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 Melissa Rodriguez (21)


Best Practices: How Much Should I Spend on Fitness Equipment? 

The following post was written by Melissa Rodriguez for our Best Practices series.

Question: As an independent health club operator, how much should I spend on each type of equipment each year?

That’s a good question to ask. I’m sure you’re well aware of the important role that equipment plays in attracting and maintaining members. According to The IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report, eight of the top 10 club attractions cited by members are equipment-related.

Facilities responding to IHRSA’s 2015 Equipment Survey—the basis for The IHRSA Health Club Equipment Report—said they spent an average of $84,172 on new fitness equipment in 2015. Specifically, fitness-only clubs spent an average of $92,000, while multipurpose clubs spent $88,000. Nearly half of annual equipment spending (45.9%) was allocated to cardio machines.

It’s also important to note that the top-performing clubs reported spending more on fitness equipment than others in the overall sample. In fact, those clubs ranked in the top 50% in terms of EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization), spending an average of $90,655.

In addition, determining the most productive use of a club’s square footage is another critical business decision. Among those responding to the survey, cardio equipment commanded the most space at 20.1%, followed by traditional strength equipment at 15.7%. Group exercise and functional-training areas were allotted 12.1% and 8.2% of the space, respectively.

Finally, The IHRSA Health Club Equipment Report, sponsored by Precor, reported that the average club has 19.2 group cycling bikes, 15.4 treadmills, 11.5 ellipticaltrainers,92 dumbbells, and 12.8 barbells.

Melissa Rodriguez
Senior Research Manager
Boston, MA 




Meet Team IHRSA: Melissa Rodriguez, Senior Research Manager

With the IHRSA International Convention & Trade Show fast approaching, we’re running the “Meet Team IHRSA” series to highlight some off the staff members you’ll see in Orlando, March 21-24. We hope this will help you to get to know our team a little better. 

Melissa Rodriguez
Senior Research Manager


Explain your role at IHRSA. What do you do? What is the best part of your job?    

My role at IHRSA is to manage research projects and help with anything health club industry, operations, or consumer research related. In overseeing research projects, I make sure surveys and reports are moving along and review analysis of findings. When members or staff have in-depth research data requests, I process those. 

For an idea of the research we cover, please visit Our most recent reports are available at

Being a data nerd, I enjoy when we publish a research report, but the best part of my job is when I help a member understand a research finding.  

What drew you to work for an organization that supports the health club industry?    

As a certified personal trainer with a business degree, working at IHRSA in the role that I have is somewhat of a culmination of my interests and educational background.  

Tell us about your fitness routine. How do you stay active?    

I'm one of those odd people that actually enjoys working out, and I don't like sitting still for too long. I like to test workouts—be it existing programs or programs I develop for myself or clients with a specific goal.  

What is your favorite thing about the IHRSA International Convention & Trade Show?    

The in-person time I get to spend with members. Although I get to interact with members regularly at work when they have in-depth data requests or need me to help walk them through a survey, it's always good to meet them in person. 

Where can IHRSA 2016 attendees find you at the Convention in Orlando, March 21-24?  

I'll be presenting an educational session on Monday, March 21 at 4:45 p.m. titled, "What's Trending? An Exploration of Health Club Consumer & Member Trends."  

I can also likely be found on the Trade Show floor exploring the latest and innovative equipment, supplies, and supplements for health clubs.  

Convention attendees come from more than 80 countries. Can they speak to you in any other language?   

Yes, attendees can also speak to me in Spanish.

What do you do for fun in your spare time?    

In my spare time, I like to spend time with family (particularly my nieces), read, listen to podcasts, play fantasy sports, keep up with obstacle racing, and watch and play basketball. 

Share a random fact about yourself. 

I have the best fantasy basketball record in the office... actually, that may be more trash talk than truth.  

For a fact, I've kept a blog on exercise and obstacle racing for a few years at


Health Clubs Report Membership Growth in New IHRSA Survey

Health clubs are growing membership and improving retention, according to IHRSA’s newly released Industry Data Survey, and the accompanying publication, IHRSA Profiles of Success.

The comprehensive, 71-page report provides a detailed analysis of the annual performance of leading IHRSA clubs, providing benchmarks for factors such as retention, nondues revenue, and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization).

The current issue of Profiles is based upon membership and financial data for 2013 and 2014 provided voluntarily by 124 club companies, representing 5,759 facilities. It provides performance indicators for several club types, including fitness-only, multipurpose, independent, and multi-club facilities. There are also breakouts by club size, and by the monthly dues they charge.

Overall, the results are pretty remarkable. 

“IHRSA’s annual Industry Data Survey results indicate that leading club operators continue to play to their strengths, as the respondents recorded improvements in key financial and membership metrics,” said Jay Ablondi, IHRSA’s executive vice president of global products. “This year’s results show that multipurpose and independent clubs reported strong retention results in 2014, while fitness-only and chain facilities posted high net membership growth. Revenue increased for all segments on a year-over-year basis.” 

