Big Data Suggests Running is Socially Contagious
Running may be contagious, according to a study published in Nature Communications, The New York Times reports. The study is one of the first of its kind to use big data from a global social network. Researchers gathered five years worth of data from about 1.1 million runners worldwide, as well as five years’ worth of data from global weather station, which they cross-correlated with information about runners’ daily workouts. Ultimately, they found that runners do influence one another. “Over all, if one person ran for about 10 minutes more than usual on any given day, that runner’s friends would lengthen their workout by approximately three minutes, even if the weather was discouraging,” The Times states. “Similarly, if a friend ran faster than usual, his or her friends would tend to pick up their pace in their runs that same day.”
Entries in Blink Fitness (13)
Big Data Suggests Running is Socially Contagious
Blink Fitness Temporarily Turns Off TV News to Reduce Stress
Blink Fitness has launched a new initiative to encourage members to minimize stress and focus on their well being throughout April, which is National Stress Awareness Month. For the "Tune Out While You Work Out" initiative, Blink will be switching its TV programming from stress-inducing news channels to mood-lifting content, such as comedy, entertainment, music, and educational programming. Every Blink facility will also encourage members to take a step back from social media and all of their daily stressors through exercise. "We always want Blink to be a place our members turn to when they need a mood boost," Ellen Roggemann, vice president of marketing for Blink Fitness, said in a release. "After seeing the results of [the American Psychological Association survey on stress], we wanted to do something that would serve as a reminder that exercise is just as important for our members' mental well-being as it is for their physical health. We are removing stressors from our gyms like news content from our TV screens and are encouraging members to go social media-free during their workouts so they can tune out while they work out."
IHRSA Members, Lobbyist Discuss PHIT on Capitol Hill
IHRSA members Linda Mitchell and Kelly Beauparlant from the Newtown Athletic Club (NAC) Have a Heart Foundation spent Tuesday, February 6 on Capitol Hill with Jay Sweeney, IHRSA's Federal Lobbyist. As the IHRSA team preps for the introduction of the PHIT Act, legislation that would make gym memberships and physical activity more affordable, Sweeney and the NAC team met with members of Congress and their staff to discuss the PHIT Act's benefits to their constituents. After a full day of meetings Linda Mitchell, NAC's director of public and government relations, said, “I learned so much more about the process of getting this bill passed. The responses from our meetings were very positive, but there's still more work to do.”
Mitchell then implored other IHRSA members to get involved in the very important grassroots efforts to pass PHIT, "This bill could change the "life" of your business once and for all, by reducing the cost of membership and other services for your members. Please reach out to IHRSA government relations to learn if your Congressman is supporting PHIT. If he or she is, thank them! If not, you need to reach out to them personally and immediately. Your voice will matter. The IHRSA team will walk you through the process."
The Latest Fitness Fad: Stretching Studios
Move over barre, indoor cycling, and bootcamp—stretching studios are the newest fitness fad, according to The New York Times. However, rather than competing with other types of studios, stretching boutiques may be positioned to create more of a symbiotic relationship. “There are all these peak fitness places that have popped up,” Power Stretch Studios Owner Hakika V. DuBose told The Times, referring to SoulCycle, Barry’s Bootcamp, and CrossFit. “People go five times a week and their muscles are very overworked and contracted.” Power Stretch Studios isn’t the only boutique of its kind—there’s StretchOut Studios in Boston, Stretchlab in Los Angeles, and Stretch Zone, which appears to be the largest national chain with 31 locations in California, Florida, North Carolina, as well as other states.
Panelists Announced for the 21st Annual IHRSA Financial Panel
The annual IHRSA Financial Panel, taking place on Friday, March 10 during IHRSA 2017, will highlight the expertise of four highly-regarded financial experts and apply their knowledge to the issues impacting the health club market. "The intent of the panel is to ensure industry operators have the knowledge they need to make sound financial decisions,” says Rick Caro, president of Management Vision and Financial Panel moderator. “This year’s four panelists have researched the market matter extensively.”
