body fat in check within the recommended levels. Offer them information about the importance of exercise on every aspect of their health, both body and mind. They already know it, but since that's why they continue coming, it doesn't hurt to remind them.

  1. Location, Location, Location

People value convenience often much more than they let on. If you're in a place where people can easily find you or you're naturally in the middle of a large city, you have a huge advantage of both gaining the initial business and keeping it. As anyone in real estate can tell you, picking the right place for your business could make or break your future. It doesn't mean that if you find the perfect place you can just sit back and watch the money roll in, it just means that you're giving yourself a head start.

  1. Great Equipment to Target Different Areas of the Body

Having the right machines mean that you're giving your customers the means to get their workouts done faster and with fewer risks of injury. They'll work smarter and not harder with machines which help them with both their cardio workouts and cross-training efforts. Stress the benefits of each machine, and let them know that your club is set up to help a variety of different purposes. Some people want bigger arms, or a bigger butt. Tailor the information you give out to each person, or post a comprehensive and easy-to-read list by the machines. They'll appreciate being able to utilize your equipment in the most effective ways.

  1. They Came to Work, Not Make Small Talk

Working out with friends or joining an exercise club may be the only way for some people to stay on track. Others just want to be anonymous so they can workout and then get out. They come here so they won't have to spend time making small talk and awkwardly wondering if it's all right to just walk away from a conversation so they can finally tackle the next 10 reps they have to do before they have to get back to work. You can't do anything about customers who might chat them up, but make sure your staff knows who these people are so they give them every out to get back to their routine.

  1. Personal Goals

Your customers can't control how people feel about them at work or at home. They can only strive to be a better person in all that they do. Going to a health club means that not only are they trying to do the right thing, they're actually succeeding in it. This is one way they can feel good about themselves that they can depend on. They know that they've done something good for themselves by exercising and staying on track. You should be encouraging for this crowd, but not too demanding of them. They may not need a new goal every week.

  1. The Classes

Offering a wide variety of classes from Yoga to Spinning to Advanced Cardio means that you're appealing to the different types of people who may frequent your club. Sometimes learning and being coached through new moves can only be done by a qualified teacher, and if they don't have enough funds on hand to pay someone to do it one on one, this is the only way to get that tutorial. Also, you should really take some time in picking out the instructor for the class since that's going to make all the difference in whether or not people want to sign up.

  1. Fun

Ok, it's a little buried here, but exercise is supposed to be fun! All those chemicals being released make you feel alive and invigorated about your day. Upbeat music, smiling faces and great attitudes all just make people want to come back again and again to feel good.

  1. Their Friends and Family Go There

Endorsements mean the most coming from someone you know. If their loved ones already attend the club, then they're more likely to stay in a certain area. However, it's not a coincidence that all these people who know each other are all in your club. Impress your current customers, and their comments will go farther than any marketing campaign ever could.

  1. The Professional Fitness Staff

Everyone knows that personal trainers come at an additional cost, but sometimes just having access to knowledgeable, means that people are more likely to stick with their personal fitness goals. When you hire your employees, take into account not just how much they know, but also how well they're likely to interact with your customers. People should feel comfortable in approaching them with questions, comments and concerns.

  1. The Social Aspects

Ok, so some people do go to a health club to be able to meet with other people and share tips. Keep in mind that it's nearing the list, but it's definitely still a factor. Some people may just be encouraged to see other people working out. They know that if they're the only one who can't keep up in a class that it will motivate them to get better so they won't have to look like the outcast.

  1. The Money

They've already paid you at this point, so why not go? Some people need to make that investment first. It's not a terrible strategy, and not necessarily a reason you need to shy away from when you interact with them. Some people don't want to hide behind the fact that they want to stay healthy. It's entirely possible that they simply know that they have to exercise, they'll hate it every stage of the way and they need an external force helping them to complete their goals.

For whatever reason your customers keep coming back to you, keep an open mind and try to work approaches to your existing client base to meet their needs.

SPORTSMITH™ has been supplying fitness equipment parts and fitness products to health clubs for 20 years, and by keeping up with the trends and technologies we have kept our customers engaged and satisfied with our customer service and wide array of products. Click here to learn more about how we can help your health club stay current and well stocked!

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Survey source The 2015 IHRSA Global Report

17Jun/15Off

12 Reasons People Join Health Clubs

Health Club Members

If someone is thinking about joining a health club, there are a number of ways to use their interest to your advantage as a club operator. If you know the reasons why they may be thinking of joining, then you can start to market your company successfully by appealing to what they want most.

