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.



From educational tools and events to promotional programs and public policy initiatives, IHRSA brings you success... by association!

Join | Renew
Pledge Your Support

Search IHRSA Blog

Welcome to the IHRSA Blog

The Online Home of news.

Blog Home |  Subscribe to our RSS Feed

Entries in millennials (8)


How Gyms Can Cash in on Boomers' and Millennials' Purchasing Ideologies  

This post is a preview of the July 11 webinar, "Boomers and Millennials: Cashing in on their Distinct Purchasing Ideologies."

No doubt you've read an article, likely written by a baby boomer, detailing millennials' narcissism, tech-dependence, and other alleged shortcomings. But, despite these perceived differences, millennials and baby boomers actually have a lot in common when it comes to their purchasing ideologies.

Both groups, for instance, share a love for coupons, sales, and bargains. And both are comfortable with browsing, researching, and shopping online. Most importantly, baby boomers and millennials are now equally attractive demographics for health clubs, making it critical for club operators to rethink how they're engaging with both.

Continue reading "How Gyms Can Cash in on Boomers' and Millennials' Purchasing Ideologies."

Click to read more ...


3 Ways Holmes Place Health Clubs is Retaining Millennials Through Programming 

by Matteo Cerruti, group exercise director, Holmes Place Health Clubs

Millennials are the largest generations yet—they’re estimated to be 2.5 billion strong globally and are moving into its prime working and spending years. This generation is shaping the way brands position their products or services to match the way millennials make their buying decision. Companies focused on engaging with them appropriately will differentiate themselves in the market place and forge long-term relationships with these special customers.

Retention remains the largest challenge of the fitness industry and we know that longer tenured members have bottom-line implications in the stability and growth of the fitness facilities. According to the 2016 IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report, millennials view their club membership as a short-term investment mainly due to competing career and/or family obligations, and also because younger adults are often more transient in nature.

Holmes Place Health Clubs—a 90-club business spanning 10 countries in Europe—has several millennial-geared strategies that fitness facilities can implement in their programming to secure lasting relationships, prevent early cancellations, and improve member retention.

Continue reading "3 Ways Holmes Place Health Clubs is Retaining Millennials Through Programming."

Click to read more ...


Millennials Want to Hear Your Health Club’s Story—So Tell It

Millennials tend to get a bad rap for allegedly being entitled, self-centered, and glued to their phones. But, for the fitness industry, millennial consumers may be the key to untapped business growth.

Millennials Prioritize Wellness and Experiences

“Millennials and Gen Y consumers are coming into maturity and will have more income to spend than any generation before them,” said Soraya Darabi, co-founder of Zady and impact investor, at the closing IHRSA 2017 keynote, sponsored by Daxko / CSI Software. “They’re thinking more wisely about spending and they’re spending on experiences over things—good news for this crowd in particular.”

For millennials, wellness is a daily pursuit—they eat healthy as a lifestyle choice, use apps to track their fitness data, and are willing to shell out for wellness (while holding back on fashion and entertainment spending). 

“Millennials are coming into their income and want to spend every day in the clubs you create,” Darabi said. “They want to be healthy and ensure that in every moment of their day they are living their best life in terms of happiness.” 

To Attract Millennials, Tell Your Brand’s Story

Clearly, millennials are already open to the services your club provides—but winning them over takes some digital finesse.

Millennials spend about six hours a day online, Darabi said, but due to the prevalence of ad blockers, simply purchasing display ads to promote your club won’t cut it. Instead, tell your brand’s story in a way that resonates with millennial consumers.

You can leverage your club’s unique story by telling it in promotional materials, on your website, in conversation on social media, and through your brick-and-mortar club. By becoming a storyteller, your brand will stop interrupting and start having conversations with millennial consumers.  

“I’m asking you to think like an ‘intra-preneur’—as someone within your organization willing to recreate the storyline as if it’s day one,” she said. “By thinking like a brand new company, it’ll rejuvenate you to tell your story like never before in a way that resonates with customers most.”


How the Fitness Industry Can Thrive in the Digitized Workplace 

When Seth Mattison, founder and chief movement officer of FutureSight Labs, asked the audience at today’s IHRSA 2017 keynote presentation what changes and challenges are making the fitness industry more difficult today than it was 10 years ago, several hands shot up.

“People expect higher levels of service.”

“Members want immediate answers.”

“It’s difficult to keep up with technology.”

And even, “there are too many entitled millennials!”

All of those challenges—and more—are the result of the increasingly digitized workspace, Mattison said in the MYZONE-sponsored keynote. Today’s customer expects speed and efficiency, are more informed than ever before, and come from a number of vastly different generations. 

Continue reading "How the Fitness Industry Can Thrive in the Digitized Workplace."

Click to read more ...


Why Your Health Club Should Be on Social Media (Even if You Don't Want to Be)

"We don't have a choice on whether we do social and mobile. The choice is how well we do it." 

There's a reason that quote from Socialnomics author Erik Qualman was the lead-in on IHRSA's recent webinar on social media strategies. If you own a health club, you can no longer afford not to have a social media strategy.

Whether you lack proficiency in social media or even actively hate it, social media is here to stay—and you must make it part of your club's business strategy going forward. 

Continue reading "Why Your Health Club Should Be on Social Media (Even if You Don't Want to Be)."

