Garren Harter, ACSM EP & PT

Say hi to Garren Harter, General Manager at the Hancock Wellness Center – Greenfield, IN. Garren has been at the Center for the past 7 years moving from Exercise Specialist to General Manager! He has a B.S. in Exercise Science. Garren will also be a part of the Meet The Experts Panel: Medical Fitness Programming at the Medical Fitness Forum that is part of the Club Industry Executive Summit in Chicago on October 19.

Spoiler Alert: Do not miss the video below of Garren working out with his young son…Cutest. Video. Ever!

We caught up with Garren recently and here’s what he had to say…

What do you enjoy the most about your work?
When I started with the Hancock Wellness Center I was an Exercise Specialist working the floor, taking appointments, and training clients. That’s what I went to school for and that’s my passion. Over the years I’ve transitioned into management roles and now I oversee all operations of this center.

Being able to have involvement in every aspect of the facility is exciting, but it meant I had to sacrifice working the floor. So when I took this final role I had one request; that I can continue to train my personal training clients. Having the flexibility to step away from the office and get out on the floor with my clients every now and then is highly rewarding to me. It also gives me the opportunity to get my eyes on areas of the facility/equipment I wouldn’t if I was stuck in the office all day, not to mention that staff and members alike always enjoy seeing management interacting on the floor. That flexibility is what I enjoy the most.

What has been your favorite initiative at the Hancock Wellness Center-Greenfield?
My favorite program would be our Physician Referral program. It’s the staple of our Medical Fitness integration with our hospital system and has impacted hundred of lives throughout the years. Healthcare providers refer their patient to the Wellness Center for exercise, they meet with the trainers 3x/wk for 8 weeks for only $60, and progress is monitored and tracked with initial, midway, and final evaluations.

Summarizing a program like this into one sentence is challenging because there are so many facets involved that it doesn’t seem to do it justice. The wide variety of equipment, staff knowledge and expertise, referral pathways back to hospital programs and resources, EMR integration, and innovative thinking have brought this program to where it is today.

Creating a program like this is vital in operating a successful Medical Fitness center, and I’ve made sure to never lose sight of that. And if you’re thinking these programs are nice in theory but can’t be sustained because of cost, I’d reference our 70+% conversion rate to membership and the downstream revenue that creates. More progress is in the works and planned for the future with this program, and I’m excited to be involved with it and see how it grows!

What one piece of advice would you give to those just coming into this field of medical fitness?
Stay innovative! If you continue to do things the way they’ve always been done, you’ll be dead in the water before you know it. You’re going to be working alongside healthcare providers, therapists, hospital executives, legislators, athletic organizations, schools, and so many other individuals and organizations that demand innovation and creativity so if you can’t provide it, you’ll lack credibility.

What was that word we used in 2020? Oh yeah, “pivot”. We don’t do things in our field the same way we did in the 80’s, heck, we don’t even do some things the same way we did them in 2019 because we had to pivot. Stay up to date with fitness trends, find ways to challenge the status quo and create new opportunities to be a revenue generator instead of a loss leader, and bring that creativity to the public. This will not only help improve the health and wellness of your community but will start to catch the eyes of others and before you know it your network of influence has grown.

What did your facility gain by becoming certified by the Medical Fitness Association?
Being able to provide my staff the opportunity to further their knowledge with the MFA’s consistent webinars, grow professionally with networking opportunities, and share best practices in a variety of committees has been a joy for me as their manager. We wouldn’t be in business if not for the great staff we have and being able to invest in them this way, to me, is the greatest benefit of being MFA certified.

It also provides a differentiating factor for us when a prospective member is shopping around. Being able to speak to the Medical Fitness difference is key, and MFA provides you the tools and knowledge to be able to get that message across to the masses.

Thank you, Garren, for your inspiring story and the great video below! We look forward to hearing more from you at the upcoming Club Industry Executive Summit – Medical Fitness Forum on October 19!