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: HIIT and Experiential Fitness Will Grow in 2017

Experts Say HIIT and Experiential Fitness Will Grow in 2017
HIIT and experiential fitness will be big in 2017, according to top fitness and wellness experts, The Huffington Post reports. Mark Goodman, founder of Cardio High, said interval-training workouts will gain in popularity due to their high efficiency. Another expert said they expect experiential and immersive fitness to see a bump in the coming year because they “allow people to completely step away, rest, and step back into the hustle and grind with a renewed sense of clarity for their health and happiness.”

Scott Burgess To Be Named President of Jonas Fitness
Jonas Fitness announced Thursday that Scott Burgess is to be named president of the organization, effective January 1, 2017. Burgess, who has held the role of chief operating officer at Jonas Fitness since 2014, will assume official responsibility for the company’s overall leadership and direction. He will also continue to work closely with the executive team to formulate and implement ongoing strategic plans.

“I’m really excited for Scott Burgess and for our employees and customers. Scott has been crucial to making Jonas Fitness the business it is today, and we’re excited to formalize his role as President of the business as of January 1, 2017,” said Scott Saklad, Jonas Fitness CEO. “He and the senior team at JFI have over 40 years of experience in this business, and we will continue with our mission to be champions for our customers and admired for our products and our people.”

Read the full press release from Jonas Fitness.

MYZONE Signs on as ClubConnect Education Partner
ClubConnect announced that MYZONE signed onto its education platform on Wednesday, solidifying its commitment to health club education. Through ClubConnect’s advanced learning management system, MYZONE will create educational courses for fitness professionals to learn how to effectively measure their clients’ effort and help them reach their goals with the MYZONE versatile chest strap monitoring system. 

As of now, the MYZONE courses will be accessible for free to ClubConnect health clubs. Fitness professionals working at over 4,500 health clubs around the world are now able to tap into this critical education directly from their ClubConnect dashboards. In addition to MYZONE, other world-class education companies including EXOS, Gray Institute, ACSM, and TRX use the ClubConnect proprietary learning management system to deliver their industry-leading education.

Read the full press release from ClubConnect. 

New Report Examines Spanish Health Club Market
Spain is home to some 4,350 health clubs, with an average size of 3,859 square meters, according to The Market Report on Spanish Health Clubs, published by Management Around Sports, in conjunction with the University of Alcalá de Madrid. The report also found that on average, each club has 3,037 members with an average age of 36.5 years old. Additionally, Spanish health club members are slightly more likely to be female (50.6%) than male (49.4%). Read more about the 91-page report.


New Report Examines Spanish Health Club Market

Published in September 2016 by Management Around Sports, in conjunction with the University of Alcalá de Madrid, The Market Report on Spanish Health Clubs is the most comprehensive survey and overview of the Spanish health club market available anywhere.

Sponsored by Precor, the new report contains information and analysis on the total number of health clubs in Spain, membership structures, pricing information, facility size, amenities offered, health club consumer demographics, and much more. English language translation and graphic design was funded by IHRSA.

According to the comprehensive report:  

  • Spain is home to some 4,350 health clubs, with an average size of 3,859 square meters.
  • On average, each club has 3,037 members with an average age of 36.5 years old.
  • Spanish health club members are slightly more likely to be female (50.6%) than male (49.4%). 

The full, 91-page report is available as a PDF download for $69.95 (IHRSA members) or $139.95 (non-members). Purchase The Market Report on Spanish Health Clubs. Questions? Please contact


Keep Your Health Club Members Engaged Over the Holidays

The months of December and January can be both a blessing and a curse for health clubs due to the many holidays that fall during those winter months. 

Holiday Barriers to Working Out 

Many of these holidays revolve around family and community celebrations, food, and travel, and tend to be a time where people feel stressed and pressed for time. It is widely recognized that during “the holidays” people often let healthy habits slide—regular habits like coming to the club, packing lunch, and getting enough sleep can be superseded by holiday celebrations, shopping, or travel.

