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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The 7 Most-read IHRSA Blog Posts in July

The summer months can be a slow time for health clubs in the Northern Hemisphere, where warmer weather drives some members to exercise outside instead of at the club. But, here at IHRSA, there’s never a dull moment—especially when it comes to delivering useful content that will benefit your business. 

Here are the seven most-read IHRSA blog posts published in July.  

  1. Small Group Training Delivers Huge Results for Health Clubs 
  2. Shape the Future of the Health Club Industry by Joining the IHRSA Board
  3. Anytime Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness, GoodLife Fitness: Perennial Leaders of IHRSA's Global 25 
  4. New IHRSA Board Chair Sets Sights on Reversing the Physical Inactivity Epidemic 
  5. Leading Health Clubs Spent an Average of $90K on Fitness Equipment in ‘15
  6. Create a Five-Star Locker Room Experience with These 4 Tips 
  7. This Week in the Fitness Industry: Equinox, Life Time Fitness Create Workspaces for Members 

Check out previous months’ most-read blog posts.


Did the Cult of Productivity Skip Health Clubs?

This is a Club Business Exchange featured post, brought to you by CSI Software.

Technology promised us more time. With powerful smartphones, enhanced processing speeds, and an electronic grid connecting the world at the click of a mouse or a finger tap on a screen, our productivity was supposed to increase exponentially. 

It hasn't quite worked out that way. Sometimes, technology seems to demand as much time as it saves. If the future belongs to the fast, then it’s taking too much time for health clubs to get people where they want to be. We need a wellness environment where health and technology share the same goals, allowing us to focus on what matters. 

What about the data explosion? With increased data comes increased time spent managing and accessing information stored in different files, folders,and programs. In environments like health clubs, that puts a lot of employees, including trainers, at a disadvantage when accessing crucial information. This is supposed to be the age of maximum productivity, not data overload. 

What's the solution? Maybe you just have to make the technology smarter. Maybe we need a technology provider totally committed to making us healthier, happier, and more active. 

The Human Element Enhanced 

It seems that in a health club, electronic precision is reserved for the exercise machines. The human element—trainers, group instructors and front desk personnel—have to navigate their day by relying on multiple resources to satisfy all their responsibilities. Scheduling, billing, booking clients, tracking work flow: how much time is wasted searching for the status of one client, one class schedule? Why not put all of that relevant data in one single mobile resource? 

CSI Software has made this happen.

Continue reading about CSI Software.

Click to read more ...


Best Practices: Health Club Disaster Recovery Planning

The following post was written by Richard Beddie for our Best Practices series.

Question: Disasters of many kinds can occur anytime and anywhere. What sort of disaster recovery plan should a club have in place? 

Richard Beddie: Responding to a disaster is about setting priorities. The extent of the damage to the club and the regional infrastructure will help determine those.

Your top priority should be your staff—making sure that they feel safe and that their home life is secure. How individuals react will vary, but until your staff feels safe, their ability to aid in the recovery effort will be hindered.

Another important consideration is insurance. Obviously, you should have the appropriate type and level of coverage. So, one important step you can take now, before disaster strikes, is to ask your insurance agent to conduct a thorough review of your insurance—for both typical and atypical catastrophic events.

After all, here in Christchurch, we didn’t know that the city was situated on a “blind” or unknown fault line; that became all too clear when large earthquakes hit in 2010 and then, again, in 2011.

Before beginning any remedial work, take photos of the damage and gather as much evidence as possible. Most clubs insure their physical assets well, but many don’t insure fully for business-interruption losses. You don’t want to discover that your coverage is somehow inadequate—when you need it the most.

Richard Beddie
Chief Executive 
Christchurch, New Zealand 


Congress Introduces Legislation to Slow Federal Overtime Rules

Recently, legislation was introduced to slow the new federal overtime rules, which, as released this May, will mandate overtime pay for salaried workers making less than a new threshold of $47,476 per year, or $913/week.

Previously, the white collar exemption excluded salaried employees making over $23,660 from overtime protections, e.g. time and one-half for all hours worked in excess of forty hours per week. The new rules stand to affect 4.2 million workers. 

Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act Introduced

The Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act, introduced by Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and others, would gradually raise the salary threshold over four years. Instead of the new weekly pay threshold of $913 going into effect on December 1, 2016, the bill proposes the following timeline:

  • $692 per week beginning December 1, 2016
  • $765 per week beginning December 1, 2017
  • $839 per week beginning December 1, 2018
  • $913 per week beginning December 1, 2019

The legislation would also eliminate the rule indexing the salary threshold every three years to national data on salaries. To increase the salary threshold, the Department of Labor would have to engage in the traditional rulemaking process.

Also recently, the House Appropriations Committee considered a funding bill that included language to prevent the Department of Labor from implementing the new overtime rules.

Membership in Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity 

IHRSA, a coalition member of the advocacy group Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity, is concerned about the potential costs to health clubs and about the short timeframe for businesses to prepare for compliance with the new exemption rules. The Partnership is dedicated to advocating for the interests of its members in the regulatory debate on changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime regulations.

Speaking for all its partners, the Partnership says, "We are deeply disappointed that the Labor Department largely ignored the concerns of tens of thousands of individuals and organizations across this country that expressed concern with the proposal issuing a final rule that will do serious damage to people’s careers and workplace flexibility, new job opportunities and essential community services. We will continue to advocate for a regulation that is considerate of all stakeholder and economic realities facing employers and employees across the country.”

IHRSA will continue to monitor developments on this issue. On July 8, 2016, IHRSA lobbyist Jay Sweeney attended a meeting of the Partnership to learn of the recent developments and plan future action. If you have questions or comments, please email IHRSA’s public policy department at


4 Tips to Increase Non-Dues Revenue at Your Health Club

Membership is only one way for a health club to generate revenue. A sometimes overlooked profit-driver is non-dues revenues, which can benefit health clubs in several ways. 

“Once you are able to diversify your income streams, your business has the opportunity to offset potential shortfalls in other areas that may occur in your business,” says Kevin McHugh, COO of The Atlantic Club. “In addition, having a culture of creating non-dues revenues that positively impact the membership provides them more opportunities to be engaged in your business. During economic downturns, membership is often much more vulnerable that ancillary income streams that are engaging the customer more and make it harder to depart.” 

McHugh will teach club operators how to determine growth areas, engage prospects, and increase non-dues revenue in his Wednesday, August 3 IHRSA Institute session, “Non-Dues Revenue: Management & Growth Strategies.” 

How to Determine Growth Areas for Non-Dues Revenue 

“Health clubs can determine the best growth areas for their club by doing research,” he says. “This analysis includes networking with other clubs in the IHRSA network, as well as surveying the members as to what they would like to see.” 

When looking for opportunities for growth, McHugh says club owners should also focus on:  

  • Creating a culture where the staff becomes focused on creating new revenue streams
  • Drilling down into the club’s ancillary income streams in order to create new ancillary income streams within the current income streams
  • Exploring where there are gaps in the club's business
  • Studying other best practices and adapting them to the individual club’s business  

4 Tips to Increase Health Club Non-Dues Revenue 

Here are McHugh’s four tips for health clubs to increase non-dues revenue.  

  1. “Do not be concerned with non-dues revenues—be concerned with non-dues profits.”
  2. “Not all non-dues revenue programs work—you need to be diligent in identifying where programs need to be put to rest.”
  3. “We have the patience rule; [the program] often does not become an overnight success. Some do, but most can take up to a year. And if you are committed and place the proper resources, your chance for success has improved.”
  4. “Remember that membership dues is the club’s number one priority. Ancillary income can be more fun and take time away from the core business. Being aware of this potential issue will provide all involved a better chance of overall success for the business.”  

Learn more about the IHRSA Institute, August 2-5 in Chapel Hill, NC.


Founder of Fresh Fitness and Fitness DK Launches New Innovative Chain of Clubs

REPEAT is Denmark’s newest fitness concept. The first two sites will open in Odense, the country’s third-largest city) and Copenhagen come September. 

The name “REPEAT” is a play-on-words—REPEAT is the third health club chain to be established by entrepreneur Rasmus Ingerslev. However, REPEAT, or rather repetition, is what it takes to be successful with your exercise and, according to the fitness entrepreneur Ingerslev, REPEAT will be both innovative and different from what you would normally expect of a health club. 

