OAK Health Club is a 29,000-square-foot fitness and wellness facility serving Ashburn, Virginia, within commuting distance of Washington, D.C. The facility is owned and operated by AARP Services, Inc. A flagship wellness community focused on offering healthy living and performance services, OAK Health Club membership includes access to innovative TechnoGym fitness equipment, personal training, and both indoor and outdoor dedicated fitness spaces. Members also have access to healthy meal and snack options at Canopy cafe; massage, cryotherapy, and infrared saunas at Revive spa; and a full-time, on-site registered dietitian. Members can access their fitness plans and virtual fitness options via a mobile app, myWellness.
Programming includes an extensive group exercise schedule, personal and small group fitness options, and complimentary personal health assessments and individual nutrition planning for new members.
ASI and Exos Community Consulting began project planning in late 2017. From facility design and equipment selection and procurement, to staffing, membership pre-sale, and ongoing management, Exos has provided in-depth expertise and recommendations every step of the way.
Exos Marketing Support
As ASI and Exos worked together to develop the new facility’s unique brand and vision, Exos Marketing consulted with ASI to develop a comprehensive pre-sale marketing and staff education program. The integrated team developed marketing materials and pre-sale promotions.. The team then moved into regular operations, programming promotions, and member communications to increase engagement and retention while continuing to grow the OAK member base. OAK marketing assets include a bespoke website, Facebook and Instagram channels, Google business and advertising optimizations and reporting, and a marketing strategy built for a growing and unique fitness community.
WorkLife Wellbeing powered by Exos is a more than 25,000 square foot fitness and wellness center in the heart of PENN1, a midcentury, multi-use corporate office building in downtown New York City. The site was revitalized by Vornado Realty Trust as part of a larger PENN DISTRICT campus renovation project encompassing 9 million square feet in a dozen buildings surrounding New York’s Pennsylvania Station.
Located within the building’s first three levels of an interconnected WorkLife amenity ecosystem serving PENN1 corporate tenants, Wellbeing shares the space with a full-service restaurant, private dining rooms, formal and casual meeting and conference spaces, and more than 80,000 square feet of adaptable workspace.
Exos partnered with Vornado to support design and development of the WorkLife Wellbeing fitness solution to serve an onsite population of 12,000 tenant employees. Exos services have included facility design and layout consulting, equipment procurement, and marketing for branding, pre-sale, and grand opening events. Exos will continue to manage and staff the facility and manage its operations, membership, and marketing needs. Fitness programming will include the fitness center, group exercise, personal training, a Fueling Station, wellness and nutrition counseling, restorative therapies such as massage and top-tier recovery services and equipment, a retail Gear Shop, and powered by Exos sports performance training.
Located inside Children’s Health Andrews Institute of Plano, Children’s Health Andrews Institute Sports Performance powered by Exos provides customized training and nutrition coaching for local youth, high school, professional/elite, and general population adult athletes. A medically integrated performance site, Children’s Health Andrews Institute Sports Performance specializes in Return to Sports training and works with Children’s Health medical professionals to manage post-physical therapy patients’ advanced sports rehabilitation needs. The site also manages Team Services Agreements with local sports teams and offers sports-specific camps focused on high-performing athletes of all ages. Coaching includes nutrition counseling, functional movement and performance screening and coaching, and individualized, goal-based training in a small-group setting.
With fewer than 100 members, Children’s Sports Performance powered by Exos is an elite-level training facility focused on exceptional service and performance-driven results.
Children’s Health Andrews Institute Sports Performance comprises a team of highly dedicated Exos Performance Specialists and a Sports Dietitian whose focus is community education and engagement and growing the client’s revenue streams. The Exos Community Management scope includes staffing, operations, member management, and consulting with Exos Community Marketing on an ad-hoc basis when requested by the Children’s Health marketing team.