Keep in mind that on any survey, you must consider the questions being asked and the people answering them. For example, people may not want to seem vain so they don't say that they're solely going to look better. Also, a lot of these reasons are similar, so your marketing plans can cover a few of these in a single campaign or web page or promotion.

In this four part series we will examine ways you can use member interest to bolster your bottom line. Be sure to Subscribe to receive the upcoming articles in this series.

So why do people join a health club?

Let's look at the top 12 answers.....

  1. Health

People want to live longer and happier lives, this is no surprise. By appealing to someone's well-being, you put it into their mind just how important it is to stay healthy. Put in surprising facts about exercise and its effect on pretty much everything we do. From helping to ward off dementia and decreasing depression to combating heart disease, exercise is an absolute necessity for everyone to stay healthy.

  1. Better Self-Image

There are so many things that are out of control in any given person's life. People need something that they can turn to which won't let them down, and which will consistently help them feel better about themselves. A health club gives people the opportunity to form relationships and builds pride when they see their accomplishments. When they start to take the time out to improve their body and brain together, it can create a small shift which will ultimately lead to bigger and better changes. Let potential customers know how much it matters to be good to themselves because that's a message which will never go out of style.

  1. Maintaining Their Shape

When you already have a nice body, you obviously don't want to lose it. Younger people especially may not know quite how difficult it can be to keep up their muscles and definition. Toned bodies may not last all that long, and the more a person is aware of this, the more they can do to prevent it. Let people know that they can easily keep up their physique if they just take some time to invest in the upkeep. A strong recommendation would be to include the message that it takes a lot more effort to get in shape than it does to keep in shape. This warning could go a long way for a health club business.

  1. Their Looks

Ok, so it took us to number 4 to get here, but this is a big one. Most people aren't really thinking about the long-term, even though it sounds responsible to say that they are. When someone wants to look differently, they don't want it in a year, they want it right now. Don't make promises you can't keep obviously, but effective marketing should subtly reflect the benefits of the confidence which comes in feeling good in your skin. It should also speak to their desire of immediacy, especially when summer is quickly approaching.

  1. Weight Loss

This goes hand in hand with reason number 4, but it is a tad more specific. When someone wants to lose weight, they want to literally shed a part of themselves and emerge lighter and freer. You know your customers, so if your clientele tends to be on the heavier side, don't show them a stick figure. It's unrealistic, and will just make people feel discouraged with just how far they have to go. However, if you show a healthy person who actually did lose a lot of weight when exercising at your club, you can connect on more levels than just the weight loss angle.

  1. Getting in Shape

A flabby stomach, arms or legs can really make people feel not so great about their look. Maybe they don't feel fat, but they really just want things to be tightened and toned. Their thoughts are all about how when they head to the pool the last thing they want to do is hang out of their bathing suit. Your health club should be talking about how they can help whip people into shape faster than they could do it on their own.

  1. Keep Up Their Strength

When people lift, they're often amazed at how far they come in terms of the actual weight they can handle. Whether they have a demanding job, or just want to be able to lift their kids in the air while their children still appreciate it, their strength has become a part of who they are. Giving them an easy way to come in and maintain it can be a great way to get them to consider you as the best way to do it.

  1. Flexibility

Joints and muscles have a way of quitting on us when they're not used very often. People may find that touching their toes is not quite as easy as it once was, or they may feel like they're going to wrench a muscle with any sudden movement. Let them know the many different ways that we use flexibility on a day-to-day basis. Advertise classes like yoga and pilates to get people interested in what they can to to increase their flexibility.

  1. Increasing Their Muscles

This is very close to getting in shape which you really can't do without building up your muscle. However, this is likely more about gaining some intense definition and showing a little bulge. Men in particular like to be able to display their muscles, so by showing the bigger guys in your ads you can remind them of where they want to be. This would be about appealing to their masculinity as well as their vanity.

  1. Keep Their Current Weight

There's nothing better than hitting a goal weight, except for when thoughts start coming in about what you need to do to maintain it. Let your customers know that when they drop into your health club, they're doing what they need to do to make sure that all of their hard work was not done for nothing. Their bodies should look the way they do now as long as possible, and your health club is the reason why they'll maintain their weight.

