By Patrick Craig, Special FBA Contributor

Wellness programs have been around the corporate world for years. They used to be called Corporate Fitness Programs and started out as employee perks for people who worked for some of the larger corporations. But over the past several years, mid-range and even small businesses have seen the value in maintaining a healthy workforce.

Productivity losses linked to absenteeism cost employers $225.8 billion dollars annually in the U.S. And, with the COVID pandemic sweeping the world for the last two years, most Americans have become focused on living a healthier lifestyle, including strengthening the immune system, which most doctors will tell you is the best defense against any type of virus.

One of the best ways to build up your immune system is a regular routine of physical exercise combined with specific supplements and nutrition training, and what more convienent place to do that than a local fitness club? Adding a wellness program to your available offerings is simple to do—it will take some research and planning, of course, but once you have it set up, it will be easy to run. And remember this—the total reach of wellness programs, be it in the workplace or fitness centers, dwarfs all other efforts to improve the health of adults.

Mountains of Evidence Prove the Benefits of Wellness

Think of the different benefits that employers offer: retirement or pension plans, healthcare, paid time off, maternity leave. These programs supposedly help the organization recruit and maintain qualified employees.

But not one published study shows that offering these benefits has any measurable effect on a company’s ability to recruit workers. Unlike all the other benefits a workplace offers, there are hundreds of scientific evaluations showing the impact of wellness programs on a company’s ability to recruit employees. And if having a wellness program has that effect for a workplace, how much more will a wellness program in your gym affect the number of new clients that will join your club?

Let me just list some of the major reasons more people will come to your club if you offer a Wellness Program.

Improve health behaviors

The central focus of every wellness program is behavior change. With the right motivation in a supportive atmosphere, people change their behaviors. Healthy behaviors lead to lower health risks and less chronic disease. In a time when so many clubs and facilities have been affected by a global awareness and fear of illness, people are finally waking up to the fact that a healthy body keeps illness at bay.

The sticking point is just about anybody can have healthy behaviors for a few days or weeks—New Year’s resolutions never last. However, if you put people into a setting where they are surrounded by committed teachers and students of health, the odds are they will adopt change as a lifestyle and not just a momentary whim.


Lower elevated health risks

According to recent studies, a wellness program can help reduce health risks dramatically in as little as six weeks. Those in the study who maintained their healthy behaviors experienced the same lower risks for six months, twelve months and even out to eighteen months. What better setting to encourage members to maintain their healthy behaviors than a fitness club, where the member attends regularly and is surrounded by other members with the same goals in mind?

Become a hero in your community

Poor employee productivity is defined as being at a job but not having the stamina to maintain a high level of work. Imagine the good feedback when an employer asks his incredibly improved worker where the new results in his job production came from and he tells his boss it’s because of the Wellness Program at his local fitness club.

The financial impact of Health Care

There are almost one hundred different studies that have looked at the financial impact of Wellness Programs on health care. Savings to individuals in their health care costs are expanded greatly as people take up better health habits, build new dietary standards and improve immune and cardiovascular systems with a regular regimen of exercise, wellness and dietary changes.

I could go on with several reasons for adding a Wellness Program to your club, but the main one is clubs who offer them are going to see a significant uptick in their bottom line. And if you are set up to offer your programs in a Hybrid setting, that is both in-house and online using live streaming, you are creating a great potential for a thriving business over the next few years.

One of my clients has incorporated wellness into a group of four training programs they offer on a subscription basis. For only $99 a month the member gets an initial round of technique and implementation sessions and then can choose between four disciplines, one of which is a Wellness Discipline designed for the individual looking to live a healthy and fit lifestyle but not necessarily desiring to pursue strength sports.

As you look to the future, why not explore the possibilities inherent in adding Wellness to your offerings? And remember, if you don’t have someone on your staff who can lead the program, there are many online Wellness Programs that might partner with you on a subscription/affiliate basis. As I’ve said in recent articles, getting your business online is going to be the next wave—you should look into it because I guarantee your competitors are.

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Patrick Craig has worked in the Marketing Industry for the past twenty years. He is a published author and has written extensively about the fitness industry, particularly the gym software aspect of it. He has been with Money Movers, Inc. for the last six years where he serves as the Marketing and Operations Manager, web designer and coder, and maintains the custom websites Money Movers, Inc. develops for their Online Business Manager gym software clients.

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