This year’s panelists include:
- Marc Magliacano, partner, L Catterton
- Andrew B. Hirsekorn, principal, Eagle Merchant Partners
- Will Cowan, senior VP, Jefferies LLC
- Steve Tricarico, managing director, Jefferies LLC
Panelists will offer information on major club transactions across a variety of club segments and answer any additional questions during a separate Q&A session. Learn more about the annual IHRSA Financial Panel.
Blink Fitness Announces Los Angeles Expansion
Blink Fitness announced the company’s expansion to Los Angeles metro area in 2017. According to a press release, Blink says that their first location in Los Angeles is a step in their mission to alter the rhetoric of unrealistic goals of ideal body image among the fitness industry. Their goal conceptualizes this positivity over physical results in their latest ad campaign, “Every Body Happy.” “The availability of prime real estate in dense neighborhoods with comparable demographics to much of Blink's home turf in the New York area made the Los Angeles marketplace an appealing next step for expansion,” said Todd Magazine, president of Blink Fitness. Blink's first LA lease is for a former 1930s movie theater in Huntington Park, set to open by the end of 2017. Read the full press release about the expansion of Blink Fitness.
6 Ways to Be a Leader in the Health Club Industry
Studies Find Cellphone Use and Exercise Don’t Mix
Members shouldn’t be using their cellphones while working out—and not just because it annoys everyone around them. Talking or texting while exercising lowers the intensity of the session and negatively affects balance, which can increase risk of injury, according to two new studies. "If you're talking or texting on your cellphone while you're putting in your daily steps, your attention is divided by the two tasks and that can disrupt your postural stability, and therefore, possibly predispose individuals to other greater inherent risks such as falls and musculoskeletal injuries," study author Michael Rebold, assistant professor of integrative exercise science at Hiram College in Ohio, said in a release. Researchers found that texting on a cellphone reduced postural stability by 45% and talking on a cellphone reduced postural stability by 19%.
Body Zone Sports and Wellness Complex Adds Physical Therapy Service
IHRSA member Body Zone Sports and Wellness Complex announced Monday that “Body Zone Physical Therapy” is its newest community health service. The Wyomissing, PA, club said the service signals its new mission to merge medical services with fitness and preventative care for its members and the community. "Opening Body Zone Physical Therapy is a natural progression for us as we continue to grow towards medical-based fitness. It provides our members, participants in our sports programs, and the general public with an unparalleled opportunity to be healthy all under one roof,” General Manager Ted Kolva said in a release. "We are very fortunate to have Dr. Randy Yocum as our Director of Physical Therapy. His expertise, compassion, and knowledge is evident with every patient he treats. Randy’s experience, coupled with our facility’s offerings will make our practice one of the premier physical therapy experiences in the region.”
Under President Trump, 3 Possible Scenarios to Pass PHIT
Now that the 115th Congress is sworn in and Donald J. Trump is President Trump, healthcare reform and tax reform are at the top of the nation’s agenda. As a result, we see a three-tier opportunity to pass PHIT. Read IHRSA Executive Vice President of Public Policy Helen Durkin’s post that lays out the “dream scenario,” “replace scenario,” and “tax reform scenario.”
The ‘Target of Gyms’ Will Expand to Philadelphia in 2017
Blink Fitness, which Yahoo!Finance recently dubbed “the Target of gyms,” announced Monday that it will enter the Philadelphia metro area this year. "With dense neighborhoods, varied transit options, and suburbs close by, Philadelphia shares many qualities with our home turf in New York," Todd Magazine, president of Blink Fitness, said in a release. "We look forward to providing both a luxury gym experience at an affordable price and a groundbreaking approach to fitness."
Merritt Athletic Clubs Unveils New Brand Identity
Merritt Clubs, formerly Merritt Athletic Clubs, marked its 40th anniversary by launching a new brand identity that better communicates the continual evolution of the company’s fitness facilities and programs. In addition to the new name, Merritt now has a new logo, messaging, website, and signage that is already installed in its nine locations. “Our mission is to change the way people think about fitness,” COO Mark Miller said in a release. “To us, fitness means strengthening your body and mind in the comfort of a place that feels like home, with a friendly staff that feels like family. Our new brand is helping to tell this story and it truly captures our purpose of being the best part of our member’s day and the spirit of our clubs.”
