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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Highlights from the Canfitpro World Fitness Expo

Earlier this month, IHRSA staff attended and exhibited at Canfitpro World Fitness Expo in Toronto, Canada—the largest fitness expo in Canada, attracting more than 16,000 fitness professionals, business owners, and consumers from all over the world.  

The Canadian Industry Forum—presented with the Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC)—included the following people and topics: 

Barbara Allen, program manager from the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, spoke on consumer protection rules for fitness clubs. This department is responsible for the protection of consumers from unfair business practices. The session was designed to inform fitness club owners, operators, and trainers about their rights/obligations under the Consumer Protection Act, and what to expect if they ever are inspected. 

David "Patch" Patchell-Evans, founder and CEO of GoodLife Fitness in Canada (and a former IHRSA Board president), spoke about some of the trade-off decisions that you will go through as you grow your business. He went into more details on the important choices you'll encounter as you grow your business from one club to two clubs, two clubs to five clubs, from five clubs to 10 clubs, and beyond.

Helen Vandenberg, owner of Heavens Elevated Fitness, spoke on the changing landscape of the health club industry in Canada, the rise in boutiques/studios, changing technologies affecting the industry, and the more specialized, more unique options consumers have. 

Scott Wildeman, senior vice president of Fitness and Operations of International Fitness Holdings, spoke on the prescription for exercise and the importance of the doctor-gym relationship. He also stressed the importance of the sales process, staff education, and the on-boarding process for these members as clubs need to inspire them to stay at the club after their initial introduction. 

Frank Napolitano, president of 24 Hour Fitness, shared some of the similar trends happening in the U.S. and the rise of the boutiques/studios. He also spoke on the changing trends in marketing and advertising corresponding with the advance in technology. 

Jack Trummer, vice president of the Americas and APAC for Precor, also spoke on the rise of the studio, and went into how consumers are looking for the experience. He spoke on the “omni-channel strategy” to address the multiple ways people buy, and then went on to explain how to connect with people in multiple different ways to reach the most people. Finally, he explained that it's what you are doing besides just opening the door that will make you succeed. 

Colin Milner, founder and CEO of the International Council on Aging (ICAA), went into demographics and the huge opportunity that is out there with the age 50-and-up demographic, which controls a tremendous amount of spending power at a club. The age 50-and-up group has a desire for active lifestyles and social interaction which can be found at health clubs. He went on to describe the importance of design and appeal—both aesthetically and functionally—to attract this generation. 

Thank you to Fitness Business Canada for their continued support and for including the IHRSA staff in their booth at the trade show.

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