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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CBI First Set: Industry Pride, Well Justified

As I begin my term as chairperson of IHRSA’s board of directors, I’m reminded of how grateful I am to be involved in the health and fitness industry. What other profession produces such important and rewarding outcomes? To my way of thinking, none!

I’ve reflected extensively on what’s accomplished in our clubs, and I’m proud to be part of this wonderful effort to help people live longer and better lives.

We should celebrate and be extremely proud of what we do for our members. It’s easy to lose track of the value added we provide when we’re dealing with promotions, operational matters, and the challenge of encouraging members to participate in club activities.

It’s understandable that we sometimes lose sight of our mission.

Remind yourself, though, to refocus, and to raise your sights by being prouder of the significance of what you do.

Also, try to remain aware of your club’s worth when you advertise, engage in public relations initiatives, and communicate with your employees. Make sure your staff knows what sort of an impact they can have, and understands how they can deliver on the promises made to customers.

But, you ask, what about the fact that we fail to engage and, therefore, satisfy many of our clients? On occasion, people have told me that they struggle to appreciate our industry because of that shortcoming.

Don’t be discouraged!

The club business confronts many challenges not faced by most other industries. We can’t force success, because being successful relies, in part, on a client’s own motivation and discipline to do the necessary work. This makes our jobs harder, but we’re making great strides.

I recently had the opportunity to explain the obstacles we encounter to a well-known economist. Initially, he had a rather simplistic view of our business, but he soon began to appreciate and respect the unique and difficult circumstances involved.

Whether we’re working to help people become stronger, lose weight, maintain mobility, or recover from an injury - we improve lives like no other industry. Instead of underestimating our product, we should look for ways to effectively communicate the dramatic, far-reaching value of our services.

If we don’t recognize and acknowledge that tremendous asset, no one else will, either.

So, be proud. You’ve earned it!

- Robert Brewster can be reached at

Reader Comments (1)

Great article. Thanks
July 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBryan O'Rourke

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