TRX Named IHRSA Associate Member of the Year
We’re excited to announce that TRX, a leading producer of functional training programs, education, and equipment, is our 2017 Associate Member of the Year! "We are delighted to honor our good friends at TRX for their ongoing support of IHRSA and for their work to grow the industry,” said Joe Moore, IHRSA's president and CEO. “When Randy Hetrick launched the first Travel X, the precursor to the TRX Suspension Trainer in 2004, he foresaw what the future of functional training would be for millions of fitness consumers. Since then, TRX has been a leader in delivering innovative products and programs designed to not only inspire people to be more active, but more importantly, help them achieve their fitness goals.” The Associate Member of the Year Award is presented annually to recognize an IHRSA Associate Member for their significant contributions to the advancement of the health club industry, as well as their support of IHRSA, its members, and its mission through program and event participation, advertising, and sponsorship. The award will be presented during IHRSA 2017 in Los Angeles, CA, March 8-11. Read the full “TRX Named 2017 Associate Member of the Year” press release.
Blink Fitness Offers Amazon Lockers in 7 Manhattan Clubs
Blink Fitness announced Wednesday that seven of its 11 Manhattan locations are now home to Amazon Lockers, which offer members and the community a self-service delivery location to pick up and return packages from Amazon.com. Amazon Lockers are cropping up nationwide and there are more than 100 in and around New York City and, according to Blink, this is the first time Amazon Locker has worked with a fitness club. "Blink's collaboration with Amazon is a natural fit to benefit both our members and the community at large," said Blink Fitness President Todd Magazine. "Our member experience comes first, so we're thrilled that members will no longer have to worry or go out of their way to receive a package. Secondly, the Amazon Lockers will help introduce our state-of-the-art facilities to a new audience and hopefully encourage them to make their fitness resolutions with Blink."
Equinox CEO Talks Trump, Company Growth
Last week, Equinox CEO Harvey Spevak spoke to CNBC about how President-elect Donald Trump may affect business, and shared his thoughts on company growth and the SoulCycle IPO.
33% of Canadians Resolved to Improve Physical Fitness in 2017
One in three Canadians said improving their physical fitness and eating habits was their top New Year’s resolution, according to a new Ipos survey that was conducted on behalf of GoodLife Fitness. The survey also found that 21% of Canadians said they would focus on financial goals; 13% wanted to dedicate more time to travel and leisure; 11% planned to put a stop to bad habits, like drinking and smoking; and 10% will try to spend more time with family and friends. “It’s great to see more Canadians choosing fitness and nutrition as their number one resolution for 2017 because it suggests people are making positive choices when it comes to eating well and being active, with the goal of feeling better overall,” said David ‘Patch’ Patchell-Evans, founder and CEO of GoodLife Fitness.
Blink Fitness’ 2017 Ad Campaign Features Real Members
Earlier this week Blink Fitness launched its 2017 marketing campaign, “Every Body Happy,” according to a release. This year’s effort features 16 Blink members who auditioned for the campaign on social media in the fall by flaunting their confidence. From more than 2,000 submissions, 50 semi-finalists were called back for an in-person casting call event where they shared their personal fitness stories in front of an influential panel of casting agents.
A survey commissioned by Blink Fitness and conducted online by Harris Poll last month showed the following sentiments, which Blink says illustrates that it is onto something greater:
- Roughly eight out of 10 Americans (82%) say their relationship with their body could be improved.
- Nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents said they find it discouraging to work towards unrealistic body images they see in the media.
- Almost nine in 10 Americans (89%) who currently work out at a gym feel more confident about themselves when they leave the gym than when they first walk in.
Fitness Industry Poised to Benefit from 2017 Resolutioners
The fitness market is one of the top industries poised to benefit from New Year’s Resolutions, Media Center reports. The article cites a Facebook/Wall Street Journal survey that found the number of gym check-ins on the social media platform increases by 50.0% from December to January. However, the largest decline in check-ins each year occurs in February, when check-ins drop by an estimated 10.0%. Athletic events are also positioned to grow from the influx of resolutioners in 2017. “With the aid of social media, popular outdoor events including the Iron Man, marathons, bicycle competitions and obstacle courses have become a key growth opportunity,” the article states. “The Athletic Event Organizers industry is expected to increase an annualized 2.4% over the five years to 2016, followed by another increase at an annualized rate of 1.7% over the next five years, reaching a projected $2.0 billion in revenue in 2021.”
