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Entries in Jay Ablondi (31)


Where Health Club Owners Get Their Industry News and Information

In the Fall of 2016, IHRSA commissioned a blind study to determine where health club owners were getting their news and information. The survey of 257 club operators was anonymous and nondescript (i.e. no reference to IHRSA). As an added incentive, a $5 donation was made to selected charities for each response.

Nearly 69% of respondents said that “industry publications” was their main source of industry news and information. Rounding out the top three responses were “internet search” at 64% and “conferences” at nearly 62%.

Continue reading "Where Health Club Owners Get Their Industry News and Information."

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IHRSA 2017 Profile: Catching Up with Shabnam Islam

Shabnam Islam is a professor, personal trainer, and IHRSA Live host extraordinaire. Here why she's excited for IHRSA 2017.

Shabnam Islam teaches and believes in the life-affirming power of fitness

I'm really looking forward to IHRSA in March! I’m honored to be the anchor of IHRSA’s Live Studio. I believe that my diverse background allows me to showcase the dynamism that IHRSA brings to its convention year after year.

I’ve attended many fitness conferences over the years, but IHRSA is a completely different experience. Not only was I astonished by the vast size of the convention, but the high level of organization and professionalism, with respect to every aspect, was impeccable.

The IHRSA Live Studio provides attendees with yet another great opportunity to showcase their passions, products, services, or brand—so, if you haven’t made your plans to attend IHRSA 2017 in beautiful Los Angeles, I’d highly suggest that you do so now! Take advantage of all that the IHRSA experience offers  . . . and who knows, we may have a chance to meet!”

Read Get Active! magazine’s extensive profile of Shabnam.


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.


Celebrities, Athletes, and Everyday People Shine in the Fall Issue of Get Active!

 We’ve been fortunate to have many Olympians grace the pages of Get Active! over the years. So it was no surprise to us that gymnast Aly Raisman, who was featured on our May cover, shined so brightly during the 2016 Summer Olympics and took home a gold and two silver medals from Rio de Janeiro.

Aly’s three new medals should complement nicely the two gold medals and bronze that she won at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. As always, Aly competed with dignity and poise, making us extremely proud —and seemingly clairvoyant, too. Way to go, Aly!

IHRSA has a long history—dating back to the 1980s—of collaborating with the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. We have also supported the Let’s Move! and Joining Forces initiatives, both led by First Lady Michelle Obama, over the past seven and a half years.

So this summer when we got the call from the White House to assist with a Funny or Die video celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, we were delighted to help. The resulting “History of Exercise” video, starring the First Lady alongside actor/comedian Nick Offerman (with a cameo by actress/comedian Megan Mullally, who also happens to be Offerman’s wife), debuted on August 31.

It has already attracted more than one million views, showing what a little star power, humor and creativity can do to move a winning message forward. You can do your part by liking and sharing it on your favorite social networks. Your friends and  family will thank you.

In our “Results” feature we tell you the story of Torrie Creamer, a wife and mother who stopped caring for herself and paid the price. Thanks to a strong support group and Torrie’s undying fortitude, she was able to lose 150 lb, which improved all aspects of her life, not just her health. This is the promise of fitness, and the reason we all work out. Lastly, we’re thrilled to share with you a profile of the amazing Jessie Graff, who astounds on the hit show “American Ninja Warrior.”

Not only is Jessie redefining the world’s perceptions of female athleticism, she also works as a stunt double in movies and on television. In other words, she makes the A-list look good. The group of individuals mentioned above is as diverse as it is accomplished.

For Get Active!, each one made 2016 a little more memorable, and for that, we are grateful.


IHRSA Mercado Fitness 2016 in Photos

The third annual IHRSA/Mercado Fitness Mexico City Conference & Trade Show was held on October 26 and 27 in Mexico City, offering attendees 10 conferences, four seminars, and a bustling trade show. 

IHRSA staff was there, and we've compiled some of the top photos from the event.  

IHRSA Mexican Health Club Report Announcement

During the IHRSA Mercado Fitness opening address on Wednesday, Jay Ablondi, IHRSA’s executive vice president of global products, announced the forthcoming IHRSA Mexican Health Club Report—the first-ever comprehensive report that provides an overview and analysis of the health club industry in Mexico. All attendees will receive a copy of the report for free. Read our full coverage of the opening address.


The Trade Show Opens

Jose Marsico, CEO of Mercado Fitness, and others spoke before the Trade Show opened on Wednesday. 

Dr. Paul Bedford Shares Retention Strategies

Dr. Paul Bedford, the research director of Retention Guru, based in Croydon, Surrey, shared his research-based best practices for better health club member retention. One tip: split members' long-term goals into smaller goals. For each goal a member achieves, you reduce their risk of canceling each month by 10%.


Enjoying Mexico City

Attendees took the opportunity to get some fresh air between sessions in the area surrounding the World Trade Center.


Alan Leach Talks Sales and Marketing

Alan Leach, regional manager of West Wood Clubs in Ireland, gave two presentations on Thursday about sales and marketing.

"One of the reasons West Wood is so successful is I don’t follow what they do in the Irish market. A lot of the sales and marketing techniques that I use are based on proper marketing principles," he said in an interview prior to the event. "I’ve worked for companies in Mexico and [the marketing approach] is not different at the end of the day."


