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Entries in club programming (9)


How to Bring the Obstacle Course Craze to Your Gym

This is an IHRSA featured post, brought to you by Power Systems.

Fitness trends come and go, attracting people who throw themselves into the next big thing only to abandon it weeks later. Health club operators are smart to take the long view before investing in a flashy new workout obsession. It’s not always clear what has staying power, but when something takes hold, you ignore it at your peril. 

Continue reading "How to Bring the Obstacle Course Craze to Your Gym."

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3 Keys to Successful Health Club Programming for Older Adults

Exercise is good for older adults—and older adults are good for your health club.

The global population is getting older—11.7% of the Earth’s population is over age 60, and this share is expected to grow to 21% by 2050. Fortunately for health clubs, older adults are more active than ever before, and the medical and public health communities are increasingly noting the mental and physical health benefits of remaining active into older age.

Older adults are one of the fastest growing membership groups—health club memberships climbed 72% among people older than 55 between 2005 and 2015. Many older adults are retired, so they have the time to join a health club. They can fill off-peak hours in the club, and tend to be some of the most loyal members.

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Innovative Programming Strategies from 4 Fitness Industry Pros 

“How can I engage my members more intensely, more completely, more deeply?”

It’s a question that IHRSA club owners, operators, and fitness directors wrestle with constantly. They’re always on the lookout for that “certain something,” “X-ingredient,” or “wow factor” that will intrigue, excite, and energize their members.

Two of the key factors in offering that sort of programming, the experts agree, are change and surprise.

Members need and, more importantly, want new challenges that work different muscles and improve their cardiorespiratory fitness in unexpected ways. They’re looking to be stimulated—physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Fortunately, our industry has never been short of creativity, innovation, and out-of-the-box thinking. Its practitioners and suppliers are forever concocting inviting new programs, some of which put familiar concepts and equipment to fresh use, and some that evoke entirely new “can-you-believe-it!” fitness fantasies that involve brand-new products.

Here, to get your creative juices flowing, are examples from four inventive industry pros—Jonathan Cruz, of BURN Fitness, a successful, Boston-based studio; Mira Valeria and Aviva Baumann, of Santa Fe Thrive, a popular boutique in New Mexico; Alan Leach, the regional manager of the West Wood Health Club chain, based in Dublin, Ireland; and Tommy Matthews, the head of education at Escape Fitness Ltd., an IHRSA associate member based in Peterborough, England.

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Boom or Bust? Get Baby Boomers Flocking to Your Gym

Globally, 11.7% of the world population is over age 60, and this share is expected to grow to 21% by 2050. There are currently 75 million Baby Boomers, making them one of the fastest growing membership groups.

When Boomers join a club, they are looking for a few key things: 

  • Prevention of future chronic disease
  • Control of any current chronic conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure
  • Reversal of aging’s negative effects
  • Full participation in life and in activities they enjoy

The latest evidence suggests that exercise is beneficial for adults of all ages, and a significant amount of research concludes that exercise can help to prevent, delay, and treat many diseases and conditions that affect individuals as they age.

Older adults are also good for your club—they are one of the fastest growing membership groups. This group has the time to join a health club, can fill off-peak hours in the club, and tend to be some of the most loyal members. Independence is a top priority for them, and physical activity in the social environment of a health club can help them maintain it.

Here are some tips for attracting—and keeping—boomers in your club.

Offer Classes that Meet Their Needs

One way to get the attention of older adults and attract them to your club is to offer group exercise classes that meet their specific, unique needs. The health and age of Boomers varies greatly, so try offering a wide range of classes. A few ideas include: 

1. Restorative or Modified Yoga

Yoga is great for stability, flexibility, and balance. Restorative yoga can help improve flexibility and strength, and chair yoga offers an alternative for people who are unable to get up and down from the floor to a traditional mat. Chair yoga is also a great way to include people who may be wheelchair bound.

2. Aquatic Aerobics

Water’s buoyancy creates less impact on bones and joints, making aquatic aerobics a good alternative for older adults with arthritis or sore joints, or people with bone and joint injuries, to get their 150 minutes of weekly moderate activity.

Continue reading "Boom or Bust? Get Baby Boomers Flocking to Your Gym."

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Best Practices: Leveraging Outdoor Activities During the Summer

The following post was written by Scott Lewandowski for our Best Practices series. 

Question: How can we use outdoor activities to keep our members coming in all summer long? 

Scott Lewandowski: My suggestion is to position your club as an indoor facility that also offers seasonal outdoor programming. Your outdoor activities should include both indoor and outdoor training days; doing so helps keep your members connected to the facility during the warm weather. 

Running programs, triathlon-training classes, outdoor yoga, and boot camps are just a few of the types of offerings that can enhance the results of your efforts. 

