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In recent years, technology — specifically body composition technology — has been making its way into community rec centers across the nation. Integrating this testing and tracking technology into your facility offers members a detailed and accurate way to track results.

The Greater Wichita YMCA in Wichita, Kansas, is one facility giving its members this added benefit through InBody technology.

“With InBody, members are able to see their body fat percentage in detail by sections of the body, water weight and lean mass, as well as a calculation of their basal metabolic rate,” said Brittani Poland, the senior program director at the Greater Wichita Y. “By learning their body composition in such detail, we are able to more accurately direct them to reach their fitness goals and see where they might have deficiencies.”

Members at the Greater Wichita Y receive a 30-minute consultation with every InBody scan, allowing them to talk through what the results mean and how they can take action to improve. They can walk into the facility at almost any time of the day and have their InBody scan done on the spot, making it easy and convenient for members to utilize.

Another YMCA using InBody as their full body composition analyzer is the Summit YMCA in Summit, New Jersey.

“We believe technology is the key to staying relevant in the fitness and wellness business,” said Susan Guber, the wellness floor director at the Summit Y. “It’s a big, big retention tool we use in many cases, and our members love technology.”

However, Summit Y members were not always thrilled about it. When InBody was first implemented at their Y, Guber said members were interested but also hesitant to use it. After experiencing the technology through demonstrations given by wellness instructors, members now love the technology and use it constantly.

The wellness instructors at the Summit Y also offer demos on every piece of technology in their facility, so members know its benefits and how to operate it. Guber said these demos are a huge game-changer for their facility. “It’s not just doing a demo of getting on a piece of cardio equipment and learning how to use it,” she explained. “We teach you how to use the cardio equipment, and how to use the InBody so you can see the good work you are doing.”

But members aren’t the only ones who benefit from seeing the technology work firsthand.

After Lori Durbin, the director of healthy lifestyles and youth development at the Burbank Community YMCA in Burbank, California, attended a fitness industry event in 2018 and saw the technology firsthand, her Y made the decision to incorporate 3D scanning technology. It was one of the first facilities to do so in their area.

Ever since implementing Styku’s 3D scanner, both the Burbank Y and its members have been reaping the benefits. “All of the members who have utilized the scan are amazed by the technology,” said Durbin. “They have been particularly impressed with 3D visualizations and the body scan fat percentage that determines health risk compared to others within their gender and age group.”

The Burbank Y has also seen an increase in its personal training sales with the addition of this technology. Members can see their bodies transform, so even if they aren’t losing a lot of weight, it will show a loss of inches and body fat, as well as lean muscle mass gain. Durbin said because of this, members are far more motivated by their own health journey.

The Summit Y has also seen an increase in revenue from adding body composition technology. People who were not members have started attending the Y because their previous facilities didn’t offer body composition scans.

Regardless if your facility brings in InBody, Styku or any other body composition technology, Guber said the key to success is marketing the equipment. “Marketing is a key part in any piece you bring into your building,” she explained. “That’s when we see pieces grow.”

The Summit Y markets its technology through videos of both members talking about their InBody experience and explaining how it works. However, Guber said word of mouth has been their biggest marketing success. Letting members brag on their experience will lead to others wanting the same for themselves.

In fact, adding 3D body scanning to your facility will not only bring in additional revenue, but it can also benefit your programming, allowing you to impact the lives of more people. This is exactly what happened at the Burbank Y.

Durbin explained the biggest benefit they’ve seen since adding Styku is the impact it has had on their Live Well program — a partnership they have with Providence St. Joseph Medical Center and their community. Together they provide evidence-based programs that profoundly address health concerns in their community.

The program combines exercise, nutritional counseling, and disease prevention and management education to help at-risk individuals improve their quality of life. “We focus on prevention and lifestyle changes as an essential part of health care and healthy living,” said Durbin. “The Live Well members are given a 3D body scan at the beginning, middle and end of the four-month program. Weight scales are often misleading and don’t always show the progress being made, and that is not very motivating.”

Overall, members can view hundreds of measurements — waist, hip, bicep, thigh, etc. — as well as lean muscle percentage and bone mass percentage, all while seeing their body in 3D visualization. This allows them to set fat loss goals, as well as check their body alignment, which, if not aligned, may lead to balance or mobility issues down the road.

If you’re unsure whether or not body composition technology is right for your rec center, ask your members if they would utilize it. Because, above all, they are the ones who will benefit the most from it.

Taylor Brown

Taylor Brown is the assistant editor of Community Rec Magazine. She can be reached at taylor@peakemedia.com.

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