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IDEA Member Installs Teaching Kitchen to Educate Clients

by Sandy Todd Webster on May 16, 2014

Industry News

Brent Gallagher, MSS, owner and coach at West U Fitness in Houston, has challenged the status quo of fitness facility offerings by installing a demonstration kitchen and by building substantial programming around it for clients.

“For our industry to create a lasting legacy, it’s time we address the root of the problem with old-school wisdom for living a fit and healthy life,” Gallagher says. “To truly transform our lives, we don’t need another workout program or crazy diet; we simply need to implement what matters most: teaching people how to prepare and eat real, whole food . . . again.”

Gallagher describes himself and his staff at West U as "real, whole food advocates.” He and his team regularly invite local farmers, chefs, foodies, RDs and even healthy cooking-savvy clients to teach others about preparing and eating straightforward, healthy meals that get back to the basics.

“We run a very simple 30-minute private training facility. We believe that training is icing on the cake—the feel-good factor. Lasting results come when we focus on our relationship with food and our behaviors toward it,” he says.

As often happens with food as a centerpiece, the biggest impact of the kitchen and nutrition curriculum on the facility has been to create community and to ignite a new conversation about food. Gallagher hopes that through small steps clients will find their way back to their own kitchens and become comfortable with the idea of healthy meal preparation. A nice side benefit, though not his primary objective, has been added revenue.

Community events Gallagher and his team have created include “fancy evening dinners,” led by top Houston chefs demonstrating recipes and serving the food; community potlucks that have resulted in recipe books comprising the best and healthiest meals; and co-ops with local farmers, who deliver fresh products directly to the facility or to clients’ homes.

Learn more from Gallagher’s experience about how you can implement similar programming at your facility:

PHOTOGRAPHY: Jill Hunter Photography

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About the Author

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster IDEA Author/Presenter

Sandy Todd Webster is Editor in Chief of IDEA's publications, including the award-winning IDEA FITNESS JOURNAL and IDEA FOOD & NUTRITION TIPS, the industry's leading resources for fitness, wellness and nutrition professionals worldwide. Sandy joined IDEA in 2001 as executive editor of IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER and IDEA FITNESS MANAGER magazines and was promoted to lead the editorial team in 2003. More than 20 years in magazine publishing, marketing communications and creative services have shaped her straightforward approach to multi-channel communication. Early experience in Los Angeles as a sports writer/reporter, and then enriching years as a managing editor in allied health care publishing have pulled her across a spectrum of stimulating subject matter. Fitness, health and nutrition reside at the perfect center of this content continuum, she feels. A Chicago native, Sandy grew up fully engaged in various competitive sports. Her drive and dedication as an athlete translate to a disciplined work ethic and unwavering approach to challenge in her career. Shortly after graduating journalism school from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, she was recruited to L.A. for her first post in magazine publishing. After two decades of working on magazines--and now in the throes of applying the unbelieveable multi-media content delivery options available in the magazine 2.0 world--she is still "completely in love" with the creative process it takes to deliver meaningful, inspirational content to end users. She is an accomplished home cook and gardner who would love to combine those skills and passions with her health and fitness background to continue educating readers about a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle.