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Entries in The Atlantic Club (8)


Lessons in Fitness Leadership: Build Relationships Early

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.

Kevin McHugh
The Atlantic Club

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

In particular, I think it is our direct ability to enhance the lives of all people of all ages and fitness levels. This is a unique premise when compared to other industries.

Continue reading "Lessons in Fitness Leadership: Build Relationships Early."

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The Atlantic Club COO Talks Non-dues Revenue, Medical Fitness, and 'Rabid' Fans

Kevin McHugh, chief operating officer for The Atlantic Club, spoke to Club Business International about the clubs' membership, medical fitness expertise, and its "rabid" fans.

CBI: Everyone in the industry has heard about The Atlantic Club, but few have visited the two facilities. A brief description of them, for orientation purposes, please.

Kevin McHugh: The Atlantic Club operates two health and fitness centers in New Jersey. The one in Red Bank is an urban, boutique-style, adult-only, 33,000-square-foot facility offering fitness and aquatics and our Milagro Spa. The club in Manasquan is beautifully situated on a 44-acre campus, and encompasses a health and wellness center, the Milagro Spa and Salon, the Atlantis Preparatory School, a tennis center with 13 indoor courts, junior aquatics center, indoor turf center, sports training field house, and outdoor swim club, as well as walking trails throughout the wooded campus.

CBI: Tell us something about the clubs’ membership.

KM: The Atlantic Club currently has 9,100 members and more than 25,000 nonmember customers who are involved in our programs and activities on a weekly basis, which means that 66% of our revenues come from outside of our membership.

CBI: The club is well-known, industry wide, for its strong medical orientation. What forms does that take in terms of its programs and offerings?

KM: We’ve always prioritized the importance of providing our members and the community with programs that not only yield incremental improvements, but also produce breakthroughs in their health and wellness. Six years ago, Pat Laus, the owner of The Atlantic Club, committed to making her club a leader in the field of medical fitness.

Today, we have a dedicated and certified team of health and wellness professionals who are focused on this market. We have a very strong medical advisory council. We make use of the Physician Referred Exercise (PREP) Program, and fully integrate the individuals referred—mostly the deconditioned and first-time club joiners—into our main fitness and group exercise programs. We also have Fit Kids and Exercising with Cancer programs.

We’ve enrolled over 1,000 individuals in our medical programs over the past two years.

Continue reading "The Atlantic Club COO Talks Non-dues Revenue, Medical Fitness, and 'Rabid' Fans."

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4 Tips to Increase Non-Dues Revenue at Your Health Club

Membership is only one way for a health club to generate revenue. A sometimes overlooked profit-driver is non-dues revenues, which can benefit health clubs in several ways. 

“Once you are able to diversify your income streams, your business has the opportunity to offset potential shortfalls in other areas that may occur in your business,” says Kevin McHugh, COO of The Atlantic Club. “In addition, having a culture of creating non-dues revenues that positively impact the membership provides them more opportunities to be engaged in your business. During economic downturns, membership is often much more vulnerable that ancillary income streams that are engaging the customer more and make it harder to depart.” 

McHugh will teach club operators how to determine growth areas, engage prospects, and increase non-dues revenue in his Wednesday, August 3 IHRSA Institute session, “Non-Dues Revenue: Management & Growth Strategies.” 

How to Determine Growth Areas for Non-Dues Revenue 

“Health clubs can determine the best growth areas for their club by doing research,” he says. “This analysis includes networking with other clubs in the IHRSA network, as well as surveying the members as to what they would like to see.” 

When looking for opportunities for growth, McHugh says club owners should also focus on:  

  • Creating a culture where the staff becomes focused on creating new revenue streams
  • Drilling down into the club’s ancillary income streams in order to create new ancillary income streams within the current income streams
  • Exploring where there are gaps in the club's business
  • Studying other best practices and adapting them to the individual club’s business  

4 Tips to Increase Health Club Non-Dues Revenue 

Here are McHugh’s four tips for health clubs to increase non-dues revenue.  

  1. “Do not be concerned with non-dues revenues—be concerned with non-dues profits.”
  2. “Not all non-dues revenue programs work—you need to be diligent in identifying where programs need to be put to rest.”
  3. “We have the patience rule; [the program] often does not become an overnight success. Some do, but most can take up to a year. And if you are committed and place the proper resources, your chance for success has improved.”
  4. “Remember that membership dues is the club’s number one priority. Ancillary income can be more fun and take time away from the core business. Being aware of this potential issue will provide all involved a better chance of overall success for the business.”  

Learn more about the IHRSA Institute, August 2-5 in Chapel Hill, NC.


The #CEOPledgeInAction Goes Live Tomorrow - Don't Miss It

Tomorrow at 12 pm EST, IHRSA will be hosting a Twitter Chat on the CEO Pledge and the benefits of prioritizing opportunities for corporate wellness.

We will be meeting at the hashtag #CEOPledgeInAction to discuss a variety of questions associated with this issue. To participate, simply login to Twitter or using the designated hashtag.


Kevin McHugh, MBA, is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Atlantic Club in Manasquan, New Jersey. He has over twenty years of experience working in the health and fitness industry and has served as a long-time IHRSA advocate and Industry Leadership Council Contributor. At IHRSA 2015, he participated in IHRSA’s first Health Promotion and Medical Wellness track by offering his expertise during a panel discussion on Employing Your Resources to Attract & Retain Corporate Members.

Additionally, McHugh also serves as the chairman of the board for the Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean counties and the Chief Operating Officer of Clubs for the Quest, a national fundraising campaign that partners with health clubs across the country in order to find a permanent cure for ALS.

Follow the Atlantic Club on Twitter.

See you tomorrow at noon!

As a reminder, if you are new to Twitter Chats, IHRSA has created a simple tutorial to help explain the process. The instructional video will provide you with step-by-step guidelines on how to make the most of the chat. 


Wearables, Health Data, and Privacy

The desire to lead a more physically active life has increased significantly over the past five years. There’s no better evidence of this than the soaring sales of wearable fitness devices (“wearables”) such as iFit, Fitbit, Jawbone, the Microsoft Band, and the new Apple Watch. (See “Don’t Be Wary of ‘Wearables,’” August CBI, pg. 49.)

These biometric marvels, designed to help people pursue, achieve, and maintain an active and healthy lifestyle, track functions from the simple and straightforward to the impressively sophisticated. At the low end, they can count the number of steps or miles a person walks, and calculate the number of calories they burn, during a day. At the high end, they can monitor heart rate, blood pressure, and even the duration and quality of one’s sleep.

And this technology is just getting started.

Health clubs, of course, have been helping people to live healthier lives, well, for as long as health clubs have existed. Until recently, though, they’ve found it difficult to precisely measure and accurately quantify the success of their programs and services.

The advent of wearables may provide a satisfactory solution.

Their acceptance by the public has been nothing less than remarkable. Parks Associates, a market intelligence firm based in Dallas, reports that, by the end of 2014, fully 30% of Americans had adopted some sort of wearable. And now clubs are following suit.

The Atlantic Club, with locations in Manasquan and Red Bank, New Jersey, introduced the MYZONE MZ3 program in 2013, and is utilizing it to improve member outcomes and increase retention. Thus far, some 750 to 800 individuals have taken part. The program, based on a gamification strategy, involves five wellness challenges per year. The participants’ individual activity performance data is displayed at the club, and also sent to them via e-mail so they can monitor their progress.

Each challenge concludes with an event that rewards participants and confers special prizes on top achievers.

“The program is great because it fosters friendly, healthy competition that promotes club usage, wellness, weight loss, and healthier living, all in a fun-filled environment,” says Kevin McHugh, the CEO of the club.

Though wearables up the ante with respect to exercise documentation, they raise questions not only about how clubs can capitalize on the technology, but also about data security. Because the devices gather a wealth of health information, and, in the future, will likely gather even more, there are concerns about possible violations of club members’ privacy.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has recently addressed the issue, questioning how the data is being used and by whom, and it’s been suggested that federal laws might need to be amended.

Some of the most basic metrics, e.g., number of steps walked per day, probably wouldn’t be considered medical information, and could be safely shared with, for instance, a personal trainer or wellness program administrator. Other, more intimate matters, e.g., blood pressure and resting heart rate, are clearly medical in nature, and, therefore, would need to be dealt with more carefully.

If new regulations were issued to prescribe acceptable practices for the handling of this sort of data, clubs might be obliged to create systems to ensure and monitor enforcement, incurring additional costs. It’s conceivable that such restrictions might also have an impact on program design, participation, and growth.

