A Letter to Club Managers: Now is the time

Dear Club Manager,

COVID-19 has been a wake-up call around the globe - and your members have not been immune. Never before has health and wellbeing declined so rapidly and simultaneously for so many people. The suffering is widespread – from loneliness, isolation, and heartbreak, to anxiety, anger, and despair. More than ever, our resilience as individuals and communities strengthens our fortitude to cope with adversity, help others, stay hopeful, and emerge stronger from this crisis. Wellness has never been more important than right now, and private clubs are uniquely and incredibly positioned to make a critical impact.

If you are like me (i.e., human), then 2020 will no doubt go down as the wildest roller coaster you’ve ever ridden. The pandemic highlighted in neon fashion each of our strengths and weaknesses as individuals, as spouses, as parents, as friends, and as community leaders. But this letter is not about our strengths.

According to the National Wellness Institute wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, lifestyles that lead to a state of overall health. Wellness is also multi-faceted, the tenets of which sometimes differ, but usually encompasses physical, intellectual, emotional, social, occupational, and spiritual dimensions. We are not whole or truly well when any of these foundations of life are missing or deficient, and each dimension can strengthen or weaken another. Click on the following image of the six dimensions to learn more.

Physical: Nourishing a healthy body through exercise, nutrition, sleep, etc.

Intellectual: Engaging the world with the intellectual mind.

Emotional: Being aware of, accepting, and expressing our feelings, and understanding the feelings of others.

Spiritual: Searching for meaning and higher purpose in human existence.

Social: Connecting and engaging with others and our communities in meaningful ways.

Occupational: Attaining equilibrium between work and leisure time, handling work place stress, and making good relationships with coworkers.

During these difficult times people have proudly flexed their greatest lifestyle strengths; they have also been confronted by their heaviest lifestyle weaknesses. Recent research indicates that up to 80-90% of our health outcomes may be due to external and environmental factors, including health systems, housing, neighborhoods, transportation, education, culture, families and friends, and much more. We cannot stay healthy and well without creating environments that support our wellness rather than reducing it. That's where your club comes in.

COVID-19 compelled us to work together to combat a global public health issue. There is still much that we can do to strengthen our wellness foundations and build resilience for ourselves, our families, and our communities – but to do so will require us to shift our priorities and change our behaviors at all levels.

Solution #1: Lead with individual responsibility and agency

The most important step is recognizing that you cannot live a full life without a healthy body, mind, and spirit. As individuals, we need to take the responsibility to learn and proactively engage essential healthy lifestyle habits. Perfection is not the goal either. Small changes lead to significant advancement over time. Move a little more, go to bed a little earlier, carve out some quiet time for contemplation and reflection, nurture relationships by practicing compassion and caring with family, friends, and neighbors; in our workplaces and schools; and in our wider communities. We need to be aware that our actions and choices have impacts on other people and on our planet.

Whichever idea speaks to you, start today. It’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than it is to think your way into a new way of acting. Wellness is about shifting your individual mindset and behavior – instead of just treating disease and reacting to adversity. Be engaged and proactive in leading a full, healthy, and thriving life.

Solution #2: Your club can and should be a wellness leader

Our individual behaviors are shaped by the people, community, and culture around us. In a neighborhood dominated by crime, joining gangs becomes a default for many youth. In a company that runs on a “profit above all” motto, employees may be compelled to be ruthless and unethical. Conversely, if we are surrounded by people who are well, then we will be affected and may even become like them. I challenge you to shape and promote a culture of wellness at your club. Ideally this starts from the top-down, but everyone has a sphere of influence. Model healthy behaviors and use a wellness mindset to drive your decision-making and values.

Because so many people do not understand wellness or have the knowledge to practice healthy lifestyles, clubs can be an important and trusted source of education, inspiration, and advocacy.

The pandemic has shined a new light onto the importance of private clubs. It has reminded us how much we trust our clubs as an extension of our own homes. It has reminded us how much we value connection, cleanliness, recreation, and self-care. This is your opportunity to help members by providing encouragement and opportunities to engage in a life lived well. Clubs have a tremendous influence over members’ perceptions about wellness.

As Hippocrates reminds us, “Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.”

10 Easy Ways to Bring Wellness to your Club/Lifestyle

For Your Club

  1. Start a wellness speaker series

  2. Experiment with diverse wellness services to engage a diverse membership

  3. Create a wellness team at the club to establish an employee wellness program. The Society for Human Resource Management provides a fantastic nine step outline... Click Here

  4. Discourage a 24/7 work culture

  5. Hire a wellness consultant to evaluate your wellness offerings. There are many out there, including us - 1000 Hills Fitness, Club Wellness Evolutions, WTS International, and Prevo Health.

  6. Talk with your team about the symptoms of stress (e.g., changes in sleep or eating patterns, worsening health problems, increased use of alcohol) and strategies to address it (e.g., vacation days, mental health assistance, and the importance of a self-care routine). The CDC's recommendations for stress management are spot-on... Click Here

  7. Lead by example

For You

  1. Start a free trial membership for yoga, fitness, and meditation with alomoves… Click Here

  2. Become a member with the National Wellness Institute… Click Here

  3. Listen to a podcast on your way to work. Try any one of Tim Ferriss’ podcasts for an intellectually stimulating commute… Click Here

Fitness has been trending amongst private clubs and gated communities for many years. By and large the trend has generated nicely appointed fitness centers, but wellness has yet to take center stage. Now is the time. Take ownership and lead by example. Your members, your staff, your friends, your family, and your future self will thank you. You can change the world!

Kind regards,

Scott Poston, M.S.

Founder & President

1000 Hills Fitness

scott@1000hillsfitness.com