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 fitness equipment (14)


Fitness Equipment Manufacturers Team with Apple for Gym Connect

Innovations in fitness technology have revolutionized the health club experience, with exercise equipment and wearable fitness trackers getting exponentially smarter. Tech-inclined fitness enthusiasts can now access detailed workout data at their fingertips. The only problem? Metrics on the treadmill and their wrist never quite match up.

That’s where Apple’s Gym Connect comes in. The new feature, which will be available on WatchOS 4 in the fall, aims to solve the data disconnect for Apple Watch users.

Continue reading "Fitness Equipment Manufacturers Team with Apple for Gym Connect."

Click to read more ...


Upgrading Your Health Club’s Equipment? Consider Creative Lease Financing

This is an associate feature post, sponsored by Iron Grip.

What are the main reasons members stay loyal to a health club? Friendly and knowledgeable staff; trainers and instructors who keep members feeling welcome and engaged; a convenient location; a clean, well-maintained environment that feels like a relaxing refuge from the hustle of daily life.

Of course you’ve got these things covered on daily basis.

But did you know that one of the top drivers of member loyalty is new, high quality fitness equipment—and plenty of it?

Continue reading "Upgrading Your Health Club’s Equipment? Consider Creative Lease Financing."

Click to read more ...


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.


Introducing F.I.T. 2017: IHRSA’s Commercial Fitness Guide

“It is only by looking back to the past, and it is only by looking forward to the future, that we can develop a sound sense of where we stand today.” 

Given that this letter appears in the new 2017 edition of F.I.T., it seems appropriate that, with respect to the past, we flip back through the pages of this publication until we arrive, finally, at the very first issue, which appeared in 1997.

The cover featured a charming photo of the husband-and-wife team of Tim and Elizabeth Rhode, who, at the time, were the proud new owners of the Maryland Athletic Club and Wellness Center (The MAC), in Timonium, Maryland, which had just opened the year before.

Predictably, Volume 1 Issue 1 was ambitious, energetic, and optimistic—okay, cocky—but, we thought, with good reason. We described it as “a modest offering, but one borne of, and driven by, grand goals.” Our objective, we explained, was “to do the best possible job of familiarizing readers with what’s out there—what’s currently being manufactured and sold—to make the job of finding the right product for a particular (club) application just a little bit easier.”

We think that we succeeded.

That issue, weighing in at 80 pages, contained photos and descriptions of 150 items produced by 75 different companies.

Turning to the future, I’m tempted to focus on IHRSA’s 36th Annual International Convention & Trade Show, which will take place in four months, on March 8-11, in Los Angeles. My emphasis, for the moment: the Trade Show.

Continue reading "Introducing F.I.T. 2017: IHRSA’s Commercial Fitness Guide."

Click to read more ...


Best Practices: How Much Should I Spend on Fitness Equipment? 

The following post was written by Melissa Rodriguez for our Best Practices series.

Question: As an independent health club operator, how much should I spend on each type of equipment each year?

That’s a good question to ask. I’m sure you’re well aware of the important role that equipment plays in attracting and maintaining members. According to The IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report, eight of the top 10 club attractions cited by members are equipment-related.

Facilities responding to IHRSA’s 2015 Equipment Survey—the basis for The IHRSA Health Club Equipment Report—said they spent an average of $84,172 on new fitness equipment in 2015. Specifically, fitness-only clubs spent an average of $92,000, while multipurpose clubs spent $88,000. Nearly half of annual equipment spending (45.9%) was allocated to cardio machines.

It’s also important to note that the top-performing clubs reported spending more on fitness equipment than others in the overall sample. In fact, those clubs ranked in the top 50% in terms of EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization), spending an average of $90,655.

In addition, determining the most productive use of a club’s square footage is another critical business decision. Among those responding to the survey, cardio equipment commanded the most space at 20.1%, followed by traditional strength equipment at 15.7%. Group exercise and functional-training areas were allotted 12.1% and 8.2% of the space, respectively.

Finally, The IHRSA Health Club Equipment Report, sponsored by Precor, reported that the average club has 19.2 group cycling bikes, 15.4 treadmills, 11.5 ellipticaltrainers,92 dumbbells, and 12.8 barbells.

Melissa Rodriguez
Senior Research Manager
Boston, MA 




Equipment Manufacturers Fuel Tomorrow’s Fitness Trends

In any industry, creative disruption rules the day in terms of long-term competitive differentiation. And it can provide firms with the ability to give consumers what they want—before they know they want it.