  1. A Health Issue

Physical therapy exercises people's muscles in a strategic way and helps get people back to their original condition before an accident or injury. However, people will likely need continuous work to keep their bodies strong, and what better place to go than to your health club? Whether they're just trying to get their cholesterol down by dropping some extra pounds, or even if they're just exercising to alleviate anxiety, you can speak to a variety of maladies that exercise can help with.

  1. For the Sake of Others

You probably know enough about human nature to know that this one should probably be closer to the top, but kudos to the people who were brave enough to put this down as their answer. You can subtly show in your advertising just how impressed people they know and complete strangers will be when they have the chance to show off their new svelte body all over town.

SPORTSMITH™ has been supplying fitness equipment parts and fitness products to health clubs for 20 years, and by keeping up with the trends and technologies we have kept our customers engaged and satisfied with our customer service and wide array of products. Click here to learn more about how we can help your health club stay current and well stocked!

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Survey source The 2015 IHRSA Global Report

11Jun/15Off

15 Nutrition Tips That Will Transform Your Life

15 Nutrition Tips

As the health and fitness industry has grown into a multi-billion dollar sector, the market has been flooded with so much information that it has become virtually impossible for the average consumer to make sense of everything. Diet books and websites with conflicting advice are popping up with unrelenting frequency, and information from government agencies can be just as confusing and unhelpful. These 15 straightforward tips will clarify what you need to be doing with your diet and put you on the fast-track to a healthier lifestyle.

 

  1. Portion Control

The number one tool that will help you eat more nutritiously is a digital food scale. While you can approximate portion sizes using your hand, digital scales are remarkably accurate, and decent models can be purchased for about $30. Keep in mind that some restaurants serve 8-12 ounce portions of meat in a dish! Keep it to approximately 4-5 ounces per serving and you’ll immediately reduce your calories and fat significantly.

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  1. Utilize Superfoods

Superfoods pack an incredible amount of nutritional benefits into one serving, and many of them are delicious as well. Sprinkling chia seeds on your morning yogurt will yield a wealth of antioxidants. Adding avocado to a fresh salad will provide an indulgent flavor and rich texture, complete with beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Swapping out lettuce for kale in a salad will give your lunch some much-needed fiber.

  1. Cook as Much as Possible

Going out to eat with loved ones is a great way to spend an evening, but cooking most of your meals yourself is a foolproof way to eat healthier. It’s simply too easy to fall prey to giant portions and rich, fatty foods in restaurants. Cooking at home allows you to control every aspect of the meal from the ground up. Save a meal out for an occasional treat and try to avoid the fast-casual chain restaurants that are notorious for packing a day’s worth of calories into a single dish.

  1. Don’t Drink Your Calories

Sodas are nothing but sugar bombs that don’t provide any nutritional benefits and won’t help you feel full. Recent studies are showing that even diet sodas are made from chemicals that may be harmful, even while being calorie-free. Limit your beverages to water, unsweetened tea, and black coffee. And unless you’re a professional athlete burning thousands of calories a day, sugary sports drinks should definitely be avoided.

  1. Read Nutrition Labels

During your next trip to the grocery store, pay attention to the federally mandated nutrition labels on the back of every packaged food; you might be unpleasantly surprised to find out what’s in your staple items! Look for ingredients that are high in protein and fiber, and low in saturated fat and sugar. Be aware that while the total amount of sugar is listed on the label, the amount of sugar as a percentage of the daily recommended allowance is not required.

  1. Fill up on Fiber

Fiber is one of the most crucial nutrients in a healthy diet; it helps regulate the digestive system and, as an added benefit, it helps you feel full for longer. Eating a diet rich in fiber means you’ll be less likely to binge on unhealthy snacks later on. Beans are an excellent source of both fiber and protein, and the brassicas family of leafy green vegetables (including kale, broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts) is teeming with versatile, flavorful options as well.

  1. Be Judicious with Good Fats

For most of the 1980’s and 1990’s, fat was demonized as the foundation of unhealthy diets in America. Recent science has shown us that some fat in our diet is both necessary and beneficial. Saturated fats, abundantly found in red meat, should be eaten sparingly. But healthy, monounsaturated fats found in ingredients like olive oil, nuts, and fish should be a part of your daily routine.

  1. Avoid Processed Foods

Focus on purchasing ingredients that look as close as possible to how they did when they came from the farm. Processing plants rely on things like extra salt and preservatives in order to reduce spoilage and maximize profit. These tricks are for the benefit of their bottom line, not your health!