It’s important that club operators be aware of these issues, which could become serious ones in the future. Pending further formal clarification, though, they should be cautious in deciding what type of health information can be shared, and when and for what reasons, in order to avoid legal difficulties.



SPORTS PERFORMANCE TRAINING (SPT) isn’t just for the sports-minded

Think sports performance training (SPT) is strictly for serious athletes?

If you subscribe to the notion that sports-focused programming is only for your sports-minded members, you might want to think again.

Talk to the people who teach it, the clubs that offer it, or the clients who use it, and you’ll come away with an entirely different impression.

Yes, SPT can increase speed, power, agility, and stamina for the high school or college athlete who wants to excel, for marathoners, triathletes, and CrossFitters, and for anyone, in short, whose exercise intentions incline toward the intense or ambitious. But … it also offers much more.

Read the full story.

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IHRSA members take on #IceBucketChallenge

It's not very surprising but we've already seen a bunch of those in the health and fitness industry accept IHRSA's #IceBucketChallenge challenge.

And, as we promised, we will try to post or publicize as many as we can.

We are happy to report that some IHRSA member clubs are taking the challenge a step further. L&T Health and Fitness, a Corporate Fitness Works company, whose COO (and IHRSA board member) Allison Flatley drenched herself with ice water, is planning a fundraising effort to benefit ALS around the challenge. And  La Cima Club in Irving, Texas, has Augie's Quest as one of the beneficiaries for its upcoming Charity Classic.

And for those of you who are unaware of how the #IceBucket Challenge started, watch this video.

Here are a few of the Ice Bucket Challenge videos (and one photo compilation):

Augie's Quest compilation, including Lynn Nieto, The Atlantic Club, Zumba and more.

Ashburn Village Sports Pavilion, Ashburn, Va.

Brick Bodies, Baltimore, Md.

La Cima Club, Irving, Texas

L&T Health and Fitness 

ASF International












The Cutting-Room Floor  

By Patricia Amend

One of the frustrations inherent in the practice of journalism is that, often, valuable ideas, perfectly good items, wind up on the cutting room floor. There are a number of reasons that happens: the information may prove inappropriate for the article that’s being worked on; a source may have shared more information than was really required; every publication has to deal with the reality of space limitations….

But, regardless of the reason, it’s infinitely annoying—to writers, editors, and sources, as well—when that happens.

 …which was one of the reasons that CBI Unbound was created—to, insofar as possible, correct some of the shortcomings of print media.

Herewith: two short pieces about clever ways that IHRSA-member clubs have found to expand or enhance their services, driving revenues and increasing profitability.

Retrieved from the cutting room floor. Resurrected by CBI Unbound.

Pool partnership. Glenn Swain, the general manager of the Nashua Athletic Club, in Nashua, New Hampshire, has teamed up with the physical therapy department of a nearby hospital to work with people who’ve had hip or knee replacements, utilizing the club’s pool. “We rent our pool for a nominal fee so that, each month, 30-50 patients can work out four or five hours a day, three to four days a week,” Swain explains. “It’s a great fit for all involved. The hospital’s patient care is improved, and the program is a feeder for us. Once patients finish their therapy, they can join our club at a discounted rate. We’re helping older individuals get back on their feet in a safe and social environment, and they enjoy it. At the same time, we can send our members to a specialist at the hospital when needed. In terms of revenue, this program adds $2,500-$3,500 a month to our bottom line.”

Karen Woodard-Chavez

Wellness, not sales. Frankie Brown, the wellness-programming director at The Atlantic Clubs in Manasquan and Red Bank, New Jersey, has worked with consultant Karen Woodard-Chavez, the president of Premium Performance Training, in Boulder, Colorado, to revamp her club’s sales effort.  Now, Brown, who’s been head of sales for 20 years, has a whole new team—of four wellness coordinators, rather than salespeople. When prospects come to the club, they meet with a member of Brown’s team, who gets thoroughly acquainted  with them to determine their needs, and then suggests an appropriate small-group or weight-loss program offered by the club. “Wellness coordinators are also responsible for member participation and wellness,” Brown explains. “Having someone follow a member’s progress throughout their membership is a great way for us to differentiate ourselves in a very competitive market. While our dues average $108 per month, we have lots of $10-a-month clubs opening around us.”

Patricia Amend is the editor-at-large for CBI and can be contacted at