Here’s a small sampling of the wealth of data contained in Profiles of Success:

  • Membership: The survey respondents reported a net membership growth of 3.7% for 2014, after an annual increase of roughly 3% per year from 2010 to 2013. While revenues per club member fell from $753.60 in 2013 to $702.70 in 2014, overall revenue grew 5.3% for 2014.
  • EBITDA: This metric rose from 15.9% of total revenue for 2013 to 16.6% of total revenue for 2014. Pretax earnings as a percentage of revenue jumped from 6.8% in 2013 to 8.1% for 2014.
  • Retention: Multipurpose and independent clubs reported median retention rates of 69% and 79%, respectively.
  • Net membership growth: Fitness-only clubs reported a median net membership growth of 4.2%, while clubs that are part of a chain achieved a median net membership growth of 9.4%, the highest among all segments.
  • Revenue growth: Fitness-only clubs reported the greatest revenue growth (+8.9%). Multipurpose clubs generated the greatest revenue per individual member ($810.80). Smaller clubs generated less revenue per individual member ($637.50) in comparison with larger clubs ($1,298.60), but achieved greater gross revenue growth (8.2% vs. 3.5%).
  • Enrollment fees and dues: Clubs in the survey reported charging a median of $49 for enrollment fees and $69 for monthly dues. A club member paid a median of $828 in annual dues last year. This annual dues figure represents an increase over the $780 reported for 2013, and is well above the $720 reported for 2012.

Read the full "The State of the Industry" article in the February issue of CBI.


IHRSA Associates in EUROPE

The industry’s growing strength on display at FIBO 2015

It was another successful year for IHRSA associate members at FIBO, Europe’s trade show for health, fitness, and wellness products and services, which was held in April in Cologne, Germany.

An impressive crowd of 138,000 visitors over the four days of the event came to view the wares of 725 exhibitors, who showcased the latest in fitness innovations, and explored the opportunities of emerging industry trends, at the city’s Exhibition Centre. A number of IHRSA associate members were among the companies that were pleased they’d made the trek to Cologne.

“Massive numbers of both national and international customers and prospects frequented our stand, especially on the first two days,” reports Marco Jakobs, the sales director of Johnson Health Tech GmbH.

Chris Clawson, the president of Life Fitness, notes that “FIBO is a show that gives us the opportunity to meet not only with our customers from around the world, but we meet with a lot of our key distributors, as well.”

The results, in terms of attendance, exhibitor reviews, and sales, coming on the heels of the highly successful IHRSA International Convention and Trade Show held the previous month in Los Angeles, paint a positive portrait of the global fitness industry.

“The global fitness industry continues to demonstrate strength across the board,” says Melissa Rodriguez, IHRSA’s senior research manager. “The development of the fitness and health market continues with strong momentum, and the industry is still on the up and up,” adds FIBO show director Ralph Scholz.

According to IHRSA research, nearly 50 million people now train at health and fitness facilities throughout Europe. And, according to an economic trend index tallied at FIBO, Scholz points out that the industry’s prospects remain bright. Nearly 60% of the companies surveyed said that they expect business to continue to “grow” or “grow strongly,” and only 11% foresaw a slight business cool-down.

For those planning their travel itinerary, the IHRSA International Convention and Trade Show will be held March 21–24, 2016, in sunny Orlando, Florida, and FIBO will once again take place in Cologne on April 7–10, 2016.


See How Your Club Compares, with IHRSA's Compensation & Benefits Report

IHRSA has been publishing a compensation and benefits report for more than a decade. In that time, jobs, job titles and, of course, compensation and benefits have changed dramatically.

The 2015 IHRSA Health Club Employee Compensation & Benefits Report, which was released today, has added new titles like Social Media Specialists, Barre instructor, Dietician, and Nutrition director, among others.

The report is able to be tabulated and calculated thanks to IHRSA member health club managers or owners voluntarily filling out a survey that asks for compensation information for all levels of employees - management, salaried and hourly management and staff. This year more than 300 clubs participated.

The report is published every two years. The 2015 report shows how strong the economy is and how it has affected the health and fitness industry.

“Since the last report, published in 2013, the economy and employment levels have continued to expand, which bodes well for the health club industry,” said Melissa Rodriguez, IHRSA’s senior research manager. “Thanks to an improving economy, club operators can consider increasing their budget for payroll by rewarding stellar employees, adding monetary incentives for existing staff, or investing in new employees to assist with delivering in-demand club programs.”

The 2015 IHRSA Health Club Employee Compensation & Benefits Report is divided into three parts:

  • Part 1: Senior Management / Corporate Staff
  • Part 2: Salaried Club-Level Employees
  • Part 3: Hourly Club-Level Employees

The 2015 IHRSA Health Club Employee Compensation & Benefits Report is available as a PDF at, either in full for $399.95 ($199.95 for IHRSA members) or in three separate parts for $149.95 each ($79.95 each for IHRSA members).