  1. Indulge Occasionally

If you constantly feel like everything you want is being withheld, you’re far more likely to fall back into bad habits. Every once in a while, enjoy something just because it tastes great and ignore what nutritional benefits it may or may not provide; just remember that portion regulation is your friend. Have a small steak or a serving size of cheese and augment it with an abundance of fresh, calorie-light fruits and vegetables.

  1. Drink More Water

The next time you feel hungry in between meals, try drinking a glass of water before you reach for the snack drawer. Studies have shown that we often mistake thirst for hunger pangs, and proper hydration may be just what you need to keep you feeling satisfied until your next meal.

  1. Don’t Fear Spices

What many cultures around the world know, and what Americans are just starting to discover, is that generously using spices throughout your cooking is a great way to wake up your palate and pack a dish with flavor without relying extensively on fat. Spices like cumin, paprika, and coriander make food exciting to your taste buds, and they do it without adding any significant calories!

  1. Pack in the Lean Protein

Protein is essential for the body to build muscle and convert energy, and it’s best to rely on sources rich in lean protein like fish, tofu, and beans for the majority of your intake. Protein-rich foods that are higher in fat—like beef, dairy, and pork—should be eaten more sparingly. Don’t forget that many nuts make great high-protein snacks in one-ounce portions.

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  1. Eat Breakfast Everyday

Hectic lives make it tempting for many people to walk out the door in the morning without eating breakfast, but this mistake can be detrimental to your healthy lifestyle. Eating breakfast helps control your metabolism and provides you with energy for the day. Pack your blender with whole fruits and vegetables the night before for a quick and easy smoothie in the morning. Steel-cut oatmeal with fresh fruit also makes for a delightful, nutrient-rich breakfast.

  1. Embrace Occasional Hunger

If you’re hungry between meals and water hasn’t helped, maybe a snack isn’t the best answer every time. Most people are too quick to grab whatever is near at the first sign of hunger, but sometimes it’s ok to just be hungry until it’s time for your next meal. Obviously, you need to use good judgement and not deny your body when it is desperately in need of something, but often, you’ll find the hunger will pass and you’ll avoid binging on processed snack-foods.

  1. Snack on Whole Foods

When you do need a snack to tide you over, pass by the bagged treats and processed bars, and choose something more natural like whole fruits or a judicious serving of almonds. Companies can pack more sugar, salt, and fat into processed snacks than you would think possible.

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3Jun/15Off

Treadmill Desks Are Fueling the Next Fitness Boom

treadmill deskImage Courtesy of Daniel Rothamel

A sedentary lifestyle dramatically increases the risk of developing lifelong obesity, heart disease, mental health problems and certain cancers. With jobs moving from labor-intensive manufacturing positions to all-day office work while sitting at a desk, more people are facing health effects from limited physical activity than ever before. Luckily, the innovative treadmill desk has caught the eyes of office managers everywhere. Treadmill desks drastically limit sitting time by keeping people moving throughout the day. The effects go beyond improving public health to benefiting office-based companies, fitness centers and fitness equipment service providers.

Participant Benefits
The main benefit of using a treadmill desk center is improvement in the health and lives of workers. Daily physical activity not only provides incredibly dramatic physical health improvements but also has lasting effects on mood and well-being. The health effects further inspire workers to head into the gym to build their strength and endurance on additional fitness machines. Companies benefit from a decrease in sick days and medical insurance claims alongside a boost in production numbers.

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Improved Health Status
The health effects of sitting for hours each day are devastating to people in all demographics. The effects tend to multiply several times over as the hours of sitting drag on throughout the day, week and year. In fact, the risk of dying in a three-year period increases more than 40 percent for people who stay seated for at least 11 hours each day. Health problems contributing to that increased risk of premature death include coronary heart disease, metabolic syndrome, depression, anxiety and obesity.

Motivation to Work Out
As workers start to feel healthy and energized from leaving seated work behind, the newfound feelings of well-being often encourage them to head to the gym for additional rounds of fitness training. Workers might want to round out the cardio benefits of their treadmill desks with lunchtime lifting programs to build strength. Gym owners near office complexes will likely see an increase in visits, especially before work, during the lunch hour and toward the evening, as treadmill desks take over office spaces.