The team behind REPEAT from left to right: Peter Rehhoff (Portfolio Director), Rasmus Ingerslev (Chairman), Peter Modin (Business Development Director) and Hans-Henrik Sørensen (CEO).

“I have trained in various clubs for the past 28 years and worked in the health club industry for the past 18 years nationally as well as internationally,” Ingerslev said. “REPEAT will offer the best of all the experience I have gained on that journey. REPEAT will quite simply be super cool. Think of a trendy café with a raw design, industrial elements and loud music, a bit Soho-ish, rather than a traditional health club. All the specifications, including interior design and equipment, have been carefully thought through to ensure the smoothest end-user experience. It will be an environment where the young millennials and those young-at-heart will feel at home and want to train.” 

Even though both equipment and design have been carefully selected, REPEAT will in no way be an elite gym for competitive athletes. They are most welcome, but the ambition is first and foremost to create a surrounding that will engage the target group and allow them to carry out, or find their passion for exercise. 

Continue reading about REPEAT, Denmark's newest fitness concept.

Click to read more ...


Olympic Gymnast Aly Raisman Finds a Perfect Balance Before Rio

The following was written by Chris Mann for Get Active! Magazine 

Before Olympic star Aly Raisman secured her spot on the Rio squad, the gymnast told IHRSA’s Get Active! Magazine how she deals with competitive pressure, body acceptance, and a brutal training schedule. 

Remember Mary Lou Retton and Mitch Gaylord? Back in the day, U.S. gymnasts who struck Olympic gold made off with their shiny neckwear and retired their star-spangled leotard. So why has Aly Raisman, who nabbed two gold medals and one bronze at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, opted for an Olympic encore in Rio this August, subjecting her post-teen body (she turned 22 in May) to a few extra years of strain and pain? 

“I felt like I wasn’t done,” Raisman said between training sessions at Brestyan’s American Gymnastics Club in Burlington, MA. “When I finished with the [2012] Olympics I did take a year off, but I always knew that I wanted to come back. My gut was telling me I wasn’t done with gymnastics yet. And I’m kind of addicted to it. I love it and I work hard. I want to win. I think about winning 24/7.” 

Not that the telegenic athlete hasn’t already made quite the name for herself on and off the stadium floor. During her “year off,” Raisman cha-cha’d her way to the finals on “Dancing with the Stars” and solidified her role-model status with girls and young women by espousing the importance of a healthy self image—no matter your body type. 

Cosmopolitan just did an article online listing me with Lindsey Vonn, Misty Copeland, and other athletes, stating how we’ve all said we’re not a size zero and we’re OK with that,”

Raisman said. “I don’t have the typical gymnastics body type. We all try so hard to fit in, to look a certain way, but we all have different body types, and it’s OK to be a size zero—but it’s also OK not to be.” 

Read Aly Raisman’s full interview in the Spring issue of Get Active! Magazine.


And the #WhyGetActive Video Contest Winner Is…

Congratulations, Active Wellness

We’re proud to announce Active Wellness as the winners of #WhyGetActive video contest. Their video focused on how they create a supportive, welcoming place for people to pursue health and physical activity, and the importance of reaching out to the community. 

The #WhyGetActive video contest was launched at IHRSA 2016 in Orlando, FL. The contest challenged clubs to share the good work they were doing in their communities in a one-minute video, using the hashtag #WhyGetActive. 

"We are honored to have won the IHRSA #WhyGetActive Video Contest,” says Bill McBride, president & CEO of Active Wellness. “We believe in IHRSA’s mission and our mission. Our team had a lot of fun creating the video as it allowed us to show our core values in doing what we do.  Our marketing team ‘gets it’ on what the field teams strive for on a daily basis. 

“We put people first and our people do all they can to promote activity, health, fitness, wellness, and well-being.  Active’s core values are authenticity, community, teamwork, innovation, versatility, and excellence. The team tried to share our collective core values in the promotion of getting active. Thank you IHRSA for your industry leadership and recognition of our teamwork towards the common goal. Get active!” 