These challenges are a big reason January ends up with a prominent focus on weight loss and “getting back into shape.” On average, people gain two pounds during the holiday season and the habit changes that accompany it.

How to Help Members Make the Gym a Priority

It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Health clubs are well suited to help their members and communities continue to maintain healthy behaviors through busy and festive times of the year, whether through challenges, community events, or leveraging technology to help people stay on track. 

This December issue of “12 Months of Health Promotion” provides tips and resources to help clubs keep their members motivated and engaged during the winter holidays. Resources include: 

  • 7 Tips to Keep Members Engaged During the Holidays
  • Strategies from the “Wearables 2.0: Leveraging the Evolution of Digital Health Technology for Fun and Profit“ webinar
  • Relevant articles and blog posts to read and share

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Why Mentors Were ‘Critical’ to Mo Hagan’s Success at GoodLife Fitness

Maureen “Mo” Hagan, IHRSA’s 2016 Woman Leader of the Year, spoke to Club Business International about spending 32 years striving to provide a GoodLife for all of the citizens of Canada.

CBI: An obvious place to start: At IHRSA 2016 in Orlando, you were presented with the Julie Main Woman Leader of the Year Award. What does that mean to you?

Maureen “Mo” Hagan: It means, among other things, that I have an obligation to provide, to the best of my ability, what Julie Main offered—inspiration, leadership, personal commitment, and support for others. To pay it forward, I’ve created “The Role MO-del Influencer” award and scholarship, which will be presented to a deserving GoodLife associate. The recipient will attend IHRSA 2017 in Los Angeles with me.

CBI: Did you ever have an opportunity to meet Main? ... For industry newcomers, she was the co-owner and president of the West Coast Athletic Clubs, in California, and a former president of IHRSA. She died in 2009 following a long and courageous battle with cancer.

MH: Yes, I attended her convention sessions, and was blessed with a number of opportunities to meet her at IHRSA social events. I was always impressed by her kindness, patience, and eagerness to help her peers.

CBI: In your acceptance speech at IHRSA 2016, you gave special credit to the mentoring you’ve enjoyed. How important are mentors?

MH: They’re critical. Mentors have helped, guided, and taught me as I developed professionally. Fortunately, I’ve had many inspiring role models since I entered the industry in 1983. The first was Lynne Brick of Brick Bodies Fitness Services, Inc., and Planet Fitness Growth Partners, LLC. I’ve learned so much from her vision, leadership approach, and the confident way she’s conducted herself in what was once a male- dominant industry.

I’ve also learned a great deal from Jane Riddell, the COO of GoodLife, who’s been called the “architect” of our corporate culture—one that’s predicated on core values such as caring, passion, and personal fitness.

And, of course, David Patchell-Evans, or “Patch,” the founder and CEO of GoodLife, has inspired me, and encouraged me to take risks I wouldn’t have taken otherwise.

CBI: Speaking of Patch, he’s one of the most ambitious, energetic, and successful individuals in the industry. What’s it like to work with him?

MH: You can only imagine! It’s an education in itself, and I mean that in the most positive way. He’s a hard-driving entrepreneur who looks to the future, and, while
he expects others to work hard too, he’s never asked his people to do anything he wouldn’t do himself. Patch has always made himself available—and still does—as much as he can. He’s encouraged me to bring ideas forward and to seek out new ways of doing business.

The GoodLife work environment is dynamic, if not always easy. In the end, though, it’s always rewarding.

Continue reading Mo Hagan’s interview in the December issue of CBI.


Lessons in Fitness Leadership: Treat Customers and Employees Well

The Lessons in Fitness Leadership series highlights IHRSA’s industry leaders and thanks them for their continued commitment to growing, promoting, and protecting the health club industry. By sharing their business expertise, we hope that you will get to know them, what they've learned along the way, and how they view leadership. 

Phil Wendel
Charlottesville, VA

What is the most fulfilling part of being a business leader in the fitness industry? 

