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Entries in IHRSA (99)


Need for healthier lifestyles not changed by Supreme Court ruling on health care

On June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a 5-4 ruling largely upholding the Affordable Care Act. While the decision has reinvigorated the debate over what successful health care reform should really be, one point remains clear: the health care crisis in America will not be solved until Americans begin living healthier, more active lifestyles. Bipartisan support of cost-effective legislation and policies that encourage exercise and primary prevention remains critical to our country's future.

In this week’s Capitol Report, IHRSA looked at the ways the health reform law promotes primary prevention and encourages Americans to get in shape. Get informed and Read the issue.

Don’t get Capitol Report? Subscribe here.


IHRSA Board of Directors deadline July 31

The IHRSA Board of Directors just welcomed three new members. That is not out of the ordinary as every year a least a couple members fulfill their term and new one need to be chosen.
Applications materials for the next round is due July 31, 2012.
Join the board and sit-side-by side with other experienced industry leaders and help shape the fitness industry with guidance, strategic direction and insight.

ACE’s Graham Melstrand on Role Models and Influnces

By Patricia Glynn

In this edition of The Pro Project, CBI Unbound’s ongoing get-to-know-an-industry-expert series, we shine the spotlight on Graham Melstrand.

Melstrand is vice president of business development for The American Council on Exercise (ACE) of San Diego, California, the world’s largest nonprofit fitness certification, education, and training organization, an established and trusted resource for both fitness professionals and consumers.

He also serves on the advisory board of the Richmond, Virginia-based Medical Fitness Association, and as a commissioner for the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

Previously, Melstrand was director of new business development for Reebok/CCS Fitness, and territory manager for Star Trac, of Irvine, California, which makes high quality cardio and strength equipment. Between 1981 and 1991 he was a nationally ranked cyclist, and participated in the U.S. Olympic Trials in both 1984 and 1988.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Never underestimate the power of a healthy level of professional curiosity.

In the course of my career, I’ve been able, thanks to my curiosity, to connect with a network of incredibly gifted individuals both inside and outside the fitness industry. Their input helps me to better understand and evaluate opportunities that might arise for ACE and the industry, and helps me to better recognize any unintended consequences that may be associated with pursuing them.

Can you name any business role models who have greatly influenced you?

There are several who work in a variety of fields.

I am impressed, for example, by Scott Waddle’s “the buck stops here” approach to leadership.  He was the captain of the USS Greeneville, the submarine that accidently sunk a Japanese fishery training ship off of Oahu, Hawaii, in 2001. Against the advice of his attorney, Waddle accepted full responsibility, which ended his naval career. Today, he is an author, public speaker, and works in the private sector.

In the fitness industry, I am grateful for the guidance I’ve received from Robert Romano, former COO of Powerhouse Gym International, who helped me channel the energy and passion I had as an athlete into my current work.

Ken Germano, executive director at The Medical Fitness Association and a one-time president of ACE, afforded me the opportunity to grow and participate in the industry at a national level.

And, Scott Goudeseune, the current president and CEO of ACE, has created a remarkable environment that encourages innovation, learning, and measured risk-taking.

Has one book made a difference in your life?

Yes—South: The Endurance Expedition by Sir Ernest Shackleton. Primarily, it’s a recounting of his historic, yet unsuccessful, attempt to cross Antarctica. Ultimately, though, it’s a narrative that offers lessons in leadership, perseverance, planning, and execution under adverse conditions. Such lessons, particularly those pertaining to leadership and planning, haven proven tremendously helpful for keeping ACE both on point and growing during these economically challenging times.

In your view, how can the industry get more people in clubs and exercising?

We could learn a lot from organizations such as Team in Training, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's endurance sports training program whose team members raise funds for cancer research and patient care. They manage to get millions of participants involved in significant, and often times physically demanding, events.

They provide leadership, a strong sense of community, and require a commitment that is time-bound. Many fitness facilities could, likewise, leverage or replicate such a model.

Are there any blogs or websites that you find especially valuable?

Several come to mind.  On LinkedIn, I enjoy the Fitness and Wellness Innovation group, and the IHRSA group, both of which feature robust discussions of ideas and opportunities geared toward advancing the industry.

I also like the ACE Facebook page, which captures the passion and enthusiasm of our certified professionals, as well as of candidates preparing for the exam. It demonstrates why fitness is such a great industry to be involved in.

