Getting overweight and obese people to join a health club is only part of the battle. The other is getting them inside to work out. The way to do that, says Dino Nowak, is to make everyone feel comfortable and welcomed with good staff training. From the time someone walks through your doors until they leave, Nowak says, it should be all about them.
“Don't single out obese clients,” says Nowak, fitness consultant and author of The Final Makeover: Your 40 Day Guide to Personal Fitness. “They want to fit in and be normal. Train your front desk staff to be friendly and know all your clients' names. Make them feel welcomed and that they belong there. We need to recognize the value of our members.”
But it shouldn't stop there, especially for overweight and obese clients.
“Your management needs to follow suit, even more so with the overweight and obese population,” he says. “Call them and introduce yourself, and tell them you are the point person. Whatever you need at this club, call me.”
Next, introduce them to a trainer who should do a physical assessment and a complimentary training session. During the session, the trainer should lay out a six-week plan with realistic goals. They should also get measurements because all the body changes won't be visible on the scale.
“We have to get away from the scale and look at body fat percentage and body girth and how they feel and move,” Nowak says.
Make sure the pro shop has items for all sized people, especially for overweight or obese clients.
“If you have their sizes, they may think, ‘They did think about me; this is my club,’” he says.
Finally, don't hard sell any of your members on weight loss products, especially someone with a weight problem.
“The club needs to be a place of refuge where I go for me,” he says.