Mazda, for example, hit the sweet spot in 1990, with the introduction of its iconic Miata roadster, a car that brought “fun” back to motoring after years of gas-crisis concerns and prior to the start of a recession. In 2001, Apple introduced iTunes, and, in 2007, the iPhone, which inexorably changed the way the world listens to music and communicates.

With respect to our own industry, Planet Fitness ushered in the high-volume/low-price (HV/LP) era in 1992. Precor, Inc., introduced the Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer (EFX) in 1995, shifting the industry’s emphasis to low-impact exercise. And a decade later, in 2005, SoulCycle made it obvious that boutique fitness had arrived big-time.

Club operators and instructors clearly play a role in the industry’s creative process, but, in many cases, important new trends are first identified and then brought to life by equipment manufacturers.

Major market disruptions may not happen very often, but, in order to remain successful and maintain growth, manufacturers have to constantly keep tabs on changing consumer desires, understand their impact, and incorporate what they learn in the products and services they offer.

CBI quizzed several leading manufacturers about the efforts they make to identify new trends, stay ahead of the curve, and predict what we can expect to see next.

Continue reading "Equipment Manufacturers Fuel Tomorrow’s Fitness Trends."

Click to read more ...


Topline Findings from the IHRSA Health Club Equipment Report

This is the data, and the research publication, that the health and fitness club industry has been waiting for.

For years, there have been documents that have allowed club owners and operators to benchmark virtually every aspect of their business: best practices, programming, salaries, financial performance ... everything, that is, except what they do with equipment.

The new IHRSA Health Club Equipment Report: Spending, Utilization, and Programming Trends remedies that shortcoming of long standing.

An ‘Invaluable Reference’ for Club Operators

“This report provides owners with the vital information they need to understand equipment practices,” says Jay Ablondi, IHRSA’s executive vice president of global products. “It’s an invaluable reference operators can use to compare their spending practices, purchasing considerations, and programming trends against those of their peers.”

The soundness and success of the Health Club Equipment Report (HCER) is due, in part, to the clarity of its objective, the expertise of its creators, and the active participation of club practitioners.

“Before kicking off this project with IHRSA, we sat down with club operators to learn what they wanted in a report,” says Brian Kane, the senior manager for commercial management and consumer insights for Precor, Inc., the sponsor of HCER. “We showed them a variety of industry reports and asked them about the usefulness and approachability, and the reaction we got was consistent. ‘Great data,’ they told us, ‘but how does it help me make better decisions?’”

HCER’s Topline Tips

Click to enlargeSome of the topline findings contained in the report, based on responses from 93 companies representing 437 health and fitness facilities, are intriguing and illuminating.

The responding clubs indicated that they spent an average of $84,000 on equipment in 2015, and there was a distinct link between spending and revenue growth. The top-performing clubs spent an average of $90,000, achieving an annual growth rate of 10.2% versus 3.8% for the entire sample.

Some 50.6% of the respondents were multipurpose facilities, 45.1% were fitness-only clubs, and 4.4% were studio/boutique operations.

In terms of space allocation, cardiovascular equipment claimed the biggest share (20.1%), followed by traditional strength (15.7%), group exercise (12.1%), and functional-training (8.2%) offerings.

“Cardio is still king,” says Molly Kemmer, the regional manager for EXOS/Medifit, based in Florham Park, NJ.

Digging a bit deeper into the numbers, HCER stipulates that 33.9% of clubs’ cardio inventory consists of treadmills, 25.6% of elliptical, and 14.7% of upright and recumbent bikes.

Comparing his own club’s metrics with HCER’s stats, Jason Reinhardt, the founder and owner of Go M.A.D. Fitness, in Monroe, MI, says, “I think we have a good blend when it comes to this report. We understand the value of a large cardio offering, group fitness classes, and personalized training. ... We offer seven lines of equipment, and at least three of everything, so people can come in and work out rather than waiting for equipment to become available

Continue reading about the IHRSA Health Club Equipment Report in the September issue of CBI.


Leading Health Clubs Spent an Average of $90K on Fitness Equipment in ‘15

(Click to enlarge)Leading health clubs spent an average of $90,000 on fitness equipment in 2015 and achieved 10.2% revenue growth, according to the newly released IHRSA Health Club Equipment Report: Spending, Utilization & Programming Trends, sponsored by Precor. 

The report provides insights on health club equipment practices, including space allocation, spending trends, and utilization in training programs. Based on data gathered from more than 400 health and fitness facilities, the publication contains the most recent and complete equipment data in the club industry. 

Overall, responding clubs reported spending an average of $84,000 in fitness equipment in 2015. As the report shows, equipment spending various across clubs. Top performing clubs spent an average of $90,000 in fitness equipment and achieved an annual revenue growth of 10.2%, in comparison with 3.8% for the overall sample.              

