LIV North Fitness Management Hosts Virtual Wellness Week for Clients

LIV North Fitness Management division has always included elements of wellness into our programming.  With COVID raising concerns about mental wellness, stress management and employee burnout, a few of our LIV North Account Managers set out to address these concerns. 

In the Spring of 2020, a few of our facilities took part in a virtual health fair that received great reviews from the participants and our clients.  Now that we are 16 months into this pandemic the need for wellness has increased dramatically, hence the idea for a Wellness Week was born.

Wellness Week 2021 is a virtual event that takes place from Monday, June 7 to Friday, June 11th and includes 5 daily live sessions and activities.  This service is available on the Optimal by LIV North platform as well as through several of our management projects that are hosting the event.

Below are some details about the 2021 event.  

If your organization is interested in taking part and having access to the live sessions, you can reach out to us at virtual@livnorth.com.

Facility Feature: Park Hyatt

Park Hyatt is located in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood and is lined with upscale boutiques, Victorian-era homes as well as chic restaurants.

Iain Anderson, the Territory Manager for LIV North in the GTA, has worked with the Park Hyatt Team to design a beautiful 1400 sq/ft. space. It was important that the equipment selected for this facility was of the highest quality with state of the art cardio & strength equipment. Products chosen for this project was the Life Fitness Elevation Series Cardio with SE3HD Console, Insignia Strength, and Synrgy Training System which incorporates Functional Training and Accessory Storage.

After your workout, visit one of Stillwater Spas’ thirteen treatment rooms to relax before going out on the town!

This is a beautiful upscale hotel with a fitness centre to match, not only for people travelling from out of town, but also for people from around the GTA to enjoy a getaway weekend.

2021 Predictions on How the Pandemic Will Reshape the Fitness Industry

The impact of 2020 has reshaped how we live, play, and work; the imposed restrictions, put in place due to the pandemic, have created a new reality that we have had to, and will continue to, adapt to. Some of these new behaviours will stick beyond Covid 19, while others will fade.  Although we know that restrictions will extend deep into 2021 in some form, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Change exposes us to different perspectives, new opportunities, and time to reflect on what we need and what we truly value.

A few of my thoughts on how I believe fitness has, and will continue to evolve post pandemic.

#1 A larger portion of the population will make activity a higher priority. 

Although Covid will eventually fade, the vulnerability felt by those who had underlying conditions, and to those whose health was affected directly or indirectly, will last. The messaging about how being active can help with and prevent chronic conditions, improve immunity and aid in mental health are hitting home during this pandemic.  The realization that activity, even in small amounts, can provide major benefits is here to stay.

  • Movement is Medicine Less focus on abs and buns and more focus on heart and lungs. All health professionals agree that physical activity is essential to one’s well being. No longer is fitness viewed primarily as a body transformation activity (washboard abs, weight loss). Instead the aesthetic results achieved through fitness is now secondary. Wellbeing (current and future health status) and Improved Performance (productivity, energy, mood) are equally as valued from those who participate or intend to participate.  This shift in perspective will be a key message in attracting the right clientele to your facility.
  • More people moving Walking is a great starting point for the inactive population (no prep, no learning curve or special equipment) and during the lockdown we wanted/needed to get out of the house so many people began walking. Beyond walking the pandemic has also broken down physical activity barriers for many with a plethora of online fitness options. People can participate in the comfort and anonymity of their home without feeling self conscious. The opportunities to explore and try a variety of activities online without buying a membership or specific equipment has been extensive. With more inactive people being introduced to activities, building confidence and realizing the benefits moving more provides it translates to an expanded market. This emerging untapped demographic will be purchasing professional  fitness services/memberships both online and in-person in 2021contributing to the rebound for many facilities.

#2 Social Connection is Vital

We have an innate need to belong, to be part of a community that provides a sense of acceptance, inclusivity and sharing common interests/goals. The Social Connection has long been a key component for many fitness participants because it provides another reason to attend,(it’s fun, it’s motivating and it feels good to sweat and accomplish with others). 

  • The social aspect is the key to virtual success. The emergence of Virtual Fitness skyrocketed in 2020. The need for people to feel connected to a familiar instructor or workout group was evident as people flocked to Zoom and recorded workouts. For many facilities this began as a band-aid solution until the return of in-person fitness could resume but there is no doubt that Virtual Fitness will remain as a permanent and popular option even after all restrictions have been lifted. Although Zoom fatigue and excess  of screen time is a challenge, facilities and professionals who continue to embrace the social aspect of online workouts, and refine ways to connect with people online, will separate themselves from the crowded field of virtual fitness  options. 
  • Working out (together) in-person will return and thrive. The impact of social distancing and lockdowns became and remains a heavy burden for many people. The lack of connection and social interaction due to working from home is a major dilemma. The need for a hub, for people to come together, will heighten and fitness facilities will become a popular option. During the lockdown those who valued and relied on this in-person element and did not make the switch to stay connected online struggled with consistency.  Whether it is working out and bumping into fellow members, planning a workout with a friend or attending a scheduled group workout, the positive reinforcement, shared challenge and accomplishment in a place that you are comfortable and feel you belong, is a much more powerful element then the actual workout itself. 