Mercy Fitness Center is a 50,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility with the latest in technology and equipment. Located inside Mercy Clinic I-35, the fitness center offers medically integrated programming and works with clinic physical therapy, orthopedics, and nutrition professionals. In addition to an expansive fitness floor and indoor walking/running track, Mercy Fitness Center has a saltwater aquatics area with two pools and a spa. The center is also home to Mercy Sports Performance and has dedicated fitness studios, a cycle studio, and offers a full group exercise schedule, personal training, massage, swim coaching, and an onsite member childcare facility.
Since 2017, Exos Community Operations has managed Mercy Fitness Center’s operations, staffing, programming, ancillary services, and marketing promotions. Mercy Fitness serves more than 2,500 members and generates an average of more than $1 million per annum for Mercy Clinic.
Exos Marketing Support
Exos Marketing provides marketing strategy and support in partnership with Mercy Marketing and Exos staff. The team manages a promotions budget that averages $8,000 monthly and includes internal and external communications, digital advertising, website management, and brand and reputation management.
Managed by Mayo Clinic Sports Performance powered by Exos, Minneapolis, MN
Mayo Clinic Sports Performance is an Exos-managed entity with two locations at Mayo Clinics in Minneapolis and Rochester, Minnesota. Sports Performance Coach and site manager Luke Corey manages Team Services Agreements, to include services for 15 rostered players and 40 operations staff within the Minnesota Timberwolves NBA Franchise.
Exos TSA Services
As the Timberwolves Exos TSA Coach, Corey attends every practice and game during the NBA season. A registered dietitian and certified performance specialist, he performs regular nutrition evaluations, hydration testing, pre- and post-game supplementation, and general nutrition and performance counseling, both in person and virtually depending on team member needs.
TSA Services also include specialized menu planning and meal preparation and delivery for players. Corey works closely with team trainers, coaches, and players to ensure that nutritional support aligns with overall and individual performance goals.
Located inside Children’s Health Andrews Institute of Plano, Children’s Sports Performance powered by Exos provides customized training and nutrition coaching for local youth, high school, and adult athletes. A medically connected performance site, Children’s Sports Performance specializes in Return to Sports training and works with Children’s medical professionals to manage post-physical therapy patients’ advanced sports rehabilitation needs. The site also manages Team Services Agreements with local sports teams and offers sports-specific camps focused on high-performing athletes of all ages. Coaching includes nutrition counseling, functional movement and performance screening and coaching, and individualized, goal-based training in a small-group setting.
With fewer than 100 members, Children’s Sports Performance powered by Exos is an elite-level training facility focused on exceptional service and performance-driven results.
Children’s Sports Performance comprises a team of highly dedicated Exos Fitness Specialists whose focus is community education and growing the client’s revenue streams. The Exos Community Management scope includes staffing, operations, member management, and consulting with Exos Community Marketing on an ad-hoc basis when requested by the Children’s Hospital marketing team.
NEW YORK, NY –Before the days of socially distanced workouts, there were days when the fitness industry could promote togetherness and encourage social connection as an essential part of the human experience. We lost some of that in the first days when the pandemic shut down many fitness and community centers, but what Exos-managed Manny Cantor Center soon discovered was that social connection is possible via virtual fitness – and no amount of distance can stop a determined fitness community.
MCC provides so much more than fitness
MCC’s strong and active member community in New York City’s Lower East Side enjoyed frequent (even daily) visits to the center pre-COVID to participate in its many family-focused programs. MCC has always been a hub for the local community, offering its 3,000 members access to community service opportunities, education and kids’ programs, and even art classes.
Assistant General Manager Sarah Folkins says the community center’s fitness classes were also a big part of its attraction. She explained that human connection is the common thread that makes MCC so popular.
“[MCC is] like a second home,” Sarah said.
The impact of the first lockdowns on a close-knit community
The year 2020 was still full of hope and promise at MCC when March came in like a lion with the arrival of COVID. Fear and illness gripped New York City, and the pandemic shut-down required MCC to close its doors to the members who counted on the center to provide a social gathering place for fitness and connection.