Lots of bright lights and high-flyers today at the IHRSA #MercadoFitness trade show.

A photo posted by IHRSA (@ihrsa) on Oct 27, 2016 at 9:51am PDT

Scenes from the Trade Show

Attendees got a chance to check out equpiment, demonstrations, and more throughout the event this week.


IHRSA Mercado Fitness Kicks Off in Mexico City

IHRSA Mercado Fitness kicked off in Mexico City today, with Jose Marsico, director of Mercado Fitness, delivering the welcome address before inviting Jay Ablondi, IHRSA’s executive vice president of global products, to the stage. 

Ablondi announced the forthcoming IHRSA Mexican Health Club Report—the first-ever comprehensive report that provides an overview and analysis of the health club industry in Mexico. 

More than 12,000 facilities generate an estimated total of US$1.8 billion in revenue to the Mexican fitness market, according to the Movement-sponsored report, which will be released next week. 

The report, which is based on a survey of 239 club operators, also found that more than four million Mexicans are members of health clubs. In all, the market penetration rate in Mexico weighs in at 3.2%, signifying potential for growth. 

“Just to put that into perspective, in the U.S. the penetration rate is 18% for membership and 20% for health club utilization—so the amount of growth potential is there,” Ablondi said. 

Health indicators also point to opportunities for growth in Mexico. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 38% of Mexicans are inactive. Additionally, a study by the Mexican government found that the number of Mexicans considered inactive had increased from 2006-2012. Health club operators are uniquely positioned to meet physical activity needs and well-being goals.

The IHRSA Mexican Health Club Market Report provides a comprehensive overview and analysis of the health club industry in Mexico. Topline statistics on number of clubs, members, and market size are included along with a macroeconomic snapshot and in-depth analysis of club benchmarks and services. Based on a survey of 239 club operators, representing 1,434 facility locations, report analysis covers topics such as membership levels and fees, revenue results and growth, and programming trends. 

All IHRSA Mercado Fitness attendees will receive a free copy of the report, which will be available in English and Spanish. If you're not at Mercado Fitnes, contact to be notified when this report is available for purchase.

To see more coverage of IHRSA Mercado Fitness, check out our Twitter and Instagram feeds.


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.


Who Needs a Magic Pill When There's Exercise? 

Truth be told, there is no medicine known to mankind that has the protective power of regular exercise. Consider these undisputed facts: regular exercise...

  • Reduces the risk of premature death;
  • Lowers the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, breast cancer, colon cancer, and stroke;
  • Relieves depression, anxiety, stress, and insomnia;
  • Lowers resting heart rate, reduces cholesterol, and increases metabolic efficiency;
  • Is essential for weight loss and weight management.

Every day, more and more doctors, health educators, and health journalists are continually communicating these benefits. As a result, the general population has become more aware of the “magic” power of exercise, and the implications for society over the long-term is decidedly positive.

Research has also shown that people tend to have substantially more success adhering to their exercise regimen if they belong to a health club or social group than those who do not.

For millions of men and women of all ages, their involvement with a health club has become an integral part of their lives. Their health club is not only a place where they work out, but it is also a place where they often connect with friends and neighbors— and meet new like-minded friends, too.

For more motivating stories and the latest news on the many health and well-being benefits of regular exercise, check out the Spring edition of Get Active! magazine.


Fitness Pro and IHRSA Ready for Melbourne Fitness & Health Expo

Executives of IHRSA and Fitness Pro magazine came together during IHRSA 2016, the global association's 35th Annual International Convention & Trade Show, to discuss their strategic partnership that resulted in the launch of the Australian fitness industry magazine, Fitness Pro, in March of 2015.

(Orlando, FL - March 23, 2016) IHRSA's Jay Ablondi (L) with Fitness Pro's Anna & Michael Henry.

"We couldn't be happier with our partnership with IHRSA," said Michael Henry, president of FitMedia, the publisher of Fitness Pro. "IHRSA is the most-respected organization in the global health club industry, and Club Business International is the industry's leading global business magazine. To be able to share IHRSA's expertise with the a broader national audience is great for the industry, especially for industry suppliers, club operators and fitness professionals."

"Fitness Pro magazine is a quality publication that serves the entire fitness industry in Australia and even reaches into New Zealand," said Jay Ablondi, IHRSA's publisher and executive vice-president of global products. "Fitness Australia is strategic media partner of Fitness Pro, as is IHRSA, and we are happy to provide the industry's best-practices from Club Business International (CBI) magazine with Fitness Pro's growing readership."

"Fitness Pro magazine is a welcome addition to the Australian marketplace," agreed John Holsinger, IHRSA's director for Asia-Pacific, who is based in Sydney, Australia.

Henry noted that Fitness Pro will be distributed at the Fitness & Health Expo in Melbourne later this month (29 April - 1 May) as it was last year. "Industry leaders from both the club and supplier side have given us tremendous feedback on the first few issues," continued Henry. "So we know we are on the right track and look forward to working with IHRSA and Fitness Australia on growing our readership and supporters even more in 2016."


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