ENTRY FROM: The Top 100 Health Promotion Professionals

Nominee: Deno Bell

Building Community One Rep, Step and Move at a Time

Fit-X Fitness, Inc.
Concierge Fitness and Wellness management company for corporations, residential communities and resorts. I am the founder of the company. I have personally been in the fitness industry for 30 years and my company is celebrating 20 years of getting people moving this coming year. 1995 - 2015. We have 125 fitness professionals serving more than 60 programs in San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles, CA

BootCamp class outside at one of our corporations.

Professional Development
I began in fitness when there were no certifications. I pursued and maintained dual ACE certifications.  As a business owner my focus of  professional development changed to management, marketing and business through Career Trak, IDEA Conventions and most recently  Welcoa where I have achieved faculty status.  I take trainings through dual Chamber of Commerce memberships, the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and more. I serve on the Health Committee/Worskite Wellness Task Force for the North San Diego Business Chamber , sit on the NAWBO San Diego Chapter board  and  volunteer as a Girl Scout Leader.

Demonstrated Success
I began as a 1 trainer operation in 1995 and have grown to several service locations in 3 counties in Southern California.  One of my favorite stories is a corporation where we have served for 15 years.  When first called to provide service, the employee population was not on board with upper management's desired wellness initiatives and there was no on-site fitness center.    We started off with a walking program in the company parking lot. The employees begrudgingly showed up in their professional attire and street shoes.  We pressed on and here we are 15 years later with 4 classes a week and a fitness bungalow.  Many of the original walkers are still in class dressed out and ready to go.  

I think we can all agree that one of today's biggest challenges is time. Programs need to be very user friendly.  We have developed a menu of offerings under our "No Sweat Required" umbrella. These are sessions that allow employees to show up as they are to a conference or meeting room. The sessions  require no skill and no equipment.  We placed UCLA's Instant Recess program on this menu and have morphed it in to a pre-meeting warm up,  Learn at Lunch opener, and a 30 minute program complete with motivation and personal weekly wellness assignments.  We had great success with this program at one corporation where it grew from one offering a week to multiple offerings in multiple buildings.  It became a stepping stone for participants and several transitioned in to main stream group fitness classes. We are now rolling it out in several venues.  Using the 7 benchmarks was very helpful in making this program a success.  We knew that time away from the office was a concern for management. Offering short wellness options was attractive to them and therefore they supported our effort.  We then identified champions at each building where we planned to roll the program out. We used them to help implement our operating plan.  The No Sweat Required program became an intervention in these buildings where no fitness center was available and a very time sensitive environment existed.  When we started seeing the participant names show up on the sign in sheets for classes taking place in the buildings with fitness centers we knew we'd succeeded. Not only did these folks transition to classes, but they were willing to travel to other buildings to do so.

I personally work to find balance with the seven elements of wellness.  I do walk every morning , practice a total body work out regimen that fits in to my schedule,  I eat well most days and  go to bed early.  I work to spend quality time with my family, friends and animals.  I don’t always hit the mark with them, but I try.   I have found that being a life long learner is  imperative to being a leader.   I bring what I learn back to my team and share resources with them.  In addition, I learn more from my team members and our clients than from any one other resource.    I just have to be a more diligent listener.   It is a challenge with daily business “noise”.  Admitting that or any weakness to my team has been important to building understanding and made it possible to ask for their help to be a better leader. 

We strive to get people moving and keep people moving. We dropped programs in to corporations and communities where there had been no programs before, no facilities, no equipment and next to no budget.  We diligently worked till fitness/wellness became an expectation in these environments.  Communities and companies now compete based on amenities, programs and services that did not exist 20 years ago.  We still serve the community where Fit-X began in 1995.  We have another program that has taken place outside for 18 years….well before outdoor boot camps were the rage.  We bring fitness to the people, eliminating the need  to jump in their cars, have one more place to be or one more bill to pay.  I believe we reach the individuals who will not join a gym.  They now come to classes, programs and consumer ed presentations where they work, live and play.  We make fitness and wellness accessible!. 

Time and technology are the biggest challenges we face.  As technology advances, people move less and rely on it more.  Even for fitness and wellness programs. Which in and of itself is good and makes information accessible, but removes accountability and the human interaction that breeds wellness.  As Technology advances things move faster and/or individuals are sucked in to their technology for communication and entertainment.  At Fit-X Fitness we say that,  "we build community through fitness". It will continue to be our goal to bring people together for movement opportunities, to remind them why they want to be well. For example we hosted several excursions this summer like paddle boarding, kayaking, biking and horseback riding to get people together outside, moving and wanting to be well.  Over the next five years we will expand our excursion programs, continue to provide traditional fitness and expand our "No Sweat Required Programs."

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