Boost in Productivity
Workers who feel well and energized will naturally have more effort to put into tasks throughout the work day. As a result, productivity levels for each worker will quickly rise as workers adapt to using their treadmill desks. Constant movement encourages workers to keep their minds on their daily goals, which reduces the amount of downtime between smaller tasks. Since workers will spend the work day walking on the treadmill, the frequent need to leave their desks to stretch their legs may dramatically decrease. Workers may even favor a collaborative treadmill desk layout that keeps everyone in close proximity to encourage sharing without delaying completion of daily tasks.

Workers will naturally call in sick less often, leading to more productive days with the full roster of staff members on hand. Office managers may even see fewer high-value insurance claims as staff member health problems naturally decrease over time.

Industry Benefits
The integration of treadmill desks into office environments definitely benefit fitness equipment manufacturers and repair technicians worldwide. As office managers adopt this potentially lifesaving and business-boosting workplace setup, treadmills will be in high demand.

Increased Repair Requests
With so many treadmills running at a time, service technicians will constantly have a full queue of maintenance and repair appointments. Friction between the constantly moving parts necessitates regular maintenance to keep treadmill components in good shape throughout the machine's life.

Since most treadmills only consist of components vital to the main operation of the moving walking surface, any worn or broken parts will require immediate repair to return the equipment to service. With the increase in repair requests, skilled technicians may start to consider the use of desk treadmills a boon to the fitness equipment service industry.

Keeping Equipment Maintained to Facilitate Workers' Needs
After full adoption of the fitness desk configuration, service technicians will be running between office environments on a regular basis to keep equipment in good shape over the years. Keeping the treadmills running for even half of the work day will constantly wear down the belts and decks. Cleaning the equipment, inside and out, will consistently remain a vital part of service technicians' callout requests to keep appearances up throughout the office space.

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11May/150

9 Tips You Can Use Now to Keep Your Club Clean

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In spite of all the specialties and styles of gyms, there are really only two types of clubs: the dirty one and the clean one. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to keep your club clean and healthy. You can further trust that the great members you want in your gym can also tell the difference. From a business perspective, a clean, healthy club is going to draw members who stay and provide success over the long term.

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The Sign-Up Process

Cleanliness starts when a new member joins the club. This is because, ultimately, your gym won’t stay clean if your members don’t participate and keep it clean. As part of the sign-up process, make it clear what your expectations are for each new member: to take responsibility for themselves and to keep themselves clean according not to their standards, but to everybody’s expectations. Make it clear their membership fees are to lease exercise equipment, not hire a mommy to clean up the mess they leave.

Build the Community Atmosphere

After the sign-up process, introduce members to each other. Everybody in your gym doesn’t have to be BFFs who skip part of their workout to chat on sight, but people who know each other with amicability are going to act differently than strangers. When the community works together to keep the gym clean, you’ll wind up much cleaner than when random people come through at different times of the day with no care for what they leave behind.

Incorporate Interesting Signage

A colorful sign with scientific pictures of bacteria, silly cartoon drawings of somebody who is sick, and a graphic of somebody washing their hands is going to be talked about by your members — as they wash their hands. And that’s the point, exponentially. Your members aren’t only washing their hands; they’re enjoying washing their hands and are thereby associating a little light laughter with their workout. You can move signage around and replace it regularly to keep your members talking about cleanliness while trying to figure out which signs will be where each week. This will likely lead to their continued active membership; they have a side project to check in on in addition to their scheduled exercise.

Incorporate a No-Cold Policy

Nobody wants to catch the flu, but that is rarely a problem since people who already have it aren’t in the mood to come work out. Colds, on the other hand, can be a bit different. People in general — and this especially holds true for people who care enough about their health to work out, tend to deny that they are a bit sick. It can be difficult to enforce a no-colds policy, since nobody really knows just how sick somebody else is, but there are ways to inspire your members to adhere to the rule. If your club uses a points system, offer to comp a daily amount of points when somebody calls in sick. Alternatively, you can give one day of membership fees when somebody calls in sick. You can trust that any long-term loyal members who actually build up 30 days of sick leave are deserving of a free month at your gym.

Provide Antibacterial Body Wipes

Your members often use towels to wipe off sweat, so they won’t complain about using cool, moistened wipes that feel good and have antibacterial properties. It’s a simple matter of getting your members to do it.

