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Entries in Equinox Fitness Clubs (17)


This Week in the Fitness Industry: Merritt Athletic Clubs Unveils New Brand Identity 

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 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.


This Week in the Fitness Industry: Equinox, Life Time Fitness Create Workspaces for Members

Equinox, Life Time Fitness Create Workspaces for Members
In response to consumer demand, an increasing amount of health clubs are providing workspaces for their members to to conduct business on-site, The Wall Street Journal reports. The Equinox in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood has a 1,150-square-foot lounge/workspace, which it may expand to 6,000 square feet if it continues to gain popularity. Colorado Athletic Club in Denver has a workspace with Wi-Fi, USB ports and outlets, and free coffee in the mornings. Life Time Fitness’ downtown Minneapolis facility has two conference rooms for members, and its Tampa, FL-gym has a business center. The 121-club chain is also installing high-top tables for those who want to do work in a newly opened New York City facility. 

IHRSA Board Chair Rasmus Ingerslev's Club Business International Photoshoot 

Well-timed Exercise May Boost Learning
Exercising may improve learning—if you time it right. A series of Dutch experiments recently found a link to improved recall in those who performed aerobic exercise four hours after a memorization task. “Newly-learned information turns into long-term knowledge through a process of stabilization and integration of memories, the study team writes in Current Biology,” according to Reuters. “This requires certain brain chemicals that are also released during physical exercise, including dopamine, noradrenaline (norepinephrine) and a growth factor called BDNF, they explain.” 

New Jersey Trial Judge Denies Class Action Suit Targeting Health Clubs
This spring, a New Jersey judge, in a ruling favorable to the health club industry, denied certifying a class action filed on behalf of 18,000 health club members claiming that a group of fitness centers was not following state law. In Mellet v. Aquasid, Judge Anthony Pugliese, from the bench of a state Superior Court based in Camden, blocked a consumer class action lawsuit from advancing, representing a victory for the health club industry. The ruling made two significant distinctions between gym membership and other types of consumer goods and services. Read out full coverage of the class action suit ruling.


A Q&A with Blink Fitness President Todd Magazine

Todd Magazine, the president of Blink Fitness, Equinox’s new high-volume/low-price brand, spoke to Club Business International about his plans to grow this new franchise concept. 

CBI: Blink is an appealing, but rather ambiguous, name—similar to Apple and Amazon. Where did it come from? What do you want it to convey? 

Todd Magazine: The name was inspired by our brand vision, “Fitness for Everybody,” which is shorthand for our desire to democratize high-quality fitness and make it accessible to as many people as possible. So we were looking for an interesting name that connoted something that everyone does frequently and naturally. 

The idea of “blinking” quickly became the front-runner because, every time you blink, you refresh your eyes and your view. We thought it represented exactly what we were trying to do—refresh people’s view of the high-volume/low-priced (HV/LP) club segment. Our vision statement has since become “Fitness for everybody. Everybody blinks.” 

CBI: How do you describe the Blink offering? And its value proposition? 

TM: Blink Fitness is changing the HV/LP segment by offering its members “Mood Above Muscle,” a new and fresh philosophy that celebrates the positive feelings you get from exercise—not just the physical benefits. It resonates with a much broader audience because it showcases the immediate benefits of exercise. The physical results take time and patience, which is why so many people give up, or never even start, exercising. 

CBI: Can you elaborate on that a bit? 

TM: We bring the Mood Above Muscle idea to life with what we call our “Feel Good Experience,” which offers five things no other gym in this segment is providing: We’re “Mood Lifters” who greet and treat members with respect.
We have an “everyone cleans” philosophy with respect to club upkeep that permeates our staff culture. Our gyms are designed to inspire by being colorful, open, and bright. We specifically select energizing music to help motivate members. And our training programs boost confidence—not wallets. 

CBI: To focus on you for a moment: You have an impressive corporate resume. Which of your previous assignments best prepared you for your current responsibilities at Blink? 

