Welcome to the IHRSA Blog

The Online Home of IHRSA.org news.

Blog Home |  Subscribe to our RSS Feed


What injuries occur most often during a workout?

Image courtesy of marin at FreeDigitalPhotos.netNew classes gaining popularity, best schools for careers in health and fitness, 500 new locations for top chain, and injuries study - that's quite a variety of offerings.

That is what we have in This Week in the Fitness Industry.

Read on to learn more on all of these.

Click to read more ...


Sportlife Opening All Over Chile

Sportlife, the Chilean club chain, is currently constructing a new 24,219-square-foot facility in the heart of La Dehesa, in the community of Lo Barnechea. This $2.5 million club, scheduled to open in mid-2015, will feature an extensive cardiovascular area; free weights; variable resistance, strength training equipment by Life Fitness; functional training options; and group exercise classes.

Sportlife was founded and is managed by CEO Mauricio Musiet.

The La Dehesa property is the latest in a number of new Sportlife locations.

In August, Sportlife introduced one of its newer, smaller-format clubs in the city of Concepción, in southern Chile. These facilities, which range in size from 10,764 to 12,917 square feet, are marked by quality furnishings and a simpler architectural style, and often are located in malls. The $500,000 Concepción club offers TRX, personal and functional training, and group classes.

“In southern Chile, there’s a high demand for fitness services,” reports Enrique Venegas, the managing director of Sportlife’s southern zone. “So, we’ve created this new, smaller format, embodying the same standards of service, to deliver Sportlife to the residential and commercial sectors.”

Sportlife plans to open a similar unit in November in the city of Chillán, also in the south, with three more next year in locations yet to be determined. The company also hopes to extend its reach to northern cities such as Iquique and Copiapó


ChinaFit/IHRSA Management Forum, in Photos

The 4th annual ChinaFit/IHRSA China Management Forum concluded today. If initial feedback is any indication it appears the most recent installment was the best yet.

Insightful and educational sessions, state-of-the-art sponsor showcase, and many networking opportunities highlighted the four-day event at the Westin in Guangzhou City, China.

Check out this slideshow for images throughout the event.


Where Is the Industry Going?

In a presentation on franchising delivered at the ChinaFit / IHRSA China Management Forum, John Kersh, vice president of International Development for Anytime Fitness, shared five trends that are impacting the industry:

  • Wearable technology: Anytime Fitness had been working on developing a system to help members track their exercise outside of the club as well as inside. With the rapid proliferation of wearable technology devices, the company decided not to pursue their own system because there was no longer a need.
  • Virtual classes: Clubs can provide virtual classes during downtimes when only a few members are in the club and there are no classes with a live instructor (e.g., group exercise, personal training).
  • Personal attention: The importance of this is only increasing.  Virtual classes will not replace this.
  • Employer medical insurance: Companies more and more recognize that healthy employees contribute to the company’s profitability. Kersh cited IHRSA’s Economic Benefits of Exercise publication as a useful resource for clubs working with the corporate market.
  • Nutrition: Around the globe, more people are relying on fast food for too much of their diet. Clubs can play a role in helping to educate members and the public about the importance of eating right.

Make Your Members Fall In Love with Fitness

Christophe Andanson“Growing membership is about building exercise adherence,” said Christophe Andanson, CEO of Les Mills Euromed, in a presentation at the 4th annual ChinaFit/IHRSA China Management Forum. Noting that the industry has a serious retention problem, he urged attendees to focus on getting members to visit the club at least once a week. “Two or more times would be even better,” he said.

Andanson contended that people join health clubs because they need help getting motivated to exercise. “They are looking for entertainment, community, and results – in other words, motivation,” he said.

“Attendance is the most important metric in the industry. You pay commissions to sales staff for signing up new members,” he continued. “Think about incentivizing your group exercise instructors based on how many people they have in their classes. The relationship between the instructor and participants is important – instructors make people fall in love with fitness.”

Also critical to motivating members is educating them about the health benefits of exercise, the importance of eating right, and abandoning unhealthy habits such as smoking, Andanson said. “If we don’t educate our members, we will lose them.”  

Andanson also emphasized the importance of club design and décor in creating a high-energy workout environment that would help to motivate members to visit the club and take classes more often. “Get rid of the mirrors in your group exercise rooms; people who feel they are out of shape do not want to look at themselves while working out.”

Finally, he said, focus on building community. Make the club a place where members can do things other than exercise. Help them connect to members with similar interests.


Fitness Floors Evolve and Improve

Duraflex by Fitness FlooringNew health clubs are opening, and existing facilities are replacing their old flooring to provide an updated look, or to cater to the growing list of exercise options that demand specialized surfaces. Think Zumba, boot camps, and high-intensity interval training.

“We have to ensure that clubs have the type of flooring that makes these workouts safe,” explains Steve Chase, the president of Fitness Flooring.

Read the entire story for floor options and products.

Click to read more ...


Cost of Obesity Worldwide Hits $2 Trillion

The numbers from the just-released McKinsey Global Institute report on obesity are staggering:

  • global cost of obesity is $2 trillion annually
  • its impact is 2.8% of the global gross domestic product
  • 30% of the world’s population - about 2.1 billion - are either overweight or obese
  • the cost is almost equal to the impact of armed violence, war and terrorism … combined

The Report focuses on the economics of obesity. The authors say some of the reasons for such high numbers is because the fight against obesity has been sporadic and that a “systematic response” is now necessary.

Check out the boston.com story for more. 



IHRSA Institute To Return in 2015

The IHRSA Institute: Executive Education for Club Professionals is returning for 2015.

Three full days of graduate-level education led by expert faculty will provide a balanced curriculum that covers every aspect of club management. With limited class sizes, outstanding peer networking and social opportunities, the IHRSA Institute is where leaders learn to manage more effectively.

It will again be at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The event will run Aug. 4-7.

Full program details will be available soon. Click here to receive IHRSA Institute news and updates.



Sponsor Showcase at ChinaFit/IHRSA Forum Is a Hit

The Precor booth during the Sponsor Showcase.The Sponsor Showcase at the 4th annual ChinaFit/IHRSA China Management Forum took place on Thursday with many attendees interested in what some of the biggest Asia-Pacific and companies from abroad had to offer.

IHRSA associate members on display were Technogym, Matrix, True, Precor and InBody. Other companies included IMC and Seca.

For more Sponsor Showcase photos, as well as from the entire event, visit the IHRSA Flickr page.


Two Medical Wellness Resources Now Available from IHRSA

In recent years, a growing body of research has shown that exercise can be used to prevent and/or treat a number of chronic medical conditions. Many of these studies have generated a buzz in the press, and, subsequently, among the general public.

At the same time, in a world that’s been engineered to virtually eliminate the need for physical activity - and populated by millions suffering the negative effects of inactivity - health clubs stand ready and willing to offer a solution.

Yet, physicians often fail to recognize clubs’ incredible potential.

Hence, at IHRSA’s 32nd Annual International Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas in 2013, IHRSA staff heard many attendees express the desire to work more closely with the medical community, so as to introduce more people to exercise in their clubs. They also voiced their frustration at how difficult it’s been to connect with medical professionals.

IHRSA members asked. And, now, IHRSA has answered. with two new publications.

Read on to learn more about the publications and how to get them.

Click to read more ...