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Popularity of high-intensity training means safety needs to be considered

Are we back to No pain, no gain? With the proliferation of and passion for high-intensity workout regimens, such as P90X, HIIT, CrossFit, Tabata, Insanity, and Training for Warriors, it seems so - in a manner of speaking.

Following a season of “kinder/gentler” exercise, including yoga, Pilates, and other low-impact routines, today there’s a move toward pushing the limits - everything’s harder, faster, and more aggressive.

Just ask a CrossFitter about AMRAP, i.e., “as many reps as possible.”

While high-intensity training isn’t a new concept, novel formats and clever branding are luring legions of sweaty enthusiasts who love the challenge and sense of community engendered.

If these workouts are attracting new or even former exercisers - and, thereby, inspiring more people to be active—that’s clearly a benefit. Clubs can capitalize on this zeal to enroll new members, reenergize bored or unmotivated ones, and keep their highly motivated clients satisfied, all of which works to grow revenues.

Intensity, however, brings with it the risk of injury and the potential of greater liability for clubs.

Check out the story on the needs of safety with high-intensity training.

Click to read more ...


Health club Bodytech to move into Ecuador

Bodytech, a Colombian health club company, has entered the Ecuadorian market with its purchase of Phisique, which has three facilities serving 3,000 members in the country.

The agreement was formalized in May, and both companies expect to implement the acquisition during the final quarter of this year.

“This transaction confirms Bodytech’s position as a leader in the fitness market in Latin America,” observes Gigliola Aycardi, Bodytech’s executive vice president. “And, for Phisique, this represents an opportunity for it to intensify its growth efforts in Ecuador, a country with great potential in the region.”

Bodytech executives also are involved in intense negotiations that may lead to the company’s entry into Panama and Costa Rica later this year.

Bodytech currently has 61 sites in Colombia, 13 in Peru, and 44 in Chile (operating under the Sportlife brand); 3,500 employees; and more than 220,000 active members. Last year, it surpassed $120 million in sales, producing a net profit of $30 million; this year, it expects to net $40 million.


Health Benefits of Exercise Report: Why Keeping PE Is A Good Idea For Kids

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is increasingly widespread among kids in America, with 11% of those aged 4-17 recieving that diagnosis. A study in The Journal of Pediatrics looked at the impact of short bouts of physical activty on concentration and test performance in kids with and without ADHD. During the study, 40 kids between eight and 10 years old participated, taking a series of computerized tests to assess focus and academic performance. Then, on separate occasions, they either read quietly for 20 mintues or exercised on a treamill for 20 minutes, followed each time by another round of computerized tests. 

The results showed that while after reading quietly kids saw little improvement, following exercise kids saw marked improvement in their math and reading comprehension scores. In addition, kids with ADHD significantly increased their scores and were better able to regulate their behavior, which helped them pay better attention.

According to Charles Hillman, the professor of kinesiology at the University of Illinois who oversaw the study, “in terms of a nonpharmacological means of dealing with attentional-control problems in children, exercise looks as if it could be quite beneficial." 

Read more from the New York Times Well Blog.

In This Issue 

1. Swimming May Protect Against Falls In Older Men

2. Physically Active Kids Less Likely To Smoke 

3. More Leisure Time Exercise Associated With Lower Risk of Heart Failure

Read more.


Be part of Compensation & Benefits Survey; get free report

Surveys, and the subsequent reports that are produced from the information gathered, are only as good as the number of participants and the information provided by participants. 

IHRSA produces numerous reports as a service to our members and non-members. Having the most up-to-date information is imperative for clubs and its owners and managers in order to make informative decisions.

IHRSA is currently working on the IHRSA Employee Compensation & Benefits Survey. The biennial publication has information, metrics, charts and more on every conceivable area that will interest those in the health and fitness industry – salaries, benefits, vacation, health insurance and certification requirements, to name a few. And it is broken down into 60 different job titles and by geographical region, company type, company size and how much money the company takes in.

IHRSA is offering a free report ($400 value) to any member who fills out the survey by Oct. 3.

Read on to see what will be in the survey and report.

Click to read more ...


Vivafit offers scheduling app

Vivavit, the women-only gym franchise in Europe, has tried to stay ahead of the curve in the past couple years with expansion in the Middle East and Asia and the opening of a group fitness compact studios.