Equally terrific is the ACE GetFit site, which includes our public research studies, product reviews, a fitness facility locator tool, an exercise library, and healthy recipes. It makes accurate information more accessible to consumers and, hopefully, encourages them to join fitness facilities and adopt a healthier lifestyle overall.

- Patricia Glynn is the associate editor of CBI magazine and can be reached at


Celebrating! 11th IHRSA European Congress …and Jasmin Kirstein, of My Sportlady 


Jasmin KirsteinBy Patricia Amend

We’re grateful whenever we hear unsolicited, unexpected, honest feedback on an IHRSA event because it lets us know how we’re doing. The goal, of course, is to provide value to an IHRSA membership and help IHRSA members succeed.

It’s especially gratifying because literally thousands of person-hours go into each event—many late at night or on weekends—to create it and make it work smoothly.

So, we were pleased to receive comments from Jasmin Kirstein about the 11th Annual IHRSA European Congress, which took place in October in Milan, and attracted more than 500 individuals from 35 countries—some from as far away as South Africa and New Zealand.

If you know Jasmin, who’s the owner of My Sportlady in Munich, Germany, then you know how forthright, enthusiastic, creative, and dedicated she is. If Jasmin says it, you know she means it. So, we ‘d like to share Jasmin’s impressions of the Congress in case you couldn’t make it to Milan and are considering attending the 12th Congress next November 1-4 in Vienna.

Here, in Jasmin’s own words:

Jasmin Kirstein at My Sportlady“Overall, I remember Milan as an extraordinary city with a wonderful program. Our hotel rooms were stylish and very big with balconies. The food at the welcome party was delicious, as well as at lunchtime—great pasta, of course!

“We had a glamorous welcome-to-Italy reception with free drinks, and we especially liked the Aperol Spritz, which is made with prosecco sparkling wine, some mineral water, with a slice of orange.

“Technogym was also kind enough to organize a bus trip to the Museum of Design. There, Nerio Alessandri, Technogym’s founder and an industrial designer himself, praised IHRSA, gave us a warm welcome, and showed us great films about his products. Joe Moore, IHRSA’s president and CEO, gave a spontaneous speech full of spirit, which made the event delightful. 

“As for the sessions, the ones I liked most included one on leadership, ‘The Art of Engaging People,’ with Santiago Alvarez de Mon, a professor in the Department of Managing People in Organizations at the IESE Business School in Barcelona. His main messages: Whenever you talk with your employees, make the most of it. Choose the right time, and be completely ‘present.’ Use the time you have with them well.

“There were also some good talks about social media, which is of great interest for many Europeans. America is a few steps ahead of Europe in this respect, and so we wanted to learn. It’s an important subject now and for the future.

“In addition, professor Simon Bolton, the director of the Centre for Competitive Creative Design at Cranfield University in the U.K., spoke about effective product and brand development. He said that you could create your own space in the crowd by focusing on a unique niche and becoming an expert in that area. He also emphasized that, to be successful, you have to stand for something, and you have to understand the motivation, aspirations, and intentions of your customers.

“And, of course, we enjoyed the sites of Milan . . .

“The ride to the Duomo, the cathedral of Milan, was only about 20 minutes from our hotel. When I saw it, I was startled—it was so huge and awesome, and it’s the place where Napoleon was crowned the king of Italy in 1805. Imagine! It’s hundreds of years old and took centuries to build! I also got a ticket for La Scala, the world-famous opera house for only €60 on the same evening. It was incredible!  

“And, of course, I look forward to venturing to Vienna for the 12th European Congress later this year. I look forward to meeting a mixture of charismatic people, such as the founders of big brands and big companies, and university professors who impart some basic business education, as well as messages about life, in general. And, of course, I love sharing and networking with other IHRSA members.

“I envision seeing the sites of Vienna, too, and helping to celebrate the 150th birthday of Gustav Klimt, the famous Austrian painter who lived much of his life in Vienna.

“In my opinion the connection between fitness, art, and food is a very interesting one!

“People love to experience things that they will remember for the rest of their lives. I remember so much from Milan, now, and I look forward to creating more memories in Vienna! “



Free E-Book: 24 Ways to Improve Your Health Club Today

(Photo: Ryan Christopher VanWilliams - NYC)We asked Beth Shaw, founder and CEO of Yoga Fit International, what is one simple thing a health club operator can do to improve their operations today? Her answer consisted of two words: “Add yoga.”

