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 health club research (7)


Learn How IHRSA's Global Industry Research Supports Health Clubs and Fuels Industry Growth

Nathalie Smeeman, EuropeActive Executive Director with Joe Moore in Seville, Spain on October 18, 2016.Savvy business owners know they need credible information in order to make wise business decisions. That is why IHRSA has always been dedicated to conducting valuable fitness industry research in order to help health club operators, suppliers, and industry stakeholders better understand health club markets around the globe. 

Below are a few of the research projects IHRSA has initiated or supported this year and next in order to help fuel industry growth.

The European Health and Fitness Market Report

For the second consecutive year, IHRSA will lend its support to the European Health and Fitness Market Report. This in-depth report is published by EuropeActive in cooperation with Deloitte, and will be released in April 2017.

Joe Moore, IHRSA’s president and CEO, stated, “IHRSA has a long history of initiating and supporting industry research. IHRSA is happy to collaborate once again with EuropeActive and Deloitte on this important research.”

The 2017 European Health and Fitness Market Report will include profiles of the largest national markets, in-depth analyses on merger and acquisition activities, European Union policy implications and the global equipment market, and interviews with selected market experts and industry leaders.

Market Report on Spanish Health Clubs

Maria Angeles de Santiago Restoy and Mónica Garrido from MAS present the Market Report on Spanish Health Clubs in Seville.Moore noted that IHRSA also provided funding for the English language translation and design of the Market Report on Spanish Health Clubs, published in September by Management Around Sports (MAS) and sponsored by Precor. MAS's Maria Angeles de Santiago Restoy and Mónica Garrido presented the findings last month at the 16th Annual IHRSA European Congress in Seville.

IHRSA Mexican Health Club Report

Last month, IHRSA announced the completion of the first-ever IHRSA Mexican Health Club Report, sponsored by Movement. The Spanish-language edition of the report was given to attendees of the IHRSA Mecardo Fitness Mexico City Conference and Trade Show in October. The English-language edition of the report will be available in December. IHRSA will also be updating its popular IHRSA Latin American Report in March 2017.

2017 IHRSA Global Report

The IHRSA Mexican Health Club Report, sponsored by Movement.In January 2017, IHRSA will launch its annual global club operator survey for the 2017 IHRSA Global Report. The report, to be published in June 2017, details the market size and scope of the Americas, Europe, Middle East & North Africa, and Asia-Pacific markets, and highlights more than 300 leading club companies from around the world, including financial and membership information. The IHRSA Global Report is the most comprehensive publication on the global fitness business available.

Access additional research on global health club markets, club operational metrics, and consumer trends.


IHRSA Report: Record 64.3 Million Americans Use Health Clubs

When trying to get a sense of the state of our industry, it’s wise to follow the trend lines—in particular, the health club usage trends that have emerged in the United States over the past seven years.

  1. Healthy Growth. The number of health club consumers has grown by 24% since 2009, topping 64.3 million Americans. Put another way, that’s one in five Americans ages six and up. The number of health club members has grown by 22%, exceeding 55.2 million Americans in 2015.
  2. Usage is Up. The percentage of active members—that is, those using the club on a regular basis—has grown by 23% over the past seven years, surpassing 49.7 million in 2015. Nearly half of all members use their health club at least 100 days per year, while the average annual attendance for all health club members was 104 days in 2015. 
  3. We’re Talking Billions. Another sign that health clubs are an integral part of people’s lives: the number of U.S. club visits has increased by 25% since 2009. Last year, America’s health clubs serviced 5,418,023,170 visits!
  4. Look Who’s Talking: No, not the baby voiced by Bruce Willis in the 1989 film by the same name, but rather the 8.2 million health club members under the age of 18. The growth rate for this youth segment in health clubs is the greatest by far of any age cohort, increasing by 78.7% since 2009.
  5. Who You Calling "Senior"? Active Americans age 55 and older at health clubs also saw impressive growth since 2009, increasing by 35% to 13.9 million in 2015. The growth rate for those over 65 was also 35% over the same period.
  6. Mind the Millennials. This group comprises one-third of the American workforce, and will soon become the majority as they come of age. Estimated at 80 million, they outnumber Baby Boomers (73 million) and Generation X (49 million). While the 14 million Millennial health club members are a force to be reckoned with, it is interesting to note that the 18-34 age segment at health clubs grew by only 1.7% over the past seven years.
  7. Gen X Marks the Spot. The 35-54 age cohort at health clubs is still the biggest, clocking in at 19 million Americans last year. The numbers of Generation Xers and the younger side of the Boomer Generation have grown by 15% since 2009.