TM: That’s kind of you to say. In many ways, I feel that all of my previous work experiences, and some of my personal experiences, have prepared me for my role at Blink. On the work front, I learned about building brands of passion, particularly ones in the health and wellness space, such as Advil, Gatorade, and Quaker Oatmeal. On the personal side, my father was a corporate controller and my mother was a real estate broker, and I went to college hoping to pursue an architectural career. I’ve been an athlete and an exerciser my entire life. 

CBI: Given that, where do you work out, and what does your typical routine consist of? 

TM: As you might expect, I’m a loyal and passionate Blink member. I typically work out four to five times
a week, including two to three times at Blink with my personal trainer. On the days that I don’t go to Blink, I play tennis or run out-of-doors. 

Read more about the Blink Fitness franchise concept in the May issue of CBI.


This Week in the Fitness Industry: 3 Leading Health Club Chain CEOs Talk to CNN Money

3 Leading Health Club Chain CEOs Discuss Profitability, Strategy
CEOs from several leading health club chains, including Equinox, Planet Fitness, and Anytime Fitness, discussed their profitability and strategies with CNN Money. The article examines the differences in the companies’ business models and target demographics, noting that their diverse methods have led each of them to earning about $1 billion in annual sales. "It's Darwinism, survival of the fittest," Anytime Fitness CEO Chuck Runyon told CNN. "It makes every single club owner have to perform better, invest back in their business."

Study: Upping Exercise May Not Translate to More Calories Burned
Increasing exercise does not necessarily increase calories burned, according to a study by researchers at City University of New York. The study found that, while upping physical activity to expend more calories works to a point, the body ultimately adjusts to keep energy use stable. For the study, researchers examined energy expenditure in 332 adults, age 25 to 45, from populations in Ghana, South Africa, Seychelles, Jamaica, and the U.S. They found that energy expenditure increased alongside increases in physical activity for less active people—but at higher levels of activity, calorie burn plateaued. “I think this paper adds to what we’ve known for a while now, (that) diet is a more effective tool for weight loss than exercise,” the study’s lead author told Reuters. “You still need to exercise, I’m not saying it can’t help with weight loss, exercise is super important for your health.”

Virgin Active, Planet Fitness Find Success in Africa
Virgin Active’s 120 health clubs in South Africa are thriving, and its success has the global brand considering expanding throughout Africa, The Economist reports. In addition to South Africa, the company runs two gyms in Namibia, one in Botswana, and is planning to open a location in Kenya later this year. Virgin is also thinking of opening sites in Ghana and Zambia. “While Virgin Active runs swanky health clubs with fluffy towels and shoeshine services, its popular Jabulani gym is a no-frills branch with lower fees,” The Economist said. “A rival chain, Planet Fitness, has found success with a similar lower-cost model. In places such as Dakar, where gyms are few and expensive, residents take to the beach for group workout sessions.”

Millennials’ ‘Social Fitness’ is Changing the Sports Industry
The millennial generation’s social approach to fitness has changed the sports industry, said a Forbes contributor. Unlike baby-boomers, who are prone to purchasing fitness equipment to get in shape, millennials pursue a healthy lifestyle through experiences with friends. “Millennials, unlike boomers, do not want to be defined by their activities. They would be more inclined than the older generation to say, ‘I run, but I’m not a runner.’ Millennials do not want to be classified based on a particular fitness activity. Instead, they want to try lots of different activities and share these experiences with friends, making fitness activities social ones.”

Fitbit Hopes New Fitness Tracker Will Invigorate Brand
Fitbit’s latest wearable tracker, the Alta, is expected to start shipping in North America in March and become available worldwide in April, TechCrunch reports. The tracker comes with a $130 price tag and the potential to breathe new life into Fitbit’s product line; the company’s stock price fell after it announced the Blaze smart fitness watch at CES 2016. “This is the company’s first mainstream product launch since January 2015 when the company started shipping the Charge HR — which itself was just a follow-up to a previous Fitbit product,” TechCrunch said. “Fitbit is likely counting on the Alta to keep the company at the forefront of the fitness tracker scene.”


