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Entries in indoor cycling (8)


Stevenson Fitness’ Small Group Cycling Goes Head-to-Head with Boutiques

When Stevenson Fitness first began offering small group training a few years back, it was an emerging trend. Throughout the industry, clubs were promoting small group classes in order to supplement one-on-one personal training sessions, and Stevenson Fitness leadership saw an opportunity. 

Continue reading "Stevenson Fitness’ Small Group Cycling Goes Head-to-Head with Boutiques."

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Looking Ahead: A View of 2017 from Boutique Studios

In the first part of this series, we consulted representatives of single-club, multi-club, and franchise operations for their ideas about industry developments and trends that might emerge in the coming year. In each case, we tapped relatively new members of the IHRSA community.

This month, given the rapid proliferation of studio and boutique fitness offerings, we provide the views of both a studio owner and a studio designer.

Brent Gallgaher, Owner
Avenu Fitness & Lifestyle Studio
Houstin, TX

When it comes to studios, Brent Gallagher was ahead of the curve, having founded the 4,500-square-foot Avenu Fitness & Lifestyle studio back in 2006. He did so with a clear game plan in mind, and, today, his team of 13 serves 465 clients.

Continue reading "Looking Ahead: A View of 2017 from Boutique Studios."

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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.


Group Cycling's New Direction with Spivi

To Shay Amir, the CEO of Spivi, a company that’s developed a unique virtual training system, group cycling represents something of a conundrum. It’s immensely popular, but not necessarily utilized to its fullest. 

“What’s the point of owning an indoor cycling studio that cost tens of thousands of dollars if it’s operating only two or three times a day?” he said. “The problem is that, once you’ve made the investment, you frequently find it hard to attract new members, or to keep your existing members engaged. Then there’s the matter of needing professional instructors to run it—another expense. 

“As a result of the studio’s dynamics, you never operate it for a single member, or for a couple of them, or even for small groups. Bottom line, indoor cycling studios can be a great business, but they’re expensive to manage and operate.” 

Tempted by the unplumbed opportunity and the challenge involved in tapping it, Amir and his team—an eclectic mix of people from the fitness and high-tech industries—decided to try to change things. 

“In addition to our professional backgrounds, we’re all enthusiastic indoor cyclists,” said Amir—a fact that also fueled their interest. 

When the brain trust studied traditional indoor cycling classes, it also concluded that they were missing “juice”—what Amir describes as a better overall experience, one enhanced by real-time performance feedback and live visual effects on a large digital screen. 

In 2009, after conducting research in pursuit of a more comprehensive solution, the team unveiled Spivi, an innovative 3D simulator system for cycling studios that can be installed on existing equipment. In the world of Spivi, participants are placed on a virtual road, with each rider represented by a personal avatar. Sensors collect real-time user data wirelessly, which the Spivi simulation engine employs to generate an interactive, virtual 3D visual experience. 

The on-screen avatar reflects the actual energy level the rider is producing in real time. 

Once the session is over, a personal training summary report—which can automatically be shared on social networks, such as Facebook—is sent to the user by email. 

Continue reading “Group Cycling's New Direction with Spivi” in the May issue of CBI.


This Week in the Fitness Industry: First IMAX Cycling Studio Opens in NYC

First IMAX Cycling Studio Opens in New York City
The first IMAX cycling studio opened in a warehouse under the Manhattan Bridge in New York City this week, reports CNBC. The warehouse has been renovated to fit 50 spin bikes on five levels in front of a 40-by-24-foot screen. “I pedaled through snow-capped mountains first, just to get warmed up,” the CNBC reporter wrote. “Then I moved effortlessly over a still blue sea. Until the tunnel. That's when it went techno. Streaming lines, thumping rhythms, all blending (well, not really blending) with the blaring encouragement of a top fitness trainer in a tiny sport top.” Classes are $34 each with monthly packages running about $350. "Imax is always looking for opportunities to take the brand, the technology and, frankly, the focus on larger-than-life experiences to different places," said Bryan Marcovici, CEO of IMAX Shift. "With fitness, you have a market where people are migrating from big-box gyms to more boutique personal engaging experiences. We have an opportunity to accelerate that trend." 