MCC was quick to respond to that need, designing and launching a Zoom-based group exercise schedule and personal training option in just two weeks.
“We shut down March 13, [but] our executive director had already organized meetings with us before the closure so that we could deliver virtual options,” Folkins said. “We knew we had to get virtual classes up and going as soon as possible to serve our community. We have a strong group exercise space here, and we knew we could stay in touch virtually.”
“It’s our job as a community to create connection.”
Staff, member dedication keeps the virtual “doors” open
MCC’s determination to provide its members with digital fitness programming comprised an “all-hands-on-deck” approach that began with some research into delivery platforms. The second week of March, MCC Fitness Manager Michelle Sholtis began researching Zoom conferencing and calling instructors to verify that they could offer classes from their homes. On April 1, MCC launched 20 of its most popular group exercise classes using Zoom, including plenty of variety to appeal to members’ interests, abilities, and how much room they had to move inside their homes.
In the beginning, the classes were offered completely free and didn’t require MCC membership.
“When we first started, members who wanted to keep paying [monthly dues] had that option,” Folkins said, adding that she, Sholtis, and MCC General Manager Michael Gordon called 1,200 members personally to ask whether they would like to keep paying dues and/or make donations to keep the center financially solvent during the shut-down. “We’ve been able to keep many members paying full dues as tax-deductible donations because we are a community center.”
Continued financial support allowed MCC to launch online programs on a much larger scale than many of its counterparts, even while group exercise classes were free to the public. Most importantly, the value of the group exercise classes and livestreamed workouts from Exosathome.com kept membership cancellations at a minimum during those first few weeks, allowing the center to keep the lights on and keep its people employed.
“If we didn’t have online classes, we would have nothing,” Folkins shared. “At least when people call, we have an option. Otherwise, we would have no way to reach out to people. Our group exercise instructors have been employed this whole time, in the middle of lots of furloughs. Without this offering, and the generosity of our members, we would not be here today.”
The evolution of a global fitness community
While New Yorkers began navigating a world where so much was unknown, Manny Cantor Center offered familiar faces and daily opportunities to connect with distant friends. The Zoom classes were structured much like in-person classes, but with added time for socializing before and after the workouts.
The program’s popularity demanded an expansion of class offerings, so MCC partnered with the 14th Street Y to add more classes. In July, the partnership expanded the class schedule to 27 classes a week as a new format for members-only group exercise. The move required that members pay monthly dues and register for classes in advance, allowing MCC and The Y to track utilization in a way that now informs programming changes and member communications.
“Our only goal was to have things set up for our community to be a part of,” Folkins recalled. But, what she found was that the online class format was attractive to a wider audience than in-person classes could ever be. “One benefit [of online programs] is that suddenly your gym is open to the entire world, essentially. You don’t have to live in New York to be a part of MCC.”
MCC’s digital fitness initiative has proven essential for members who have left NYC since the pandemic began, and has extended the community center’s reach to as far away as London. Folkins said an American expat sought out a virtual fitness membership after learning she could take Sunday yoga classes with her favorite instructor, Leorna.
“She knew Leorna and loved her,” Folkins said, adding that keeping members who move away has been an unexpected benefit of going virtual and could be a game-changer for many gyms nationwide. “To be able to continue the [virtual class] offering to your members no matter where they are, you could keep them for the rest of their lives.”
Forging a new path for fitness beyond 2020’s challenges
“We plan on continuing virtual classes and always having that option for members,” Folkins predicted. “It’s a benefit to us right now in New York City because we’re not allowed to have onsite classes for the foreseeable future. Also, some members may not be comfortable coming in when we are able to be in person. [The virtual class option] allows us to have a form of engagement.”
Folkins said the success of MCC’s virtual community-building has been a bright spot in a year of COVID that she’s excited to help nurture.
“As the world changes and people may be less comfortable working out in person, we hope to still be engaged with [members], especially in the vulnerable populations, and respond to our membership needs and wants,” she said. “I’m interested to see how this changes the fitness industry as a whole, and how many people continue to work out from home.”
