Thank goodness that health clubs are beginning to reopen after a year of being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I know that people are hungry to get back to a more normal lifestyle and that will certainly mean a rush back to their Club that for many has become their “second” home. You are going to have real opportunities to grow your business, but I urge you not to simply look at what worked before but rather to look at what you need going forward to differentiate your club: give you your competitive advantage. What can you do to make your club a more valuable asset to your members.

COVID has changed everything. It has changed the way health care will be delivered in the future, meaning that there will be a shift from simply treating disease and illness to a focus on prevention and wellness solutions. It is referred to as Population Health: moving away from sick care to health care and taking responsibility for not just treating people in the hospital but keeping them from having to go to the hospital. And if they do need to be hospitalized, keeping them from having to return. This is where the health care system truly does come together working with health clubs and others in the community that promote exercise and wellness not just health care delivery or sick care.

Overall health includes nutrition as-well-as exercise and this presents a golden opportunity that most clubs miss and it is a billion dollar business. Most of our focus as an industry continues to be on cardio and strength training with little, if any on proper nutrition programming. A person can workout seven days a week and if they are not eating properly and eating healthy, they will not reach the ultimate goal of optimal health. Eating healthy and eating right are two different things and most people need a qualified professional to educate them, guide them and follow their progress and modify their plan as needed.

Now think about this concept as we move into the post COVID world. Think of merging Health Care with Fitness and eventually 3rd party reimbursement for programs that are actually working and promoting overall health and wellness. Medical Nutrition Therapy is one program available for reimbursement to qualified Clubs. Think of how you can become an even more important resource to your members and your community. Consider building an educational library of videos and periodicals by physicians in your area on a host of topics like Exercise and Brain Health; Exercise and Cancer; Exercise and Diabetes; Exercise and Fibromyalgia, etc. The list is endless.

Today, more than ever, your members are seeking wellness solutions like never before. Why go to the Internet when they can access valuable information from the Club that they trust and support.

I have said in other articles that the Health Care system is broken and change is imminent. COVID has certainly made us aware of this. Health Care costs are having a major strain economically on our country. As a country, the US spends more on health care per person than other major industrialized nations and despite this, we are ranked last in a study of the 11 major industrialized countries. And, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), we ranked 37th out of 100 in overall health.

Become part of the solution and in doing so, you will continue to be a major force in helping to build and maintain health and wellness in your community.

Positive proof that Exercise is Medicine.

Mike Alpert is the COO of Smart Health Clubs

He can be contacted at: or (951)205-1136

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