The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association is the fitness industry's only global trade association representing over 10,000 for profit health and fitness facilities and over 600 supplier companies in 75 countries.



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This Week in the Fitness Industry: 1escape Health Club Breaks Guinness World Record

1escape Health Club Breaks Guinness World Record
Hundreds of people gathered in Dublin’s Smithfield Market on September 15 to break the Guinness World Record for the largest exercise ball demonstration/class, according to the club’s website. The main purpose of the event, which was open to the community, was to raise money for MS Ireland. “It also reflected 1escape’s continuous pledge to provide a platform the help get Ireland fitter,” the club says.

Gym Memberships Improve Mental and Physical Health
Joining a gym significantly increases the likelihood of achieving fitness goals, according to research from Iowa State University, GoodTherapy reports. A study that compared data on 204 gym members to 201 non-members over a period of five months found that gym members got 14 times more aerobic exercise than non-gym members. They were also 10 times more likely to meet guidelines for muscle-strengthening activities. And the benefits of exercise don’t stop there. GoodTherapy also points to several studies that show a link between exercise and improved mental health. Research suggests exercise can reduce depression, increase neuroplasticity, and help treat posttraumatic stress.  

All Sport Health and Fitness Launches Composting Program
All Sport Health and Fitness has launched a composting program at their café because the Fishkill, NY-club “not only believes in keeping people healthy through the food offered, but also in keeping our environment healthy by reducing our landfill waste,” according to a release. Going forward, cups, utensils, containers, and leftover food from Fuel Café will be composted. The café has been participating in the Zero to Go compost program since mid-January, and has been updating disposable cups, containers, and utensils to be compost friendly. All food scraps, containers and cups will be placed in a compost bin and taken to a facility where they will soon turn into soil for future crops.

Health Clubs Play an Important Role in Cancer Prevention
February is Cancer Prevention Month, and IHRSA is teaming up with the American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR) to spread the word about how healthy behaviors can help prevent cancer. Health clubs can play an important role in helping their members and communities prevent cancer through exercise, and the 
IHRSA Foundation is launching a pilot program, ACCESS Health: Cancer Wellness, at an IHRSA club in California this year. The program focuses on using physical activity, nutrition, and stress management to improve quality of life outcomes of cancer survivors. Data from the pilot will inform future health-club based programing for cancer survivors. Read the full blog post about exercise and cancer prevention.

The Healthcare Cure Must Include Prevention
“It seems incongruous that obesity—which costs our nation an estimated $147 billion or more each year—is barely covered in medical school,” Helen Durkin, IHRSA’s executive vice president of public policy, wrote in a post for the Morning Consult. “A recent study found that medical students receive hardly any training in obesity. And the exams they take to be licensed as doctors include very few questions about obesity prevention and treatment. It’s like we’re approaching healthcare reform in a vacuum.” Read the full Morning Consult post.


Exercise (and Health Clubs) Play Important Roles in Cancer Prevention

February is Cancer Prevention Month, and IHRSA is teaming up with the American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR) to spread the word about how healthy behaviors can help prevent cancer.

6 Healthy Lifestyle Habits to Prevent Cancer

According to AICR, 50% of the most common cancer types can be prevented by six healthy lifestyle habits:

  1. moving more;
  2. sitting less;
  3. eating a healthful diet;
  4. avoiding smoking;
  5. protecting your skin;
  6. and getting vaccinated.

Continue reading "Exercise (and Health Clubs) Play Important Roles in Cancer Prevention."

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Building Your Fitness Business’ Social Media Muscle

This post is part of our Session Spotlight series, previewing just some of the extensive education that will feature at IHRSA 2017, March 8-11 in Los Angeles.

Simply setting up social media pages for your fitness business just doesn’t cut it anymore. For your social media channels to be a powerful marketing tool—and convert leads into members—you need a strong social strategy.

“The key to converting cold leads into paying members is to promote great content that shows them that you can help them, as opposed to just promoting your program or memberships to them all the time,” says Scott Rawcliffe, social media marketing consultant. “If you can show them you're different than the other gyms and chains, and that you can actually help them reach their goals, then you become the only choice.”

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the strategies Rawcliffe will be sharing during his Thursday, March 9 IHRSA 2017 session, “Building Social Media Muscle: Turning Fans into Paying Members & Clients.”

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Boost Your Fitness Center’s Bottom Line with Impulse Items

This is an associate feature post, sponsored by 5-hour ENERGY.

Retailers have known for decades that the checkout area is the most valuable part of their stores.

All customers spend time at a checkout lane or counter, making it prime real estate for impulse items. These small-but-useful items grab attention and are priced to make the purchase decision easy for customers. By stocking impulse items, fitness center operators can also reap the bottom line benefits that retail stores enjoy.

Continue reading "Boost Your Fitness Center’s Bottom Line with Impulse Items."

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Active Wellness Embodies the Spirit of #WhyGetActive

A community is more powerful if clubs provide people with a warm welcome, a supportive space, and a sincere, nurturing spirit.  Doing so, with a focus on health and fitness, enables us to improve people's lives.

That was the sentiment expressed by Bill McBride, the cofounder, president, and CEO of Active Wellness, the multifaceted Sausalito, CA–based company, when he submitted its entry in IHRSA’s #WhyGetActive video contest.

Active Wellness’ video eventually proved to be the winning entry.

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Transform Your Gym’s Group Training into a Revenue Engine 

This is an IHRSA featured post, brought to you by EXOS.

How to introduce individualization to a class setting for greater results

According to the 2015 IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report, about 43% (two out of five) health club members participate in group training. That equals about 22.1 million members, and that number keeps growing for several reasons...

