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Entries in Precor (22)


3 Tangible Ways Cloud Computing Can Benefit Your Health Club

You don't need to be an aerospace engineer to appreciate air travel—and you don't need to be an IT expert to grasp the possibilities of the cloud at your health club. Here are three examples of how cloud technology can boost your bottom line.

1. It makes basic functions like renewals, class signups, and member purchases more efficient and cost-effective.

Continue reading "3 Tangible Ways Cloud Computing Can Benefit Your Health Club."

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Fitness Pros Share Their Favorite Core Training Programs and Products

A strong core is essential, and could accurately be described as the “foundation” of fitness.

“The core is where all human movement originates,” says Clark Bartram, the president of Frog Fitness, based in The Woodlands, TX, and creator of The Frog total-body trainer. “Therefore, it makes perfect sense for your members to focus on fitness routines that strengthen this part of the body.”

It’s no surprise that, at that moment, the industry spotlight tends to shine brightly on core training, whether the workouts involve simple bodyweight exercises, accessories, or equipment.

Right now, many fresh, dynamic, and exciting core-equipment are in the pipeline, Bartram points out. “Companies are designing some incredibly cool stuff.”

At the same time, many traditional core exercises remain popular and productive.

Basic movements—things such as planks, crunches, and hanging leg raises, for example—are still a mainstay in clubs worldwide. They’re relatively simple, but reliable and deliver results. There’s also a lengthy lineup of machines and accessories that have proven, over time, to be steadfast and and worthwhile investments. Think ROSU balls, TRX suspension trainers, ab wheels, Roman chairs, Pilates reformers, and certain selectorized and and plate-loaded machines.

The good news is, you have the tried-and-true as well as some new options when it comes to core training. Many leading manufacturers, including, among others, Precor, Inc., and Merrithew, have been adding their own twists to the core equipment category.

So, what’s best for your club and your members?

To help you decide, CBI talked to several fitness professionals and equipment manufacturers—smart people with educated opinions—to help you weigh all the options.

Continue reading "Fitness Pros Share Their Favorite Core Training Programs and Products."

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Equipment Manufacturers Fuel Tomorrow’s Fitness Trends

In any industry, creative disruption rules the day in terms of long-term competitive differentiation. And it can provide firms with the ability to give consumers what they want—before they know they want it.

Mazda, for example, hit the sweet spot in 1990, with the introduction of its iconic Miata roadster, a car that brought “fun” back to motoring after years of gas-crisis concerns and prior to the start of a recession. In 2001, Apple introduced iTunes, and, in 2007, the iPhone, which inexorably changed the way the world listens to music and communicates.

With respect to our own industry, Planet Fitness ushered in the high-volume/low-price (HV/LP) era in 1992. Precor, Inc., introduced the Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer (EFX) in 1995, shifting the industry’s emphasis to low-impact exercise. And a decade later, in 2005, SoulCycle made it obvious that boutique fitness had arrived big-time.

Club operators and instructors clearly play a role in the industry’s creative process, but, in many cases, important new trends are first identified and then brought to life by equipment manufacturers.

Major market disruptions may not happen very often, but, in order to remain successful and maintain growth, manufacturers have to constantly keep tabs on changing consumer desires, understand their impact, and incorporate what they learn in the products and services they offer.

CBI quizzed several leading manufacturers about the efforts they make to identify new trends, stay ahead of the curve, and predict what we can expect to see next.

Continue reading "Equipment Manufacturers Fuel Tomorrow’s Fitness Trends."

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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.


Cloud Computing and the Future of Connected Exercise Equipment

Earlier this month, we discussed the basics of cloud computing, and how cloud-based mobile apps can improve the member experience. Now, let’s take a look at cloud computing’s increasingly profound impact on the exercise equipment space.

More and more manufacturers are offering cloud-centered products and systems that explode the member experience—providing a wealth of customized workouts, tracking and reporting on performance in detail, and allowing users to compete with one another.

Among the many IHRSA associate member companies that have soared into the sky are Precor, Inc., with its Preva Network, and Technogym, with the mywellness cloud.

Advantages of Cloud-centered Equipment

The approach confers numerous advantages. It engages the interest of prospects and members; precludes workout boredom; increases satisfaction and utilization; improves results; can increase members’ spending; and, ultimately, has a positive effect on retention. 

The Preva Network, available on units in Precor’s 880 cardio line with the P80 console, permits members to create personal accounts, which allow them to set fitness goals, obtain personalized workouts, track their progress, save their favorite routines, and explore a wealth of entertainment options. Because the system is cloud-based, it can be accessed via the Preva mobile app.

Technogym’s mywellness cloud shares some of the same functionality, and also connects to a wide variety of third-party fitness devices, including wearables, which allows users to store virtually all of their exercise data, and makes it possible for clubs to offer virtual coaching tips.

Because the mywellness cloud is an open platform, it also allows for integration with various cloud-based services and devices. That can be utilized to tap new revenue streams, said Nicola De Cesare, the director of Technogym’s digital division business development team.

One example: a club could monetize a professional weight and body fat scale by offering periodic body checks. The resulting information could be stored in the mywellness cloud, allowing members to track their progress toward their goals.

The Future of Connected Equipment

Jeff Bartee, the principal product manager for network fitness at Precor, sees the connections between equipment and apps multiplying in the future, and, in the process, tying the exercise experience together in a revolutionary way.

“People want to access the data on demand, but in a convenient manner,” he said. “They don’t want to have to use 100 different apps to get the results they’re looking for.”

