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:
- West U’s philosophy on eating real, whole food: bit.ly/NOtSwS
- West U’s curriculum: bit.ly/1pw99u8
- How you can inexpensively recreate West U’s kitchen environment: bit.ly/1pw9jlb
PHOTOGRAPHY: Jill Hunter Photography