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Entries in Lloyd Gainsboro (3)


Lessons in Fitness Leadership: Create a Compelling Story to ‘Sell’ Exercise 

The Lessons in Fitness Leadership series highlights IHRSA’s industry leaders and thanks them for their continued commitment to growing, promoting, and protecting the health club industry. By sharing their business expertise, we hope that you will get to know them, what they've learned along the way, and how they view leadership. 

Lloyd Gainsboro
Dedham Health & Athletic Complex
Dedham, MA 

What is the most fulfilling part of being a business leader in the fitness industry? 

Being successful in business is fulfilling. We are successful in the financial part of the health club business and we are successful in delivering medical wellness and physical therapy. This success allows us to benchmark our successes, and these benchmarks enable us to be leaders in the industry around how we deliver services.

We started out as a tennis club. Then in the late ‘70s interest rates went to 19% and inflation was at 12 %. As more women left their homes to join the workforce, we lost a good percentage of our membership base. That became our challenge. We took that challenge and morphed our business. We evolved from a tennis facility, to a full service facility, to a medically integrated facility—thus creating an opportunity to succeed. Challenges open new doors and lead us in new directions.

If you were able to go back in time, what is one piece of leadership advice you would have given your younger-self about working in the fitness industry?

If you analyze the adult population of the USA, only 15% wants what we sell, “exercise.”

Another 15% use the product “exercise” without buying from us. That leaves 70% available to buy our product and they need our product. So my advice is to create a compelling story to show that 70% that you have what they need. And then deliver exercise in a way that satisfies them.

The book Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborge talks about two different strategies, “Red Ocean” versus “Blue Ocean.” Red Ocean delivers a commodity that is in demand, Blue Ocean is creating a temporary monopoly. So you want to create a Blue Ocean product that gives you a temporary monopoly. Red Ocean has sharks, Blue Ocean does not.

What prompted you to join the Industry Leadership Council (ILC)?

Everyone who is in our industry should be involved in the Industry Leadership Council. If you are not, in my opinion, you are part of the problem. We joined the ILC because we truly believe this group can make our industry better today than it was yesterday.

Our industry has a potential to grow 450% (from 15% to 70%) and IHRSA’s efforts will help get us there, but it will take the support of the ILC.


10 Exciting New Revenue Streams for Health Clubs

“Ancillary revenue.” It’s not a particularly exciting term, but if you’re a health club owner, just the thought of it can raise your heart rate well beyond your training zone.

And for good reason:

“Generally speaking, ancillary services account for a quarter of a club’s total revenues,” said Melissa Rodriguez, IHRSA’s senior research manager. “So operators need to be creative in terms of coming up with new nondues revenue services, and getting members—and nonmembers—to make use of them.”

It’s not a new notion for IHRSA clubs, and, especially in recent years, a fair number have been using them quite successfully. “Many have managed to boost their profitability to pre-recession levels—or even higher—by tapping nondues revenue sources.”

What have they been up to? Club Business International checked in with a host of operators, consultants, and industry suppliers to find out.

NO. 1: A Boutique Within a Club

For an extra $40 a month, a member of GymIt, a high-volume/low-price (HV/LP) bran with two locations in the Boston area, can train like a professional boxer inside a state-of-the-art BOXFIIT modular classroom.

The studio and associated programming are the creation of EveryBodyFights (EBF), a high-end boxing business cofounded by George Foreman III, son of the two-time world heavy-weight boxing champion.

The turnkey EBF studio comes equipped with bags and special lighting and décor, and the classes incorporate patented BOXFIIT techniques developed by Foreman. Clubs pay a monthly licensing fee for EBF, and instructors are BOXFIIT-certified. Certification costs $400, and includes continuing education credits and access to a library of more than 50 hours of video demonstrating 100 custom workouts and 200 boxing moves.

“The BOXFIIT curriculum was designed for members of both genders and of all ages and fitness levels,” said Ben Eld, EBF’s marketing manager. The program, he says, tends to attract individuals 22 to 38 years old, who earn $75,000 to $250,000 a year, and 60% of them are women.

Matthew Harrington, the president of GymIt, explained, “We wanted a way to differentiate ourselves from other low-cost clubs, and to offer a boutique fitness experience at a much more affordable price.”

