The Female Baby Boomer in clubs. Who is she? What is she like?
If I had three phrases to describe the female Baby Boomer, it would be assertive, results-oriented and affluent. Female Boomers are educated, seek immediate gratification and live longer than their male counterparts. They like value and customization. They make most of the money decisions in their households and are expected as a group to spend close to a trillion dollars on goods and services this year, such as spa services and products, personal training, detox programs, massage therapy and supplements.
What does this mean for the fitness and wellness industry? In 2005, the first survey measuring the impact of menopausal symptoms was released at The North American Menopause Society’s annual meeting. It showed that three-quarters of respondents (74 percent) had experienced at least one menopausal symptom that was disruptive to their lives. Close to 45 percent of the respondents said the menopause experience was worse than they expected. Many of these women are confused on how to best treat their symptoms. If we want to reach out to this key market, we have to understand what they are going through physically, mentally and socially. Let’s break it down.
Women are seeking natural remedies through nutrition, supplements and exercise. In fact, when surveyed about hormone replacement therapy options, 66 percent preferred treatment from plant sources versus 2 percent who preferred treatment from urine of pregnant horses. Seems like a no brainer, right?
What are we doing as fitness professionals to help women cope with these physical life changes? Learning about menopause, symptoms and treatment options will help boost your staff members’ abilities to train the female body efficiently. Vigorous, high-intensity workouts are not always the answer for women whose bodies are undergoing major hormonal changes. However, a program that promotes a holistic approach to increase energy, boost metabolism and defies aging will meet the needs of women who are seeking wellness from these menopausal symptoms. Remember, female Boomers will invest in a program that will help them feel good on a daily basis.
Declining estrogen levels in menopausal women can do more than just give them hot flashes or night sweats. It can cause irritability, anxiety, fatigue, tension, mood swings, lack of motivation, insomnia and many more emotional feelings. We can help women combat these ups and downs by teaching them a self-calming skill. Encourage them to attend a mind/body class such as yoga, tai chi, qigong or mindful meditation. Perhaps the last five to seven minutes of your personal training session is devoted to diaphragmatic breathing. Offering a package where they will receive a therapeutic massage or facial for every 10 personal training sessions purchased and completed can be a great add-on service. It will also give the extra motivation that they need.
Female Boomers changed the expectations between work and family life. They make up close to half of the workforce today. They are trying to balance work while taking care of their children and their parents. The older female Boomers are the empty-nesters who are enjoying the fruits of their labor. In either case, depression is another symptom of menopause and is quite common in this age group. Encouraging these women to stay connected with family and nurturing friendships is important for their well-being. Remember, these women seek immediate gratification, so have them engage in a creative outlet that produces a sense of achievement. They also like being part of a group setting, which is why it’s common to see female Boomers bond during a club’s weight-loss program.
Working with the female Boomer can be quite rewarding. This generation has defined what it means to age with grace. Clubs will boast more satisfied and loyal female members as fitness professionals and owners can empathize and understand their needs.