See the Importance of Communication in Latest Member Retention Report

In this day and age, everyone is inundated with information. And that comes in many different forms.

Whether it is e-mail, text message, social media, snail mail or in person, it is enough to make you dizzy and confused.

But, as it turns out, for health and fitness club owners, what you send out and how you send it - to both members and prospects – can severely impact your business.

The latest IHRSA Member Retention Report, delves into how information is disseminated and whether it impacts retention rates.

Read on to see the importance of communication in and outside of the club.

Click to read more ...


New IHRSA Report Looks at Activity By Season

The health and fitness industry, like any other, has ebbs and flows that are dependent, and caused, by the season.

For that reason IHRSA has created a new research publication, the IHRSA Health Club Consumer Seasonal Trend Report. It covers the time period of October 2013 through March 2014.

"The IHRSA Seasonal Trend Report is a timely research publication as it provides an in-depth analysis of health club activity preferences over the fall and winter months," said Melissa Rodriguez, senior research manager at IHRSA. "Insights and applications should prove helpful for club operators planning club programs and offerings for 2015."

Check out what is in the new IHRSA Health Club Consumer Seasonal Trend Report.

Click to read more ...


Game Plan with IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report

If you’re new to the health and fitness club industry, you should read the 2014 edition of the IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report.

And, if you’re an industry veteran, you don’t have to be told that you need to read the 2014 edition of the IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report.

Recently released, this 113-page, PDF- format, research publication - the product of a joint effort by IHRSA and ClubIntel, a member and brand insights firm based in Highland Village, Texas - provides the most thorough, comprehensive, insight- ful, and up-to-date overview of the industry available.

“I’ve read the new 2014 edition of the IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report cover to cover,” wrote Brent Darden, IHRSA’s ex-officio and principal in Brent Darden Consulting, of Dallas, after reviewing an advance copy. “There’s tons of useful information in the report. I plan to make use of several of the findings, and recommend the report to anyone wishing to better understand the health club consumer and club business.”

Like its predecessors, the new IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report provides a wealth of the most up-to-date data (for calendar year 2013) on industry growth, membership demographics, club utilization, business models, price points, personal training, equipment usage, and other issues.

Read on to learn more about what is included in the IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report. 

Click to read more ...


Investing Revenues Back into Your Club

It is time for the third key stat every gym owner and manager should be aware of. IHRSA blogged about the first two - culled from information from Profiles of Success - earlier this week

Key Stat #3: The top-performing health clubs invest a median of 17.1% of total revenue in club facilities and equipment. 

Overall, clubs that participated in the Industry Data Survey reported investing a median of 5.4% of total revenues back into the club. Investing in capital expenditures not only maintains the club, it can also contribute to an increase in revenues and the bottom line. 

Profiles of Success highlights that profitable clubs reinvest more into facilities and equipment that less profitable facilities. Clubs that reinvested a median of 17.1% of total revenue into fitness equipment, grounds & facility, and office equipment were among the top 25% performers. These clubs reported the following results:

  • Revenue growth of 6.5%, compared with 1.5% for the bottom 25% (who reinvested a median of 1.7% of total revenue).
  • Rate of member retention of 78.5% compared with retention rate of 68.1% for the bottom 25%.
  • Net membership growth of 4.6%, in comparison with 2% for the bottom 25%. 


Key Stat #1 - Lifetime value of a member

Key Stat #2 - Sales and marketing cost per new membership

It’s clear that clubs who invest back into their facilities and equipment perform better than those who do not. New and innovative equipment and programs can play a key role in keeping members engaged and looking forward to what’s next at their club!

For more on IHRSA Profiles of Success, visit Contact


Second Performance Stat Operators Should Track

IHRSA is able to provide many different metrics via Profiles of Success. Using the Industry Data Survey (IDS), key club performance indicators like revenue, membership, traffic, and payroll, as well as income statement data are compiled, analyzed and tracked.

Earlier this week we blogged about the first of three key stats that operators should be aware of for a successful business. Here, as promised, is the second:

Key Stat #2: Leading club operators spend a median of $118.65 in sales and marketing costs per new membership account.

The IDS also tracks sales and marketing costs per new membership account. This metric is often used to estimate how much it would cost to replace a member. However, some clubs consider the cost per new membership account in calculating the lifetime value of a member. 

Based on participating clubs, the sales and marketing costs per new membership account is $118.65. (This number excludes expenses related to sales and marketing staff and contractor.) That being said, sales and marketing costs vary by club type. For example, fitness-only clubs reported spending a median of $84.59 in sales and marketing per new membership account, while multipurpose clubs indicated spending $138.36.

For more on IHRSA Profiles of Success, visit, or e-mail