IHRSA Webinar Preview: Capturing the Resolutionist Year-Round
On Thursday, January 12, Amanda Konigsberg, general manager for Active Wellness, will present “Capturing the Resolutionist Year-Round,” a webinar focused on membership sales and marketing strategies. To avoid your club’s slow season, Konigsberg recommends that you study the cycles in the health club industry and your own demographic area, and use that knowledge to build alternative income streams to counteract the off-season. “Just do not let attention to the alternative stream overtake a focus on the primary business,” she says. Read the full “Capturing the Resolutionist Year-Round” webinar preview.
Genesis Health Clubs Grows as Largest Club Provider in Midwest
IHRSA member Genesis Health Clubs purchased an additional Omaha area club from Nebraska Elite Sports and Fitness Complex in late December, making it the largest health club provider in the Midwest, according to a release. Nebraska Elite Sports and Fitness Complex is a 108,000-square-foot facility that includes a fitness floor, indoor running track, cycling studio, weight and cardio machines, spa, dry sauna, steam room, tennis, basketball, volleyball, and a full-service day care. “This is a very exciting time for our company,” said Rodney Steven II, owner/president of Genesis Health Clubs, “We are so excited to continue to grow in Nebraska. With 10 locations in the state, it’s now our second largest market. We are a locally owned and operated business and we aren’t going anywhere. We plan on remodeling this club to bring in our brand and to transform it into one of the nicest facilities in the Midwest.”
When the United States entered the recession in 2008, fitness-conscious consumers had to make difficult decisions about how to stretch their tightening budgets without sacrificing exercise. This conundrum gave rise to the High Volume, Low Price (HVLP) model, and gym-goers began to trade in their high- and mid-range health club memberships for facilities that cost a fraction of the price.
The only problem was that, in some cases, with the low price came a poor experience. For the most part members were willing to put up with overcrowding and dirty facilities in exchange for savings. But the leadership team at Blink Fitness looked at the HVLP space and saw an opportunity.
“When we launched Blink Fitness in 2011, we challenged the paradigm that ‘you get what you pay for’ in the HVLP segment by offering our members a luxury experience and ‘Mood Above Muscle’ philosophy—a fresh approach to fitness that celebrates the positive feelings you get from exercise, not just the physical benefits,” says Todd Magazine, president of Blink Fitness.
And that fresh approach is reaping results. This month, Blink Fitness will open its 50th club, and it currently has more than 60 company-owned locations open or in development in the New York tri-state area and more than a quarter-million members.
5 Elements of Blink’s ‘Feel Good Experience’
Blink brings its Mood Above Muscle ethos to life with what they call their “Feel Good Experience,” which offers five things they believe no other gym in the HVLP segment is providing.
This Week in the Fitness Industry: Pittsburgh Steelers Upgrade Weight Room with PRIME Fitness Equipment
Pittsburgh Steelers Upgrade Weight Room with PRIME Fitness Equipment
The Pittsburg Steelers recently unveiled their new weight room at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex—a $10 million upgrade that features a variety of equipment, such as power racks, strength machines, and cardio equipment. Pennsylvania-based PRIME Fitness, owned by Specialty Fitness Systems, makes up a large portion of the strength equipment in the new weight room, according to a press release. “It’s an honor and privilege to have our equipment in the Steelers training facility,” said Rod Griffin, the president of Specialty Fitness Systems. “Being located so close to Pittsburgh, the majority of our 130+ employees are passionate about their beloved Steelers, so having the opportunity to play a role in the future success of the organization is something very special to our entire team.”