In the case of running, you might want to consider complementing the outdoor component with a structured, indoor strength-training regimen or a Pilates-apparatus class.

As you might expect, a triathlon-training program requires a pool and an indoor cycling studio, in order to effectively provide the sport-specific training, and teach the required techniques to larger groups. Your yoga and boot camp programs can take place indoors throughout the year, but, if the necessary space and equipment are available, be sure to offer a class outdoors as well. 

A yoga class outside in the early morning or at dusk can be pretty spectacular! You may want to restrict participation in these activities to members only. But, if you permit nonmembers to take part, they should pay for the cost of the program, plus the dues rate applicable during its duration. This will prevent members from canceling to participate in the program and, then, rejoin upon its completion. 

Scott Lewandowski
Senior Director of Fitness
Orangetheory Fitness
Fort Lauderdale, FL


Free E-book: IHRSA Clubs Promote Good Health and Good Practice

IHRSA’s latest free e-book, IHRSA Clubs Promote Good Health and Good Practice: Highlights from the IHRSA 2015 Health Promotion and Wellness Track, outlines how club operators can turn health promotion programming into a successful business strategy.  

Promoting good health is a key practice because it benefits a club’s business, helps build and create new partnerships, and turns creative ideas into successful opportunities to advance physical activity.

Because health promotion in the club setting is so important, IHRSA launched the first-ever health promotion track during IHRSA 2015 in Los Angeles, and will continue the track at IHRSA 2016 in Orlando.

This newly created track provides club owners and operators with an opportunity to learn and discuss best practices for successful health promotion programming and gain valuable insight from other leaders across the industry.

The goal of this e-book is to provide:

  • A summary of the best health promotion programs offered at IHRSA 2015 as a preview for what is to come at IHRSA 2016 in Orlando
  • A look at the variety of health promotion programs successfully run by clubs
  • Suggestions from leading industry experts
  • Additional resources for further information
  • Questions to ask

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New Resource For Clubs: The Best Practice E-Book Series

IHRSA members have told us that some of the most valuable education comes from opportunities to learn from their industry colleagues. The Best Practice E-Book series highlights member clubs who have implemented successful health and wellness programs in their clubs. The e-books will cover a wide range of popular health promotion topics. 

The first book in the series focuses on weight loss and weight management programs, long a staple of health club health promotion offerings. The e-book highlights programs from five clubs - Stevenson Fitness in Oak Park, California; East Bank Club in Chicago, Illinois; Saco Sport & Fitness in Saco, Maine; Sportsclub in Greenville, South Carolina; and Newtown Athletic Club in Newtown, Pennsylvania - who have had success running weight loss programs.

This e-book includes:

  • An introduction to the global weight problem
  • Stories from 5 IHRSA clubs with different strategies for running successful weight loss programs
  • A discussion of common themes in successful programs
  • Additional resources



Introducing Your Primer On Health Promotion Programs 

Health clubs are safe, effective environments to get healthier and more active. This is especially true when clubs offer distinct programs specifically to address the health problems - weight, physical inactivity - in their communities. The newest IHRSA toolkit provides tools and resources to help your club design, implement, and continuously improve your clubs health programming.

The toolkit includes:

  • Resources to assess which health promotion programs will most benefit your community 
  • Strategies for designing and marketing programs 
  • Best practices for implementing successful programs
  • Useful tips for evaluating the outcomes of programs and success of participants 
  • Templates for evaluating and assessing client and program data

Why This Toolkit?

Health promotion programs are effective. Research shows that people who exercise as part of a group see better outcomes than those who simply recieve advice about exercise. But getting a program up and running in a club isn't easy. This toolkit provides a blue print for clubs to help those new to health promotion programs get started, or to provide fresh ideas to industry veterans. 

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Health Benefits of Exercise Report March 24th, 2014: Introducing the Medical Wellness Toolkit

Want to get more doctors referring their patients to your clubs? We've got a toolkit for that. During the IHRSA Convention in 2013, members expreessed interested in developing medical wellness and physician referral in their clubs, but many struggled with getting into the doctors office and getting the process started. In response, IHRSA did extensive research and worked with our clubs leading the way in medical wellness to develop the IHRSA Medical Wellness Toolkit. 

The Toolkit is a comprehensive resource to help IHRSA member clubs implement successful physician referral programs in their clubs. The toolkit includes:

  • Tips for connecting with physicians and other practitioners in your area
  • A summary of the health benefits of exercise
  • Best practices for creating and implementing medical wellness programs
  • Templates to help you build and improve your programs

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In This Issue:

1. Physical Activity Is Associated With Lower Rates of Premature Death Among Breast and Colon Cancer Survivors

2. Physically Active Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Experience Milder Disease

3. Lower BMI, Leisure Time Physical Activity Associated With Lower Risk of Parkinson’s Disease