The future of virtual fitness programming
Exos Senior Director for Community Center Relationships Leslie Meyers says the future of community center connection is closely tied to the future of virtual fitness for some members.
“What we’ve learned from team members like Sarah is that there are tangible social benefits to creating these virtual options, and that it’s possible to provide connection and build community engagement through online classes,” Meyers said. “We want to provide impactful programs that improve our members’ lives, and at Exos-managed community centers, that programming must include human interaction and relationships.”
As Exos virtual programs mature and the pandemic abates, Meyers said she and her team will be closely monitoring MCC member participation rates, feedback, and revenue to further refine the Exos community center management model for online program delivery.
“It only makes sense to follow our members’ lead when it comes to providing the programming they want and the feeling of connection they need,” she said.
That focus on members has certainly made a huge impact on the Lower East Side. Folkins offers sage advice for any community fitness center not already delivering virtual classes and enrichment programs:
“Don’t be afraid to try; just do it,” she urged. “It’s better to have to pull back your offerings because they didn’t work out than to have nothing. So, just try.”
Learn more about Exos Community Fitness Center Management services by visiting TeamExos.com/capabilities/facility-management-and-staffing/.
Building resilient fitness employees: Exos expands inclusion, mental health, financial health programs
Leadership requires maintaining a delicate balance between business acumen and people skills. The people skills that are most important in the post-pandemic world involve a lot of human resources management – in the form of caring about employees and their experiences, building resources to meet their needs, and recognizing that there isn’t an “easy button” for helping team members approach life’s challenges.
Fitness industry employees have taken an especially hard hit during a time of lockdowns, social distancing, and fear of the unknown. Any personal battles they’re facing – either pre-existing or as a result of these factors – have been amplified by financial hardships and stress. It’s time for fitness industry leadership to step up and provide the mental and financial health resources employees need.
Support begins with a strong local team
Exos team member support has evolved to globally replicate best practices developed and implemented by forward-thinking fitness center leadership, and the process continues. Every day, fitness professionals, general managers, and performance team members work in tandem to solve staffing and morale challenges. These “boots on the ground” experiences inform operational shifts as the larger organization pivots to the most important business focus of all – providing what our people need, when they need it.
Financial health has been top of mind for everyone in the fitness industry during the pandemic age. Mercy Fitness Center GM Eddy Campbell recognized a need to support part-time service providers at the Edmond, OK, fitness center as the financial impact of the pandemic became more apparent.
“As a personal trainer, I was provided some business management guidance in 2011 that really opened my eyes,” Campbell said. “Managing a training business, recruiting clients, and setting and meeting financial goals is not something that certification teaches you.”
Campbell offered training for all part-time and commission-based service providers at the fitness center at the end of September 2020. He and his leadership team worked with staff members to develop individualized business plans to support their training efforts. Much like a personal training approach to a client’s overall fitness improvement, the plans started with “big idea,” long-term career goals. Campbell then helped the participating trainers, aquatics coaches, and massage therapists set intermediary metrics for career success and develop a plan to hit those monthly, weekly, and daily client recruitment and retention goals.
“It’s been extremely well-received,” Campbell said, adding that his team conducts weekly reassessment sessions with participants to gauge what’s working and adjust. “Those who have implemented their plans have grown their session counts dramatically.”
Aside from helping young part-time employees grow their client base and continue to succeed in their field, Campbell said the business counseling program has improved morale, employee retention, and resilience. It’s been especially helpful for those employees who were struggling with work/life balance.
“Once you have a plan and know how many sessions you need each week to meet your financial needs, you can structure your session scheduling around when you want to work,” he explained. “That’s been really helpful for some of our staff members who are single parents and needed some help balancing the time they spend working and the time they spend with their families.”
Growing values and identity-based support systems
The Mercy Fitness Center approach has yielded holistic mental health improvement, but Exos isn’t stopping there. What the company’s people operations team recognized is that employees also need opportunities to belong. That’s where Employee Resource Groups have become invaluable.
