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

Welcome to the IHRSA Blog

The Online Home of news.

Blog Home |  Subscribe to our RSS Feed

Entries in Augie Nieto (24)


A Homecoming: Augie Nieto Returns to Life Fitness 

September 16 was a warm and sunny day in Franklin Park, IL, when Augie and Lynne Nieto arrived at the Life Fitness factory there.

It had been nearly 16 years since Augie, the cofounder and former chief executive of the company, had last entered the building, which had been its headquarters when he served as president.

Augie stepped down in 2000, when the company was acquired by the Brunswick Corporation (NYSE: BC). In March 2005, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a muscle-wasting condition also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Since then, he and his wife, Lynne, have launched and directed Augie’s Quest, which, thus far, has raised more than $50 million to fund research to find a cure for ALS.

Continue reading "A Homecoming: Augie Nieto Returns to Life Fitness."

Click to read more ...


Help Augie's Quest Win $250,000 from CBS' Viewers to Volunteers Challenge

Augie's Quest, Life Fitness Co-founder Augie Nieto’s cure-driven effort focused on finding treatments and cures for ALS, is in the running to win $250,000 from CBS' Viewers to Volunteers Challenge. 

Lynne and Augie Nieto (R) visit with Octane Fitness at IHRSA 2016.

The Viewers to Volunteers Challenge 

The Viewers to Volunteers Challenge is a CBS initiative aiming to transform the power of the advertising dollar into an engine for social change, according to the website

“As you enjoy and share content on Viewers to Volunteers (V2V), you'll earn V2V Points,” the site reads. “With a simple click of a button, you can use those points to support V2V nonprofits working in the areas of veterans’ services, education, health and wellness, and the environment.” 

How to Help Augie’s Quest 

With four days left to vote, Augie’s Quest is currently in 4th place—so we’re harnessing the power of the IHRSA community to help them win! 

Here’s how you can help secure the win for Augie’s Quest:  

  • Join Nancy O’Dell’s team. O’Dell, from Entertainment Tonight, is Augie’s friend and served as emcee for Augie’s BASH at the IHRSA International Convention & Trade Show. Augie's Quest gets 100 points each time someone joins. 
  • Spread the word! Once you sign up, share the link widely via social media and email to help win up to $250,000 for this worthy nonprofit. 
  • Stay informed. Keep an eye on Augie's Quest's Facebook and Twitter accounts to keep up with the effort's progress.

IHRSA Members Honored at Club Industry’s 30th Anniversary Show

Multiple IHRSA members and longtime supporters were recognized for their remarkable contributions at the Club Industry Show, which took place in Chicago on October 7-9. The Penton-produced event celebrated its thirtieth year with more than 3,500 fitness professionals in attendance. 

On Thursday Augie Nieto, co-founder of Life Fitness, chairman of Octane Fitness, and chief inspirational officer for Augie’s Quest, was honored with Club Industry’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Augie’s wife Lynne received the award for him, and shared some heartwarming and inspirational words on behalf of her husband. 

The Nietos have led the way in the fight against ALS and the search for a cure, having raised over $45 million since 2006. They will once again be hosting the “Bash for Augie’s Quest” in Orlando, FL, at this year’s 35th Annual International Convention and Trade Show. The Bash will be held on the evening of Wednesday, March 23.

Award winning journalist, entrepreneur, and best-selling author Shane Snow served as the keynote speaker, entertaining and motivating the crowd on overcoming obstacles, solving problems, and personal improvement. 

Friday morning’s session was “Inspired Insights” with Jeremy Strom of Playgrounz and Fitness Beyond Borders, Marty Wolff a former contestant on “The Biggest Loser”, and Joe Cirulli, the founder of Gainesville Health and Fitness and former IHRSA president.  

Cirulli shared a personal anecdote of when he found himself flying solo in a storm, with no communication or navigation equipment. Facing a life and death situation, he found out firsthand how important it can be to think logically under pressure, and make decisions that may not be laid out in a step-by-step process. A perfect example of thinking and acting “on the fly.” 

Two longtime IHRSA Members had staff recognized by PFP.  On Friday, Mark Nutting, the fitness director and master trainer at Saco Sport and Fitness in Saco, ME, was honored as the 2016 PFP Trainer of the Year Legacy award. The PFP Trail Blazer Award was given to Tanya Slusser of The Claremont Club for her outstanding work with Project Walk in Claremont, CA.  Congratulations go out to both Tanya and Mark for their efforts.