Study: To Avoid Obesity, Exercise Matters More than Diet
Exercise may be more important than diet when it comes to avoiding obesity, according to a study by researchers at the University of Missouri. For the study, researchers split obesity-prone rats into three groups: a control group, a sedentary dieting group, and an exercise group with unlimited access to food. At the end of the study, the control group had become obese, but the dieting and exercise groups had maintained a healthy weight. However, they found that the rats that exercised were metabolically healthier, with better insulin sensitivity and lower levels of bad cholesterol than the dieters. They also burned more fat each day for fuel, according to their metabolic readings, and had more cellular markers related to metabolic activity within their brown fat than the dieting group. Additionally, the exercise group “showed no signs of compensatory eating or compensatory inactivity,” the researcher who oversaw the study told The New York Times

IHRSA Represents at Prestigious BIAC Forum on Innovation in Health and Well-being
Several IHRSA representatives, including Helen Durkin, IHRSA's executive vice president of global public policy, Kilian Fisher, IHRSA's global public policy advisor, and IHRSA members Martin Seibold and Catherine Carty, are representing the fitness industry at the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC) Forum on Innovation in Health and Well-being. The forum, held May 3-4, 2016 in Paris at the OECD headquarters, is a unique two-day event that brings together senior representatives from government, the OECD, the leaders of multi-national consumer corporations, and leading experts in health and wellbeing to exchange solutions and policy recommendations. "With so many multi-national food and drink companies and trade associations involved, this is our opportunity as one of the few 'positive' industries involved to really drive the health and wellness message, especially with regard to what the fitness and health club industry can offer to help addressing the global health crisis," Kilian Fisher said when speaking about the opportunities presented in attending this event. Read our full coverage of the BIAC Forum. 

Yoga May Improve Symptoms, Quality of Life for Asthma Sufferers
Asthma sufferers who practice yoga may see small improvements in their symptoms and quality of life, according to a new review. The findings come from a doctor in Hong Kong who looked at the results of 15 studies involving more than 1,000 asthma patients to determine whether yoga provided significant benefits. “One third of these studies included only yoga breathing exercises, and the rest included breathing, postures, and meditation,” Reuters reports. “The yoga practice lasted anywhere from two weeks to four and a half years, though it was less than six months in most studies. Overall, yoga slightly improved symptoms and quality of life and reduced the need for medications.”


This Week in the Fitness Industry: More Health Clubs Offering Meditation Classes

More Health Clubs Offering Meditation Classes
The latest gym craze: doing nothing. Well, not exactly—a growing number of health clubs are offering classes that feature meditation, due to demands from members who are looking to de-stress in a place they already frequent. The Wall Street Journal reported on several of these types of classes at fitness centers, from Antigravity Cocooning at a Crunch Gym location to HeadStrong, a forthcoming Equinox conditioning class that will invites members to “start training our brains the way we train our hearts, lungs and muscles.” “When I’m in the cocoon and I’m lying down like that, I’m here for me,” a Crunch member, who usually lifts weights or does cardio at the gym, told The Journal. “I just feel calm.” 

Report: Less than 3% of Americans Lead a ‘Healthy Lifestyle’
Less than 3% of Americans meet the basic qualifications for a “healthy lifestyle,” according to a Mayo Clinic Proceedings study, The Atlantic reports. To live a healthy lifestyle as defined by the study, one must meet four qualifications: 1) moderate or vigorous exercise for at least 150 minutes a week; 2) a diet score in the top 40% on the Healthy Eating Index; 3) a body fat percentage under 20% (for men) or 30% (for women); 4) not smoking. The study looked at data from nearly 5,000 people and found that some qualifications were more easily met than others. For example, 71.5% were non-smokers, 46.5% got enough exercise, and 37.9% had a healthy diet, but only 9.6% had what the study calls “a normal body-fat percentage.” Ultimately, only 2.7% of people met all four.

