Rise of the Boutique Gym
What is the first thing you notice when you walk into a big gym? There are a lot of people right, specially if you work out after work like most people do. The funny thing is, the people you are seeing only make up about half of the membership base that gym has. Statistically less than 35% of people that have a gym membership use it on a regular basis. Gyms actually rely on this number when it comes to a business model because it keeps revenue up but usage down. That's pretty smart though, convince 2000 people to pay you monthly for a product and know that only about 660 of them will actually use your product. That means that there are 1340 people paying for this product every month. And most of them are unlikely to cancel their membership. Why are they unlikely to cancel their membership? There is always the chance that they will go next week or maybe next month. If they keep their membership there is always a possibility that they will go, if they cancel their membership then of course they won't go and then they feel defeated. This is a mental justification that keeps memberships high and usage low. The monetary investment is usually low enough that people are okay with their justification of keeping the membership. Unfortunately with this model a majority of people will never come close to reaching the goals they had set out for themselves when joining the gym in the first place.
I believe that it is because of this model we have seen such an increase in the past few years of the “niche specific” or private “boutique gyms.” These are gyms or studios that have a more specified approach to getting their clients results. Some nationwide examples of this include Crossfit affiliates, Orange Theory Fitness, Cycle Bar and Core Power Yoga. We also see it at a smaller scale with the privately owned local boutique studios, Solid Fitness for example. They are popping up more and more as the client's are becoming more results driven. We are seeing an increase in the number of the population that is willing to invest in their health as well. People are starting to realize that they can have a pretty significant impact on their health and wellness and prevention or reversal of disease. Once we come to this realization, we want results and we demand results. If we are looking to lose weight, tone up, decrease pain or increase performance we want the results to reflect the amount of work we are putting in.
This is where the niche specific or boutique studio can play a huge role. It is more intimate from the stand point of accountability and the monetary investment is typically greater than it would be at a bigger gym, therefore the investment will continuously be weighed against the outcome. Meaning, it is harder to justify spending more money if the results aren't there. This is why the coaches, trainers or owners at these facilities are also results oriented. As the owner of a “boutique” training studio, I know that my revenue is not coming from people that are not showing up. It is dependent solely on my clients' achieving their desired goals, or at least progressing toward their desired goals. If they feel that they are not seeing results or even progress, it will be harder for them to justify staying with me. This alone will increase the value a client gets from every interaction with their coach or trainer.
As a trainer in a private training studio I can focus all of my attention on my clients. There are not a hundred other members and trainers working out around us utilizing the same space. We are not waiting around for equipment to open up, which can impact the tempo and efficiency of a workout.
Nightshades and Chronic Pain
I have been a personal trainer for about 12 years now and recently decided to go back to school to become a Holistic Nutritionist. As a trainer I have specialized primarily in Pain Management and Injury Prevention. Utilizing some of the best movement screens out there, including Functional Movement Systems by Gray Cook, have allowed me to design great programs for clients. With the utilization of these screens I have been able to help a lot of people feel better and move better and not always be in pain. Unfortunately there were always a couple of clients that no matter how good our program and their progress was, there was still some lingering pain. These same clients had spent time with doctors and in MRI machines. Nothing was alleviating that pain and no one had a good answer for them, including myself. During my first class in this Holistic Nutrition program I was introduced to a new topic (at least it was new to me), and that was Nightshades.
Most people do not know what Nightshades are nor do some realize that they should do everything they can to avoid them. Nightshades belong to the Solanaceae family of plants, which includes over 2,000 species and includes many highly consumed foods such as tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and all types of peppers. The Solanaceae family contains compounds that inhibit cholinesterase, which is necessary for a neuron to return to its resting state after being activated. Because of cholinesterase’s essential function, any chemicals that interfere with it’s action are potent neurotoxins. (1) According to Dr. Marvin Childers, "When these inhibitors accumulate in the body, alone or with other cholinesterase inhibitors such as caffeine or food impurities containing systemic cholinesterase inhibiting pesticides, the result may be a paralytic-like muscle spasm, aches, pains, tenderness, inflammation, and stiff body movements."