IHRSA would like to thank all those that stopped by our booth as well as the staff at Penton that made it possible for us to attend another great show. Next year’s show will be making a move from the McCormick Place to the Hyatt Regency, and will be held on October 12-14, 2016.


Club Industry 2015

Insight, innovation, and an industry legend!

If it’s fall in Chicago, then the Club Industry Show must in the offing.

The 2015 edition of the event will take place this month, October 7–9, at the McCormick Place Lakeside Center in the Windy City.

Attendees will be looking to enhance their fitness industry expertise, and to acquire the tools they need to grow their businesses. They’ll also have the chance to acknowledge Augie Nieto, the cofounder of Life Fitness and a major benefactor of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) research, this year’s recipient of the Club Industry Lifetime Achievement Award.

For IHRSA associate member companies, “tools,” of course, means products. They’ll be showcasing their latest, most innovative, and most exciting equipment, programs, and services October 8–9 at the exhibit hall. The familiar IHRSA brands on the trade show floor will include ABC Financial; ASF Payment Solutions; CSI Software; Gym Groups; Jonas Fitness, Inc.; K&K Insurance Group, Inc.; Matrix Fitness; Motionsoft, Inc.; and others.

Like the exhibitors, the event’s educational sessions and seminars will encompass the entire industry, with tracks on, among other things, sales excellence, business operations, fitness leadership, and emerging trends. Over the course of the three days, attendees also will hear from club owners and managers who’ll share their thoughts on the industry’s future.

“We have several prominent industry veterans who are serving as track chairs,” explains Pamela Kufahl, the director of content and engagement for Club Industry. “And we’re offering a certificate of completion for the fitness leadership track, which will provide marketing, management, and technology insights, for anyone who attends four of the six sessions.”

A special new offering this year, notes Kufahl, will be the “Inspired Insights” presentations––short, inspirational talks by people from inside and outside the industry that are guaranteed to appeal to all. The Club Industry Show will also feature a number of special events.

Shane Snow, the keynote speaker, is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who’s studied the qualities and characteristics of companies that have become successful quickly. He’ll describe what’s he discovered in his presentation, “Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success.”

Nieto, who, in addition to his one-of-a-kind industry credentials, is also, with his wife, Lynne, the cofounder of Augie’s Quest, a charitable initiative that raises money to find a cure for ALS, will receive some well-deserved recognition. In 2005, Nieto was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease; the Quest has raised more than $45 million over the past 10 years. His wife will accept the Lifetime Achievement Award on his behalf.

One of the initiative’s principal fundraising events is the BASH for Augie’s Quest, which is held each year during IHRSA’s International Convention and Trade Show. It will take place next year, on Wednesday, March 23, during IHRSA 2016, March 21–24, in Orlando, Florida.

“When Nieto started a club while still in college, and happened upon a prototype of the LifeCycle, the fitness industry was very different than it is today,” observes Kufahl. “At the time, the majority of club members were men, who focused on strength training. Nieto had the foresight to see that a product such as the LifeCycle might attract a larger group to clubs—especially women, who, by then, had learned about the importance of something brand-new that was called ‘aerobics.’

“His first try at distributing the LifeCycle was less than auspicious, but he persevered and, ultimately, was incredibly successful,” Kufahl continues. “In the process, he revolutionized the industry, and, by continuing to introduce new equipment, created one of its largest and most venerable companies, Life Fitness.

“We’re very proud to name Nieto the 13th recipient of Club Industry’s annual Lifetime Achievement Award.” “It’s always an honor to receive an industry award, but a Lifetime Achievement Award from a respected organization such as Club Industry means more than I can tell you,” says Nieto. “In a sense, I haven’t really been an active member of the industry for more than 10 years, so to be recognized now by my former peers is unbelievable and extremely moving.

“I wish I could attend the Club Industry Show to receive the award myself,” he explains, “but I don’t travel much these days. However, Lynne will be coming to accept the award ... and, let’s be honest, she’s much better to look at anyway!”

Though his movement may be limited, Nieto’s accomplishments and ambition continue to soar. “The $45 million that we’ve raised for ALS research is a big number,” he reflects. “However, the reality is that it generally takes a billion dollars to bring a new drug to market for a given disease. We’ve got a lot to do in the way of fundraising for ALS, since there’s currently no effective treatment for this muscle-wasting disease!