IHRSA has access to thousands of professionals in the fitness industry, most of which are experts in some aspect of running a health club. Some are more concise than others (we’re looking at you, Beth). But each and every one of them has a passion and commitment to this industry.

For the 100th Best Practices post we're doing something special. Instead of our readers asking the questions, we're going to turn the tables and let our experts set the agenda. We sent each of the Industry Leaders in our database the same question we posed to Beth Shaw and compiled each answer into an e-book to celebrate our 100th post.

And while Shaw’s was the only answer that made us laugh out loud, each response is thoughtful, pragmatic and can help any health club improve their day-to-day operations. We invite you to reap the benefits of some of the brightest minds in our industry by downloading the e-book below.

Download the Free E-Book

  • Over 20 pages of advice from successful health club operators and industry experts.
  • Helpful advice to improve your club.
  • Practical tips you can implement today.

Download the PDF for free.


This post is a part of our weekly Best Practices series. We post a new question and answer every Monday morning. If you have a question you'd like our Industry Leaders to answer, submit your question today.


150+ Industry Leaders At Your Disposal

Each Monday we bring you a question from one of our readers along with informed answers from one or more of our 150+ industry leaders. We're out of questions and we need your help.

If you have a question and could use some expert advice, let us know. Our Industry Leaders are standing by.

IHRSA's Industry Leaders are experienced health club owners, operators and consultants in the fitness industry. They answer your questions in a clear, concise fashion that will help you make decisions at your health club.

If you're not familiar with Best Practices, check out some of our past questions.


In With the New!

By Mia Coen

As you may or may not know, every September, CBI magazine puts out a catalog called Fitness Industry Technology (F.I.T.) Buyers’ Guide.  

This is no ordinary catalog. It contains hundreds of listings from fitness industry suppliers worldwide. You just might drool, smile, faint, or even exclaim over some of the items in this massive assemblage.

Our team has spent countless hours on this project. From editorial and graphics, to advertising and design, we’ve pulled out all the stops. But I consider myself especially lucky, because I was responsible for the New Product Showcase—a special section dedicated to IHRSA associate-members with new products.

This section gives members the opportunity to share their innovations with the world, and I got to manage the editorial! A sweet deal, to say the least. In the section, there are approximately 25 companies with new product launches this year, and crafting copy about their unique products has opened my eyes to the wondrous variety in this industry.

I also thought to myself, “If I was a club owner, this would inspire me.” You’ll be amazed by many, if not all, of the truly innovative new offerings in this year’s New Product Showcase. To name a few: fitness flooring options, sunless tanning, cardio consoles, management software, group exercise and personal training accessories, interactive displays for equipment…

Needless to say, the F.I.T. Buyers' Guide has everything you need to be inspired. It’s coming soon to your mailbox, along with the September issue of CBI.


Locker Room Design at 30,000 Feet

By Jon Feld

I recently completed an article on locker room design in the July issue, “Locker Room Largesse,” in which we focused on specific areas where design could assist in creating the feel of a larger space. As is typically the case, the architects and designers I spoke with were very forthcoming, offering up a plethora of guiding principles covering everything from lighting and color to furnishings and overall flow. As a result, I had enough material for several articles on the subject.

One question I asked every contributor was: If you had to offer one key piece of advice regarding creating spaciousness in a locker room environment, what would it be? We wound up with a good “30,000-foot view” of what they viewed as core principles in using design to create space. I was able to incorporate some of their responses, but not all. So, we’d like to use this space to pass along those learnings. Here’s what the experts had to say:

An Ohlson Lavoie DesignThe number-one contributor to creating spaciousness is eliminating as many full-height vertical walls as possible. A certain amount can’t be avoided, just due to the need to control moisture, smells, privacy, and the like. But by concentrating on creating a space with continuous planes of flooring and ceilings, it will have a dramatic effect on the spaciousness.

 —Bob McDonald, senior principal at Ohlson Lavoie Collaborative, Denver 

Anticipate human nature, and the willingness or unwillingness of friends or strangers to make use of adjoining facilities, and design accordingly. While a design may technically "fit" all the program components in the allocated space, actual use patterns may demonstrate inefficiencies. Properly anticipating use is just as important as meeting outlined programmatic goals.