Recently it made it easier for members to book classes with its new mobile app. It is available on three continents in five languages. Users can also see their class schedules.

"This online booking app intends to increase usage, retention and profitability of the franchise and, of course, members' satisfaction," said co-founder Pedro Ruiz.

For more on the app and Vivafit, visit the company website.



NEHRSA/IHRSA conference features top speakers

Bob Cargill

With September kicking off one of the traditionally busiest membership sales seasons for clubs, Fall is a great time for the industry. The NEHRSA/IHRSA Fall Conference & Trade Show will offer business-building education and networking with nearly 200 of the industry’s most forward-thinking operators, managers, and professionals on Nov. 5-6 at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn.

Featured speakers at the conference include Bob Cargill, a digital marketing expert. The director of social media at Overdrive Interactive, in Allston, Mass., he was named Direct Marketer of the Year in 2009 by the New England Direct Marketing Association (NEDMA). His work has been honored with more than 40 awards from NEDMA, including gold awards for his blog and for Best Tweets and a silver award for Best Copywriting.

Cargill is a graduate of the Leadership MetroWest’s Leadership Academy and  is a past president of NEDMA. His topic for the conference is “10 Types of Visuals to Boost Your Social Media Engagement.”

Cargill is one of 29 speakers that will present on topics covering all the critical aspects of running a fitness business. See the full program here.

Register by Oct. 3 and save $100 off the onsite rates. 



Apple Watch, lifetime sedentary behavior among This Week stories

The big news this week involved the health and fitness industry – Apple announcing both its new iPhones as well as it’s fitness tracker/watch. That certainly will have fitness enthusiasts excited and in line to buy the newest member of the wearable technology family.

But, we have more in This Week in the Fitness Industry, including a London study of 10,000 people that shows those who watched a lot of TV as a youth will be apt to do the same as an adult. The sedentary lifestyle is obviously not a healthy one

Also in This Week in the Fitness Industry include Spinning Nation Go Red For Women country-wide fundraiser and YogaFit founder’s new book.

Read more on each of these in This Week in the Fitness Industry.

Click to read more ...


Health Clubs Heavily Fined for not Issuing Refunds

Five health clubs in New Jersey have been cited and fined by the state's Division of Consumer Affairs for failing to give full refunds to members who canceled their memberships within the allowed three day "cooling off period." The fines total a hefty $31,000, according to a press release sent to IHRSA by our lobbyist in Trenton. Two of the five clubs were also cited for not registering with the Division of Consumer Affairs. The clubs can contest the citations, but they risk even greater fines if the Division still finds them in violation of the law. Read the full press release from the Division of Consumer Affairs.

While this news affects clubs in New Jersey this time, it serves as a great reminder to always be up to date on your state's rules and regulations. IHRSA members are invited to access information on membership contract laws and regulations in your state at ihrsa.org/state.


West Wood Clubs fight slow economy with Les Mills

A Les Mills class at West Wood Club.West Wood Clubs, in Dublin, give Les Mills programs a lot of credit for the facilities thriving during a slow economy.

Its Clontarf Road location has seen a 55% increase in group exercise class attendance and 1 in every 3 visits will attend a Les Mills Class.

"During the recent economic downturn in Ireland when many clubs were losing members at a staggering rate, Clontarf bucked the trend and improved its attrition," said Alan Leach, general manager. "I believe the huge improvements in club usage, group X attendance, and retention is 100% down to the amazing product that Les Mills provides.”

Visit www.westwood.ie for more on the clubs.


Reward programs gaining popularity in fitness industry

For years, many companies have offered loyalty programs to their customers - think of American Express, for example - to prompt continued purchases. Health clubs aren’t any different.

“As club owners and consultants, we’ve always asked, ‘What can we offer besides a T-shirt and hat to our guests to show our appreciation for their business?’” observes Maria Parrella-Turco, COO of New Paradigm Partners, an industry consultancy based in Princeton, N.J.

In response, New Paradigm developed fitRewards, a program specifically designed for clubs that awards points to members that they can redeem for in-club products or items from a catalogue, such as cameras, tablets, jewelry, sports watches and sporting goods.

Read on for more on reward programs in health and fitness clubs.

Click to read more ...