The trend lines are clear. The question is: where do we go from here? One resource to consult is The IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report. It offers detailed participation rates of both members and non-members and contains many ideas for engaging new and existing customers. To learn more, visit


New Resource: The IHRSA Health Club Business Handbook 

Today we released our Health Club Business Handbook: The Ultimate Investor and Operator Guide to Gyms, Studios and Fitness Centers, a resource aimed at helping existing and potential club owners, managers, and investors understand the key factors that affect the success of a health club company.

Authored by John McCarthy, retired former executive director of IHRSA, the ABC Financial Services-sponsored Handbook is the long-awaited update to McCarthy’s The Guide to the Health Club Industry for Lenders and Investors.

“The IHRSA Health Club Business Handbook provides club owners with critical information needed to understand the operational considerations and market conditions that can make or break their businesses," said Jay Ablondi, IHRSA’s executive vice president of global products. “It also provides lenders, investors, venture capitalists, and others with the financial performance indicators, consumer demographics data, and industry overview that will help them properly evaluate a club investment."

This publication is organized into 11 sections, each featuring charts and graphics from industry research or from the private collection that the author, a 44-year veteran of the industry, has gathered over the course of his career. Sections include:

  • The Health Club Industry at a Glance - a summary of industry growth, consumer demographics, public companies, and the largest franchises in the U.S.;
  • Facilitating Industry Growth - an exploration of demand and supply drivers, market readiness, and financing options;
  • Evaluating a Loan or Investment Proposal - an examination of factors to consider when developing or investing in a health club, including start-up costs and operating capital, success factors, and return on invested capital;
  • Formula and Measures - an analysis of key performance indicators and recommended guidelines;
  • Industry Prognosis: The Next 10 Years - an in-depth overview of economic, legislative, consumer, and related factors that impact the future of the industry. 

The IHRSA Health Club Business Handbook is available at a cost of $99.95 for association members, or $199.95 for non-members. 

New Call-to-action


Trendspotting the Health Club Industry

Anticipating future trends and capitalizing on them is one of the cornerstones of success. Doing so keeps your business fresh, fun, and ahead of the competition.

“To trendspot,” says IHRSA 2015 keynote speaker Magnus Lindkvist, “the first thing you need to do is overhaul your ‘information diet.’ … You should strive to be provoked by a new idea, or concept, or person, at least once a week.”

Taking that advice to heart, IHRSA asked a number of industry leaders, including CEOs and owner / operators of leading European and U.S. clubs, as well as industry suppliers, to share their thoughts on the near future of the health clubs industry, as well as the disruptors facing it. 

Their valuable feedback has been compiled into a new report, Forecasting the Future of the Health Club Industry.

As one might expect, there were differences of opinion among the European and U.S. contingents, which makes the report both interesting and informative.

For example, operators on both sides of the Atlantic expect that the greatest industry growth will come from fitness boutiques and studios. However, there's a difference of opinion on whether the growth from the boutique/studio segment is a positive development.

Also, the majority of the respondents agreed that technology is having a positive impact on the industry, and that "brick and mortar" businesses must incorporate these new mobile applications, wearable devices, virtual classes, and online platforms into their offerings. Most agree that these technological advancements provide opportunities to expose more people about the benefits of healthy lifestyles.

Expand your 'information diet' by downloading your copy of Forecasting the Future of the Health Club Industry.


The IHRSA Canadian Health Club Report

Today, IHRSA is happy to announce the release of The IHRSA Canadian Health Club Report, sponsored by Orangetheory® Fitness. This publication is the first-ever industry report on the Canadian health club industry. Produced in partnership with Fitness Business Canada, Canfitpro, and Fitness Industry Council of Canada, this report provides a comprehensive overview of the Canadian fitness industry and insights from club operators, investors, experts, and other key stakeholders.  