 #3 In-Person Facility Experience gets a reboot: It has been a devastating year for the Fitness Facility Industry, the lockdowns and safety protocols have made it extremely difficult for Studios and clubs to stay afloat. During the shutdown phases, fitness facility owners and operators quickly pivoted showing ingenuity by renting equipment, offering existing and new services remotely, and staying connected to their members.

  • Flexible Memberships– No one is looking for long term commitments. Month to month options will become the new norm. It will not be uncommon for members to have memberships at multiple facilities simultaneously or throughout the year.  Assessing the convenience of a facility, when working at home and/or when at the office, along with considering the interest in different activities and needs throughout the year, will shift consumers purchasing decisions. 
  • “Working out at home isn’t the same!!” is a phrase I keep hearing. The value of having a dedicated time and place to workout has proven to be critical for many. Working out alone at home with distractions is hard to adhere to. The structure, atmosphere and social aspect will be a major factor in the return of members to facilities.
  • Access to equipment– Although we have been exposed to creative and effective bodyweight and minimal equipment workouts, the love of using equipment to get more from a workout will remain. Some have purchased equipment for home but notice the quality of their Treadmill/Elliptical doesn’t compare to commercial equipment. It is hard to stay motivated doing activities that don’t feel good, or the same way you remember them. To progress towards our goals we need to be challenged in different ways, however, purchasing high quality equipment, and a variety of weights for home may not  be reasonable (space considerations) or affordable, making the existing fitness centres the most viable option.
  • Professional Instruction–  There are an abundance of fitness ‘coaches’ online however, a fit Instagrammer, athlete, celebrity or someone who has had a successful body transformation, does not qualify them to competently coach others. Reports from participants doing generic online workouts that are either “too easy”, “too hard” or “unsafe” are unfortunate but not surprising. Certified Fitness Pros in clubs and studios have extensive training and several have many years experience.  The realization is now more apparent than ever that trained professionals offer an abundance of value including being able to identify appropriate intensity, provide necessary adjustments to technique, modify for injuries, identify weakness/imbalances, provide timely motivation boosts, and create personalized workout design & instruction.  All of these offerings will lead to improved results, reduce risk of injury and provide a better experience overall.

Programming with a Purpose – The Amazing Race

LIV North Fitness Management division prides itself in offering engaging and motivating programs to our managed facilities and their members.  However, there is always a greater purpose than having a lot of members participate.

When a challenge or program is planned, all aspects of wellness, as well as health indicators, such as sleep and stress management, are included.

Take for example the Amazing Race challenge that finished on May 3, 2021.  Over 4 weeks, 126 competitors from 9 LIV North managed facilities competed in a virtual race across Canada for prizes.  Sounds fun and motivating, right?

Having been involved in the wellness sector for over 45 years, LIV North staff know that small increases in daily activity have huge benefits at the organizational level.  Some of these benefits include:

  • Increased productivity – employees that move more in their day tend to be more focused, productive and sleep better at night
  • Reduced stress levels – being in nature has been shown to greatly decrease stress levels
  • More positive outlook – feeling supported, building connections and finding a sense of accomplishment go a long way in improving corporate culture, employee longevity and overall satisfaction at work.

Along the way, strategic activities were plotted out that focused specifically on the points above. Taking a mindful walk in nature to reduce stress and trying new activities such as theme based recipes were among those tasks.  Activity levels were slowly increased as the challenge progressed to ensure all abilities and fitness levels could succeed was key to creating a sense of accomplishment.

For a more detailed look at the outcome results of the Amazing Race challenge, take a look at the infographic below.  

Click here to find out more about the LIV North Amazing Race challenge.   If your organization could benefit from programming and results like this, be sure to contact us at virtual@livnorth.com

LIV North Fitness Management Wraps Up Nationwide Amazing Race Challenge

With COVID numbers rising across the country, the LIV North Fitness Management team set out to plan a fun, engaging and completely virtual challenge. Understanding the effects of lockdowns and working remotely helped the team to plan a challenge that was not only fun but would also help participants lower stress levels, increase physical activity, and improve productivity. Being that Spring was arriving, the team also planned for many outdoor options.

A registration fee was charged to enter the race – ½ of which was used for prizes and the other ½ was slated for donation to the winning teams charity of choice (which was selected at registration).  

One essential part to the planning was gamification – the process of applying game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts.  We add these elements to any challenge or program we run as this makes the entire event more motivating, engaging and successful!

Following the guiding principles of the Amazing Race television show, participants were provided with one ‘envelope’ at a time with the details about that leg of the race.  Starting in Vancouver, BC, they completed area based challenges, with time sensitive detours and roadblocks thrown their way.  After Vancouver, our teams headed to Edmonton AB, Toronto, ON and Halifax, NS.  Along the way each team member completed over 115 km in distance as well as a variety of mindfulness, healthy eating and plain old fun activities, submitting proof and trying to climb the standings with each leg.

When all was said and done, 63 teams from 9 different LIV North managed facilities across the country ended their adventure in Halifax, NS.  

Overall, 126 people made a positive impact on their health and wellbeing over the 4 week challenge.  The Breast Cancer Society of Canada will be receiving a donation on behalf of the winning team, helping to positively impact even more lives.

To celebrate the following video was put together to highlight some of the challenges and fun the participants had along the way.

Would a motivating challenge such as the Amazing Race benefit your organization?  Contact us at Virtual@livnorth.com.

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