BEST GROUP TRAINING

Lindenhurst Health & Fitness Center of Lake Forest Hospital • Lindenhurst, IL

Anine-week program based on TV's “The Biggest Loser” prompted Lindenhurst Health & Fitness Center, Lindenhurst, IL, to win the Best Group Training category.

Lindenhurst's Lose to Win program was designed to generate personal training leads and provide a new member introduction for those who joined the club around the holidays.

“We wanted to provide an integration program for new members joining in December and January to help them meet other members and staff to increase retention after the resolution period,” says Eric Nelson, executive director at Lindenhurst. “Another goal was to generate leads for personal training by creating an opportunity for trainers to have interactions with members who are not currently involved in the personal training program.”

By promoting the program jointly with local radio station 102.3/WXLC, the club also earned media exposure and credibility within the community, Nelson says. Jimmy Novak, a morning show disc jockey, participated on a Lose to Win team and brought a group of 25 prospective members with him to participate in the program. Eight of those participants became members, Nelson says.

The program features teams of 25 people competing with one another for the greatest percentage of weight lost as a group. The winning team wins one hour of free personal training and a boot camp class for each member. Individual cash prizes also are given to top performers.

Each team is led by a Lindenhurst personal trainer who guides them through boot camp classes, group challenges, team meetings and workouts. In addition, participants attend educational presentations and receive inspirational e-mails and phone calls from their team captain. The incentives and positive support increased program revenue and retention, Nelson says.

“Of the new members who partook in the Lose to Win program, 90 percent are still active members meeting the goal of increasing our retention,” he says. “Thirty-three percent of participants have continued to use fee-based services, such as personal training, group training or boot camp classes, [thus] increasing revenues.”

Nelson says 29 new members enrolled in Lose to Win, and 26 of them are still active members six months after enrollment.

Existing Lindenhurst members paid $150 for the program, while new members who joined in December participated for free. A total of 217 people signed up for the 2009 program.

The budget for the program was $12,200, though actual money spent was $10,951 for salaries, supplies and marketing. The actual revenue for the program was $23,710, which left a net profit of $12,759.

The club marketed Lose to Win by sending a direct mail piece to last year's participants and another targeted direct mail piece to the community surrounding the fitness center.

Nelson attributes the success of the program to giving people what they need: community building, competition and a multi-pronged approach to change.

“Lose to Win has been known to elicit tearful hugs among staff and participants,” he says. “The whole experience leads to the most important goal — Lose to Win participants achieving their desired results.”