This article is not designed to be a research article on the effects of nightshades. It is more of an article based on anecdotal evidence on what I have experienced with clients since learning this information and then gaining a better understanding of the issue.
Here is a story about a client of mine, we will call her Susan. Susan has been affected by Fibromyalgia for some time now and is always in a constant state of pain. Sometimes that pain is debilitating, other times it is just a constant reminder that she has this condition. During a session with Susan I asked her if she knew anything about Nightshades and she quickly responded, “I have read a couple articles on them.” So I knew that somewhere on her path she has been introduced to Nightshades. I followed up by asking if she had done anything after reading those articles. Like many clients to a similar question, she responded, “Not really, because I didn’t know if it would really make a difference.”
“Not really, because I didn’t know if it would really make a difference.” My answer to this is always the same, “You’ll never know unless you give it a try.” When it comes to making a dietary change and the removal of potential hazardous foods, the best way to determine if you are intolerant to something or to see if something causes you any problems, is to eliminate it from the diet and then introduce it back in. Depending on the damage done, or the amount consumed, you could see a difference in as little at 2 weeks to a month. But please remember, you must give your body time to heal. It will most likely NOT happen over night.
Okay, back to Susan. After discussing the affects of Nightshades and giving her a couple articles on Nightshades, she decided to remove them completely from her diet. Like with the rest of my clients, I do the educating and let them decide if they want to give it a shot. It was pretty hard for her because on a daily basis she was consuming about 3 servings of Nightshades, so she had to really focus on replacing the main culprits; tomatoes, all peppers and potatoes. She managed to do a great job of eliminating them from her diet completely. After about 3 weeks of total elimination, I asked her how her pain was doing and the response she gave did not surprise me at all. It was “I haven’t really noticed anything, or at least I don’t think I have.” Most clients that are in chronic pain learn to “live” with the pain, therefore changes in the pain level may go unnoticed by the client because on a daily basis they do everything they can not to notice it. So I told her to have a meal that consisted of mostly Nightshades, yes you read that right, a Nightshade extravaganza.
After Susan partook in her Nightshade extravaganza the response to my pain question changed a little. This time the answer to, “how is your pain doing?” was, “It must have really been helping because after eating a meal that contained a ton of peppers and tomatoes I felt terrible. I was just really achy all over.” I have seen this multiple times now with other clients.
If you or someone you know suffers from arthritis or any other condition that presents as chronic pain talk to them about Nightshades. Tell them to remove all of the main suspects for at least 2 weeks (even better to go a whole month) and then to add them back in and see what the impact is. Again, my position as a Nutritionist is to educate, you decide what you want to do with the information.
The nightshade list
1- tomatoes (all varieties, including tomatillos)
2- potatoes (all varieties, NOT sweet potatoes or yams)
3- eggplant (aubergine)
5- peppers (all varieties such as bell pepper, wax pepper, green & red peppers, chili peppers, cayenne, paprika, etc.)
6- goji berries
7- tomarillos (a plum-like fruit from Peru)
9- garden huckleberry & blueberries (contain the alkaloids that induce inflammation)
11- ground cherries
12- pepino Melon
13- the homeopathic "Belladonna" [note: this is highly precautionary as homeopathics contain virtually no measurable "active" chemical]
16- cayenne pepper
• Soy sauce made in the U.S. is generally made with genetically modified (GMO) soy beans, which are cut with the nightshade plant Petunia.
• The condiments black/white pepper and pepper corns are not nightshades
Other ingredients and products to avoid
1- Homeopathic remedies containing Belladonna [note: this is highly precautionary as homeopathics contain virtually no measurable "active" chemical]
2- Prescription and over-the-counter medications containing potato starch as a filler (especially prevalent in sleeping and muscle relaxing medications)
3- Edible flowers: petunia, chalice vine, day jasmine, angel and devil's trumpets
4- Atropine and Scopolamine, used in sleeping pills
5- Topical medications for pain and inflammation containing capsicum (in cayenne pepper).
6- Many baking powders contain potato starch
7- Don't lick envelopes, many adhesives contain potato starch
8- Vodka (potatoes used in production)
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