This Week in the Fitness Industry: Forbes Names 2 IHRSA Members 'Best Small Companies'

2 IHRSA Members Make Forbes ‘Best Small Companies’ List
IHRSA member Gainesville Health & Fitness and IHRSA associate member Big Ass Fans made Forbes' list of The Best Small Companies In America, 2016. “Ask those knowledgeable about the international fitness industry to name the best clubs on the planet and Gainesville Health & Fitness will be on the list,” Forbes said of the 480 employee company. “[Founder and CEO Joe] Cirulli travels the world giving talks, for example, on why his centers have customer-retention rates almost 30% higher than the industry average and how he hires and trains the staff that makes such performance possible.” The Lexington, KY-based Big Ass Fans “has expanded from the industrial sector into commercial and now residential markets, offering lighting products as well as smaller, sleeker home fans packed with high-tech sensors that sell for as much as $2,495,” the article said. “Today its residential products represent about 18% of company sales and growing.”

Video: Equinox CEO Talks Wearables on Bloomberg
Fitness wearables are complementary to health clubs and personal training, Harvey Spevak, CEO of Equinox, said in a Bloomberg interview. “This is a bricks-and-mortar business, this is an experiential business, so there’s no replacement for coming inside the club or coming inside the studio or coming inside the gym if you’re getting a good experience,” he said. “You can’t get into better shape or build a better self by doing it online at home—you need to be active, you need to be engaged, you need to be doing it.”

U.S. Consumers Willing to Spend Big on Fitness Memberships
American consumers are willing to spend a high percentage of their salary on fitness, according to the New York Post. While pricey boutique studios have driven up the median cost of annual dues, many gym-goers are happy to spend big for the health and wellness benefits that result from exercise. “As I'm looking for a job, spending this kind of money shocks me, but it keeps me sane," an unemployed Orangetheory user told The Post.

Experts Analyze Strengths and Weaknesses of Trendy Fitness Programs
The Washington Post asked three fitness experts to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of six trendy workout routines in an article published Tuesday. Anthony Wall, director of professional education for the American Council on Exercise, Linda Haupt, regional group fitness director for Gold’s Gym on the East Coast, and Carolyn Abramczyk, a long-time endurance athlete, weighed in on Barre, Insanity, CrossFit, indoor cycling, yoga, and Zumba. They offered their insights on the benefits of each program and what exercises users should add to supplement their workouts. “In the end, you want to mix it up for a host of reasons, including injury prevention, improved performance and motivation as well as better recovery, according to our experts,” The Post said. “Variety is the spice of your fitness life.”

Study: Financial Incentives Aren't Enough to Encourage Weight Loss
The promise of lower health insurance premiums is not enough to encourage workers to lose weight, according to a HealthAffairs study, CNN reports. The study found that obese workers who were offered $550 in health insurance savings for losing weight lost fewer than 1.5 pounds on average after one year—statistically no different than the average gain of one-tenth of a pound for workers who weren't offered a financial incentive to lose weight. "Our study highlights some of the weaknesses" of workplace wellness programs, Dr. Mitesh Patel, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine and the study's lead author, told CNN.


Dream Machines

Machine-based cardiovascular workouts—e.g., running on a treadmill— have long been a solitary, solo sort of affair. Now, however, club members no longer need to go it alone.

Today, the equipment on your cardio floor is muscling its way into the group fitness studio. This relatively new phenomena is enticing clients to sweat more and giving clubs a significant upgrade in terms of retention and secondary revenue.

The way you offer group fitness might never be the same again.

New roles for machines

First, there were the bikes.
Group cycling, now nearly three decades old, is still going strong, and seems to be unstoppable. In fact, wheels are spinning feverishly, not only in traditional clubs, but also in facilities dedicated to the practice. For instance, Soul Cycle, based in New York City, has more than 40 studios across the U.S., staging classes that are consistently sold out, and is planning to expand in Europe.

Given this, the question many in the industry are asking is: If bikes can do it, why not other types of equipment, too?

As a result, manufacturers, club owners and operators, and fitness professionals are all looking at equipment in an entirely new way, and weighing the promising possibilities.

