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5 Reasons Your Club Should Hire a Dietitian in 2020

Having a registered dietitian on staff at your health club is good for your members and your bottom line.

No matter what your members’ goals are, it is likely nutrition will be an essential part of achieving them. A dietitian can help members live healthily, manage chronic disease, stay active longer, increase sports performance, and achieve fitness goals.

What do dietitians provide? They can offer your members:

  • nutrition education,
  • one-on-one and small group counseling,
  • run club health promotion programs,
  • add to corporate wellness outreach,
  • and more.

The above benefits are just a few ways a dietitian or nutritionist can help gym-goers accomplish their goals in 2020, but did you know they can also help set your club apart from your competitors?

5 Reasons Your Club Should Hire a Dietitian in 2020 IHRSA org Column Width

Five reasons why your health club should hire a dietitian include:

  1. Dietitians add a new non-dues revenue source.
  2. Dietitians help gym members succeed at their goals, making them more likely to stay members.
  3. Adding dietitians to your staff lets you offer “coordinated care” for your members.
  4. Hiring a dietitian allows your club to reach out to your community with a new service.
  5. Dietitians increase your club’s credibility and expertise in the health and wellness space.

How Can a Dietitian on Staff Increase Your Club’s Revenues?

A dietitian or nutritionist can provide multiple services that could increase your club’s revenue. Some of these services include one-on-one counseling, group programs and coaching, workshops, cooking classes, even product sales.

The best part is that some health insurers will reimburse these services. This makes dietitians not only a great benefit for your members but an affordable one.

The overhead for setting up nutrition services can be low. In fact, you only need three things to get started:

  1. a credentialed professional, which you can hire on a consult, part-time, or full-time basis,
  2. a private space for one-on-one meetings between the dietitian and your members,
  3. and a private computer for the dietitian to use (this enables patient privacy protections).

When Dietitians Help Gym Members Achieve Their Goals, Those Members Are More Likely to Stay Members

Stanford research published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine found that people who tackled diet and exercise together did better at meeting three healthy lifestyle goals than those who didn’t.

These healthy lifestyle goals include:

  1. exercising for 150 minutes a week,
  2. eating five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and
  3. limiting saturated fat to 10% of calorie intake.

Studies have long shown that changing only exercise habits is less effective for weight loss rather than only changing nutrition or addressing both diet and exercise together.

Nutrition is also important for sports performance. In fact, many Division I athletic programs and major league sports teams employ registered dietitians.

Diet can also be a therapy for managing chronic diseases. The right diet can help lower blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol, and improve anthropometric measures like body mass index and waist circumference.

So whether your members are looking to lose weight, improve their health, manage a chronic condition, or improve athletic performance, adding nutrition services can help.

Dietitians Can Work With the Rest of Your Staff to 'Coordinate Care' for Your Members

With a client’s permission, a trainer and a dietitian—and other staff like group exercise or program leaders—can work together to find the best way to help a member reach their goals.

This approach enables your staff to gain multiple perspectives and set the best course of action based on all the available information—ultimately leading to greater long-term success.

Hiring a Dietitian Provides You with the Opportunity to Reach Out to Your Community with a New Service

Not only does hiring a dietitian add a new service that you can offer your current members, but it can help bring in new members. You can reach those in your community that would not otherwise visit a health club by opening your club’s doors to non-members looking for registered dietitian services.

These services can help make people feel comfortable in your club, and lead to them becoming full-fledged members.

Your Club’s Credibility and Expertise Increases with a Dietitian on Staff

Increased credibility can be especially important for clubs interested in exploring or establishing physician referral programs. Having someone with clinical experience like a registered dietitian (who will have worked in a hospital or clinical setting as part of their credentialing program) on staff separates you from your competition and adds credibility when talking with other healthcare professionals.

In addition to the medical community, having an allied healthcare member on staff can also help build credibility among the general public and open up opportunities to generate revenue—and increase exposure to your club—through education sessions, workshops, or health promotion programs available to non-members.

To learn more about adding nutrition services to your club, specifically leveraging a registered dietitian, join Jennifer Jasmin, RD, LDN, Nutrition Director at Mount Auburn Club, and myself at the IHRSA Annual Convention & Trade Show. We’ll be presenting on Friday, March 20, at 11 a.m.

In the meantime, check out our e-book, “Leveraging Nutrition Expertise at Your Health Club.”

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Author avatar

Alexandra Black Larcom @ihrsagetactive

Alexandra Black Larcom, MPH, RD, LDN, is the Senior Manager of Health Promotion & Health Policy for IHRSA. She spends her days working on resources and projects that help IHRSA clubs offer effective health programs in their communities, and convincing lawmakers that policies promoting exercise are an excellent idea. Outside the office you'll most likely find Alex at the gym, running on the Charles River, or, in the fall, by a TV cheering on the Florida Gators.