HOW ONE HEALTH CLUB GIVES ITS FITNESS OFFERING MEANING
About the Author: Keith Smith is a Life Fitness Academy (LFA) Global Master Trainer based in London. He has been a part of Life Fitness for more than 20 years.
I was recently invited to a new facility in Amman, Jordan and the experience blew me away. LIFT JO was lovely—great decor, fantastic equipment and a wide variety of exercise opportunities for members. All of this was a pleasure to be immersed in, but there was something else about this facility. The owner, Mona Bitar, spoke with passion about her message and what made her facility different.
Sometimes the fitness industry forgets about creating unique experiences. People can get fitness anywhere but context and message are everything. It's the context that makes each facility unique.
I was further blown away by what happened while sitting in on a training session. Mona has developed a teaching style that mirrors her context. Her teaching skills and behavior reinforce her message. Her positioning during interaction, the way she framed information, her use of exercise regressions and progression, how she fed information and how she used demonstrations all gave her context life.
Our industry is growing. With this growth comes choices—exercisers/members now have more exercise options than ever. So, how do you become the first choice for exercisers in your community? You give your fitness offering meaning. Facilities that want to grow have to be very clear about their messaging. It informs exercisers of who you are and what you stand for.
LIFT JO co-owners Sandra Nuqul and Mona Bitar
Our concept of coaching technique is built on the basis of training the mind through movement-based training. The muscles are trained as a bi-product. Our philosophy is simple, we are advocates of movement-based training and not a muscle-based focus. We also focus on quality of movement versus quantity of repetitions. Our sessions are based on foundational movement patterns of the human body and how it was designed to move in everyday life.
My goal is to help my athletes move better so they can live better. If they live better then they will be able to train better and that cycle then becomes a pattern in their lives. Our slogan is “move organically.” Move as we were designed to move.
I am always aware of how my clients are feeling when they come in. Myself and all of our coaches always greet our athletes and ask how their day has been and how they are feeling. When we care as coaches about our athletes we can cater the session to give them the best positive experience so that they leave feeling better than when they walked in.
That doesn’t mean leaving them sprawled across the floor at the end of a training session. My goal is to always have my athletes' best interests at heart. We always meet our clients where they are and then coach them to where they want to go, while also implementing correctives along the way. We also leave them with something extra at the end of a session, whether it’s a nutritional tip or otherwise.
I’ve implemented a training system that is inclusive of all athletic abilities. We set certain standards of progression and conduct movement-based analysis by observing clients. I’ve compiled a regression and progression sheet for the majority of exercises grouped into different categories like power, strength, core, etc. This sheet is handed to my coaches so that we speak the same language when coaching our clients.
Our programming is not based on choosing a bunch of fancy exercises, but rather focused on training the movement pattern, or physiological outcome we want to train. I program the exercises to fit categories following a balance of human foundational movement patterns.
Corrections are based on a standard of movement-based analysis that I work with my coaches on during their mentorship with me, so they know what to look for and what corrections to implement. This is where having a regression/progression sheet is very handy and maintains a standard.