Treadmills are, perhaps, the front-runners in this growing trend. Crunch Fitness, the ever-entertainment- minded, New York–based brand, offers sessions such as Tread N’ Shed and Runway, both of which utilize treadmills. And Orangetheory Fitness, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida–based fitness franchise, features a 60-minute workout that employs treadmill-based intervals.

“People want to train smarter. And harder,” points out Deborah Warner, the founder and program director of the Mile High Run Club (MHRC), a 4000-square-foot boutique treadmill studio in New York City. “They’re eager for better results, and these classes deliver them.” Her facility, open 7 days a week from as early as 6 a.m. until as late as 9 p.m., offers classes such as Dash28.

The 45-to-60-minute classes cost $34 each.

Warner is a former instructor for Equinox, the Manhattan-based chain that offers its own take on group treadmill classes as part of its Precision Running program, and which, coincidentally, also operates Soul Cycle.

For Warner, machine-centric group workouts
 are definitely not a passing trend. “There’s great
potential here to equal the success of group
cycling,” she contends. “The music, the lights, the group dynamic, the accountability, and the coach
who guides and inspires you—they make this a
compelling option with definite staying power.”

It also appeals to a wide demographic. “We’re attracting beginners, as well as the advanced, elite, competitive runners,” she explains. “There are far more indoor runners than indoor cyclists, and treadmills are actually the No. 1 most popular type of cardio equipment.”

MHRC makes use of 30 treadmills provided by Woodway USA, and, Warner reports, “They’re in a league all their own—built like a tank.”


Read more

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The Digital Landscape

Technology. It’s changing the way we communicate. The way we work. The way we interact. The way we consume entertainment. And, yes, it’s even changing the way we exercise.

Given the proliferation of wearable activity-tracking devices, mobile apps, streaming videos, virtual classes, virtual personal training, and interactive equipment, exercise is becoming a cutting-edge, high-tech task.

And a lot of it is taking place outside of your club; that’s not necessarily bad news for you, though.

The explosion of choices regarding how, when, and where one wants to exercise may make things easier, more convenient, and, hopefully, more rewarding for the public, but, at the same time, it poses one of the greatest challenges the health and fitness industry has ever faced.

Humphrey Cobbald, the CEO of Pure Gym, a rapidly growing U.K.-based chain, suggested that technological advances were “democratizing fitness” during the European Health and Fitness Forum (EHFF), held recently at FIBO, in Cologne, Germany. Club opera- tors, he contends, confront painful decisions.

Read more

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CEO's Opinion on Wearbables Sparks Conversation

Photo courtesy of CNBC.comEquinox CEO Harvey Spevak was recently on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” talking about wearable technology and its future and how it affects the industry and personal training.

“There is absolute no replacement for hands-on, expertise and experience. We think this is all additive and complimentary,” he said.

While his feelings probably are not much different than many, it is a subject that certainly elicits many opinions. Just check out the IHRSA LinkedIn page that has seen probably its most interaction in some time. Be sure to chime in.

For the entire interview, check out the CNBC video.


How Green Do You Want to Be?

The Longfellow Clubs in Massachusetts use Longfellow’s chlorine-free pools.Are you stuck in “going green” limbo?

Have you been thinking about moving in that direction for years but find you don’t know where - or how - to start?

Yet, the notion of going green is appealing because you have a sense that making your business environmentally friendly would benefit both your business and your members.

At the same time, you haven’t decided how much time and money you want to invest in green initiatives. You fear it may take too much of both.

Read the CBI story on the many benefits and options when it comes to a green club.

Click to read more ...


Acquisition means new brand for Healthworks

The big news this week was Equinox acquiring a bunch Sports Club/LA clubs and one Reebok Sports Club/NY in Manhattan.

In Boston many wondered what would happen to the Sports Club/LA in Chestnut Hill, a posh area just outside of city limits.

Healthworks, a women-only fitness center with four locations, has decided to purchase the location. And it being right across the street from Healthworks Chestnut Hill, some changes to its current model had to be made.

“It will be a more luxurious brand and it will be co-ed,” said Tara Wislocki, Healthworks spokesperson.

For more, read the Boston Magazine story.