“The IHRSA Health Club Equipment Report is designed to help familiarize club managers with major transformational trends and includes insights from real-world club owners,” said Rob Barker, Precor’s CEO/President. “The club industry is constantly shifting as facility operators aim to attract new members, retain current members, and build business. In light of the changing fitness industry, it is important for operators to stay informed on the latest trends.”                   

(Click to enlarge) The publication is organized into four sections:  

  • Executive Summary: a comprehensive overview of space and spending allocation, purchasing objectives, cardio & strength units in operation, training programs & health club equipment, and functional training accessories;
  • Dashboards: an analysis of performance indicators and equipment practices by club type, size, and profitability;
  • Infographic Insights: infographics with popular equipment trends, including member utilization levels;
  • Detailed Results: nearly 100 pages worth of results with in-depth breakouts for cardio, strength, and functional training facilities & equipment as well as personal & small group training programs & health club equipment.  

Learn more about the IHRSA Health Club Equipment Report, including how to download a free preview.


Cloud Computing and the Future of Connected Exercise Equipment

Earlier this month, we discussed the basics of cloud computing, and how cloud-based mobile apps can improve the member experience. Now, let’s take a look at cloud computing’s increasingly profound impact on the exercise equipment space.

More and more manufacturers are offering cloud-centered products and systems that explode the member experience—providing a wealth of customized workouts, tracking and reporting on performance in detail, and allowing users to compete with one another.

Among the many IHRSA associate member companies that have soared into the sky are Precor, Inc., with its Preva Network, and Technogym, with the mywellness cloud.

Advantages of Cloud-centered Equipment

The approach confers numerous advantages. It engages the interest of prospects and members; precludes workout boredom; increases satisfaction and utilization; improves results; can increase members’ spending; and, ultimately, has a positive effect on retention. 

The Preva Network, available on units in Precor’s 880 cardio line with the P80 console, permits members to create personal accounts, which allow them to set fitness goals, obtain personalized workouts, track their progress, save their favorite routines, and explore a wealth of entertainment options. Because the system is cloud-based, it can be accessed via the Preva mobile app.

Technogym’s mywellness cloud shares some of the same functionality, and also connects to a wide variety of third-party fitness devices, including wearables, which allows users to store virtually all of their exercise data, and makes it possible for clubs to offer virtual coaching tips.

Because the mywellness cloud is an open platform, it also allows for integration with various cloud-based services and devices. That can be utilized to tap new revenue streams, said Nicola De Cesare, the director of Technogym’s digital division business development team.

One example: a club could monetize a professional weight and body fat scale by offering periodic body checks. The resulting information could be stored in the mywellness cloud, allowing members to track their progress toward their goals.

The Future of Connected Equipment

Jeff Bartee, the principal product manager for network fitness at Precor, sees the connections between equipment and apps multiplying in the future, and, in the process, tying the exercise experience together in a revolutionary way.

“People want to access the data on demand, but in a convenient manner,” he said. “They don’t want to have to use 100 different apps to get the results they’re looking for.”

The possibilities are endless and appealing.

“When customers can share the data from their workouts with their club—whether they’re running on one of its treadmills or riding a bike at home—it enhances the club’s ability to deliver targeted services,” Bartee said. “Trainers can create more personalized workout plans, and clubs can tailor their program offerings to what members really want. If, for example, they discover that 60% of their members like to run outside, they could develop a running program and sell it at a premium.”

 “Customers want the best experience, and, in the end, the clubs that are going to be the most successful are the ones that integrate thoughtful digital strategies with the brick and mortar,” Bryan O’Rourke, president of the Fitness Industry Technology Council (FIT-C). “Today, your digital presence is as critical as your brick and mortar presence. If you don’t believe it, you may have a big problem.

“The cloud and mobile are two things that club opera- tors really have to wrap their heads around.”

Read the full article on cloud computing for health clubs in the May issue of CBI.


Bill to Make Exercise Equipment More Accessible to Disabled

The US Senate considers bill to make exercise equipment more accessible to people with disabilities

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), a preventive health advocate and IHRSA ally, has introduced the Exercise and Fitness for All Act (S.2888), a bill to create voluntary guidelines for fitness providers offering equipment or personal training to Americans with disabilities.

People with disabilities face unique challenges when attempting to use exercise equipment, and S.2888 would create a set of suggested best practices to guide fitness providers in better serving this population. The bill also establishes a tax credit for small businesses that provide accessible fitness equipment.

For additional information, IHRSA members are invited to visit IHRSA's Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) resources.