Provide Fitness Equipment Wipes

Cleaning equipment after use is one of the most essential practices for keeping a clean gym. You don’t want your members wiping equipment with some dirty rag they brought from home, and they won’t wipe it with a clean towel if they have to walk across the room to get one. Wipes impregnated with cleansing solutions are needed in close proximity and easily accessible to each machine in your gym. This encourages people to use the wipes and makes it easier for someone to speak out if they see someone failing to wipe down a machine after use.

Use Antibacterial Towelettes for Hard Surfaces

At the end of the day, after the customers have left and the gym is closed, somebody has to do a thorough cleaning of the entire area. This process can be made much easier by using specially designed antibacterial towelettes for the appropriate hard surfaces. This not only keeps the gym looking nice, but it also kills germs before they have a chance to fester. A good, thorough cleaning every day is what keeps the gym safe and healthy, which is, after all, the whole point of coming to a gym in the first place.

Use Easily Accessed Dispensers

No matter how great the cleaning materials you provide and how much you encourage your members to use them, nobody is going to work toward keeping the club germ-free if it’s a pain in the neck to find and use them. Easily accessible dispensers have to be strategically placed throughout the gym to encourage everybody to wipe down and stay clean. Dispensers placed on stands between pieces of equipment are integral to keeping a clean gym.

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Actively Enforce the Rules

Enforcing the rules is arguably the hardest part of the process. As uncomfortable as it to watch somebody being nasty, it’s even more uncomfortable to be the person who has to tell them they’re being nasty. It requires a soft touch from well-trained employees. Public humiliation and shaming is unacceptable and will only drive customers away, defeating the goal and purpose behind your gym. Remember that the people who aren’t adequately cleaning behind themselves are probably not aware of the fact. Usually it only takes a gentle reminder and a bit of teaching for people to happily start cleaning to your standards before, during and after their workouts.

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7Apr/150

How to Replace the 95Xi Crosstrainer Rocker Arm

  • Tools used:
  • Snap Ring Pliers with Tip Kit
  • 5/32” Allen Wrench
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • T25 Torx Driver
  • T45 Torx Driver

 

  • Remove the outer dead shaft covers, the handlebar and the outer lever joint and rocker covers as seen in the appropriate Sportsmith videos
  • Using the snap ring pliers and proper tips, remove the retaining ring securing the rocker arm to the dead shaft

 

  • Remove the washer after the snap ring

 

  • Remove the torx screws securing the pedal rocker shaft to the pedal lever
  • Then slide the pedal rocker shaft out of both the pedal lever and rocker arm
  • Carefully slide the rocker arm off of the dead shaft
  • In reverse order, install the new rocker arm

Addtional Resources:

Life Fitness 95 xi Cross Trainer Parts

30Jan/150

Top Fitness Trends for 2015

top fitness trends for 2015The verdict is in on this year's top fitness trends. It's clear from the new list of fitness trends that people are turning back to the basics and becoming more concerned with overall health, rather than just appearance.

1. Body Weight Training

Body weight training took the number one spot for fitness trends in 2015. This type of exercise is growing in popularity because it is both inexpensive and requires little to no equipment. This no-gym-required type of workout includes exercises like:

  • Push-ups
  • Squats
  • Pull-ups
  • Handstands
  • Planks

2. HIIT (High-intensity Interval Training)

HIIT workouts were the top trend last year and are still a popular workout option in 2015. This type of workout has maintained its popularity among the fitness-minded because it's an excellent way to burn fat. In HIIT workouts, short bursts of intense activity are designed to get the heart pumping hard, then these short bursts of intense exercise are followed by a period of rest or recovery. The benefits of HIIT workouts include:

  • Increasing the body's metabolism rate
  • No special equipment is needed
  • Intense workouts in under 30 minutes
  • Increased endurance
  • Recovery time means rewer injuries

3. Utilizing Certified Fitness Professionals

With so many different exercise styles circulating around the Internet, it's no wonder that people are turning to certified professionals when it comes to workouts. The benefits of seeking out professional advice or direction for workouts include:

  • Avoiding exercises that can cause injury
  • Learning the most effective types of exercises for particular goals
  • Increased motivation

4. Strength Training

Strength training offers a lot more than just a muscular physique. This one makes it into the top five trends for 2015 because of all the benefits fitness junkies can derive from it. By focusing on working and strengthening specific muscles in the body, strength training helps exercisers to:

  • Increase bone density
  • Help control weight and burn fat
  • Develop endurance and balance

5. Personal Trainers

The use of personal trainers in on the rise as people realize that not every workout works for them. A personal trainer works with an individual to accomplish specific fitness goals in the most effective way. Using a personal trainer is a great way to remain motivated to keep up fitness goals too.

