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Is the Wellness Revolution Finally Here?

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Casey ConradCasey Conrad

Just over 15 years ago, Paul Zane Pilzer was a keynote presenter at IHRSA in 2003. He had recently published his book, The New Wellness Revolution, subtitled, "How to Make a FORTUNE in the Next Trillion Dollar Industry." Pilzer's message was very clear: If you want to succeed, get into wellness, not just fitness. At the time, I was very much involved in the weight loss side of our business, so I liked Pilzer's message. My franchise locations focused on eating, exercise and stress reduction. I recently pulled out his book to look for a statistic and found myself reading it again because of the amazing number of predictions he made. Here are a few that, looking back, really stand out for me:

  • DNA testing will become mainstream so that individuals can identify genetic issues and begin making lifestyle changes before they express themselves.
  • Growth in the wellness space will be driven by entrepreneurs who help households become educated on wellness choices for the family.
  • Technology will become integral in driving the aging population to maintain vitality and independence.
  • Businesses should identify and incorporate consumable products that are affordable and easily referable by users having a positive experience.
  • There will continue to be a growing chasm between those that follow a reactive "sick care" philosophy and those that follow a pro-active "self-care" philosophy.

Pilzer was spot on, and these were just a few of many points and predictions he made. Consider these points:

  • 23 And Me and Ancestry are now accessible to anyone, and people are using them to discover their genetic make-up and make lifestyle changes before they begin to express themselves. I spoke to one club operator in the past month who actually has been offering DNA testing through a third-party provider to members. The service includes a 30-minute consultation with a medical professional.
  • Over the past five years, there has been an explosion of internet educational programs that teach people how to reduce the toxic load from their homes and make better eating choices. Organic, paraben and chemical free, dye free, non-GMO are all very much part of everyday conversations now, so much so that big-time manufacturers are making gluten free, non-soy, non-GMO products at a furious rate. Frito-Lay recently released "Organic Doritos" (I find this hysterical, but that isn't the point of this article).
  • Baby Boomers are buying both products and software that promise them anti-aging and healthier living.
  • Clubs that have successful nutritional programs and products (even just strong juice bars) are seeing huge amounts of revenue generated.
  • Our health care system has become an all-out "sick-care" system with insurance costs more than doubled for the average person. This is driving more and more people to seek natural, proactive approaches that help them avoid having to use "the system."

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