“Our work, my work, clearly isn’t over.”


The 'Excellence' challenge

The camaraderie within the health and fitness industry is a special thing.

Be it supporting a member's cause, knowing when to put the learning and networking aside in order to have a good time, or sharing experience and knowledge, time is always found.

Joe Moore, IHRSA president and CEO, talks about this in his CBI magazine Last Rep column, from a dance-off at June's IHRSA Institute to participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge in support of Augie's Quest.

Check out Last Rep here.


Moore: An industry with heart and soul

Gary Vaynerchuk was easily one of the biggest hits during the 2014 IHRSA Annual International Convention & Trade Show in San Diego. Hundreds of attendees have referred to keynote in the six months since. 

In one part of his energetic and informative talk he explained the humanization of business, which he said is how companies take on the characteristics of their leaders.

IHRSA President and CEO Joe Moore, in his CBI magazine Last Rep column, feels the fitness industry takes on this trait, especially when it comes to the support of Augie Nieto and the Bash for Augie’s Quest.

Check out Last Rep in CBI.


Augie takes #IceBucketChallenge with 200 close friends

The #IceBucketChallenge doesn't seem to be losing steam. And many around the country who are taking part are doing so after IHRSA President and CEO Joe Moore issued the challenge to the entire fitness industry.

Among the benefactors - we all hope - of this worldwide phenomenon is Augie Nieto and Augie's Quest, which supports fast-track, innovative research seeking effective treatments, and, ultimately, a cure for ALS. The co-founder of Life Fitness has been sharing videos, retweeting and spreading the word of the many accomplishments during the #IceBucketChallenge.

And this week he took the challenge, along with 200 others, including Domonic, the youngest person ever diagnosed with ALS.

Click here for IHRSA's staff pouring ice water over their heads.




Why I did the #IceBucketChallenge twice

Dumping ice water on your head isn't the most fun thing to do. Especially if you, like me, are from warm sunny Florida and happen to hate the cold. But, when my turn came and a friend nominated me for the Ice Bucket Challenge, I filled a bucket of ice water and dumped it over my head outside my gym. I donated a little money, nominated my brother and two of my friends, and thought I was done. Phew.

Then Chris Clawson nominated IHRSA. And despite being "done", I kind of wanted to do it again. Because ALS is a terrible degenerative disease that often affects young, active people and yet is largely unfamiliar to the general public. Because I remember stories about my great uncle Harry, whom I never met due to this disease. And because I remember attending the BASH for Augie's Quest the past three years, and being so impressed with Augie and his battle to defeat ALS. So for the good cause of raising money and awareness for ALS research and supporting one of the industry's own, I got cold and wet twice in one week. It actually wasn't that bad.

A few other IHRSA staff also did the ice bucket challenge twice. Read on to see who and why they doused themsevles twice.

Click to read more ...


IHRSA accepts the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

IHRSA won't shy away when the gauntlet has been laid down in front of us. When the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was issued to us by Chris Clawson and Life Fitness, we gladly accepted.

The organization is no stranger to supporting ALS research. We host the BASH for Augie's Quest at the Annual International Convention & Trade Show every year, and support other endeavors by participating, sharing on our blog and by social media to help spread the word.

Augie Nieto, the co-founder of Life Fitness, was diagnosed with ALS in 2005. Ever since, he and his wife, Lynne, have partnered with the MDA for form Augie’s Quest, which supports fast-track, innovative research seeking effective treatments, and, ultimately, a cure for ALS.

So, as IHRSA President and CEO Joe Moore says in the video, we challenge the health and fitness industry to accept the challenge.

Click here to donate to Augie's Quest.




IHRSA's Augie's Quest efforts gets gold star ... actually, award

Augie, Lynne, Elvis and Las Vegas performers during the 2013 BASH for Augie's Quest.IHRSA’s connection with Augie’s Quest is to both support further research for a cure of ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and fitness pioneer and friend, Augie Nieto. It certainly is not done for any awards or recognition. 

Recently IHRSA was recognized by ASAE – an association that supports and represents associations – with its Power of A Gold Award for its role as facilitator in bringing the fitness industry together to support Augie’s Quest, which funds research and drug development to end ALS.

Read on for more on the ASAE award.