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Entries in Merritt Athletic Clubs (6)


Lessons in Fitness Leadership: Be Open, Be Humble

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. 

Mark Miller
Merritt Clubs

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

This industry, for so many of us, has been our lives. I think the reason being is, what other industry allows one to blend their passions for health and fitness and make a major impact on individual and community lives?

In addition, one of my favorite things to see is the development of our team and their families. It is so incredible to think about our team members and watch them grow, experience life with them, and see the impact we have on them, both personally and professionally.

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To Grow Your Health Club’s Non-Dues Revenue, Focus on Your Strengths 

This post is an IHRSA Institute preview.

When Merritt Clubs management noticed the prevalence of before- and after-school care programs near their Eldersburg, MD, location, something clicked. They already had the infrastructure—the club’s summer camps were consistently successful—so why not start a before-and-after care program of their own?  

Continue reading "To Grow Your Health Club’s Non-Dues Revenue, Focus on Your Strengths."

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This Week in the Fitness Industry: Merritt Athletic Clubs Unveils New Brand Identity 

Merritt Athletic Clubs Unveils New Brand Identity  
Merritt Clubs, formerly Merritt Athletic Clubs, marked its 40th anniversary by launching a new brand identity that better communicates the continual evolution of the company’s fitness facilities and programs. In addition to the new name, Merritt now has a new logo, messaging, website, and signage that is already installed in its nine locations. “Our mission is to change the way people think about fitness,” COO Mark Miller said in a release. “To us, fitness means strengthening your body and mind in the comfort of a place that feels like home, with a friendly staff that feels like family. Our new brand is helping to tell this story and it truly captures our purpose of being the best part of our member’s day and the spirit of our clubs.”   

TRX Named IHRSA Associate Member of the Year
We’re excited to announce that TRX, a leading producer of functional training programs, education, and equipment, is our 2017 Associate Member of the Year! "We are delighted to honor our good friends at TRX for their ongoing support of IHRSA and for their work to grow the industry,” said Joe Moore, IHRSA's president and CEO. “When Randy Hetrick launched the first Travel X, the precursor to the TRX Suspension Trainer in 2004, he foresaw what the future of functional training would be for millions of fitness consumers. Since then, TRX has been a leader in delivering innovative products and programs designed to not only inspire people to be more active, but more importantly, help them achieve their fitness goals.” The Associate Member of the Year Award is presented annually to recognize an IHRSA Associate Member for their significant contributions to the advancement of the health club industry, as well as their support of IHRSA, its members, and its mission through program and event participation, advertising, and sponsorship. The award will be presented during IHRSA 2017 in Los Angeles, CA, March 8-11. Read the full “TRX Named 2017 Associate Member of the Year” press release.

Blink Fitness Offers Amazon Lockers in 7 Manhattan Clubs
Blink Fitness announced Wednesday that seven of its 11 Manhattan locations are now home to Amazon Lockers, which offer members and the community a self-service delivery location to pick up and return packages from Amazon Lockers are cropping up nationwide and there are more than 100 in and around New York City and, according to Blink, this is the first time Amazon Locker has worked with a fitness club. "Blink's collaboration with Amazon is a natural fit to benefit both our members and the community at large," said Blink Fitness President Todd Magazine. "Our member experience comes first, so we're thrilled that members will no longer have to worry or go out of their way to receive a package. Secondly, the Amazon Lockers will help introduce our state-of-the-art facilities to a new audience and hopefully encourage them to make their fitness resolutions with Blink."

Equinox CEO Talks Trump, Company Growth

Last week, Equinox CEO Harvey Spevak spoke to CNBC about how President-elect Donald Trump may affect business, and shared his thoughts on company growth and the SoulCycle IPO.

33% of Canadians Resolved to Improve Physical Fitness in 2017
One in three Canadians said improving their physical fitness and eating habits was their top New Year’s resolution, according to a new Ipos survey that was conducted on behalf of GoodLife Fitness. The survey also found that 21% of Canadians said they would focus on financial goals; 13% wanted to dedicate more time to travel and leisure; 11% planned to put a stop to bad habits, like drinking and smoking; and 10% will try to spend more time with family and friends. “It’s great to see more Canadians choosing fitness and nutrition as their number one resolution for 2017 because it suggests people are making positive choices when it comes to eating well and being active, with the goal of feeling better overall,” said David ‘Patch’ Patchell-Evans, founder and CEO of GoodLife Fitness.


How to Develop Your Health Club's Strategic Plan

If they're honest, some health club owners will admit that they began with no greater plan than to combine their occupation and their calling. While that's commendable—you must have passion to succeed in any business—it's not enough. 

What you need to succeed over the long haul is a strategic plan. Here are some tips from industry leaders on how to formulate one.

Figure Out Where You Fit in the Health Club Landscape

The first thing you must do is identify what your club offers that others in your area don't. Is it lower cost? Better member benefits? More workout options?

Whatever sets your club apart, it should be emphasized in your strategic plan. That will help you leverage your competitive advantage. "Once your club is up and running you need to differentiate it, distinguish it, from the competition," wrote Joe Cirulli, president and owner of Gainesville Health & Fitness.

Continue reading "How to Develop Your Health Club's Strategic Plan."

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CBI: Scholarship Winner Boosts Retention in High-Attrition Market 

Melissa Hall, general manager for Merritt Athletic Clubs’ Fort Avenue facility in Baltimore, MD, won the John McCarthy Merit Scholarship, which enabled her to attend the IHRSA Institute in August. In the December issue of Club Business International (CBI), we checked in with Hall to learn how she increased retention in a high-attrition market.

CBI: How did you manage to increase retention in what’s considered a high-attrition market?

MH: Recent college graduates, who are likely to move after a year, make up a large portion of the membership at Fort Avenue. To keep every client we can, we focus on new customer service initiatives, reboarding trainings, and the use of the Medallia and Net Promoter Score (NPS) platforms to obtain feedback, to help us manage and improve the customer experience. We invite local alumni to use the club for free on First Fridays to remain in touch with them. And our Back on Track program offers complimentary services and programs to cancelling members to encourage them to stay.

CBI: You’ve also converted Fort Avenue into a 24-hour operation. What was the biggest challenge?

MH: Ensuring that the overnight staff is utilized to its full potential, despite the fact that usage may be limited. I’ve created a monthly schedule of duties for them that relate to facility maintenance, auditing, inventory, and retention. This makes their positions meaningful, and their contributions valuable, and connects them to the daytime team. I also meet with them individually, during their shift, so we can initiate projects that they’re passionate about.

Fort Avenue also gets credit for generating the highest revenue per square foot of any MAC location. How have you managed that?

MH: Our club is a 20,000-square-foot facility, and we regard each and every area as a potential profit center. I also meet with our department managers daily, and weekly, to ensure that we’re all on track with respect to our current revenue goals. When it’s necessary, we take action quickly to rein in expenses and close any gaps.

Read the full “First Person” interview in the December issue of CBI.


From a Distance, They Looked Like Flowers . . .  

A huge expanse of pink flowers… 

But as I got closer, as I walked through Boston Common on my way home from work last night, Thursday, May 24, I realized what I was seeing.

It was a massive “garden of flags” that had been “planted” in this historic park. American flags.

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