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Entries in East Bank Club (4)


Skilled Instructors are Integral to Running a Successful Group Exercise Program

Are you maximizing the ROI on your group exercise classes?

Research by IHRSA and others documents how important group-ex is to members and, in turn, to member satisfaction. According to IHRSA, a remarkable 90% of all exercisers prefer to work out in groups rather than on their own. And The Retention People (TRP), a Woodbury, New York–based provider of customer experience management (CEM) software and services, reports that group offerings reduce the risk of cancellation by 26%—possibly because the people who take part in classes visit the club more frequently than those who are equipment-centric.

Think an impressive array of new, well-maintained, high-tech cardio and strength machines is the key to success?

Well, you might want to think again.

If there’s one word that sums up the power of group-ex, it might well be engagement.

Classes, whether small or large, low- or high- impact, relaxed or high-intensity, produce an ambience marked by camaraderie, cooperation, encouragement, and friendly competition, creating a strong sense of community.

Instructors Are the Essence of a Group Program

Although many group-ex programs may look the same or share the same name, in reality, the instructor defines each class, shaping it in their own image. Even pre-choreographed sessions, such as those offered by Les Mills, vary somewhat, depending on the leader’s personality and style.

“Instructors are the essence of a group program,” said Aida Johnson-Rapp, the group-ex director at the premium East Bank Club in Chicago, which stages 216 classes a week. “They have to have the qualities of a performer; the skills and knowledge to deliver safe, effective classes that members enjoy; and the ability to produce results.”

No matter how trendy your classes are, your success rests,
ultimately, on the shoulders of certified professionals who are enthusiastic about service and helping others enjoy exercise.

“The instructors are the heartbeat, the air, the sunshine—basically, the life—of the program,” said Dori Nugent, the group-ex director at Club La Maison, in Wayne, PA. “Instructors who can create magic in the studio—they’re priceless.”

Continue reading "Skilled Instructors Are Integral to Running a Successful Group Exercise Program."

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For 35 Years, Daniel Levin Has Served As The Venerable Dean of Chicago's Legendary East Bank Club

This real estate developer and entrepreneur has made Chicago’s East Bank Club an iconic and enduring fixture of the global fitness industry

In 1953, Daniel Levin graduated from the University of Chicago Law School, and, after practicing law in Washington, D.C., and Detroit, became house counsel for a Chicago-based real estate firm. In 1972, he and James McHugh, a construction company owner, organized The Habitat Company, a real estate firm that focused on the development and management of market-rate, elderly, student, and affordable housing. Today, Habitat developments include the 2,346-apartment, two-block, Presidential Towers complex; the 30-acre South Commons urban renewal community; and many luxury high-rise buildings around Chicago. In 1976, Habitat acquired a three-acre parcel of land along the Chicago River. Eventually, the East Bank Club emerged on that site, opening in December 1980 with 3,000 members and 100 employees. Now, at 400,000 square feet, it’s among the largest single clubs in the world, with 11,300 members and 700 full- and part-time employees.

Read more about Daniel Levin.

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Simon Meredith Retiring from East Bank Club After 35 Years

Congratulations to Simon Meredith on his retirement from Chicago's East Bank Club.

East Bank Club opened in December 1980 with 3,000 members and 100 employees. Now, at 400,000 square feet, it’s among the largest single clubs in the world, with 11,300 members and 700 full- and part-time employees. 

Looking back at his time in the industry Simon submitted his IHRSA 30 Yearbook favorite quote as, "If you can't do it well, don't do it!" Seems that through his almost 40 years in the industry he did it well. 

Pam O'Donnell, vice president of member experience and development at IHRSA remembers her visits to the East Bank Club. "Each time I visited East Bank I was impressed not only by the club and the staff but also Simon's relationship with the members. The first time I was there I remember being in awe at the number of members he knew by name and who knew him so well," said O'Donnell.

"He has held the General Manager position there since East Bank opened more than 30 year ago," said John McCarthy, former executive director of IHRSA. "And did that job brilliantly from beginning to end."

Meredith is retiring as General Manager at the end of the month.


East Bank Club's Levin earns Lifetime Achievement award

Daniel Levin, owner of East Bank Club in Chicago, was recognized by Club Industry at its annual show in Chicago last week with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Levin explained that his club, with more than 11,000 members, has seen quite a bit of change since it first opened with nary a treadmill, a couple Schwinn bikes and a few rowing machines.

But, he explained to those in attendance, that a club, back then and esepcially now, is about more than equipment.

"It is not only about being in good shape," Levin said. "It's about the social aspect, too. You have to enjoy the people you are working out with and have a good time. Otherwise there is no reason to suffer to be fit."

Levin was the 11th Lifetime Achievement honoree.