U.S. K-12 Students to Test Adidas’ New Fitness Tracker
American students may soon be testing the Zone, Adidas’ new heart-rate monitoring fitness tracker. Zone is an Adidas initiative meant to keep students active, and they’re hoping to use it to change the way the Presidential Fitness Challenge is measured; rather than asking students to run a nine-minute mile, the goal would be to keep their heart-rate in a zone that’s best suited for their health abilities. “The Zone tracker, which only monitors heart rate, allows teachers to track a student’s performance and set up workout goals based on the individual’s personal fitness levels,” Mashable reports. “In addition to giving real-time heart-rate feedback on the display, it sends all collected data via the cloud to a teacher's software portal for assessment. Over time, an educator can see how a student is progressing weekly, monthly or even a year-to-year, and can elect to email the student (and their parents) fitness updates.”

World’s Obese Population Climbs to 640 Million
The world now has more overweight than underweight people, with more than 640 million people globally weighing in as obese, Reuters reports. In the past 40 years, the number of people with a BMI over 30 has risen from 105 million in 1975 to 641 million in 2014, according to a study published in The Lancet medical journal, which involved the World Health Organization and more then 700 researchers worldwide. "The number of people across the globe whose weight poses a serious threat to their health is greater than ever before," Majid Ezzati, a professor at the school of public health at Imperial College London, told Reuters."And this epidemic of severe obesity is too extensive to be tackled with medications such as blood pressure lowering drugs or diabetes treatments alone, or with a few extra bike lanes."

CNN Rates Comparable Indoor and Outdoor Exercises on Exertion, Fun
Indoor cycling studios continue to be on-trend, but, as the weather warms up, should cyclists take their exercise outdoors? To answer that question, CNN looked at the pros and cons of similar indoor and outdoor workouts, measuring them by comparing calories burned, heart rate, likelihood of injury, and fun. They found that indoor cycling burned more calories-per-hour than outdoor (761 versus 570), indoor cycling had a higher average heart rate (140 versus 119 for outdoor), and indoor cycling had a lower risk of injury. CNN ranked both indoor and outdoor cycling equally in terms of fun-factor, but they named indoor cycling the overall winner.


Schwinn Class Tamer App Garners Award

iPhone screen shot of the Schwinn Class Tamer app.The Schwinn Class Tamer App won the Outstanding Achievement Award, given by the Interactive Media Awards.

StairMaster, which markets and distributes Schwinn indoor group cycling, and Pinckney Hugo Group, which created the app, won in the Sports category. According to a press release the app “surpassed the basic standards of excellence that comprise the web’s most professional work.”

“It was truly a collaborative effort that led to the Schwinn Class Tamer App,” said Merrill Richmond, vice president of sales and marketing, StairMaster, in the press release. “Together, with Pinckney Hugo Group, we were able to develop the premier music player for group exercise professionals. It is a tool organized intuitively with large, easy-to-read fonts and controls to help them stay organized while they energize their classes.”

The entire press release can be found on the Pinckney Hugo Group website.


Matrix indoor cycle design wins prestigious award

It has already been a pretty busy year for Matrix, launching both the 7Xi console and the IC7 indoor cycle, which features Coach by Color® programming and WattRate®.

The design of the IC7, which was done between Matrix and ICG, recently was named a winner of the prestigious Red Dot Award. It features a revolutionary design and functionality with its two-stage drivetrain for an amazingly accurate power meter.

Coach By Color® training console is a fully self-powered console that vividly displays the user's WattRate® (Power) or heart rate to them and their coach in five colored zones.

Learn more about Matrix in this video in CBI magazine.