Who is the health seeker and what are they seeking?

Posted on: March 10, 2021 by Tanita Europe

Tanita Europe BV will be exhibiting at Elevate on stand no H20

The ‘health seeker’ is a term being used a lot within fitness as we hopefully come out of lockdown for the third and final time, but ‘who’ are they and ‘what’ is it exactly they are seeking?

At Tanita we have been using this term for some time to describe those gym members where perhaps the aesthetics of fitness are not the main motivator, it is more general health that interests them. They have often been the most difficult to engage with, as they largely have quite vague reasons to join and retaining them can be challenging.

Body composition technology and the wide range of health data available such as muscle, fat, visceral fat, water and metabolic age has been utilised for a long time as an essential tool to facilitate engagement with this demographic of gym member. Focussing on the different areas of ‘health’ motivates these members and when they can monitor and track their improvements in these areas, they remain members for longer.

A recent survey highlighted the ‘health seeker’ and demonstrates they most certainly exist, showing that 70% of over 5,000 people survey wanted to be ‘healthier’ in 2021.

But what does that mean? Well in this survey it meant that 41% wanted to ‘exercise more,’ 40% ‘eat more healthily’ and 39% wanted to ‘lose weight.’ When you look at these reasons, they are clearly more specific than to simply ‘be healthier’ but often people will seek out ‘expert’ support in order for these goals to be met.

I would strongly argue that these people have always existed, they are not a new phenomenon and they are not new in wanting to be healthier, they just haven’t thought the ‘gym’ was for them and it probably still isn’t! That infamous 15% penetration marker may be about the maximum we can reach with a traditional gym membership but that doesn’t mean you are not the right facility to help and support these people.

The ‘health seeker’ is looking for a ‘health provider,’ if they have never been motived by the ‘gym’ they probably still aren’t, but within your gym there are most definitely a number of very well qualified professionals with the expertise to help and support, if given the right tools. The main problem here is the health seeker isn’t thinking about you, in their eyes, you sell ‘fitness’ with heavy weights, big muscles, lots of sweating and people looking at you! They absolutely do not want any of that! So, this begs the question what can you do?

What you can do is promote your message about health. You already know the many ways you can support people in leading a healthy lifestyle, but a large proportion of people do not associate you with them and instead go looking for that ‘quick fix’ shake plan, or bonkers diet where you only eat things beginning with the letter L, that seemingly works wonders according to social media. They go to unqualified ‘experts’ to make them healthier, they should be coming to their local ‘health hub!’

Becoming known as a ‘health hub’ and not the ‘gym’ opens you up to the other 85%, many of which will never be interested in a ‘gym membership’ no matter how hard we try. To do this successfully you need to meet their demands; memberships focussed around health, nutrition and weight loss. The key to these is to monitor, advise and support!

Creating memberships that are built around regular body composition assessments is the most efficient way to do this. Monthly ‘check ins’ or ‘Health MOT’s’ where a Tanita scan, which takes around 30 seconds, is combined with a consultation, focussing on the individual requirements and targets of that member, followed by nutritional guidance, exercise from home routines or general lifestyle tips becomes a whole new offering, where the ‘member’ doesn’t go anywhere near the gym floor!

‘GP referrals’ have been in existence for a long time, with varying degrees of success. Again here, by measuring health you can demonstrate the impact your programming has on these and forge much closer links to your local NHS and other health agencies, providing a much more fluid experience for the health seeker.

Sarcopenia; the loss of muscle mass, generally associated with ageing, is another area gaining much more attention in recent times. It should be something that everyone is aware of, especially as we hit our 50’s, but so many people are not. Memberships highlighting areas like this, where Tanita body composition devices can monitor muscle mass and even show this on a ‘Sarcopenic Risk Indicator’ *(available through selected professional devices software) can be promoted to very specific health seeker groups and become a unique and attractive retention tool for any ‘health hub.’

Getting this message out will be critical to its success. If these health seekers are not coming to you, you need to go to them. Advertise and promote your offering as a ‘health hub’ everywhere people are in your local area. Shops, roadside banners, Facebook, churches, GP surgeries! You are offering health not just fitness and people need to see it!

Your qualifications and expertise, combined with the right technology mean you should be the place people come to seek advise on how to be healthier. You can offer support like nowhere else and once word gets around your ‘memberships’ will boom, even potentially without any extra feet filling up the gym floor.

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