The IHRSA Canadian Health Club Report is divided into the following sections:

  • Fitness Industry Outlook: this section discusses Canada in the global community, the health and activity levels of Canadians, and a legislative review of public policy concerns surrounding the industry; 
  • Club Operator Insights: interviews from industry leaders and experts regarding the outlook of the Canadian health club market;
  • Canadian Health Club Survey: results and analysis of the first ever Canadian health club business survey, which gathered financial and operational benchmarks along with compensation practices for common industry job titles;
  • Snapshot: Canadian Fitness Professional Survey Results: an excerpt of results of a fitness professional survey conducted by Canfitpro;
  • Canadian Club Operator Profiles: this section provides a snapshot of more than 20 club companies in Canada. 

Read on for more on the Canadian Health Club Report.


Get industry trends, revenue and more in Profiles of Success

There is a lot of good news to take out of the 2013 IHRSA Profiles of Success, The Annual Industry Data Survey of the Health and Fitness Industry, which was published today.

The encouraging numbers were in the overall category of revenue and membership. Responding clubs to the Industry Data Survey, which is used for the report, saw revenue grow by 4% and membership up 3%.

"Although performance varied across club segments, overall, IHRSA's annual IDS indicates that leading clubs have continued to report improved results," said Jay Ablondi, IHRSA's executive vice president of Global Products. "The clubs profiled in this sample rely on an experienced management team operating in a conservative manner and responding quickly to member needs. This, in turn, creates a well-managed club and satisfied members.”

The 2013 IHRSA Profiles of Success provides detailed information about health and fitness club benchmarks and other aspects of club performance, including membership growth and traffic, facility reinvestment, financial statement data, and more. The report also contains an overview of the U.S. health club industry as well as a snapshot of member demographics. This year's report also includes a profit center section that analyzes revenue and profit margins from racquet sports, spas, pro shop/retail, food & beverage, and children’s/youth programs.

For more on the 2013 Profiles of Success, read on.


Top Three Reasons People Join a Club

Q: "Based on the most up to date research, what are the top three reasons for people joining a health club? Are there differences between age groups and sex?"

A: There are many reasons why people join health clubs. This is evident by the total number of health clubs and different types of clubs out there to join. Some clubs offer any activity and amenity a person could want, while others focus on a few core activities. Whatever the consumer goal, there is a health club out there designed to help meet that goal.

Whatever the consumer goal, there is a health club out there designed to help meet that goal. IHRSA recently (April 2009) conducted a survey of 1,000 Americans and asked them why they are attracted to their health club, what their personal goals were, and if they were not members of a health club, what prevented them from joining. The responses were very interesting. When members were asked what attracted them to their current health club, the top 3 selections were made (multiple selections were allowed):

  • For their overall/health & wellbeing (69% of health club members)
  • For the variety of equipment, strength and cardiovascular equipment (55%)
  • In order to get my work out in, rather than to socialize (48%) When we take a closer look at the responses by analyzing the demographic data we get a better understanding of what motivates people to join clubs and continue to exercise at them:
    • Exercising for overall health/wellbeing was the most frequently selected response by all health club members. However, the most notable demographic consumer group citing this reason were those who have incomes over $80,000. Income appears to play a significant role when working out with friends and family; members with incomes between $41,000 and $80,000 cite this reason more so than those who make less than $40,000.
  • When we take a look at how age/generation factors into selection we see that Generation Y (19-29 year olds) are most likely to cite the following reasons more so than the Eisenhower Generation:
    • The variety of equipment, strength and cardiovascular equipment
    • Access to group exercise classes
    • My friends and family work out at the club While Generation X (20-33 year olds) are most likely, as compared to the Eisenhower Generation, to cite that they use the club because they feel obligated to go because of the money they spend on membership. Baby Boomers are most likely, as compared to the Eisenhower Generation, to cite that they use the club because their friends and family work out there.
  • As for how gender plays into the selection process, it seems that women are most likely to select a health club to gain access to group exercise classes, more so than men. See below for more detailed reasons why members choose their health club, as well as the personal goals that motivate them to exercise there and what prevents others from joining a health club.

An online survey of 1,000 Americans conducted in April 2009, indicated that health club members (14% of the sample), keep going back to their health club for the following reasons:

Additional demographic and statistically significant selections can be found by visiting