6. Exercise for Weight Loss

Fitness and exercise are becoming more central to weight loss plans. This trend in fitness comes about as people realize that fad diets just don't do the trick for real, lasting weight loss. According to WebMD and the CDC, exercise is the only sure-fire way to keep the weight off after it has been shed from the body. Exercise helps maintain a healthy body weight by:

  • Controlling calories
  • Increasing metabolism
  • Increasing energy
  • Curbing feelings of hunger

7. Yoga

Yoga has been a fitness trend for several years now and has maintained its spot in the top 10 fitness trends for 2015. Yoga is a great total-body workout that can be relaxing and enjoyed by those of any fitness level or age. Yoga comes in many varieties and some of this years top trends within yoga include:

  • Tantra Yoga
  • AcroYoga
  • Live Music Yoga
  • Hot Barre Yoga
  • Yoga Pole Dancing

8. Workouts and Exercise Programs for Older Adults

It has become clear that exercise is crucial for maintaining health as people age. With this in mind, fitness professionals and gyms have developed more programs that are geared towards serving an older generation of exercisers. For older adults, exercise helps to:

  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Reduce the risk of diabetes
  • Improve stamina
  • Reduce depression and anxiety
  • Maintain bone density
  • Increase coordination

9. Functional Fitness

As the name would suggest, the trend of functional fitness makes everyday activities easier. With a large number of people working in sedentary conditions, functional fitness plays a big role in getting people to the point where lugging a baby up the stairs or moving furniture around the house isn't so difficult. Functional fitness exercises work to help:

  • Muscle groups work together
  • Balance the body
  • Find and improve on weaknesses

10. Group-Style Personal Training

Because hiring a personal trainer can easily burn holes in wallets, many people are adopting the number 10 trend on this list: group sessions with a personal trainer. Getting together with a friend or two and seeking out a personal trainer willing to work with a small group can be a great way to cut the price tag and still reap the benefits of personalized instruction.

SPORTSMITH™ has been supplying fitness equipment parts and fitness products to health clubs for 20 years, and by keeping up with the trends and technologies we have kept our customers engaged and satisfied with our customer service and wide array of products. Click here to learn more about how we can help your health club stay current and well stocked!

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11Dec/140

How to replace the treadmill belt and deck on the Matrix T3X

Tools Needed: 4MM, 5MM, 6MM, and 8 MM Hex wrench and a Phillips screwdriver.

This video will demonstrate how to replace a belt and deck on a Matrix T3X treadmill. Though the video is specific to this treadmill it is very similar to most treadmills in the market.

1. Using a Phillips Screwdriver, remove the lower shroud and both end caps as seen in the video.

2. Next, using an 8MM hex wrench, remove the two rear roller bolts then remove the roller.

3. With a pair of pliers disconnect the drive belt tension assembly spring as shown in the video.

4. Use a 6mm Hex wrench to remove the two front roller bolts, and then remove the roller.

5. Now, with a 4MM hex wrench remove the side rail frames. There are two bolts on each of them.

6. Next remove the side rails. To do so you will need to move the rail back and forth until it is orientated over the mounts shown in the video. Once you do so, the rail will lift straight up off the unit.

7. Remove the deck bolts using a 5MM hex wrench. There are four on each side of the deck.

8. Slide the front roller out of the unit.

9. Grab the deck on each side and remove it and the running belt together.

10. Thoroughly clean the entire unit and both rollers. This step can dramatically extend or the life of a belt and deck. Not doing this can shorten the life significantly.

11. Install the belt onto the deck as shown in the video and then slide them in place on the unit and align the belt and deck with the holes in the frame.

12. Install the front roller. Make sure you install the drive belt. Center the belt on the front roller then start both of the front roller bolts. Once you have started both bolts, tighten them.

13. Install the drive belt tension spring.

14. Install the eight Deck bolts.

15. Install the rear roller and make sure that the end of the bolts goes through the hole in the frame for the roller alignment as shown in the video.

16. Now tension the rear roller. For more information on the belt tension process click HERE.

17. Re-install the side rails and rear roller cover frames.

18. Install the rear roller covers and lower shroud.

Additional Resources:

Matrix treadmill parts

Fitness Equipment Tech Support Center