Guides to Corporate Fitness Success. Part 3

Workforce-appropriate program design

An exercise facility and its programs should be designed with the workforce in mind. Employees who are desk-bound will need a general exercise program that includes all three aspects of fitness, while construction workers may need special equipment to strengthen the lower back and upper body. Also, a majority of corporate fitness customers would benefit from a class on stress management.

To get an idea of what to offer, ask your members. Get their input on what types of group exercise classes, seminars and other programs they would like you to offer. Their advice, mixed with your knowledge of their needs and limitations, can create a well-rounded fitness program that focuses on helping members lose weight, improve their general health, relieve stress and more. Occasionally, you can offer programs that reward members who are extremely fit (i.e., sports competitions), but make sure you balance those with programs for employees who are more physically challenged (i.e., basic stretching classes).

Liability

The issue of liability is challenging for corporate fitness center managers. Companies tend to be conservative about who they let into the fitness center, what programs are run and who staffs it. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has excellent guidelines for pre-participation clearance for exercise, requiring people who have more than one cardiovascular risk factor (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, family history, etc.) to obtain a physician’s clearance before joining a fitness facility. Sometimes facilities may lose potential members because people do not want to obtain a physician’s clearance before beginning an exercise program, but the risk of not obtaining a clearance is high compared to the potential revenue lost.

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