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: IHRSA Global 25 Profiles Fastest Growing Companies

The IHRSA Global 25 Profiles Fitness Industry Leaders
IHRSA released The IHRSA Global 25, outlining the top 25 health club companies worldwide. The annually compiled list recognizes top players in terms of revenue, number of memberships, and number of facilities according to Club Business International magazine. “Continued robust performance and innovation from leading club companies attests to the industry’s strength and potential for growth,” said Jay Ablondi, IHRSA’s executive vice president of global products in a press release. As a whole, the industry’s worldwide revenues increased to $83.1 billion in 2016. Top leaders in the list highlighted include LA Fitness International, which grew to 689 owned locations. Planet Fitness led in overall revenue at $1.9 billion and led with 8.9 million members, and franchise leader Anytime Fitness climbed to 3,443 locations worldwide, topping the charts in both 5-year revenue and 5-year unit growth metrics. Learn more about the IHRSA Global Report.

First Chinese Fitness Franchise License Granted to Anytime Fitness
Anytime Fitness has become the first U.S. fitness franchise granted license in China, according to a release. Dave Mortensen, the company’s president and cofounder, will join master franchisee Maurice Levine in Shanghai June 27-28 to align efforts with suppliers and local supporters on expansion. Anytime Fitness has seven locations already open in China with twenty new agreements signed and anticipates 300-500 gyms in China by 2020. “We’re in the business of building communities and helping people achieve their goals, something that transcends across borders,” Mortensen said in a press release. Levine also owns the franchise rights for Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore. In less that three years he has grown the franchise across six countries in Asia and 150 territories, becoming the number one gym operator by number of outlets in Asia. According to the release, more than 99% of the Chinese population does not have a gym membership and Anytime Fitness’s plan is to curb the culture to a more fitness oriented one.

Apple Watch Updates with a Fit New Feature for Gym Goers
An update to Apple Watch’s operating system is set to launch this fall with a new feature called Gym Connect. The feature will allow the Apple Watch to link to most cardio-equipment brands by tapping the watch to the machine, Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, told the Wall Street Journal. An example of the new functionality can be seen on a treadmill where the machine tracks speed, duration, incline, and distance with the watch tracking heart. Gym Connect will combine this data with information about the user such as age, sex, and blood type to calculate calorie count. Apple says cardio gear will not be able to store the data. This new feature is part of a larger push to integrate technology into the lives of health club members. 

Exercise Study Highlights Social Benefits
A study recently in the journal Personality & Individual Differences found that those of us who exercise tend to have better social lives and achieve personal goals more frequently, according to a report issued by the Wall Street Journal. A team of researchers at George Mason University led by clinical psychology doctoral candidate Kevin Young recruited 179 college students to track their daily exercise. The researchers interviewed the participants daily, inquiring about social interactions with friends, family, and colleagues and about the amount of progress made towards ongoing projects. The results of the study found that on any given day individuals exercise they participate in more social and achievement activities than on days when they do not exercise. The team of researchers said they are eager with their results and are now looking towards a targeted focus on the effects of group exercise and utilizing these results for individuals suffering from depression.

Blink Fitness Expands Presence in Philadelphia
Blink Fitness opened two new Philadelphia gyms in June, with two additional gyms slated to open early 2018. Blink plans to celebrate emotional benefits of exercising in addition to physical results within the Philadelphia area. Grand opening celebrations are set to include the donation of 50 one-year memberships to local non-profit organizations. “In the last few years, Blink has carved out a much needed space in the industry—one where all gym members can feel comfortable working out with a more approachable outlook on fitness,” said Todd Magazine, president of Blink Fitness, said in a press release. The organization is eager to branch out from its roots in New York City to Philadelphia’s similarly dense neighborhoods and transit hubs with a fresh perspective on fitness.