Meet Garren Harter

Say hi to Garren Harter, General Manager at the Hancock Wellness Center-Greenfield. Enjoy his inspiring story…but don’t miss the incredible video of Garren working out with his (very) young son!!

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

Meet Maya Arrington

Say hi to Maya Arrington, the Co-Founder of the first MFA Student Chapter! Read more about this amazing student and her dreams for quality healthcare that reduces health disparities and inequalities!

We caught up with Maya recently and here’s what she had to say!

Meet Karen Salazar

Say hi to Karen Salazar, the Founder of the first MFA Student Chapter! Read more about this amazing student as she heads out into the world!

We caught up with Karen recently and here’s what she had to say!

Meet Tom Johnston

Say hi to Tom Johnston, the Founder of the Talent Optimizer Group based in Denver, CO. Check out Tom’s efforts to help people do the work they love to do every day and increase world happiness!

We caught up with Tom recently and here’s what he had to say!

Meet Connor McNeil

Say hi to Connor McNeil, the Assistant Director at the Riverside Wellness and Fitness Centers in Newport News and Gloucester, VA. Check out Connor’s great advice to those coming into the medical fitness industry!

We caught up with Connor recently and here’s what he had to say!

Project 435

Project 435 – Uniting the Fitness Industry to share ONE Message with One Voice!

Project 435 is a National Health and Fitness Alliance Effort to secure strong representation in every congressional district throughout the United States.

Project 435 goal and #1 priority is collective and committed effort with all stakeholders in the Industry that will form a Team of Fitness professionals that is active in spreading the message to all 435 Members of The House of Representatives through a grassroots effort focusing on the key premise.

The Project 435 and National Health and Fitness Leadership Group will provide each member of the Project 435 team a monthly professionally prepared communication that can be easily personalized by each Fitness Advocate that will be forwarded to their local Congressional District.

Click here for the Project 435 1-pager.

Click here for the Project 435 information guide.

Click here to join today!

Meet Rebecca Phillips

Say hi to Rebecca Phillips, the Wellness Operations Supervisor at the Vidant Wellness Center in Greenville, NC. Check out how Rebecca brings her passion & energy in all that she does – it’s inspiring!

We caught up with Rebecca recently and here’s what she had to say!

Study Shows Health Benefits from Membership at a Medical Fitness Facility

The Medical Fitness Association is pleased to share that a recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine concludes that “membership at a medical fitness facility was associated with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality and hospitalizations.”

Physical inactivity is a known risk factor for mortality. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about half of the population in the United States achieves the recommended level of physical activity. The economic burden of physical inactivity is approximately 27 billion dollars per year.

The study was conducted over a ten-year period from 2005 to 2015 with two certified medical fitness facilities, The Wellness Institute and Reh-Fit Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to look at the link between membership at a medical fitness facility and health outcomes. Both facilities are certified by the Medical Fitness Association.

The medical fitness model is designed to improve health status by providing evidence-based, medically integrated programming to promote health. Unlike traditional fitness facilities, this model incorporates medical oversight; clinical integration with a health system; a higher level of staff education and training; health assessments; and health education.

Researchers were permitted to access over 500,000 deidentified provincial health records to use as the control group. The intervention group included over 19,000 members of The Wellness Institute and Reh-Fit Centre medical fitness facilities combined.

The study showed that:
• Medical fitness facility members had a 60 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality during the first 651 days and 48 percent lower after 651 days.
• Membership was also associated with a 13 percent lower risk of hospitalizations.
• Medical fitness members who attended more frequently (3 or more visits per week), the hospitalization rate was even lower.

“We are pleased to see the validation of what we have seen in the growing medical fitness industry,” said David Flench, CEO of the Medical Fitness Association. He added that certified medical fitness facilities provide a safe environment for older adults and those facing chronic diseases, while still serving the overall community for their health and wellness needs. “Medical fitness is defining the future of the fitness industry,” said Flench. “Over the past few years, we have seen an influx of commercial fitness facilities that are incorporating medical oversight and a broader offering of health and wellness services. As we now know, the benefit to members is significant.”


About the Study
This study was supported by Seven Oaks General Hospital Foundation, Chronic Disease Innovation Centre, Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, University of Manitoba, Research Manitoba and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Click here to view the article. 

Click here to download the infographic.


Meet Katie Kontra

Say hi to Katie Kontra, the Fitness Manager at Mount Carmel Fitness in Lewis Center, OH. Check out Katie’s advice to find joy in all the relationships you make in this industry!

We caught up with Katie recently and here’s what she had to say!

Meet Ann Kehn

Say hi to Ann Kehn, the Aquatics Supervisor and Safety Team Member at Health & Fitness Center at Washtenaw Community College. Check out how Ann is helping her community to live life better through working in the water!

We caught up with Ann recently and here’s what she had to say!


Webinar: Wellness Without Walls – Break Out into the Community


Now that the pandemic is slowing down and it is clear that a hybrid model will remain in our industry it is imperative that we are able to deliver our services both in the center, outside of the center and into individuals’ homes. We need to meet consumers where they are and our services do not need to start with exercise. Explore new topics to engage new members and retain current members.

Learning Objectives

  1. Learn strategies to take your services out into the community to bring more members into your center.
  2. Learn why using the skills of our current team members to support a hybrid model can be a win-win to keep members engaged in your center whether it be to return, remain and/or solicit new members to join your center. Example, encourage Personal Trainers to teach members how to workout at home on their own, how to set up a home gym (do a webinar and charge for this) etc.
  3. Learn how to leverage your expertise to become the lifestyle education session both within your center but also out in the community to increase market share.

Speaker: Debbie Bellenger, Founder of Body By Definition

Debbie Bellenger is a health and wellness consultant who specializes in health and wellness programming customized to particular populations. She has 23+ years’ experience in two hospital systems in SC and NC developing medical wellness programs and customized corporate wellness programs for local employers in the region. Within this work, Debbie has worked extensively with C Suite members, brokers, insurance groups and large populations to improve health over time with programming that met clients where they were and attained measurable outcomes that demonstrated ROI. Debbie currently is working full time for her own company providing consulting, coaching and educational/transformational workshops and courses to fit pros, club operators, brokers, and consumers.