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Entries in weight loss (13)


What Makes Health Club Weight Loss Programs Successful? 

By now health clubs are experiencing an influx of people ready to get healthy and lose weight as part of their New Year’s resolutions. 

According to a recent Nielson survey, respondents indicated that their top two New Year’s resolutions were to: 

  • “Stay fit and healthy” (37% of respondents)
  • “Lose weight” (32% of respondents) 

The question for clubs often becomes: how do you get these new (or re-committed) members to keep coming back and reach their goals?

Continue reading "What Makes Health Club Weight Loss Programs Successful?"

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This Week in the Fitness Industry: Peleton CEO Stresses Importance of Group Exercise Environment

Peleton CEO Stresses Importance of Group Exercise Environment
Boutique studios continue to grow in popularity among consumers, and some savvy health clubs are offering boutique-style classes to remain competitive. But boutique fitness has its limitations, such as location, price, and availability. In a recent interview in The New York Times, Peleton Co-founder and Chief Executive John Foley talks about how he hopes to solve those problems by providing users with a boutique experience in their own homes. “What the consumer wants, what is making people addicted to these classes, whether it’s yoga or boot camp or spin or high-intensity interval training or whatever, it’s the group environment,” he said. “It’s the other people. It’s the instructor. It’s the music. It’s the motivation.” 

Meet the IHRSA 2017 Keynote Speakers

A talent management guru, an internationally acclaimed branding expert, and an entrepreneur with an unlikely success story will keynote IHRSA 2017. This March, the IHRSA International Convention & Trade Show returns to Los Angeles, CA, and will feature more than 100 education sessions taught by some of the most successful individuals in the health club industry. Here’s a preview of three dynamic keynote speakers who will set the tone. 

Fitness Trackers Might Be Detrimental to Weight Loss Efforts
Some people buy fitness trackers with the goal of losing weight—but perhaps they shouldn’t. A new study found that wearing a fitness tracker may undermine weight loss efforts. For the study, 470 people were put on a low-calorie diet and asked to exercise more. Soon, all started losing weight. After six months half the group began self-reporting their diet and exercise, while the other half were given fitness trackers to monitor their activity. After two years, both groups were equally active—but those with the fitness trackers lost less weight. "These technologies are focused on physical activity, like taking steps and getting your heart rate up," John Jakicic, a researcher of health and physical activity at the University of Pittsburgh and the lead author on the study, told NPR. "People would say, 'Oh, I exercised a lot today, now I can eat more.' And they might eat more than they otherwise would have."

IHRSA Generates Support for PHIT on Capitol Hill
(Click to enlarge)Several IHRSA members and staff, along with members of the PHIT Coalition, conducted a lobby day on Capitol Hill today to generate additional support for the PHIT Act. Members of the PHIT Coalition, co-chaired by IHRSA and the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), met with members of the House and the Senate, asking them to co-sponsor the PHIT Act. Currently, PHIT has 101 bipartisan sponsors, with 88 from the House and 13 from the Senate. PHIT, the Personal Health Investment Today Act, would allow Americans to use flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) to pay for health club memberships, fitness equipment, exercise videos and youth sports league fees. If passed, it would allow individuals to tap their pre-tax account up to $1,000 per year to cover these expenses—families would be granted up to $2,000. Read our full coverage of the PHIT Act lobby day.


Active Lifestyle as Pursuit, Not Destination

The following is an excerpt from a Department of Health & Human Services blog post written by Alexandra Black, health promotion manager for IHRSA. 

Many athletes will tell you that you never really “arrive” when it comes to sport. With each win comes hunger for another. Every personal best leads to a new goal to pursue. Yet when it comes to health and fitness, there is so much focus on arrival—on the “after picture” and the weight on the scale. But active living is an ongoing pursuit, a day by day journey to living a happier life. 

Instead of focusing on weight loss or a fitness goal as the destination at the end of a journey, it is helpful to think of health and fitness as an ongoing process of working to maintain an active lifestyle and healthy diet. Over time, what we know about fitness and how we pursue it will evolve and change.

Think about what the health world looked like twenty or thirty years ago—low fat/high carb was in and running with ankle weights was popular. The important thing is that we are always pursuing healthy behaviors, always trying to stick with them, and moving forward. And part of that is knowing how to find a routine that works for you, day to day.