Part of the revamped UPMC Rooney Sports Complex features what the team has dubbed “Rack Row,” named for the rows of PRIME Steel power racks. “The PRIME Steel Power Racks play a large role in our daily training, so-much-so that we’ve added 6 of them in our rack row,” said Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Garrett Giemont. “PRIME Steel Racks combine both user and trainer features that are unlike anything else in the market, couple that with the durability and stability of American made quality – it makes for a perfect fit in our facility.”
Blink Fitness to Open its 50th Gym in December
Five years after Blink Fitness opened its first facility in 2011, the company is preparing to open its 50th gym in the Bedford Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn this December, according to a release. Blink, a subsidiary of Equinox, attributes this growth to the fitness industry veterans at Equinox recognizing the appeal of a luxury fitness experience in the value space. “They put the member experience first by focusing on design, emphasizing customer service, ensuring cleanliness, and providing superior equipment—all while offering memberships at a low cost (starting at just $15 per month),” the release states. “And the numbers prove that Blink was on to something: membership has more than tripled since the end of 2013 and revenue has more than doubled over the last two years. Blink’s unique value proposition has allowed the business to emerge within the high volume, low priced (HVLP) segment while competitive gyms in the mid-tier price range are contracting.”
Steve Nash Fitness Clubs Appoints New President and COO
SNFW Fitness BC Chairman and CEO Leonard Schlemm announced on Thursday that the organization appointed Chris Smith to President and COO of Steve Nash Fitness Clubs and UFC Gym. Smith joined the SNFW organization in 2010, relocating to British Columbia from the U.S. to assume the position of Vice President of Sales and Fitness. In 2014, he was named chief operating officer, managing operations for the brands 21 locations across BC, and was instrumental in the successful launch of the first UFC Gym located in Kelowna. "Chris is an exceptional leader with deep industry knowledge and experience who has done a truly impressive job since he initially joined the company,” Chairman Leonard Schlemm said. “With four new clubs opening over the next six months, we are excited to have Chris take on the additional role of President."
IHRSA Seeks Members for Innovation & Technology Advisory Council
We’re creating an advisory council on technology and innovation in order to ensure that IHRSA members have the necessary information and resources they need to capitalize on innovation and technology trends in their businesses. “Technology is changing the customer journey and the perception of brands,” says Rasmus Ingerslev, chair of IHRSA board of directors. “The next 20 years of technological development will match the last 100 years. The health club industry’s traditional four walls are being affected by wearables, tracking, streaming, and online exercise. This doesn’t mean the health club industry can’t compete, just that the industry must stay alert and up-to-date on these trends to become and remain relevant.” Learn more about the Innovation & Technology Advisory Council and how you can apply.
Time Magazine Examines the Proof that Exercise is a ‘Miracle Drug’
“As time goes on, paper after paper after paper shows that the most effective, potent way that we can improve quality of life and duration of life is exercise,” said Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, a genetic metabolic neurologist at McMaster University in Ontario, in Time Magazine’s September cover story. The article, “The New Science of Exercise,” provides an in-depth look at the scientific proof backing up the long-standing belief that exercise works like a miracle drug. “Despite public-awareness campaigns, the health benefits of exercise have not been effectively communicated to the average American,” the article stats. “Humans are notoriously bad at assessing the long-term benefits–and risks–of their lifestyle choices. And vague promises that exercise is ‘good for you’ or even ‘good for the heart’ aren’t powerful enough to motivate most people to do something they think of as a chore. Humans are, however, motivated by rewards. That is why experts like Tarnopolsky are so focused on proving that the scientific benefits of exercise–slower aging, better mood, less chronic pain, stronger vision, the list goes on–are real, measurable and almost immediate.”
IHRSA Board Members Represent at the Motionsoft Technology Summit
A photo posted by IHRSA (@ihrsa) on Sep 16, 2016 at 8:25am PDT
Several IHRSA board members and former board members attended and spoke at the Motionsoft Technology Summit in Baltimore, MD, this week. Rick Caro, former IHRSA board president and president of Management Vision, Inc., spoke at the CIO Roundtable on Wednesday, and IHRSA Board Chair Rasmus Ingerslev presented the closing keynote address on Thursday. Read our full coverage of the Motionsoft Technology Summit.
