Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

NIFS Consulting: Helping Your Fitness Program Go from Good to GREAT!

Fitness management services are the foundation of our business, but did you know we also offer an array of consulting services to support communities who do not staff with us? While it isn’t quite the same as having our qualified staff on the ground daily at your community, many clients have found a consulting partnership with NIFS to be advantageous in connecting their own staff, amenities, and more with an industry expert who can provide them with the direction and resources to elevate the programs they are providing their residents.

5 Consulting Opportunities with the NIFS Experts

Here are some ways that you can collaborate with NIFS to improve your fitness and wellness offerings:

  1. Facility layout and design: As operators of fitness centers across the country, we know how to make spaces flow for improved member experience and overall function. We also have national buying power with top equipment manufacturers to bring your facility the right equipment for your users. Whether it’s a fitness center or pool, we can help you identify the right pieces of exercise equipment to incorporate into a creative and expertly designed space.
  2. Staff hiring and training: 20181024_080931-1From group fitness instructors, to personal trainers, to fitness managers, finding the right people is at the heart of what we do, and our interview and vetting process helps us find the best of the best. If you are looking for support in recognizing fitness qualifications and making the right hire for your community, NIFS can lead your interview process. We can also aid in the training process once you make your hire to get your new team member on the right path and connected to NIFS resources and programming materials.
  3. Wellness program design: Let us help you identify fresh opportunities to create purpose and intention in the lifestyle cultivated for your residents. We know how to break down the silos and bring together enrichment, health services, fitness, rehab, food and beverage, spiritual services, and more for seamless programming that is both seen and felt by your residents. Conceptually, many communities struggle with getting these key stakeholders in resident well-being collaborating with a unified vision, and we can help you bridge this into reality.
  4. Data collection and evaluation: It’s difficult to determine how effective your programs and services are and how many people you are reaching consistently if you don’t have data to evaluate. We can help your fitness staff develop an efficient system for tracking participation data, identify key benchmarks to measure and evaluate over time, as well craft SMART goals to continually strive toward program enhancements.
  5. Group fitness program design: Residents love their group fitness classes, but are you certain that your community has an array of classes to address the main components of fitness throughout the week for varying intensity levels? We have a niche for developing robust group fitness programs as well as best practices on how to market the classes, how to attract new faces, and how to keep the classes fresh so that this resident favorite at your community reaches more individuals and remains strong.

Even if your organization does not avail itself of the full range of fitness management services that NIFS offers, you can still consider consulting with us on specific pieces of the puzzle to strengthen your fitness and wellness offerings. Not sure what to expect when utilizing our consulting services?  Check out our quick read below for more information.

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Topics: nifs fitness management nifs fitness management staffing data collection fitness center design fitness center staffing program management senior wellness consulting

Fitness Center Staffing, Hiring the Best

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Topics: senior fitness management nifs fitness management staffing staffing corporate fitness management

Why Hiring the Right Trainer for Your Senior Fitness Program Is Vital

Let’s face it, personal trainers are pretty ubiquitous these days, and it’s easy to understand why. The industry doesn’t have licensure (yet), and there are a lot of inexpensive and easy-to-obtain “personal trainer” certifications available that allow fitness enthusiasts with little knowledge about how the body works to earn a distinction as a personal trainer.

The scary truth about hiring a personal trainer for your senior living community is that the typical consumer doesn’t necessarily know what to look for in a qualified fitness professional. Unfortunately, the I-paid-them-and-they-certified-me individual looks equally competent alongside the individual who has a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and who has earned and painstakingly maintains an industry gold-standard certification.

While hiring an exercise professional for your senior living community fitness program is a very buyer-beware proposition, the rewards for making the right staffing choice can be great.

The right fitness professional is a major benefit to the residents.

MMFC1.jpgThis is really what it’s all about, right? You want a passionate, capable, competent, self-starter running the exercise program in the community. You need someone who will

  • Coordinate the group exercise program (the fitness specialist should be teaching at least some of the classes).
  • Initiate and execute on health-related programming both in the fitness area as well as in partnership with other departments in the community.
  • Promote and provide important services like exercise prescriptions (writing individual exercise programs for residents) and senior fitness testing, as well as follow up with residents to offer updated exercise programs and repeat testing as appropriate.
  • Track participation by individuals and reach out to nonactive residents to invite them into programs.
  • Manage the fitness space, including ensuring amenities are well stocked and equipment is in good working order.
  • If your personal trainer isn’t doing these things for you, it’s worth spending some time to re-envision what’s possible in your exercise program. Your residents deserve regular access to diverse classes that respect and challenge them physically. They will participate more if a fitness professional is available to customize exercise plans for them and to help them evaluate their progress along the way. And having a point person who is tracking the participation data and is constantly innovating will draw in more residents who wouldn’t engage without a personal invitation.