5 Tips for Finding What Works for You

1. Start out adventurous—the modern world provides many options to fitness consumers. There are now countless options to pursue physical activity, from high intensity fitness classes to outdoor activities like hiking; from recreational sports to a variety of activities at different health clubs. Experiment with different things until you find the one that makes you want to show up every day.

2. Prioritize convenience—it doesn’t matter how much you love the yoga class across town, if it’s not convenient to get there you are less likely to go. Prioritize options that are near places you go every day like work, school, and home.

Continue reading on HHS' Be Active Your Way blog.


This Week in the Fitness Industry: Health Clubs Benefit from 30 Day Fitness Challenges

Health Clubs Stand to Benefit from 30 Day Fitness Challenge Trend
Thirty-day fitness challenges continue to grow in popularity, with many using them as a more manageable alternative to exercise-related New Year’s resolutions, The Wall Street Journal reports. Birkram Yoga NYC is capitalizing on this trend by encouraging members and potential members to participate in a 30-day challenge at their four Manhattan locations. “Those who finish a challenge receive two guest passes, discounts on future classes, and, sometimes, a round of applause from classmates,” The Journal reports. “The challenge costs $39 for Bikram Yoga NYC newcomers and $145 for members. The owners estimate that a few thousand people have completed the challenge since they launched it in 2002.” 

Study: High Fitness Levels in Middle Age Tied to Bigger Brains
A new study has discovered yet another benefit of exercise: larger brains. For the study, researchers looked at 1,583 men and women who didn’t have dementia or heart disease and found that those who weren’t as physically active in midlife had smaller brains than their more-active peers 20 years later. “The brain scans revealed that people with a lower exercise capacity — defined as the amount of time people could exercise on the treadmill before their heart rate hit a certain threshold — in midlife were more likely to have smaller brains years later, compared with people who had high fitness levels in middle age,” Time reports. “They also found that people whose blood pressure and heart rate went up more during exercise were more likely to have smaller brains down the line. Higher-than-average blood pressure and heart-rate spikes could indicate a lack of physical fitness.”

Resolutioners’ Commitment Falters After February 9 ‘Fitness Cliff’
This year’s “fitness cliff”—the turning point where New Year’s resolutioners stop exercising regularly—occurred on Tuesday, February 9, according to research by Gold’s Gym, CBS News reports. "What we see from Gold's Gym's proprietary research is that Tuesday, February 9th is the Fitness Cliff—the day when New Year's Resolutions go astray, gym check-ins begin to steadily decline and members begin to lose focus on their goals," the company said in a statement,” Gold’s Gym said in a statement. The company created a mnemonic device to help members recognize when their health goals are at risk: C (Can’t find the time), L (Lacking a game plan to keep you going), I (Ignoring your commitment and falling into old patterns), F (Frustrated with lack of early results), F (Forgetting why you started).

Study: Good Weight Loss Programs Are Hard to Find Online
High-quality weight loss programs are difficult to identify online, a small U.S. study suggests. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD, found that fewer than one in 10 websites gave enough information to suggest the programs they promoted followed widely accepted medical guidelines for weight loss by including elements such as regular in-person meetings, daily food and activity tracking, calorie reduction, and increased exercise. Once researchers conducted phone interviews with some of the programs, they found some where more adherent to medical guidelines than they appeared online; they rated 19% as high quality based on their meeting guidelines for weight loss, up from just 6% when the businesses were evaluated based on their websites alone. “Weight-loss programs that follow the expert guidelines exist, however, they are few and far between,” the study's senior author told Reuters. “To identify these programs, patients will need to be proactive and call to verify that the components offered meet the recommendations before signing up.”


Singapore Encourages Citizens to 'Lose to Win'

This post is the third in a series of four that will provide useful information on international health promotion programs to use as successful models for your business and will help to encourage good health and wellbeing among members of your club, members of your staff, and members of your local community. View the first post here and the second post here.

Studies have shown that physical activity is one of the most important things that anyone can do to improve their health as regular involvement can lead to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Regular physical activity has also been proven to improve mental health and increase life expectancy. However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately a quarter of adults and more than 80% of adolescents worldwide are not sufficiently active.

Fortunately, health clubs have been playing a large role in helping to lessen this number by encouraging worldwide participation in physical activity.