Blink Fitness Asks Members to Audition for its 2017 Ad Campaign
Blink Fitness is inviting 300,000 members to use social media to enter the company’s brand-wide casting call for its 2017 ad campaign. The digital “audition” for the campaign, which is part of Blink’s continued effort’s to advocate for body positivity, will be open until October 7. More than 300 people have already applied since the September 12 launch. Following the submissions, the finalists will be chosen and called back to stand in front of a panel of influential “casting agents” to explain why feeling good is the new looking good. Panelists will include Dascha Polanco, known for her role as Dayanara Diaz on Orange is the New Black and NFL punter, Steve Weatherford. Blink’s 2017 campaign is an evolution of its “Every Body Happy” platform, which launched earlier this year.
IHRSA Submits Comments on Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program
On September 6, IHRSA formally submitted comments to the Center for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) concerning the proposal that Medicare cover the cost of a preventative service incorporating physical activity and diet intervention—the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP). The MDPP stands to be the first ever preventative service model certified for expansion by the CMS Innovation Center. With the proposal that Medicare will cover the cost of MDPP, health clubs are in an advantageous position to administer the program and become a vital component in the healthcare system. The program consists of educational sessions on healthy habits for individuals at risk of diabetes, evidenced by blood test results (and covered by Medicare), beginning with an initial six-month period with a core curriculum. The curriculum incorporates the importance of physical activity in healthy living, in addition to nutrition and stress management. The primary goal of the program is weight loss and behavior change to prevent against diabetes—both goals achievable in a health club setting. Read our full coverage on IHRSA's Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program comments.
Blink Fitness Hides Mirrors to Promote Good Health over Looks
Blink Fitness recently launched its “Monday Without Mirrors” program, a month-long initiative in which key mirrors in clubs will be covered in order to challenge members to think about how exercise makes them feel and not just how it makes them look. The effort is in the same vein as the “Every Body Happy” campaign, which the Equinox-owned company launched earlier this year. "Fitness has never been just about looking a certain way for us," Todd Magazine, president of Blink Fitness, said in a release. "Through our 'Monday Without Mirrors' initiative, we're encouraging our members to take a stand with us—that exercise is good for our health. It's good for our minds. It builds confidence. It's not just about what you see in the mirror." For more on Blink Fitness, read Todd Magazine’s interview in Club Business International.
Team IHRSA Plays in NEHRSA's 35th Annual Golf Tournament
Some IHRSA staffers participated in NEHRSA's 35th Annual Golf Tournament on Thursday, June 9 at the Shining Rock Golf Club in Northbridge, MA. Joe Colotti (top right) from Executive Health & Sports Center as well the NEHRSA Board, addressed the crowd during the event.
Reebok’s #TrainerTribute Campaign Recognizes Fitness Instructors
Reebok’s new #TrainerTribute campaign “pays homage to the professional fitness instructors who see and cultivate the limitless potential of their students,” according to a press release by the fitness brand. “Reebok argues that their contributions to society are as valuable as those made by healthcare providers and educators; they motivate their clients to be healthy and teach people how to lead an active, productive lifestyle.” On June 9, the series kicked off with a film focusing on boxing and combat-style training. The campaign will continue throughout 2016, with more films featuring other fitness disciplines, such as CrossFit and Studio. For the campaign, Reebok has partnered with Handstand, an app that locates nearby personal fitness trainers. All instructors that sign up to Handstand will automatically become members of ReebokONE, the brand’s global network of fitness trainers.
Kids Running Programs Are on the Rise
New running programs are aiming to get children involved in the sport with the hope of making physical activity a part of their daily lives, reports The New York Times. Organizers of Global Running Day encouraged around a million children to pledge to run in the Million Kid Run on June 1, and Girls on the Run, a national organization that sponsors running programs, works to get girls into the sport from third through eighth grade. “There is no hard and fast rule for when kids can start running, said Dr. Danelle Fisher, the chair of pediatrics at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA,” The Times reports. “The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children and teenagers should not be encouraged to run full marathons, and many races already restrict entry by age. Runners must be 12 years old to run one of the New York Road Runners’ half-marathons and 18 to run the New York City Marathon.”