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May 2023

Bonita Bay Club Leading The Way With Wellness Programming

By Steve Eubanks

BONITA SPRINGS, FLORIDA | Almost all clubs give some sort of nod to health and wellness these days, whether it’s a vacant card room that’s been converted to a gym, a salad and some couscous on the restaurant menu or a personal trainer who comes in once a week to teach a class on how to stretch. Keeping up with the times requires doing something to make members and guests feel like athletes.

But like all things in life, people can tell when your heart isn’t in it. Throwing a few dumbbells and a workout mat in the old storage room is almost worse than doing nothing, because it shows you are fundamentally unserious about the wellness of your customers. You might as well put a cigarette machine in the lobby.

Bonita Bay, on the gulf coast of Florida between Fort Myers and Naples, has not just gone the opposite direction, the five-course club is setting the standard for incorporating health and wellness into every aspect of the operation.

“The active and healthy lifestyle of our members and their desire to stay that way is what drives us,” said Tammy Mugavero, who has been the director of fitness and wellness at Bonita Bay for 23 years. “They want to age well and be able to enjoy all of the amenities of the club and our active lifestyle. And each year we try to bring in something new to keep things fresh.” 
 
The consumers of health and fitness programming have become far more sophisticated in recent years as technology has improved. FitBit devices, Apple Watches and other electronics have allowed people to count their steps, monitor their blood pressure, keep up with their heart rates and learn about things like blood oxygen in real time. This has made the need for customized programming more important than ever.

In 2022, Bonita Bay added something they call a BioCircuit, which is a short, guided circuit workout personally tailored to each member that offers a total body workout in less than 20 minutes.

“I think a lot of people are looking for quick hits—get in, get out—and this is a great option for those members,” said Mugavero. “It’s not for everybody, but it is another tool in the toolbox and one that is pretty unique to us. In fact, there are only three clubs in the country that offer the BioCircuit to their members.”

One advantage of BioCircuit is that after the initial set up, no equipment adjustments are necessary. Members check in with a MyWellness account and are directed where to start; seat height, range of motion and resistance already are  programmed in.

Muscavano said, “Each year, we try to bring in something new to keep things fresh. Sometimes that means reinventing your operation and being open to new ideas.  That’s not to say that we want to abandon what is working for us because we have so many good things going here, but we don’t want to get stagnant either.

“Rock Steady Boxing is another program that we offer our members that you don’t find in a lot of clubs. It is an exercise program that is geared to those with Parkinson’s and helps develop a sense of community amongst those with this neurological disease.

“But we are a golf club, so training programs that improve golf and sport performance are important to our membership. Bonita Bay Club has the largest number of TPI Certified Golf Fitness professionals (20) of any club in the country, including two Level 2 Certified Fitness Professionals, three TPI Level 2 Medical Certified Professionals and three TPI Level 2 Power Coaches.” 

Not many clubs can hire 20 trainers or put in new technology every year. But every club can do something genuine and serious, something more than adding a dusty set of unused free weights and a stretchy band or two. Clubs that offer variety in their health programming, whether it’s TPI Performance or just a certified trailer to help personalize and guide the customers through a series of protocols, will have a leg up on the competition, now and into the future.

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