The right fitness professional is a major benefit to your business.

This is a tough one. Community leadership seems to have a difficult time making the leap from status-quo group fitness classes and the occasional trainer to establishing a manager for a robust fitness program. Maybe that’s consumer driven, and today’s residents, for the most part, aren’t balking at the outdated model. Maybe the lack of change is rooted in where fitness falls on the priority list.

Yet, with the right fitness center manager on board, you can free up your activities director to actually create person- and purpose-centered activities instead of tracking down a substitute for the group fitness instructor who just bailed on a class. You also send a distinct message to prospects and current residents that healthy living is central to who you are. And because so many communities are still operating on the outdated “group fitness + occasional trainer” model, you clearly distinguish your senior living community from the competition.

If you’re ready to start tapping into these benefits, you can either hire your own fitness center manager for the community, or partner with an organization like ours (NIFS fitness center management) to start improving the fitness program for your residents.

 Senior Fitness

 

Topics: CCRC senior living nifs fitness management staffing senior fitness personal trainers nifs fitness center management

How we engage residents in senior living fitness programs

thumbs upRaise your hand if you love hearing stories about how your staff make a resident’s day, particularly when it occurs organically, if you will, by the employee simply being who she is.  I know…me too.  That’s why I couldn’t resist sharing these two stories in our blog and how we engage residents in senior living fitness programs. 

Our organizational structure is such that we hire exceptionally capable, qualified, and passionate staff who we train well.  When they’re ready, we set them off at their client location to do their work.  Certainly, we provide a host of supports, ongoing training, and other touch points, but it’s tough for me to keep track of their day to day challenges and victories when they are far flung in 22 states with more than 60 clients.  So when these two stories got back to me, I simply had to give this shout out!

Story #1: Winning over the residents

When we first start working with a new senior living client and we place one of our fitness center managers onsite at the community, we sometimes get pushback from a small group of vocal residents about the information we require of them prior to helping them with an exercise program.  Industry standards through the American College of Sports Medicine establish that sound practice involves gathering relevant health information, securing a signed waiver, and getting a medical release where appropriate.  If we get push back from residents, it’s typically with the waiver and a common objection to the industry standard language we use. 

This story comes from that exact circumstance where a small group of residents had protested our use of a release for the fitness program.  While we were in discussion with leadership at the community about NIFS practices, and how the community wanted to proceed, our manager, Ali, continued to do what she does.  

She worked with the early adopters providing senior fitness testing, individualized exercise programs and guidance, and continued to follow up with those participants about their progress and any questions they have.  She offered creative group exercise classes and continued to enroll residents in those programs.  She focused in on improving resident’s balance through both class and 1:1 settings, and she continued to help participants track their progress as their strength and balance improved. 

Meanwhile, the residents did what residents do.  They talked to their friends and neighbors.  Those who were engaged in the new fitness programming with the NIFS fitness center manager talked about how much better they felt, how they could tell their balance was improving, and how easy the manager was to work with. 

And then those initial naysayers started thinking that they might be missing out on something really positive going on in the community.  So, within a few weeks of raising strong objections to our paperwork, those most vocal opponents put aside their concerns, completed the paperwork, and started receiving the same positive health benefits that their friends and neighbors had been experiencing.  We’re grateful for the opportunity to serve more residents in the community, and I’m completely tickled that it all came about simply because the NIFS manager kept doing what she’s amazing at with those who were ready. 

Story #2: Keeping fitness accessible for residents

The second story is one of those “well, duh” moments.  The action our staff member took in response to a resident need is truly a no-brainer.  But I say that and I know that I may not have arrived at that simple action which has definitely resulted in improved quality of life for that individual.  Rachel made this resident’s day simply by being who she is – a creative problem solver who is passionate about helping the residents enjoy very active living.

When Rachel learned that one of their formerly regular participants stopped exercising, she wanted to get to the bottom of it.  Turns out, the resident was unable to use the check in scanner because of a low vision condition, so she simply stopped attending group exercise classes.  After Rachel learned about the barrier, she worked with the resident to place a small piece of adhesive felt to the membership tag and taught the resident how to orient the felt in front of the scanner for a successful check in.  That resident was able to feel her way to a successful fitness center check in and removing that barrier was enough to pull her back into group exercise classes twice each (and every) week.


As a fitness staffing agency, we are fully committed to hiring and holding onto exceptional staff who are not only knowledgeable but also passionate about the audience they serve.  Click the button below to read more about how we do that, and then contact us to learn how we can work together to boost your community's fitness program.

Read More: How we find fabulous staff
Topics: active aging senior living fitness programs for seniors nifs fitness management staffing CCRC Programs and Services