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 Sept 11 (3)


Many in fitness industry affected by 9/11

Everyone knows what they were doing when the planes flew into the World Trade Centers in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001. It was a day thousands of people perished at the hands of terrorists' heinous acts.

Among those who died were health club members and employees. And scores of health and fitness facilities in the city provided shelter, showers and a place to rest for the thousands of displaced and workers cleaning up the aftermath.

Three years ago IHRSA looked back at those who were directly affected to see how they were doing, and what had changed, in the 10 years since 9/11.

We are running that package of stories again. Check out Ten Years Later: How 9/11 Changed the Health Club Industry Forever.


Taking time to remember those in the fitness industry lost on Sept. 11

Today is a time to remember where you were when the World Trade Centers were attacked, those who were lost, and the many soldiers who have fought to keep our freedom and capture those responsible.

Many in the fitness industry were lost when the towers fell, and thousands who perished were members of their hometown clubs across the country.

Last year IHRSA wrote a couple stories on how that day, now 11 years ago, changed the industry. Here it is again for those who missed it and those who want to read it again.


No Such Thing as "Business as Usual"

By Jon Feld

A decade ago, New York City and the clubs doing business in its environs took a hit that no one could have imagined. In fact, the 9/11 Commission’s final report termed the Bush administration’s approach to the attack and its subsequent response a “failure of imagination.” And it was true for the country as a whole. Who could have dreamt it would happen? Not since the bombing of Pearl Harbor, some 70 years in the past, had we experienced an attack of such magnitude on U.S. soil. 

The Plus One Corporate office on 9/11/2001

 A few months after the events of 9/11, I had the good fortune to interview several owners and operators of New York City clubs. The wounds, and the anger, were still very fresh.  Many lost friends and coworkers. The pain communicated to me by these survivors was palpable as they freely and openly shared their experiences. But—and I feel this reflects on the industry and what it represents as a whole—not a single person reflected on their personal difficulties. There was, of course, shock, indignation, and even rage. Yet the prevailing focus of the interviewees was on caring for those still here; helping members, family, and friends pick up the pieces and move on.

We recently revisited several of the New York operators we spoke with for the article “Defining Moment,” published in CBI in September 2002. As a group, they discussed the ways in which their operations have changed since 9/11—not with any sense of remorse or loss, but rather, of purpose.

In the resulting article, which appears in the September 2011 issue of CBI, you’ll read about the way that Greta Wagner, first vice president, general manager at Chelsea Piers, and the facility commemorate those lost. But Wagner’s focus is clearly on the future. “If anything, I’ve come to realize that we are much greater and stronger than anyone could ever imagine,” she asserts. “Our membership has remained consistent, but generally more youthful, as the neighborhood has thrived and more families have moved into the community. I don’t think anyone dwells on 9/11. We always remember and we’re more observant, but also more aware not to sweat the small stuff.”

Mike Motta, founder and chairman of Plus One Health Management, Inc., offers this response to the question of 9/11’s long-term impact on his company: “We’ve shown what many of our corporate clients seek through their participation in wellness programs: resiliency. It’s become entwined into the fabric of our organization and has defined us in many positive ways. As a result of 9/11, Plus One has become a more focused, thankful, and dedicated company. We realize that life is fragile and that things can totally change in an instant.”

It can be easy to get mired in the after-effects of any tragedy—and no one can be blamed if the pieces are too difficult to pick up. But, as a nation and as an industry, 9/11 served to galvanize us. At first, the events of the day created a strong, patriotic pull. As time passed and new ground was broken at Ground Zero, we felt a sense of renewal. There may never again be a “business as usual” feel about what we do, but we know that we can heal, and even grow stronger in the aftermath of a senseless catastrophe like 9/11.