Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Fitness Staff Collaboration: NIFS Helps with Professional Development

IMG_2504Variety is the spice of life, and that’s what we’ll have in town this week at our annual managers’ meeting. Each year we fly our management team to our headquarters in Indianapolis for professional development, collaboration, and networking. Our passionate team arrives from across the U.S. from different client settings and with varying personal interests and backgrounds. Their one commonality is their passion for serving their members, and we love the dialogue and collaboration that unfold when everyone gets together.

3 Benefits of Collaboration for Fitness Staff

This connection and access to a wealth of resources is one of the strongest value elements we bring to our clients. They receive our onsite fitness staff managing their program and building relationships with members, plus the expertise of a national organization doing this work across the U.S. How does this routine collaboration truly elevate a fitness program?

  • They don’t feel like they are on an island. As a fitness professional in a corporate or senior living setting, it can feel like you are isolated without resources or like-minded individuals who have similar goals and job duties. NIFS has routine meetings, workshops, and events like our annual meeting in Indianapolis to bring new ideas, resources, and inspiration to your fitness program, keeping things fresh and exciting for your members as well as your fitness staff.
  • They can benefit from vetted programs and promotions. Sometimes it can be hard to execute a vision for a program or determine how to best reach a group of individuals because you aren’t quite sure how to get started or you are concerned about unanticipated road bumps along the way. NIFS managers regularly connect on a variety of platforms to discuss new ideas and ask for feedback among their peers. This provides members at our client sites with more finely tuned and professional programming.
  • They are connected to the latest trends. Fitness is a trendy industry, whether you are working with children, the general population, or seniors. By having staff from the four corners of the U.S. and a little bit of everywhere in between, this broad reach keeps our team connected to not only what is trending but how to educate and market new programming to members in our client settings.

3 Tips to Garner Collaboration for Fitness Staff

So what do you do if you aren’t connected to an organization like NIFS to help keep your staff connected?

  • Professional development: Provide funding to send your staff to workshops to help them stay plugged into the industry. Without an organizational connection they might still miss opportunities to learn how others are effectively implementing that type of programming in your setting, but it can certainly lead to some fresh ideas and keep staff inspired.
  • Create a network: Do you have neighboring communities or businesses with staffed fitness centers with which you could encourage collaboration? Perhaps there’s a network of senior living communities in your town where the fitness staff could get together once a quarter for idea sharing. Perhaps your group fitness instructors, trainers, and fitness manager at your corporate site could meet once a quarter to discuss what they are hearing from members, share ideas to attract new participants, etc. Your network can be in-house with existing personnel or branching out, but creating space for discussion among like-minded individuals can be advantageous.
  • Identify a strong contact: Whether or not someone at your setting is in-tune with the fitness industry, make sure your fitness staff has someone who has a good listening ear and an understanding of your fitness program’s goals. Fitness staff can feel less isolated in their decision-making when they have a partner at the site level who understands the work they are doing, and when they have someone in their corner for brainstorming or discussing member needs.

This collaboration is where the magic happens in taking a fitness program from good to great!

Find out more about NIFS Fitness Center Staffing

Topics: senior living fitness center fitness trends nifs fitness center management corporate fitness management onsite fitness center fitness center staffing nifs staff networking professional development

Future Fitness: What’s Hot and Where Are Our Workouts Headed?

The fitness industry has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Fitness has gone through many transformations throughout history, with plyometric-based activities being the first main form of staying in shape. People trained for functionality and usability of techniques and strength in general. Today, we have become much more personalized and have many driving factors behind why and how we work out.

GettyImages-1132973672 (1)Fitness Fads vs. Classic Methods

Today’s fitness industry is wildly different from even 10–15 years ago. We have had many fads in the industry that have peaked and disappeared. Some of these were deserving of such a fate, but there are some staples that have seemed to stand the test of time. These types of fitness methods include standard weightlifting/bodybuilding style, pioneered by the generation of Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as the marathon runs that started centuries ago with Olympic athletes. In my opinion, some people stick to traditional methods, and others like to go with what is new and fresh in the industry.