This is a feel good way to make a living. At ACAC, we say that we help people “live their best.” We’re part of the solution to America’s healthcare crisis. So, while we’re making a living we’re also helping other people live.

If you were able to go back in time, what is one piece of leadership advice you would have given your younger-self about working in the fitness industry?

1. Focus on sales, sales, sales. I’ve had two jobs. The first was at a student travel company, and the second was in this industry. I started a fitness center (ACAC) in 1984. When we started, we focused on tremendously building the top line. I had a piece of advice I would always give to anyone that put a great idea on my desk; I would ask them—do you have someone that can sell this?

2. If your business is based heavily in sales, make sure there are an equal number of people working to manage the expense side of your business.

3. Treat your customers and your employees extremely well.

What prompted you to join the Industry Leadership Council (ILC)?

Any industry is far more effective if it has somebody that represents your common interests. IHRSA’s most effective tool and their best work—other than providing an A+ convention every year—is their work on fighting sales tax battles.

One of the best IHRSA member benefits is allowing individual club operators to contribute to legislative outcomes. Collectively we are stronger. Together we have a broader and more effective voice than any of us can have individually. 


Balanced Body CEO on the Evolution of Pilates Equipment

Ken Endelman, the founder and CEO of Balanced Body, a leading provider of Pilates equipment and educational services, first became involved with the discipline in 1976, when a client walked into his custom furniture shop in Hollywood’s fashionable Melrose Avenue district and asked if he could build a reformer for her.

That conversation was where it all began.

Intrigued by the woman’s request, Endelman obtained specifications for the device from Clara Pilates, the wife of the late Joseph Pilates, the creator of the system, and built his first—but hardly last—reformer.

“At the time, a reformer typically cost about $3,000, and, back then, you could buy a Volkswagen for $2,000,” he says. “When I charged $800 for the first machine I made, I lost my shirt, but the equipment was more efficient and durable than anyone else’s, so people started coming to me. Then I raised the price to $1,600, and the business blossomed.

“It wasn’t a sudden explosion, but it was very rapid growth, as our name got out there and the popularity of Pilates increased.”

This year, as Balanced Body, based in Sacramento, CA, celebrates its 40th anniversary, Club Business International asked Endelman to reflect on how the company, and the influence of Pilates, have grown and what they represent to the fitness industry today.

CBI: Now, Pilates classes and studios can be found virtually everywhere. Is it possible to pinpoint one development that triggered such impressive growth?

Ken Endelman: Yes—the “trademark lawsuit.” In the early ’90s, someone purchased the Pilates trademark and, then, came after studio owners, saying that they either had to begin paying to use the word “Pilates” or simply stop using it. Remember, Internet service wasn’t widely available in the mid-’90s, so it was challenging to spread the word about your Pilates business without employing that legendary name.

Continue reading "Balanced Body CEO on the Evolution of Pilates Equipment."

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Follow These 6 Steps to Create a Community Marketing Plan for Your Gym

What’s the one of the best ways to get consumers to know, like, and trust your fitness business?

Community marketing.

By sending ambassadors into your community, participating in local events, and otherwise engaging with community members, you will build your brand at a faster rate than simply marketing online. 

Of course, online marketing and community marketing go hand-in-hand. 

“The reason why I am a firm believer in the balance between community and online marketing is because community marketing works a lot faster than online marketing,” says Lindsey Morando, co-founder of business coaching firm Get It Done Gals. “Your online marketing is like your home—once you’ve developed relationships in the community you can invite people back to check out your website and social media.”

Morando will share more of her community marketing secrets in her Thursday, December 8 webinar, “Transform Your Business & Marketing in 30 Days.”

If you want to transform your business using community marketing and don’t know where to start, follow these six steps:

1. Write down all of your ideas. (Yes, all of them.)

“A lot of people have so many ideas but they don’t have that marketing plan in place. First, I tell everyone to 'brain dump' everything on their mind—everything they want to do marketing-wise—on one sheet of paper. Get all your ideas out there.” 