Michael Prifti, FAIA, principal at BLT Architects, in Philadelphia

Keep ceilings high--at least nine or more feet if possible. Use up-lighting, leave enough room for comfortable flow, and make sure to allow as much privacy for people as possible.

Bruce Carter, president of Optimal Design, Weston, Florida

BLT's use of light, color, and textureThe most important piece of advice would be proper flow in planning where each functional part of a locker room (i.e., the locker bays, the toilet area, the showers, the steam rooms, sinks, and grooming areas) has adequate and separate space, but flow into one another because of a simple layout and clearly defined circulation to each one of the areas. Good flow coupled with a uniform, indirect lighting pattern and proper color selection will provide a spacious feel in almost any sized locker room.

J. Thomas Seymour, AIA, of PSA-Dewberry, Inc., Peoria, Illinois


CBI magazine EXTRA!

By Patricia Glynn

“To accept good advice is but to increase one’s own ability.”

Those who partook in any of the 140 seminars, panels, workshops, and educational sessions this past March at IHRSA’s 30th Anniversary International Convention and Trade Show in San Francisco can attest to the validity of this statement, attributable to German philosopher and playwright Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

If you weren’t able to attend, you’ll surely want to review the latest issue of CBI magazine, as it contains, in the multi-page recap, “IHRSA30 Celebrates & Demonstrates Industry Excellence,” some of the most valuable lessons from the event.

Of course, due to space limitations, we weren’t able to include everything in the print version. And so here I offer you some more standout suggestions from that educational week:

Ask an Industry Leader: Extending Your Marketing Arm and Engaging Your Membership through Social Media - Moderated by Justin Tamsett, Steve Groves, Karen Jashinsky, and Christine Thalwitz

Use social media to give potential members a comprehensive, interactive look inside your facility. Including a ‘virtual tour’ can make the experience especially vibrant.

Users may post complaints, but don’t let the risk of negative feedback dissuade you from engaging on social media networks. Instead, address negative issues as quickly as they crop up.

If you elect to resolve an issue offline, be sure you still respond to it online, as other followers will note, and appreciate, your proactive management of the situation.

Watch and learn. Be on the lookout for companies who are excelling and innovating with social media platforms. And look beyond fitness-centric businesses—consider all industries.

The Digital Medium - The Technology is Here for Club Communications . . . Where Are You? – Presented by Bryan Andrus

Flat-panel TVs, when used instead of bulletin boards, allow you to “show and tell.” Thus, messages can, and should, include both text and motion.

Members are more media- and tech-savvy than ever, so expectations for digital advancements throughout the club environment are increasing.

Digital messaging can reduce paper costs; allows for an enhanced member experience; and can elevate the public perception of the club—clients will view the facility as more sophisticated.

Keep messages: 

Relevant—they should be useful to the member

Respectful—don’t try to sell something with every post

Rewarding—tell your members something interesting they may not already know

Short—be concise, as members don’t have time to absorb lengthy content; also, too much text can clutter the screen and reduce readability

Varied—update information regularly and include diverse content.


Join Forces to Celebrate Memorial Day


By Mia Coen


In the most general sense, Memorial Day commemorates U.S. citizens who died at war—the servicemen and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we may maintain the quality of life we have today. Let’s take the time to remember them this weekend and celebrate their lives and what they've contributed to ours.


But let’s also remember our servicemen and women every day. Those who return from war have needs that extend beyond the comforts of home and family. They need a place to belong. For some returning from war, their health is all they have. Now, club owners have a chance to make a difference in the lives of active military and their families through the IHRSA Joining Forces Network.


As part of the national initiative, Joining Forces—which mobilizes all sectors of society to aid military men, women, and families—IHRSA has issued a nationwide call to action to health club operators. By joining the IHRSA Joining Forces Network, your health club will aid military families by opening the door to a healthy lifestyle.




On June 1st, the program will be available to military personnel and their families through, where they can search for participating clubs in their area. IHRSA members in the IHRSA Joining Forces Network will offer free memberships to immediate family members (ages 13 and older, where applicable) of actively deployed reservists and National Guard members.


If you’re looking to give back to your community in a way that makes a difference in the lives of military families, what better way than to give them the gift of health?


Will these families be able to find your club on the list?