Continue reading "Transform Your Gym’s Group Training into a Revenue Engine."

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4 Health Clubs Share the Valentine's Day Love with Members

Some might say that health clubs and Valentine’s Day are a match made in heaven.

It seems like every club has a story about spouses who met while running on adjacent treadmills, or instructors who fell for each other in the group-X room. So it makes sense that health clubs tend to offer quite a few Valentine’s Day-themed workouts and promotions.

Here’s what four creative IHRSA member clubs did to celebrate Valentine’s Day 2017.  

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Here’s How IHRSA Plans to Grow Your Business and Promote the Industry in 2017

Benjamin Franklin said it best: “To succeed jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions.”

As IHRSA closes the door on another successful legislative session in 2016, let’s reflect on the opportunities realized over the past year and look ahead to the future—which offers additional opportunities to promote physical activity and ensure the continued growth and success of the health club industry.

In 2016, one of IHRSA’s largest goals was to increase the physically active population by supporting policies that would grow and promote the industry.

Continue reading "Here’s How IHRSA Plans to Grow Your Business and Promote the Industry in 2017."

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6 Steps to Improve Your Gym's Sales Process

Looking to recruit new members to your health club? Here are a half-dozen sales tips from a recent IHRSA webinar called "Mastering the Sales Process." Share them with your sales staff, courtesy of Jeff Houghtaling, membership director for VillaSport Athletic Club and Spa.

1. Learn the prospect's name.

This isn't as obvious as it seems. If the name has an unusual spelling, be sure you know how to pronounce it (write it down phonetically if you have to). Also, don't assume that every James likes to be called Jim or every Susan likes to be called Sue.

Continue reading "6 Steps to Improve Your Gym's Sales Process."

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This Week in the Fitness Industry: IHRSA Members, Lobbyist Discuss PHIT on Capitol Hill

IHRSA Members, Lobbyist Discuss PHIT on Capitol Hill
IHRSA members Linda Mitchell and Kelly Beauparlant from the Newtown Athletic Club (NAC) Have a Heart Foundation spent Tuesday, February 6 on Capitol Hill with Jay Sweeney, IHRSA's Federal Lobbyist. As the IHRSA team preps for the introduction of the PHIT Act, legislation that would make gym memberships and physical activity more affordable, Sweeney and the NAC team met with members of Congress and their staff to discuss the PHIT Act's benefits to their constituents. After a full day of meetings Linda Mitchell, NAC's director of public and government relations, said, “I learned so much more about the process of getting this bill passed. The responses from our meetings were very positive, but there's still more work to do.”

(L-R: Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Linda, Kelly Beauparlant, Jay Sweeney)

Mitchell then implored other IHRSA members to get involved in the very important grassroots efforts to pass PHIT, "This bill could change the "life" of your business once and for all, by reducing the cost of membership and other services for your members. Please reach out to IHRSA government relations to learn if your Congressman is supporting PHIT. If he or she is, thank them! If not, you need to reach out to them personally and immediately. Your voice will matter. The IHRSA team will walk you through the process."  

The Latest Fitness Fad: Stretching Studios
Move over barre, indoor cycling, and bootcamp—stretching studios are the newest fitness fad, according to The New York Times. However, rather than competing with other types of studios, stretching boutiques may be positioned to create more of a symbiotic relationship. “There are all these peak fitness places that have popped up,” Power Stretch Studios Owner Hakika V. DuBose told The Times, referring to SoulCycle, Barry’s Bootcamp, and CrossFit. “People go five times a week and their muscles are very overworked and contracted.” Power Stretch Studios isn’t the only boutique of its kind—there’s StretchOut Studios in Boston, Stretchlab in Los Angeles, and Stretch Zone, which appears to be the largest national chain with 31 locations in California, Florida, North Carolina, as well as other states.

Panelists Announced for the 21st Annual IHRSA Financial Panel
The annual IHRSA Financial Panel, taking place on Friday, March 10 during IHRSA 2017, will highlight the expertise of four highly-regarded financial experts and apply their knowledge to the issues impacting the health club market. "The intent of the panel is to ensure industry operators have the knowledge they need to make sound financial decisions,” says Rick Caro, president of Management Vision and Financial Panel moderator. “This year’s four panelists have researched the market matter extensively.”

This year’s panelists include: 

  • Marc Magliacano, partner, L Catterton
  • Andrew B. Hirsekorn, principal, Eagle Merchant Partners
  • Will Cowan, senior VP, Jefferies LLC
  • Steve Tricarico, managing director, Jefferies LLC 

Panelists will offer information on major club transactions across a variety of club segments and answer any additional questions during a separate Q&A session. Learn more about the annual IHRSA Financial Panel.

Blink Fitness Announces Los Angeles Expansion
Blink Fitness announced the company’s expansion to Los Angeles metro area in 2017. According to a press release, Blink says that their first location in Los Angeles is a step in their mission to alter the rhetoric of unrealistic goals of ideal body image among the fitness industry. Their goal conceptualizes this positivity over physical results in their latest ad campaign, “Every Body Happy.” “The availability of prime real estate in dense neighborhoods with comparable demographics to much of Blink's home turf in the New York area made the Los Angeles marketplace an appealing next step for expansion,” said Todd Magazine, president of Blink Fitness. Blink's first LA lease is for a former 1930s movie theater in Huntington Park, set to open by the end of 2017. Read the full press release about the expansion of Blink Fitness.

6 Ways to Be a Leader in the Health Club Industry

Our friends at Star Trac Fitness created an awesome video based on one of our blog posts on leadership!