GymIt offers approximately 30 EBF sessions per week. Members and nonmembers can take classes for $20 each or $140 for 10; members also can pay $40 for an unlimited monthly pass. “We reached 200 members on the monthly add-on pretty quickly following the launch,” said Harrington, “so we’ve seen a pretty significant increase in our nondues revenue.”

Continue reading "10 Exciting New Revenue Streams for Health Clubs."

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Reaching The Medical Community

This week, experts Amanda Harris, Dr. Wendy Williamson, Brad C. Wilkins, MBA, and Lloyd Gainsboro discuss how health clubs can reach out to the medical community:

Q: “How can we bridge the gap between the health club and the medical community? We want doctors to prescribe exercising at our club but don't know how to start reaching out.”

Amanda Harris, Vice President of Fitness & Wellness
ACAC Fitness & Wellness Centers

A: For the calendar year 2009 our company, Dedham Health & Athletic Complex will have 1500 physician referrals. 65 percent of these referrals will join our 60/60 Program with approximately 42 percent converting to 10 month memberships. Our goal for 2010 is to have 2500 referrals, 1625 joins and 731 conversions.

One of the ways we accomplish this goal is by having all of our fitness trainers have Bachelor of Science degrees in Exercise Physiology.

Additionally, we have a program which fulfills all the necessary processes and procedures of the medical community. It is HIPPA compliant and bullet proof to any criticism.

It is it very clear that we are not a typical “gym”. Presently we have two people, one who is full time and the other part time, on the road daily, seeing physicians. We also have ads on radio and television stations coupled with continuous hard work, focus and dedication. The branding of our facility permits us to be the antithesis of a “gym”. You need to totally deliver your product. Ours is “Exercise is Medicine”.

Lloyd Gainsboro, Dir. of Business Development
Dedham Health & Athletic Complex

A: A solid relationship between a health club and the medical community is one of the most sought after and coveted in the industry. It’s one that most individuals in the industry think should be easy to establish (due to the obvious benefits of exercise), yet it’s not. However, it is worth pursuing; because the right relationship can pay big dividends.

So, how do you get started finding this coveted relationship? You network, network, and network. The thing to recognize is that it is a relationship, and like any solid relationship it takes communication, trust, respect, and dependability to be successful. Before you prospect potential medical community partners it is first important to understand your company’s strengths and weaknesses and what added value the company brings into a relationship. For an example, your club may have a particular niche or area of expertise with special populations (Parkinson’s, osteoporosis, arthritis, etc...). Secondly, it’s just as important for you to understand the goals, needs, and/or desires of the medical partner. Discover if there is something you can do for the medical facility in return – either in terms of promoting them at your facility or maybe sending a staff person there to do on-site exercise classes, lectures, or demos. Doing so will allow you to showcase your company’s value by aligning your strengths with their wants. The key is to create value for both parties.

So, how do you get started finding this coveted relationship? You network, network, and network. Utilize the relationships you’ve established with friends, clients, members, and/or businesses within your community to find your potential medical partners.

All solid relationships take time to develop. Take your time and find the right partner.

Brad C. Wilkins, MBA, Director of Fitness Management and Development
Cooper Fitness Center, a Cooper Aerobics Company

A: In order for doctors to prescribe exercise at your club several things need to happen.

  1. Professional relationships need to be established;
  2. Fitness professionalism needs to be displayed; and
  3. Further education and skill sets need to be developed.

Many medical professionals walk through your clubs daily. Do you know who they are? Are they willing to present to your staff from a previously prepared “talk?”

Attending social events, open houses, sporting events are many reasons when interaction with the medical community can take place. Are you professionally interacting with the medical staff when seeking medical releases? The staff is just as important as the physician or surgeon.

Physicians often look to us for developing an exercise program. It is our job to provide suggestions. Have you offered a complimentary session to the doctors? We seek medical approval and additional information, but we also need to illustrate our assessment results and possible plan of action.

Respect, referral and reciprocation cannot take place until the fitness professional has proven their level of knowledge and experience. The demand for medical wellness is great and the potential revenue is unbelievable. Regardless of the recession, this specialty area has enormous potential.

Dr. Wendy Williamson, Post Rehabilitation Specialist
Genesis Health Clubs-Rock Road