As winners, Active Wellness will receive a donation of $500 to the local charity of their choosing, a Club Business International feature focused on their programs and initiatives, inclusion in a press release announcing the winners, and an opportunity to share their knowledge on video and social marketing at an upcoming IHRSA event. 


This Week in the Fitness Industry: Americans and Europeans Flunk Basic Fitness IQ Survey

Americans and Europeans Flunk Basic Fitness IQ Survey

Americans and Europeans still have a long way to go in terms of their grasp on basic personal health and fitness information—the second-annual Fitness IQ survey found that both groups failed when it came to general health and fitness knowledge. Americans scored an average of 42% and Europeans scored an average of 39% on the survey, which questioned 2,600 men and women ages 18 and older in May 2016, according to a press release. The survey asked respondents about heath, nutrition, and fitness topics. This year’s survey took a closer look at Western European countries, and found that Germany scored somewhat higher than other participating European countries, with respondents answering correctly 40% of the time; France scored somewhat lower than other countries surveyed, scoring an average of 37%; and Italy and Spain scored an average of 38 percent, while the U.K. scored an average of 39%.

100 Strong Voice their Support for PHIT Act
Just three months after IHRSA launched the Tax Weekend Challenge to generate support for WHIP and PHIT, PHIT has reached a milestone of 100 supporters. Over the weekend, Congress began its well-deserved recess period. But, before the bang of the gavel sounded, indicating the adjournment of summer sessions, Congressman Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) became the 100th member of Congress to address physical activity as a national priority by signing on to the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act as a co-sponsor in the House of Representatives. Read IHRSA's full coverage on this PHIT milestone. 

Government Report: HIPAA Should Extend to Fitness Wearables
A new report from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services is calling for the government to extend HIPAA to cover fitness wearables and health apps, along with smartphones, websites, and other devices, according to Fox Business. The report found that HIPAA—the law that protects patient privacy—has a large hole in regulations that Congress must fill. “To ensure privacy, security, and access by consumers to health data, and to create a predictable business environment for health data collectors, developers, and entrepreneurs to foster innovation, the gaps in oversight identified in this report should be filled,” the report stated. “Some policymakers have noticed the gaps in oversight.” If the gaps are, indeed, filled in, tech companies such as Fitbit, Apple, and Google, would have to abide by HIPAA to ensure patient privacy is protected. 

Gold’s Gym Annual Convention Goes 'All In' in Vegas
IHRSA represented at Gold’s Gym’s annual convention, held at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV, July 11-13. From the first day, when new CEO Brandon Bean proudly championed the Gold’s motto “All in,” to the last, when guest speaker Kris “Tanto” Paranto talked about the importance of leadership and communication in the face of adversity, the conference stressed the importance of collaboration and cooperation between franchisee’s and corporate management. Attendees stopped by the IHRSA booth to network with Global Membership Representative Luke Ablondi, who invited visitors to download IHRSA’s Guide to the Boutique Studio Phenomenon following discussions on industry hot topics such as boutique studio competition. Booth visitors also expressed excitement that the 2017 IHRSA Convention will be back on the West Coast in March. Read our full coverage of the Gold's Gym Convention.


Are You Taking Full Advantage of These 14 IHRSA Resources?

Each year, when new members join our board of directors, one of them, invariably, will remark, “I had no idea IHRSA offered so much!” Followed by a question: “How can we make sure everyone knows about it?”

Truth is, most club operators are too busy to keep track of all the products and services that IHRSA provides. They’re too busy, that is, until a need arises. Then, when some critical tool or some key bit of information is required, they instinctively turn to IHRSA.

It’s important that our members know about the wealth of resources that are available to them. To help familiarize you with the extensive offerings, the IHRSA team recently compiled a list.

Let’s take a look at a few:

Education & Networking




  • Industry growth—IHRSA helps grow the industry by influencing legislation, supporting policies, and providing resources that encourage people to be more active and join a health club
  • Industry protection—IHRSA protects the industry from regulations and taxes contained in proposed legislation that would increase the costs and difficulty of operating a club successfully
  • Industry promotion—IHRSA promotes the industry by working with the media, government agencies, and leading health organizations to position clubs as an important remedy for the global inactivity epidemic