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We Love Our Clients: Fitness by Design

Fitness by Design owner Barb Mendoza can roll with the punches where technology is concerned, even if boxing isn’t one of the classes taught at the studio. Read our Q&A with Barb to learn how she adapts to creating a modern yet personal space for her clients

Tell people a little about you and your business:

My business is a small fitness studio located near the Des Moines Art Center. Within five private studios we offer private and group personal training, as well as a variety of classes including: strength training, high-intensity interval training, pilates, barre, and yoga. I have two massage therapists on site as well.

We are not a typical gym, as all of our sessions are by appointment and our classes are small group, meaning 10 clients max per class.

Your website now features links to download the MINDBODY app. How are you using it to provide your customers with extra benefits?

The MINDBODY app is convenient for those clients who prefer to use their mobile device or tablet to log into their account.The app gives current clients and potential new clients easy access to check when their private appointments are, view our class schedule, and purchase any of our services.

How do you see digital wearable devices, like Fitbit, changing how you tailor a client's fitness plan?

Devices such as Fitbit and Garmin are very common. When used properly, they are effective in goal setting and provide clients with information on how much or how little they move each day.

I wear a Fitbit everyday too! At sessions, clients and I discuss their steps per day totals, activities and other info the devices provide. I also have clients who allow me to see their food and exercise logs online, so I view those before our session. Having that info allows me to know what they have done on their own in between our sessions. If they are a weight loss client, I can see whether they gained or lost weight in the last week.

Is there any pressure among gyms and fitness centers to become more digital? Or is personal contact still key?

I would not say there is pressure to become more digital. But if you don’t stay up with the times and trends, you will get left in the dust eventually. Clients who are into technology appreciate the convenience of our digital services, so yes, it is a nice perk to offer. Others have zero interest in the technology aspect and are just fine looking at a paper class schedule and paying by check.

Regardless, the personal rapport and connection my trainers and I have with clients is key in keeping the business successful and guiding clients to success on their fitness journey. We could have all the digital services in the world, but if we don’t train our clients well and provide exemplary customer service, the business will not thrive.

A fitness class at Fitness by Design in Des Moines, Iowa

 Photo courtesy of Barb Mendoza

What is the one thing you wish people knew about Fitness by Design?

There are so many wonderful things to share about my business. Every day, every week, every month, we see our clients make incredible changes to their health, simply by meeting with their trainer, or coming to a class.

The accountability of knowing someone is expecting you and cares whether you show up or not is a huge factor.

I guess the one thing I want others to know is that we know all of our clients because our niche is the private session or small group class. There is no hiding in the back of the room because we keep everything on a small scale so you get a ton of individual attention. As the owner, I keep careful track of everyone, and we develop a wonderful rapport with our clients. Taking pride in our positive, upscale, nurturing environment pays off because clients feel comfortable and at home here.

What's the most important thing you've learned while in business?

That’s a tough question because I am still learning every day!

It’s a 24/7 job to be a business owner, no doubt. But delegating tasks to my personal assistant is key. It allows me to work on the necessary aspects of the business and stay focused on growing the business. Many business owners try to do it all themselves because they think no one can do it quite as good as they can. Sometimes that is true, but it’s important to delegate what you can and also eliminate what isn’t absolutely necessary.

Technology changes quickly, but how do you see the web and digital marketing influencing your business?

Viewing class schedules online, having new clients contact me through my website, sending paperwork to clients electronically, and advertising on social media platforms, such as Facebook, are just a few examples of how the web and digital devices have changed the way I do business compared to even a few years ago.

With technology it is all about making it easier for the customer. It makes promoting my business and services to a larger audience much easier.

Fitness by Design in Des Moines, Iowa offers online appointment scheduling and fitness training through an app

 Photo courtesy of Barb Mendoza

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