Click to read more ...


How Health Clubs Are Meeting the Demand for Performance Training

In 2000, when Greg Glassman introduced the now-famous CrossFit concept—an efficient, high-intensity workout based on nine basic functional movements that required no traditional equipment—it seemed a promising niche offering.

... albeit a decidedly different kind of one.

Describing the regimen’s raison d’être, Glassman said, “CrossFit isn’t a specialized fitness program, but a deliberate attempt to optimize physical competence in each of 10 recognized fitness domains—cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy.”

Today, Glassman’s fitness formula drives what has become a global powerhouse, with more than 13,000 “boxes,” as its facilities are referred to, affectionately, by their members, with an estimated market value, according to Forbes magazine, of $4 billion.

As in many other areas of society, including our own industry, millennials have provided much of the impetus. In fact, the introduction of CrossFit coincided neatly with the coming-of-age of this cohort. Born between 1981 and the early 2000s—the first generation to mature during the new millennium— this group now numbers 69.2 million in the U.S.

They’re also known as Echo Boomers, Generation We, Generation Next, the Net Generation, and the Global Generation.

Glassman, it seems, had clearly come up with the perfect, high-intensity program for people who were looking for a new type of workout—one with particularly strong appeal for millennials. Approximately 40% of CrossFitters are between the ages of 24 and 34—a millennial sweet spot—according to a recent study from Rally Fitness, an Ontario, CA-based manufacturer of exercise equipment.

CrossFit, though, has always thought out of the “box,” and, as a result, become something of a cultural phenomenon. In 2007, the CrossFit Games debuted. The competition now attracts some 200,000 participants each year, confers a $2-million prize, and is televised by the Disney Channel. The event also seems to have inspired—or coincided with the emergence of—other fitness reality shows, such as NBC’s STRONG, the Esquire Network’s American Ninja Warrior, and its upcoming Team Ninja Warrior spin-off.

What’s the bottom-line message for IHRSA member clubs?

Continue reading "How Health Clubs Are Meeting the Demand for Performance Training."

Click to read more ...


U.S. Health Club Membership Reached High of 55.3 Million in 2015

Membership in U.S. health clubs reached an all-time high of 55.3 million in 2015, representing an annual growth rate of 3.3% over the past three years, according to the newly released IHRSA 2016 Health Club Consumer Report

The annual publication, which is based on a nationwide sample of more than 32,000 interviews, also found that another 9.1 million non-members exercised at clubs in 2015, bringing the total number of Americans utilizing health clubs to 64.4 million—also a record high. 

Exercise Habits of Millennials, Generation X and Boomers 

Health club usage and activity preferences vary widely across generational groups, a finding which club operators can consider in strategic positioning and program development.

Generation X is more likely to utilize resistance machines and treadmills, while Millennials are more likely to participate in yoga and cross-training programs. Boomers are more inclined to engage in Tai Chi and aquatic exercise. 

“As the Consumer Report bears out, distinctions in activity participation impact club preferences among consumers,” said Melissa Rodriguez, IHRSA’s senior research manager. “While Millennials opt for studios to engage in specific training formats, Generation X’ers are more likely to use fitness-only and multipurpose clubs for access to various training equipment.” 

About the 2016 Health Club Consumer Report 

Through several club applications, the 2016 Health Club Consumer Report guides club operators in leveraging such demographic trends in efforts to stand out from the competition. 

Owners of full-service health clubs may consider cultivating an offer that emphasizes group training and building a strong online presence in order to engage Millennials. Club operators who aim to target Boomers may not only offer relevant exercise programs, but also provide stellar in-person customer service and foster ongoing interactions with club staff.


From WiFi to Community: What Millennials Want From Their Health Club

What’s next on the horizon for the health and fitness industry?
A revolution sparked by millennials, suggests Stephen Tharrett, the cofounder and principal of ClubIntel, an industry consultancy based in Highland Village, TX.

“Millennials—those individuals who were born between 1980 and 2000—are poised to dramatically change the industry, as they’re introducing a whole new purchasing mindset,” he says in the September issue of Club Business International. “Club operators are well advised to take note.”


The new issue of the IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report, produced by IHRSA and ClubIntel, supports Tharrett’s assertion. This annual best-selling research publication provides detailed information on participation trends among both health club member and nonmember consumers at U.S. fitness facilities.

The report identifies numerous new opportunities for club operators, but the one that shines brightest—because of the large size of the group and the small size of the current penetration rate—is the one offered by millennials.

Clearly, this group represents a promising, largely untapped market for the industry, prompting operators, equipment suppliers, and marketers to pose the question: “Who, exactly, are the millennials, and what do they want?”

Free WiFi and Intelligent Exercise Equipment

“Technology,” is the first word out of Dan Schawbel’s mouth when he’s asked what attracts millennials to a club. Schawbel is the founder and managing partner of Millennial Branding, a Boston-based research firm, and a New York Times best-selling author.

“They want free WiFi wherever they are. They’re the most connected generation in history,” he says. “So clubs should focus on having modern equipment, a strong online network, and a solid social media presence.”

The affinity these individuals have for technology is hardly surprising, since they were born and grew up with it. The Internet, smartphones, and social media have been an integral part of their daily lives.

Continue reading "What Millennials Want from Their Health Club."

Click to read more ...