Chris Powell, the personal trainer and transformation specialist who presents ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition” is an expert on helping morbidly obese clients shed pounds. Although his prominent role in the fight against the obesity epidemic takes place outside of the traditional health club environment, he still has plenty of ideas about how fitness facilities can reach out to overweight clients.
The key, he says, is to approach the issue from more than one angle.
“In order for us to really find a solution for our obese clients, it needs to be a trifecta of obesity solutions,” Powell says. Nutrition is the foundation and exercise is a must, but that third element of emotional help is needed.
“We also really need to assign an individual who can work with them on an emotional level and help them work through their own obstacles,” he says.
Powell acknowledges that such a personalized approach can be challenging for health clubs to administer, given the number of clients. He says the answer could be for health clubs to help the obese population by creating programs that trainers can use to work one-on-one with clients or even by allowing trainers the freedom to create their own programs.
“If we can create and at least start thinking of solutions for creating these transformation specialists who can combine exercise and nutrition and disseminate that knowledge…it’s just going to become so much more powerful that way,” Powell says.
The clients’ weight loss is not the only benefit: If a facility is able to produce results for people, they get an automatic publicity boost.
“It’s results driven,” Powell says. “When people get results, there is nothing more powerful. You’ve got these health clubs that are doing all the marketing in the world and at the same time, nothing is more powerful than word of mouth, especially with social media.”
And he would know. Powell started his career working as a personal trainer at a World Gym in Arizona and acted as the fitness correspondent for a local ABC affiliate's TV news magazine, “Good Day Arizona,” a gig that allowed him to help a man lose 400 pounds naturally over two years. Those tremendous results caught the attention of national television producers and led to his current role on “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition.”
“Look at the people that I work with,” he says. “When I took 400 pounds off someone in two years, you better believe that my business and my demand went through the roof. I want that for all the health and fitness companies out there. I want them turning out results.”
Gyms with high success rates have huge growth potential, and trainers who work with obese clients are going to get mentioned every time a person brags about their weight loss, he says.
To hear more about Powell’s experiences working with the morbidly obese and to learn how he says fitness facilities can best reach the obese population, register to attend the Club Industry 2011 show and mark your schedule for Powell's keynote address at 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 14.