Gyms are exciting and motivating environments for a lot of people, as well as dreadful and intimidating environments for many others. One of the target populations I can see myself working with in the future is the vast array of gym goers, particularly those who are attending gyms to drastically improve their wellbeing, rather than those who are “maintaining” or who are sufficiently fit and are satisfied with their overall fitness and health. I would like to research the disparities between exercise habits and abilities vs “at home” eating habits and routines within an individual. My target population is those who are motivated enough to go to the gym and exercise, but aren’t seeing the results they want. Is this due to lack or absence of nutrition at home, and if so, why?
The data that may already exist about this specific population may be residing in each members initial gym application, which includes a questionnaire regarding reasons for joining the gym, personal goals, what characteristics about the specific gym were intriguing, and what the member is expecting to gain from their gym experience.
In order to gather the information I need, and to accommodate the busy lives of the gym members, I would begin by posting an eye-catching notice at the entrance and at other often frequented locations, like next to water fountains and in locker rooms, regarding an online survey that the members are encouraged to take. This survey would be targeting those who are interested in furthering their knowledge about nutrition. It would include questions about the individuals overall health goals, why they attend the gym, and their lifestyle outside of the gym. It would include questions regarding their overall level of education, their income and what their primary social groups are like. After getting an overall picture about the foundation of the individuals lifestyle is, questions would lead to their overall attitudes and values regarding their food choices, what kind of stresses they endure, and any triggers they might encounter which influence their food choices. The survey would then ask the individual to conduct a 24-hour recall, or use photography to record their dietary intake.
In many cases, the gym invites you to join them and gives you their introduction survey about your interests and goals, but it seems to stop at exercise. To become physically fit and healthy doesn’t stop at the gym, and I think many people are left confused and frustrated not seeing the results they want or expect because they don’t have the proper knowledge about nutrition, and the idea that it goes hand-in-hand with exercise.
I would finish they survey by asking the participant if they might be interested in attending a set of nutrition classes at the gym, included in their membership fees. The length of class and the regularity would be negotiated. This could be a great attraction for others who are interested in joining a gym, and would allow the chance for better quicker results for each individual.