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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IHRSA: One the Road

Participating in the many events sponsored by IHRSA and its club and associate members is one of the real joys of this job. And, if you can, I encourage you to get out of the office to profit from some of the remarkable things that are constantly going on in the industry. 

A few years ago, when I visited Nerio Alessandri, the founder and president of Technogym, at his headquarters in Cesena, Italy, he showed me a piece of land, and described in vivid detail his dream of creating the Technogym Village. Now complete, it’s just one of many wonders that I’ve witnessed in my recent travels.

The 645,000-square-foot complex, which includes offices, a factory, a warehouse, a research center, a restaurant and, of course, a gym, is an architectural marvel. (See “It Takes a Village,” September 2012 CBI, pg. 38.) Nerio and the Technogym team hosted hundreds of people at the grand opening on October 29th, which featured a host of impressive presenters, including Nerio; Giorgio Napolitano, the president of Italy; and none other than former President Bill Clinton.

A few days later, I traveled to Las Vegas to meet with the members of IHRSA’s board of directors and, with them, toured the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, the site of IHRSA’s 32nd Annual International Convention and Trade Show, which will take place March 19–22.

Mandalay Bay is probably the best venue we’ve ever had for the convention. The hotel rooms are spacious and lavish; the trade show area is huge, and will be filled with the latest and greatest products and services; and everything—including the general sessions, seminars, and workshops— will be situated beneath a single roof.

If you haven’t already done so, I urge you to register now by logging on to Back in Boston, Hurricane Sandy briefly delayed my flight to Vienna for the 12th Annual European Congress in November. The program schedule called for me to give the opening address and introduce Luca Ceccaroni, the manager of the Technogym Wellness Institute, and I arrived in the nick of time. Technogym generously sponsored the general session.

In total, we hosted people from 35 countries. Art Curtis, the president of Curtis Club Advisors and ex-officio chairperson of IHRSA’s board of directors, and Brent Darden, the owner and general manager of the TELOS Fitness Center, gave presentations to packed rooms and rave reviews. At the conclusion of the first panel discussion, Rasmus Ingerslev, the CEO of Fresh Fitness (see “CBI Interview,” August 2012 CBI, pg. 32), announced that Rene Moos, the CEO of HealthCity, had won the European Club Leadership Award. Jasmin Kirstein, the owner and CEO of My Sportlady, was the highlight of the reception, dancing the Viennese Waltz in traditional costume. She also shared some wonderful closing remarks on the last day of the educational sessions.

As is always the case during the congress, the cultural diversity made for active networking and lively conversations. Such exchanges also seem to be clearer when Christian Pierar, the president of De Fitness Organisatie (DFO) in Belgium, and a member of the IHRSA board, is around. I’ve never asked Christian how many languages he speaks— let’s just call him a helpful polyglot.

Whenever possible, do get out and into the industry. You’ll return to your business refreshed and inspired. I absolutely guarantee it! 

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