Group Fitness Trends

Group fitness classes are adapting to changing wants. These wants have gone from the likes of Tae Bo and Jazzercise to Boot Camp–style classes, CrossFit, hot yoga, immersive spin classes, and a mix of different styles like PiYo and others. This has shown that classes are becoming more varied, and are allowing people to be more specific in the type of class they want to participate in. I love this adaptation, and I hope it continues to grow for people who like the group environment. (Look here for more of what NIFS is offering in Group Fitness.)

The Impact of Technology on Fitness

Today’s fitness industry is quickly incorporating technology to improve not only the experience of working out, but also the data available afterward. People are becoming more educated about the effects of exercise from a physiological standpoint, and are tracking metrics normally not available to people even a few years ago. Wearable technology allows people to track their heart rates and performance in real-time, which provides an intrinsic motivation to continue on their workout routine. This is just one part of the industry that is quickly seeing changes.

Fitness equipment seems to be smarter and smarter by the day, with machines getting larger TV screens that give many options in real-time data, as well as entertainment like video games controlled by the exercise performed (such as with spin bikes and rowers).

My Predictions

All this advancement in technology has inspired my predictions on the future of the fitness industry. I believe the introduction of DNA-based fitness testing and performance measurement will make its way into the mainstream industry soon, as well as augmented-reality–based training, allowing individuals to escape the standard gym environment and become fully immersed in a new experience. It seems that social media is a large driving force for these new technologies and workout types, and I can see these being popular for people who want to try the newest and greatest technology in their workouts.

If you ask me, I will stick with the simple workouts: run and lift some metal. Call me old school, but with the advancement of fitness technology and equipment, the same task needs to be accomplished at the end of the day, and if I can simplify that process, I will go that route. However, I still look forward to what the future holds!

Topics: NIFS technology fitness trends group fitness workouts

The Rap on Wraps: Do slimming wraps work?

There’s the old saying, “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is”. As a Health Fitness Professional, I spend a lot of my time sorting through what works and what doesn’t. Usually to find out what works you look at research, studies, personal experience…etc. What doesn’t work usually sorts itself out or they stop airing the infomercials. But what about these “slimming wraps? What are they? Do they work?

Slimming wraps are a not so recent trend of wrapping parts of the body with plastic or cloth and being amazed by the loss of inches afterward. The wrap company I’m using as an example says their product will trim, tone, tighten and help reduce cellulite. To be fair, they have a fairly lengthy disclaimer section stating the wraps are for cosmetic use only and do not help with weight loss.

But is there anything backing up these claims?

No. It may not come as a surprise, but very few studies have been done on the effectiveness of slimming wraps. This also includes almost all home-based treatments for cellulite. Be careful when searching for honest reviews online, as most reviews are essentially paid advertisements.

Do they work?

Yes, but only temporarily. No long term benefits are associated with slimming wraps. Much like spray tans, the “results” will eventually go away. I could go in detail about this and tell you all about the amazing anatomy of the human body. Or we can perform a little experiment.

Are you wearing socks? Yes, good! (no, go find someone who is). Now lift up your pant leg and pull your sock down. Is there an imprint where your sock was? Is your leg slightly smaller in that area? Awesome! That’ll be $19.99 please.

veggies weights water resized 600What does work?

Healthy eating and exercise. Use that $59.99 to buy some personal training or group exercise passes. Slimming down any part of your body with exercise is going to take time and anything that promises “inches in minutes” is trying to sell you something. There is no replacement for clean eating and exercise.

Replace your processed foods with fresh fruit and vegetables along with lean meat.  Your portion sizes could probably use some revamping; try measuring out proper portion sizes for a week to get a better understanding of what you are actually eating.  Start a food log to help track when you are eating and why, maybe you eat when you are bored or tired.  This will help you understand triggers that cause you to eat.

Want to trim down your midsection the old fashion way? Try this beginner workout to get started:

  • .25 mile run/walk

  • 1 minute seated Core Twist

  • 1 minute Plank

  • 30 second Mountain Climbers

  • Repeat 2-3 times

I'm curious to know if you have tried a wrap and if it encouraged you to adapt a healthier lifestyle through diet and exercise.  Comment and share what you have found to work for you.


Topics: employee health weight loss fitness trends