When a health seeker walks through the doors of your fitness facility, they are eager to make a change. They may be desperate to reach a specific goal, or they may want to make significant lifestyle changes. Either way, they want to succeed, and they are hoping that your facility and your staff will help them do that.
Every health seeker has a story and every story needs a hero.
If you were to read some of the story of your typical health seeker, you would most likely find crazy nutrition plans, diet pills, fasting drinks, and exercise routines that were disguised as the hero in previous chapters. But those temporary heroes oftentimes leave the health seeker feeling more like a victim or a failure. One that didn’t make the goal, couldn’t fit into the dress, or received disappointing news from the doctor, again.
I know this because it is my story.
As a health seeker myself, I can tell you that when a health coach tells me I need to exercise five days a week for an hour at a time, give up my morning caramel latte and bagel with cream cheese to lose the weight, I feel determined to do whatever that coach tells me….no matter if it kills me! So I go home and write on my calendar which five days I am going to the gym this week, often adding in a sixth day because I am that determined. I go to the grocery and spend a ton of money on a week’s worth of “rabbit food.”
My determination continues for a couple of weeks, but then the challenges of everyday life come back with a vengeance. Like many health seekers, juggling the sometimes competing priorities of work, home and parenting, I often find that trying to eat healthy and get to the gym five times a week is just too much. I miss a day here and there. Then I miss more days. It’s not that I don’t want to keep pushing towards my goals, but determination alone simply cannot keep me on track. So, I put my own health and wellness goals on the back burner and I stop going to the gym altogether. Then a few months later, I get fired up again and start the process again. I want the cycle to end. I want to reach my goals and stay fit over the long haul. But, I need help.
Can your facility and staff be my hero?
How do you make a lasting impact with your health seekers?
Dr. Melvin Hillsdon said it best:
“The field of wellness coaching is shifting from the status quo of prescribing exercise and diet plans and then hoping for the best, to the science of systematic behavior change.” (Hunt, P & Hillsdon M. 1996.)
Did you know that there are over 380 studies that demonstrate the importance of behavior change methodologies? However, most wellness coaches and personal trainers still focus heavily on giving health seekers exercise prescription and nutrition plans. There is no research or data that shows exercise prescription and nutrition plans will produce lifestyle changes and lasting results for health seekers. So, what can you do?
What every health seeker needs from their fitness facility and health coach:
An amazing experience
The first day I walk into a facility and I am ready to join, that is when I am on fire to make a change. That is also the time when I am telling a staff member valuable information about my goals, barriers, challenges and past failures. Your staff needs to be able to encourage me and collect all of the important information I am divulging. Chances are that I won’t be so willing to give this information out twice.
Also, the first day that I join, I am eager to get started and probably won’t take you up on the option to schedule an appointment with a health coach. However, statistics show that I will have a much better chance of succeeding if I do schedule an appointment with your health coach. So, it’s very important that your front desk staff knows the importance of getting me scheduled for that critical first appointment.
A strong connection
So, your front desk staff sold me on scheduling that first appointment. The best way for you as the health coach to connect with me during that first appointment is to be prepared and to not waste my time. Talk to me about the goals that I already described to a staff member on my first visit. Something like, “I hear you have an anniversary in six months, let’s get started.” Instantly, you have shown that you are focused on me.
Also, I have a lot of things I am trying to juggle in my schedule, so I don’t want to waste any precious time sitting in an office talking about working out. I want to work out. As a health coach, you should be walking and talking with me. We can discuss my goals and barriers while on the elliptical machine or walking on a track. At the end of the appointment, I feel like you’ve helped me accomplish something, and we can move forward, building our relationship as we go.
Help making a lifestyle change
As a health seeker I have struggled with managing my weight for as long as I can remember. I have tried everything from the cabbage soup diet, counting points, and Tae-Bo. For me, even the thigh master only brought minimal results. I now know that the way to achieve my long-term goals is not by jumping on the bandwagon of the latest craze. Instead, I need to make a lifestyle change through behavior modification. If you can help me do that, you will absolutely become my hero.
Now, you have been equipped with the basic tools that you need to become the hero in the story of each of your members. I know you were hoping for a magic cape or wand of some sort, but you don’t need smoke and mirrors. You just need to understand how to help your members through the process of behavior modification.
To learn more, download our white paper – Behavior Modification: Proven strategies on making a lasting impact with your members.
Written by Stacy L. Alvey
Helping health facilities engage health seekers.
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