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 University of North Carolina (4)


The Origin of Success

In The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin wrote about the survival of the fittest—not the fastest, strongest, or smartest—but the fittest for a given environment. Many club operators strive to be the fittest and most successful. Others, well, just get by.

If your club is a good fit for your market, and if it continually evolves in response to changing times and conditions, your business will succeed. If it isn’t and if it doesn’t—well, we don’t even want to think about that.

In the past, many club owners tended to become complacent when they operated in insulated markets that lacked aggressive competition of either the commercial tax-paying or nonprofit, tax-exempt kind. These types of environments are becoming fewer and farther apart as more diverse, savvier, and better-funded providers populate the landscape.

Intense and constantly increasing competition makes it essential—in fact, critical—that your business be as productive and innovative as possible.

So what’s going to give your club the edge, the distinguishing advantages, that will enable it to thrive in this always brave new world?

The answers and the solutions are to be had by acquiring new knowledge … and by acting on it.

Chances are that your direct competitors aren’t going to share best practices with you, or point out what they consider promising new opportunities.

That’s why IHRSA’s educational events are so important. The association is predicated on the gathering and dissemination of industry information, and its various meetings give attendees the chance to share observations and insights with club professionals from throughout the world—not from down the block or a mile down the road.

Operators tend to face the same challenges—with sales, programming, club utilization, and retention—regardless of where they’re located.

Those of us who’ve attended IHRSA gatherings over the years have learned and profited from our colleagues and peers at the dozens of seminars that are offered; in personal conversations taking place during receptions and early morning workouts; and while walking the trade show floor, questioning the incredibly well-informed exhibitors.

I recently returned from the IHRSA Institute: Executive Education for Club Professionals, at the University of North Carolina. We reinstituted this program last year, following a strategic hiatus, and, while it received rave reviews, this year’s installment was even better.

Many industry leaders believe that the Institute, with its intimate, targeted program facilitating a unique experience, is our most valuable event. Others, however, prefer our larger, more expansive shows. This year, those include meetings in Brazil, Mexico, France, and China (see “Calendar,” pg. 110). And, of course, excitement has already begun to grow in anticipation of IHRSA’s 35th Annual International Convention and Trade Show, which will take place next year, March 21–24, in Orlando, Florida.

IHRSA exists to grow, promote, and protect the industry, and to provide its members with products that will help them become more successful. I hope that you’re taking advantage of all the association has to offer.

The more you know, the faster your business will evolve, ensuring that it’s one of the “fittest.”

It’s worth noting that Darwin also observed: “In the long history of humankind … those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”


$500 worth of IHRSA publications with Institute registration

If gaining knowledge from industry leaders and experts in a variety of fields during the IHRSA Institute wasn’t enough, included in your registration fee will be a variety of our resources.

Among the publications and research material are:

  • The IHRSA Employee Compensation & Benefits Report - Compensation information for senior management/corporate staff, salaried club-level employees, and hourly club-level employees.
  • The IHRSA Global Report - Comprehensive industry overview including input from several industry leaders from independent clubs, large club chains, club associations and federations.
  • The IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report - Detailed insight into the participation trends of both member and non-member consumers in U.S. health club facilities.
  • Profiles of Success - Detailed information about health and fitness club benchmarks and other aspects of club performance, including membership growth & traffic, facility reinvestment, financial statement data, and more.
  • IHRSA Trend Report - Tracks membership trends and consumer attitudes towards health club membership on a quarterly basis. 

Here is a a complete list of resources with Institute registration.

The Institute, at the intimate setting at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School on Aug. 5-8, provides graduate-level education in Financial Management; Industry Trends, Research & Benchmarking; Day-to-Day Legal Issues; Personal & Group Training Management; and more. There will also be many networking opportunities.

For more information, visit


IHRSA Institute boasts top faculty and curriculum

The IHRSA Institute is the perfect place for those ready to take the next step to strengthen their management skills in order to take their health club to the next level.

There are three days of graduate-level education with small classes that allows for hands-on teaching and learning and fosters interaction among students. There is a broad curriculum that touches on every aspect of club management.

The events runs Aug. 5-8 at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

With the goal of providing students with a solid foundation for growing their club business, the IHRSA Institute will focus on helping you lead, plan, and manage your business more effectively.

Of course, learning is only as good as those teaching. The advisory group has come up with some of the top leaders in the health and fitness industry and experts from the IHRSA staff, as well as few from the host's Kenan-Flagler School of Business.

Read on to see the faculity, curriculum and how to register.


IHRSA Institute speaker featured in Wall Street Journal

Employees tend to be much more deferential to their peers than they are to higher-ranking employees, according to a recent study conducted by Prof. Alison Fragale of the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. 

Prof. Fragale will be speaking on Leadership at the IHRSA Institute, Aug. 5-8 at the University of North Carolina.

In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Prof. Fragale defined deferential as any behavior that signals a hierarchy and a respect for it. A sign of deference is the way someone acknowledges their rank and position and communicates that they are not here to compete. Peer-to-peer relationships have a lot of ambiguity because there is no authority structure. Prof. Fragale, recommends that a leader be appointed when a peer work group is formed in order to more efficiently complete the group task.

Read more The Wall Street Journal website.