The possibilities are endless and appealing.

“When customers can share the data from their workouts with their club—whether they’re running on one of its treadmills or riding a bike at home—it enhances the club’s ability to deliver targeted services,” Bartee said. “Trainers can create more personalized workout plans, and clubs can tailor their program offerings to what members really want. If, for example, they discover that 60% of their members like to run outside, they could develop a running program and sell it at a premium.”

 “Customers want the best experience, and, in the end, the clubs that are going to be the most successful are the ones that integrate thoughtful digital strategies with the brick and mortar,” Bryan O’Rourke, president of the Fitness Industry Technology Council (FIT-C). “Today, your digital presence is as critical as your brick and mortar presence. If you don’t believe it, you may have a big problem.

“The cloud and mobile are two things that club opera- tors really have to wrap their heads around.”

Read the full article on cloud computing for health clubs in the May issue of CBI.


How Major Acquisitions Impact the Future of the Health Club Industry

Last year, the industry felt and responded to the reverberations of several stunning developments on the part of major industry suppliers. 

Life Fitness, a division of the Brunswick Corporation (NYSE: BC), announced the acquisition of SCIFIT Systems, Inc., which manufactures an extensive line of fitness equipment for active seniors and patients undergoing rehabilitation. A few weeks later, Amer Sports (NASDAQ Helsinki: AMEAS), the corporate parent of Precor, Inc., announced that it had acquired Queenax, a leading provider of functional training systems. 

Then in January, Life Fitness acquired Cybex International for $195 million. 

These were among the biggest transactions ever on the supply-side half of the industry equation—and ones that raised questions not only about the firms involved, but also about general economic trends, mergers and acquisition (M&A) activities, the industry’s learning curve, and the impact on equipment buyers. 

The moves, in fact, appear to reflect a growing trend: serious and escalating strength in the M&A environment. The market grew significantly in 2014, and continued to score in 2015. Thomson Reuters reports that global deal volume topped $3 trillion in 2014; and, according to FactSet, in the U.S., for the 12 months ending November 30, 2015, the number of deals worth at least $1 billion hit 295, increasing 43% year-over-year. 

The overall thrust of M&A activity seems to bode well for the health and fitness industry, as the hottest sector is the related healthcare market—that according to the 2015 M&A Outlook Survey Report from KPMG.

To learn more, Club Business International spoke to executives from both Precor and Life Fitness. Read the full "A Supply-Side Story" in the February issue of CBI.


IHRSA 2015 Exhibitor Video: Precor Incorporated

Precor redefines the levels of innovation, quality, and service necessary to improve the ways people improve themselves. At IHRSA we will highlight a mix of our cardio and strength products, including the following: New Experience Series Treadmills The insight-driven design of the new Experience Series treadmills provide the proven ownership experience operators need, as well as the personalized fitness experiences exercisers want. Reliable, easy to service and maintain, and loved by exercisers, this treadmill can be the cornerstone in which you build your facility. Experience it now at Discovery Series The Discovery Series combines all the functional performance elements that you demand from a strength line, along with the design and attention to detail you expect from Precor. The series provides a perfect bridge for users new to strength equipment with large illustrations that demonstrate correct form and QR codes that link to instructional videos. See it now at Preva Networked Fitness Thousands of facilities worldwide utilize Preva to provide exercisers with a personalized, goal-focused fitness and media experience proven to increase facility visits and retention. With features like Video on Demand and In-Workout Messaging, Preva helps you communicate and delight your exercisers. Get a preview at


IHRSA 2015 Trade Show Profile: Precor Incorporated

There are a handful of booths during the trade show at the IHRSA International Convention & Trade Show that really stick out.

It might be the scope of the booth, what you see within the borders of the booth, those working the booth, or something new that wasn’t there in past trade shows.

Precor is one such company that fits this description. And its 2015 booth, at number 1744, will be no different.

The highlight of the space will be the many new products. Precor, based in Washington state, will be unveiling the New Experience Series treadmills with Active Status Light, New Discovery Series Benches & Racks, and Discovery Series Plate Loaded Line at IHRSA 2015.

Be sure to stop by booth 1744, either Thursday, March 12, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., or Friday, March 13, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Read on to see more on Precor in its IHRSA Trade Show Profile

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Sponsor Showcase at ChinaFit/IHRSA Forum Is a Hit

The Precor booth during the Sponsor Showcase.The Sponsor Showcase at the 4th annual ChinaFit/IHRSA China Management Forum took place on Thursday with many attendees interested in what some of the biggest Asia-Pacific and companies from abroad had to offer.

IHRSA associate members on display were Technogym, Matrix, True, Precor and InBody. Other companies included IMC and Seca.

For more Sponsor Showcase photos, as well as from the entire event, visit the IHRSA Flickr page.


Much Interest in IHRSA 2015 at Athletic Business Conference 

The Matrix booth on the trade show floor.The Athletic Business Conference & Expo was busy for IHRSA with many attendees inquiring about IHRSA 2015, which is four months away.

But, of course, the event, which took place Nov. 13-15 in Orlando, Fla., was both educational and trade show for athletic, fitness and recreation professionals. It ran in conjunction with the International Council on Active Aging and the Medical Fitness Association and the National Association for Youth Sports. 

Precor hosted the opening reception at the BB King Blues Club. The trade show featured a lot of flooring, lighting and cleaning products for sports complexes and arenas.

For more on the event and IHRSA members at the trade show, check out the CBI magazine story.