2. Identify ideas that will generate revenue.

Next, Morando suggests honing in on a few key ideas that will move your business forward.

“Ultimately in order for the fitness facility to remain open, you have to bring money in the door,” she says. “Look for opportunity for income-generating activities.”

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7 Steps to Create a Powerful Social Media Strategy for Health Clubs

Social media can be an incredibly powerful weapon in your health club’s marketing arsenal—if you use it strategically. 

Recently, IHRSA conducted a webinar about how smaller health club companies can develop a strong social media strategy. Here's a summary of the recommendations offered by Kari Bedgood, vice president of marketing and PR at Active Sports Clubs.

1. Engage brand advocates. Sound difficult? It's not. A study by Statista found that 50% of employees post on social media about their place of work, and a third do so without any encouragement from their employer. So you probably have a ready-made pool of brand advocates on hand. Also, find out what your customers are saying on social media and leverage that, too. According to the Statista study, 90% of buyers trust peer recommendations.

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What's the Game-changer the Fitness Industry Isn't Seeing?

The following was written by IHRSA Board Chair Rasmus Ingerslev.

Recently, I had a very inspiring conversation with the CEO of one of Europe’s leading health club groups, someone I consider to be a thought leader. He posed a very interesting and highly relevant question for discussion: “What’s the one thing we’re not seeing?”

He was referring to the fact that he’s running one of the largest club groups in Europe, yet no one gave a thought to its new business model when they first entered the market—high-volume/low-priced (HV/LP).

The fact is, HV/LP has changed the fitness landscape significantly; it’s grown markets and shifted market share. Those who didn’t foresee this and failed to adapt their business to it probably had a difficult time. With this in mind, this CEO wanted to understand what he and others might not be seeing now.

My answer was, and is, the impact of technology. At best, I think we’re underestimating the effect that fast-paced developments in technology will have on our industry. The worst case: We’re not recognizing it at all.

When Pokemon Go, an app that uses augmented reality to make people physically active, attracted more than 75 million users this summer, this was a very clear sign to me. We’ve spent decades building our industry to 150 million people, and Pokemon Go reached 50% of that within weeks. This was possible because technology has a scalability that’s unparalleled when compared to typical brick-and-mortar clubs.

Often, when trying to predict the future, our assumptions are based on a constant. In my view, our industry’s constant is that “people have to go to the gym to get their workout.”

Ironically, I believe the only constant we have is change. Even today, people don’t have to go to the gym to get a guided fitness experience. Like Pokemon Go, we’ll see more new fitness options using augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and other key technologies that will enable out-of-club workouts.

This development can be a threat or an opportunity; it’s up to each of us to decide. If you don’t adapt, there’s a risk that you’ll be in the same position as the operators who didn’t see the impact of HV/LP. However, if you embrace the possibilities that technology offers, you’ll have the opportunity to grow your business—and our industry—to reach new heights.


The Many Things IHRSA Staff is Thankful For This Year

The following post was originally published in the IHRSA Advocate.

It is that time of the year again—the time where we come together to list, appreciate, and reflect on all the things we are grateful for.

Often times, good health finds a spot at the top of this list. And, because we are in the business of providing access to good health, we decided to ask IHRSA staff members why they are most thankful to work in an industry that prioritizes giving over receiving.

Here are some of their responses:

"I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve this amazing industry for so many years, for my happy, healthy 95 year-old Dad who is a great example of the benefits of life-long regular exercise, and my two brand new grand-babies who will soon be able run and play."

- Anita Lawlor, Chief Operating Officer

“I’m thankful to be a part of an industry that truly has a positive impact on people’s lives…both day-to-day and long-term.”

- Marc Gagnon, Senior Meetings Manager, Education


“I am thankful for my IHRSA family and for the continued support from so many industry colleagues and friends over my 20+ years at IHRSA.”

- Lynne Devaney, Vice President of Sponsorship and Business Development



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