These groups welcome Exos employees – including furloughed and part-time team members – to join others with shared life experiences to become part of a like-minded group of individuals and allies who support their cause. Exos ERGs host regular virtual meetups and discussions specific to the experiences and needs of traditionally underrepresented groups as part of a larger effort to address diversity, equity, and inclusion. It’s a movement whose time has come, and has already yielded tangible benefits for employees’ sense of belonging and real employer support.
Bringing together the resources employees need
As an organization, Exos has also continued to add benefits that address employee benefits, mental health, and resiliency:
- The company has added enhanced Employer Assistance Program (EAP) benefits packages. Communications regularly encourage employees and their families to reach out to EAP counselors any time, day or night, to discuss any mental health or financial concerns.
- Employees now also have extended parental leave options to support working caregivers.
- Exos has added a series of financial health webinars to its employee Homebase platform.
- Performance training – featuring a focus on building resilience – is now available to all team members as a benefit of employment.
- Exos university offers personal and professional development workshops throughout the year.
- Monthly pulse surveys provide opportunities for team member feedback and program adjustment.
These efforts reflect the Exos commitment to supporting its team members and provide a valuable proving ground for similar efforts by other large companies. Many of these programs will continue to grow and develop as Exos integrates employee feedback through its monthly company-wide surveys, leadership powwows, and local check-ins.
“We can’t emphasize enough how important it is for employee retention and business success to provide employee programs that get results,” said Jeff DiBiaso, Exos VP, Community Business. “The entire fitness community is struggling right now from what will be the long-term effects of huge business losses in the last year. The only way to build long-term success is by focusing on the needs of the individual, addressing those needs on a local and organizational scale, and continuing to adjust and invest in valuable team members as a fitness industry.”
“Let’s lift up our people. This has been a tough year, and they need our help.”
Learn more about Exos Community’s approach to fitness center management by visiting TeamExos.com/capabilities/facility-management-and-staffing/.
Manny Cantor Center is a project of New York City’s Educational Alliance. Located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the center is a hub for the local community and offers fitness, education, cultural, and child development programming for its more than 3,000 loyal members. Fitness programming features a full schedule of popular group exercise classes, now offered both in-person and online through virtual and hybrid memberships.
A unique destination for local Manhattan families, MCC’s family programs include an art school, pre-school and children’s camps, a teen center, college preparatory programs and counseling, and education and health programming for older adults. The center’s focus is on diversity and inclusion, a mission sustained through virtual community-building during extended pandemic lockdowns in 2020.
Managed under the community center experts at Exos, MCC Fitness provides wellness industry programming development, staffing, and management for the community center’s diverse member population. Exos services include operational management for the 7,000-square-foot fitness facility, personal training, group exercise programs, and membership marketing strategy, consulting, and implementation.
Formerly known as St. Paul JCC, the Minnesota JCC Capp Center was founded in 1930 by enterprising members of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Jewish community. Throughout the years, the JCC has grown to support a robust and active local community. The current location on St. Paul Avenue was constructed in 1964, with additions in the 1990s to provide for members’ child care and fitness needs. The JCC is a family-focused community center committed to Jewish cultural preservation and education, childcare, fitness, recreation and socialization in a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment. The facility continues to offer health and fitness programming, cultural arts events, and a summer camp at nearby Camp Butwin. Onsite fitness facilities include a gymnasium, aquatics center, and fitness center with classes and programming for all ages, including babysitting services for the children of members.
The JCC partnered with Exos management during a re-launch and facility renovation in 2017. Exos community center management experience helped provide a successful membership presale and grand opening for the revamped fitness and aquatics centers. Staffed and managed by Exos fitness specialists, those facilities continue to be a wellness destination for a highly engaged and active community. Exos Marketing provides consulting, membership recruitment and engagement services, marketing strategy, budget management, and tactical implementation. Since the end of 2021, Exos is managing operations and staffing at the Minnesota JCC Sabes Center.