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Active Lifestyle (China) Becomes KettleBell Concepts (KBC) Official Distributor in China

New York City, NY—November 24, 2014: Kettlebell Concepts (KBC) announced today that Active Lifestyle has signed on as the exclusive distributor for all KBC educational offerings in China.

In July 2014, Tyler Yearby, a KBC Master Instructor and the KBC International Representative went to China and conducted the Level 1: Introduction to Kettlebell Lifting Instructor Training in 5 different cities. Of the approximately 140 trainers trained, KBC and Active have identified 13 Master Instructors who will begin teaching the KBC Level 1 flagship course at fitness facilities and to trainers nationwide.

“The Chinese fitness market is growing very quickly,” said Jason Li, Training Director of Active Lifestyle. “The challenge though, is—and I’m sure will always be—education. Education to club owners, to trainers, and of course . . . . to the general consumer. Skill and curriculum based training with kettlebells is quite new here. Most customers are still used to more ‘traditional’ type of group exercise classes. Personal training—which is still relatively new here anyway—still tends to focus more on bodybuilding type training. In many ways, the market is where the United States was years ago. Small group training is slowly starting to catch on though as more customers, trainers, and club owners realize the benefits of this kind of model. Still, it will take time. We looked at a variety of kettlebell organizations and KBC stood far above everyone else because of their very high level of education and strict dedication to the fitness market. We look forward to growing with them in the future.”

KettleBell Concepts began in 2002 and was the first company to produce educational courses specifically geared to the fitness professional and gym owner looking to implement and monetize small group, curriculum based kettlebell programs. “12 years later, I still believe that the kettlebell, when in the hands of a properly trained and credentialed fitness pro, can be one of the most effective tools a trainer can use to help get clients to where they want to go. The kettlebell is a commodity now, so it’s not about the sales of the product. It never has been. It’s all about training the trainers and helping the owners and trainers roll it out in the club environment. I’d be hard pressed to find another modality that’s as versatile and as inexpensive to launch,” says David Ganulin, KettleBell Concepts CEO. “The fact that we’re now working with the largest distributor in China is a huge thrill for me. It’s always nice when the vision you’ve had for your business starts to take hold on a global scale. The team in China is a pleasure to work with and they’re just as vigilant as we are about education. Active works with other highly established brands as well, so they have a great track record, know how to market and are already starting to make a big splash with the trainers and owners. That ultimately translates to the end consumer using kettlebells because of what we’re doing here, and that is incredibly gratifying. I’m very excited to be working with them and look forward to helping them expand the KBC brand nationwide.”




Attention to Detail, Keeping Members Aware are Keys to Germ-Free Club

IHRSA’s Guide to Health Cleanliness, published in 2008, showed that 90% of survey participants were more apt to renew their membership if the facility was clean. That number dropped to a little more than half if the club was not clean.

Imagine what those numbers are now with Ebola, enterovirus D68 and many other strains and viruses around us. The public is now more aware, cautious and educated when dealing with germs than they were six years ago, so the importance of a clean and germ-free club is imperative. Read the full story.

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F.I.T. is the Place to go for Services, Equipment and Supplies

In the latest version of IHRSA’s Profiles of Success noted it said the median amount a fitness-only facility spent on reinvesting back into the club was $33,200, with the average for all clubs at $40,393. 

Having a wide array of options for services at your fingertips is what everyone wants. Add in side-by-side comparisons and it is the easiest way to shop and compare.

When looking into new equipment, services and supplies in the health and fitness industry that one-place shopping is Fitness Industry Technology (F.I.T.), IHRSA’s comprehensive buyer’s guide. It is available in PDF, digital and print.

“Recognizing the critical importance of being fresh, different and better, health clubs continue to capitalize on equipment, reinvesting an average of 1.6% of their total revenues in equipment in 2013,” said Jay Ablondi, IHRSA’s executive vice president of Global Products.

A valuable year-round resource for club operators, F.I.T. is designed to simplify the purchasing process. The material is organized by product category and accompanied by charts to allow for comparing product features. The guide's easy-to-read format simplifies the buying process and connects suppliers with customers.

Product categories are divided into bikes, climbers, educational resources, ellipticals, group exercise, locker room amenities, Pilates, strength, technology and treadmills. A valuable feature for many F.I.T. readers is comparison charts for products in bikes (recumbent and upright), climbers, ellipticals, treadmills and computer applications.

Also included in the 220-page publication are new product showcases and a directory of all IHRSA associate members. Plus, numerous advertisements provide even more information on companies.

The digital and PDF editions are both available for free at ihrsa.org/fit-buyers-guide. Print copies can be purchased for $4.95 (IHRSA members) or $14.95 (non-members). F.I.T. is also distributed at all major industry trade shows, including IHRSA 2015, which is set for March 11-14, 2015, in Los Angeles.



Want To Slow the Aging Process? Keep Running.

Running always seems front of mind this time of year, as we all sign up for Turkey Trots and Santa 5K races. And as one new study suggests, running now (and all year round) can help us slow the aging process, and move better as we age. The study, conducted at the University of Colorado Boulder and Humboldt State University and published in the journal PLoS One, followed 15 men and 15 women over the age of 69 who ran or walked regularly. In this case, "regularly" was defined as at least three times per week for at least 30 minutes per session. Participants were followed for six months. 

The study found that the older adults who participate in regular high intesntiy exercise (like running) experience a lower "metabolic cost" of walking. This means they spent less energy walking and had an easier time of it on average than their counterparts who do not participate in high intensity exercise on a regular basis. Lead researcher Duck-Chul Lee of Iowa State University added that while running can be good for health, "more may not be better. You don't have to think it's a big challenge. We found that even 10 minutes per day is good enough. You don't need to do a lot to get the benefits from running."

Read the full write up in Medical News Today


A Special Synergy: IHRSA and Waverley Oaks

It’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins

Waverley Oaks' new deluxe lobbyHow can you tell the story of the Waverley Oaks Athletic Club without mentioning IHRSA?

The short answer is … you can’t.

Waverley Oaks has been connected to the association since its very beginning … and vice versa. The two are linked not only by their respective histories, but also by their successes and mutual dedication to fitness as a way of life.

The story begins in 1979 when Duffy Properties, a family-owned and operated real estate development and management firm, opened the Waverley Oaks Racquetball Club, a 14-court facility built at the company’s sprawling complex in Waltham, Massachusetts. The club’s goal: to help improve the health of the company’s own employees and the residents of neighboring communities.

When IHRSA was established in 1982, the club was one of the first to join the association, and membership yielded immediate benefits. John McCarthy, IHRSA’s first executive director, and his staff provided the fledgling business with a wealth of industry knowledge and best practices from the start—even helping to recruit its first official general manager. Read the full article.

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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.

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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.