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.



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Entries in IHRSA 2017 International Convention & Trade Show (39)


4 Fitness Business Leadership Strategies from IHRSA 2017

There was no shortage of influential health and fitness industry leaders at IHRSA 2017 leadership track sessions last month in Los Angeles, and presenters and attendees alike were ready to share their tips and tricks to maintaining leadership practices.

Here are the top fitness business leadership strategies we gleaned from the best of the best.

Continue reading "4 Fitness Business Leadership Strategies from IHRSA 2017."

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How Matrix Fitness Became One of the World’s Fastest-growing Equipment Brands 

Matrix Fitness, founded in 2001, has quickly become the premiere brand of Johnson Health Tech (JHT), its corporate parent. In 2016, JHT revenues were approximately $625 million. Matrix now offers some 500 commercial products, and accounts for 67% of JHT’s total.

A fair share of the credit goes to Mark Zabel, JHT’s global chief marketing officer and newly named president of its U.S. commercial division. Zabel recently spoke to Club Business International to discuss Matrix’s meteoric growth.

Continue reading "How Matrix Fitness Became One of the World’s Fastest-growing Equipment Brands."

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Put Yourself Out There! Expert Tips for Networking in the Fitness Industry

Networking is one of the most important things you can do for your business and your personal brand, second only to maintaining your credentials, said Sima Dahl, personal branding expert and author and founder, of Sway Factor, Inc., during the 8th Annual Women’s Leadership Summit at IHRSA 2017 in LA.

Networking is an essential element to successful business growth, and it’s relatively easy, Dahl said. Networking is free, doesn’t require a lot of time or supplies (aside from business cards), and potentially results in a priceless return—it should be a no-brainer. However, many people don’t prioritize networking because it can be one of the most intimidating, seemingly unconquerable challenges.   

Continue reading "Put Yourself Out There! Expert Tips for Networking in the Fitness Industry."

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A Letter from Cedardale Health & Fitness to the IHRSA Community

Editor’s Note: We’ve received a number of wonderful messages from members, exhibitors, and attendees since IHRSA 2017 concluded earlier this month. All are greatly appreciated and shared internally, but we were so touched by the letter we received from our friends at Cedardale Health & Fitness that we just couldn’t keep it to ourselves. It has been published with their permission. 

(L-R) Kelli Mokeler, fitness director; Mary Lynch, senior manager; Ada McKenzie, owner; Lori Guile, senior manager

Dear IHRSA Friends, 

On March 1st, Cedardale Health & Fitness suffered a devastating fire that engulfed 80,000 square feet of our facility. The remaining 100,000 square feet suffered heat, smoke, and water damage.

Continue reading "A Letter from Cedardale Health & Fitness to the IHRSA Community."

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This Week in the Fitness Industry: Members Will Travel Longer for High-end Gyms

Members Tolerate Longer Commutes for High-end Gyms

The average gym member travels 4 miles to get to their fitness facility, according to market research firm Dstillery, The Wall Street Journal reports. Dstillery took data from targeted marketing campaigns and analyzed anonymized information from 7.5 million mobile devices that were taken to some prominent health clubs between mid-February and mid-March. They found that members traveled twice as far to pricier gyms than they did to lower-priced clubs. They also found that, on average, members traveled:

  • 6 miles for Barre Code
  • 5.7 miles for Equinox
  • 5.5 miles for SoulCycle
  • 3.2 miles for Planet Fitness
  • 2.8 miles for Blink Fitness

Continue reading "This Week in the Fitness Industry: Members Will Travel Longer for High-end Gyms."

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IHRSA 2017 in 60 Seconds

Is it possible to capture all the excitement from IHRSA 2017 in one minute? No, not really, but we're going to try.

We've posted dozens of dynamic videos capturing the action from IHRSA 2017 in Los Angeles and will be posting even more over the next few weeks. Our video editors are taking a deep dive into the hours and hours of great footage from interviews the IHRSA Live team conducted with globe-spanning IHRSA members, and will be creating a series of short videos that can be easily shared on social media.

IHRSA members are making the world a better place every day and we intend to tell their stories. Our goal is to find the most insightful, and delightful, moments from IHRSA 2017 and share them with the world. You can help by sharing your favorites with your social networks. Thanks!


The Top Social Media Moments of IHRSA 2017

IHRSA Board Selfie

IHRSA's Board of Directors kicked off IHRSA 2017 week with a board meeting, and got silly during the portrait shoot.


Two Keynotes Streamed on Facebook Live

For the first time, we streamed two of our keynote speakers—Martin Lindstrom and Johnny Earle (above)—on Facebook Live, reaching thousands of people who couldn't watch the presentations in LA. 


A Trade Show Marathon

Nadia Ruiz ran 26.2 miles on a treadmill at the SportsArt booth, raising more than $4,000 for the Make a Wish LA campaign. 

Johnny Cupcakes Retweet

The official Johnny Cupcakes Twitter account showed IHRSA some love by re-tweeting us to its 92,600 followers.  


Cool to see @tamrajudge and @eddiejudge outside the #IHRSA2017 Live studio!

A post shared by IHRSA (@ihrsa) on Mar 10, 2017 at 10:58am PST

The Real Housewives of IHRSA

You never know who you'll see at the convention! In 2015 Gronk worked out in the Life Fitness booth. This year Tamra and Eddie Judge, as seen on Bravo's "The Real Housewives of Orange County," were here promoting Cut Fitness and Woodway Treadmills.


