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.



From educational tools and events to promotional programs and public policy initiatives, IHRSA brings you success... by association!

Join | Renew
Pledge Your Support

Search IHRSA Blog
« Gary Player Attributes Golf and Business Success to Exercise | Main | Polar Electro, Inc. Drives Wearable Fitness Technology Forward »

6 Ways Attending the IHRSA Institute Will Turn a Good Manager to Great 

There are several barriers that can keep a good health club manager from becoming great: perhaps they aren’t able to take a step back from their daily tasks to see the big picture, or maybe they just don’t have the resources and skillsets to reach the next level. 

But, no matter what challenges are standing in your manager’s way, sending them to the IHRSA Institute, Executive Education for Club Professionals will help them reach their full potential. 

The IHRSA Institute, which convenes August 2–5, at the Rizzo Conference Center, at the Kenan-Flagler Business School, at the University of North Carolina, in Chapel Hill, is designed to provide a strong overall base for anyone working in the fitness industry. 

The faculty includes both industry experts and professors from UNC. Classes are small and intimate. Through classroom discussions and social activities, the attendees learn not only from the faculty, but also from their peers. 

Here are six ways attending the IHRSA Institute will turn a good manager into a great one. 

1. Getting an Edge on the Competition 

“I’ve attended six times, and found the education to be extremely valuable,” says Michael James, the president of the World Bank Fitness Centers, in Washington, D.C. 

For example, he learned how to successfully compete with local studios by offering new activities. The results: a larger membership base and increased profitability.  

2. Improving Strategic Planning Skills 

“What I find a lot of the time with managers is they get so sucked into the day-to-day they become really reactive,” says Mark Miller, vice president of Merritt Athletic Clubs in Baltimore, MD.  “When something unexpected happens it takes them off course, and the next thing they know they’re struggling and they’re never focused on how they can improve business and operations.”  

Miller will teach club operators how to overcome that obstacle in his IHRSA Institute session, “Strategic Planning for Club Operations Professionals” on Wednesday, August 3. 

3. Boosting Personal Training Revenue 

Personal training programs can be a huge profit-driver for health clubs, but many clubs aren’t maximizing the revenue opportunities for a number of reasons, says Luke Carlson, CEO of Discover Strength, who will present “Personal & Group Training Management” on Wednesday, August 3.

“In all service-based businesses, we really have to make sure we have the right people—but the importance of having the right people is amplified when its such an intimate relationship, like with personal training,” he says. “We need to have mechanisms in place to make sure our people component is strong.”  

4. Hiring the Right People 

To hire strategically, you should begin with the end in mind, says Bill McBride, president and CEO of Active Wellness and BMC3.  

“When you do that, you are essentially beginning with your strategy goal and then you can create the steps and roadmap to get there,” he says. “So to align, you would define: Who do I need to hire to achieve our strategy? How do I need to train my team to achieve our strategy? What performance metrics do they need to achieve our strategy?”  

McBride will teach IHRSA Institute attendees how to enhance their strategic focus and develop high performing teams that deliver desired outcomes and profitability in his Wednesday, August 3 session, “Strategic Planning for Club Executives.”   

5. Strengthening Social Media and Digital Strategies 

“I’ve seen so many of the great clubs that have found the right person to [execute their new media] for them, that put a strategy in place to make it happen, and realize the benefit of social media,” says Frank Furness, author and consultant, Frank Furness & Associates.  “A lot of clubs don’t understand the benefit of using new media, so they give it to someone who is doing it as just a part of their job, and it becomes less and less important because they’re doing their own job as well.”   

Furness will outline how new media can benefit health clubs in his IHRSA Institute session, “Social Media & Digital Strategies” on Thursday, August 4. 

6. Networking Opportunities 

“My biggest takeaway from the IHRSA Institute is the critical importance of networking, seeking advice, and learning from others’ experiences,” says Alice Diamant, the president and general manager of fitwell–Medina Valley Fitness, in Castroville, TX.  

Diamant attended the three-day event while in the process of launching fitwell, and garnered advice on club set-up, key capital investments, and hiring and training a good team.  

“We made some large investments based on suggestions that were offered, and they’ve really helped our business to grow,” she says. 

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

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.