Snapchat Filter Success

We created two official event Snapchat filters—another first—and hundreds of you used them!


$3 Million Raised at Augie's Bash

An impressive sum was raised at the BASH for Augie’s Quest, Life Fitness Co-founder Augie Nieto’s cure-driven effort focused on finding treatments and cures for ALS. 


Millennials Want to Hear Your Health Club’s Story—So Tell It

Millennials tend to get a bad rap for allegedly being entitled, self-centered, and glued to their phones. But, for the fitness industry, millennial consumers may be the key to untapped business growth.

Millennials Prioritize Wellness and Experiences

“Millennials and Gen Y consumers are coming into maturity and will have more income to spend than any generation before them,” said Soraya Darabi, co-founder of Zady and impact investor, at the closing IHRSA 2017 keynote, sponsored by Daxko / CSI Software. “They’re thinking more wisely about spending and they’re spending on experiences over things—good news for this crowd in particular.”

For millennials, wellness is a daily pursuit—they eat healthy as a lifestyle choice, use apps to track their fitness data, and are willing to shell out for wellness (while holding back on fashion and entertainment spending). 

“Millennials are coming into their income and want to spend every day in the clubs you create,” Darabi said. “They want to be healthy and ensure that in every moment of their day they are living their best life in terms of happiness.” 

To Attract Millennials, Tell Your Brand’s Story

Clearly, millennials are already open to the services your club provides—but winning them over takes some digital finesse.

Millennials spend about six hours a day online, Darabi said, but due to the prevalence of ad blockers, simply purchasing display ads to promote your club won’t cut it. Instead, tell your brand’s story in a way that resonates with millennial consumers.

You can leverage your club’s unique story by telling it in promotional materials, on your website, in conversation on social media, and through your brick-and-mortar club. By becoming a storyteller, your brand will stop interrupting and start having conversations with millennial consumers.  

“I’m asking you to think like an ‘intra-preneur’—as someone within your organization willing to recreate the storyline as if it’s day one,” she said. “By thinking like a brand new company, it’ll rejuvenate you to tell your story like never before in a way that resonates with customers most.”


IHRSA 2017 Day 3 in Photos

Rasmus Ingerslev Leads Annual Meeting

Outgoing IHRSA Board Chair Rasmus Ingerslev kicked off day three by leading IHRSA's Annual Meeting.


FITNESS SF Wins Community Service Award

FITNESS SF, an IHRSA member for more than 16 years, won The Outstanding Community Service Award, which is presented to an IHRSA member that has made a longstanding commitment to making a difference in, and beyond, their community.


Johnny “Cupcakes” Inspires Brand Loyalty

Johnny Earle, branding expert and founder of Johnny Cupcakes, shared tips for viral business success in his keynote presentation, sponsored by Matrix Fitness.

Trade Show Day 2

There's never a dull moment on the Trade Show floor!


Johnny Earle VIP Session 

Johnny "Cupcakes" Earle spoke to ILC members during a VIP session following his keynote presentation. 


Cool to see @tamrajudge and @eddiejudge outside the #IHRSA2017 Live studio!

A post shared by IHRSA (@ihrsa) on Mar 10, 2017 at 10:58am PST

Spotted at IHRSA Live

Real Housewife of Orange County Tamra Judge and her husband Eddie posed for a photo outside of the IHRSA Live studio.


21st Annual Financial Panel

Rick Caro, president of Management Vision, Inc., and former IHRSA board president, and other expert panelists shared their insights during the 20th Annual IHRSA Financial Panel.


5 Gym Branding Tips from Johnny “Cupcakes” Earle at IHRSA 2017

Johnny “Cupcakes” Earle doesn’t own a gym, but if he did he’d have a gift shop filled with products that he designed. His gym would also serve delicious, healthy food, play good music, and offer a number of events to help build a community.

(Sounds like a great business plan, if you ask us.)

Earle explained how his business, Johnny Cupcakes, grew from a "joke" to a multi-million dollar, highly exclusive t-shirt brand driven by a community of world-wide collectors in his Friday, March 10 IHRSA 2017 keynote presentation, sponsored by Matrix Fitness. In addition to sharing details about his road to business success, Earle suggested several actionable tips for health club owners. Here are our favorites: 

1. Humor and design matter. “Humor and good design are very inviting elements to a brand new customer—especially millennials. If they’re looking at a gym with the same typography as TGI Friday’s, they might not want to go to that gym.”

2. Create a seasonal marketing/promotions schedule. “Whatever type of business you have, you can always utilize the different seasons and pop culture and sports as new ways to reach out to past, present, and potential customers. You can raffle off tickets at your gym for a baseball game and have a new prize every month for existing members and new members, you can have events—there are so many things you can do.”

3. Generate word-of-mouth marketing. “Try new things to give bloggers and writers a reason to write about what you’re doing. If you’re doing the same thing you’ve been doing for years, why would someone write about your business? If you take some of your marketing budget to do new experiences, it’s advertising because people do the talking for you.”

4. Tell your story. “You don’t have to have a stuffy, simple mission statement. You can have a mission statement, but give [potential members] your history. Let someone who’s signing up for your sports club know you’re a person, too.” 

5. Never stop creating new experiences. “People thrive off new experiences—they yearn for it. Whether they’re going out to eat or to a sports club or to the movies, they’re looking for the most unique experience that they can have. Their time is valuable. Why would they support a business that’s been doing the same thing for years? If you want new results, you have to do new things.”