Singapore: Lose to Win 

The Singapore Government and the Health Promotion Board (HPB) have joined forces to encourage citizens to be healthier by getting rid of those unwanted pounds.

Lose to Win is a creative weight-loss program that looks to get participants involved through personal guidance from specialized trainers, regular exercise initiatives, and planned nutrition regimens.

Progress is tracked throughout the course of the eight to 12-week program and upon completion of the program; participants receive vouchers to be redeemed on a number of different health-related items. Since the program began, it has helped more than 4,700 Singaporeans to live healthier each and every day. 

Starting a weight-loss program in your club is actually much easier than it may initially seem. There are many industry members who have gone through this process before and can offer advice on how to effectively execute a plan from start to finish. For example, VivaFit has just recently expanded to Singapore and the club offers a nutrition program that focuses on healthy lifestyle behaviors in order to maintain a healthy weight. Each participant will receive nutrition consultations, access to an online nutrition platform, and personalized coaching pertaining to best practices for physical activity and exercise. 

“What we’ve discovered in our VivaFit gyms around the world is that women want to be active and eat healthy diets but also want to ensure the time they spend is efficient and gets them the results they are looking for,” said Pedro Ruiz, who co-owns the company with his wife Constance.

For more best practices on how to create a successful weight loss program, see IHRSA’s Best Practice E-book on Weight Loss Programs


This Week In Health Promotion: Breast Cancer Awareness Month and More

A roundup of what's going on in the health and wellness world this week.

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month In The US

If you happen to live in the United States, you might notice a lot more of the color pink in your day to day life this month. October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase the knowledge of and awareness about breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women and around 2,350 in men this year. Learn more.

The good news is that evidence shows certain healthy lifestyle habits can help prevent breast cancer. Exercise and physical activity have been linked to lower risk of developing breast cancer, to better outcomes during treatment, and to a lower chance of recurrence. Higher consumption of fruits and vegetables has also been linked to lower breast cancer risk. 

Many organizations use October to educate the public and fundraise for breast cancer research. Is your club doing something? Let us know - email us at

For Today's Youth, Weight Loss Is Much Harder Than For Their Parents

Research from a national (U.S.) health survey suggests that factors besides diet and exercise may be leading to higher obesity rates. Data from the National Health And Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES) indicates that a person in 2006 who consumed the same amount of calories and exercised a smiliar amount to someone in 1988 would have a body mass index (BMI) 2.3 points higher than their 1988 counterpart. Authors of the study cited factors like stress, sleep, and pollution as possible culprits. Read more about the study.

Of course, a limitation of this study is that it is based on self reported data, and Americans are notoriously bad at estimating how much we eat. It is possible that increasing portion sizes in the absence of a change in recommended serving sizes (for example, the nutrition facts for a Coca Cola are still for a 12 ounce can even though it usually comes in a 20 ounce bottle( have distorted our ability to estimate our intake. Replacement of active work and hobbies with sedentary ones could also be a factor.

The bottom line is that for a number of possible reasons, weight loss may be harder to achieve today than it was 30 years ago for a number of people. This elevates the importance of supportive environments that help facilitate a healthy lifestyle, like clubs. 

Exercise Lowers Risk of Suicide Among Bullied Teens

Previously, data has shown that exercise improves self confidence and self esteem among children and teens. New resarch suggests this may translate to a very imortant outcome: lower suicide rates among teens who experience bullying. The study looked at data on over 13,500 high school students and found that about 30% of bullied teens reported feeling sad for two or more weeks in the past year, with 22% thinking about and 8% attempting suicide. The research also found that being active for at least four days out of the week reduced suicidal thoughts and attempts by 23%. Read more about the study at U.S. News & World Report.

Not only does exercise improve self esteem, it also boosts mood. Many health clubs offer programs and services targeted to children, and even more clubs allow teenagers to use the club alongside adults. This resarch highlights the importance of building healthy, active lifestyles at a young age.


New Resource For Clubs: The Best Practice E-Book Series

IHRSA members have told us that some of the most valuable education comes from opportunities to learn from their industry colleagues. The Best Practice E-Book series highlights member clubs who have implemented successful health and wellness programs in their clubs. The e-books will cover a wide range of popular health promotion topics. 

The first book in the series focuses on weight loss and weight management programs, long a staple of health club health promotion offerings. The e-book highlights programs from five clubs - Stevenson Fitness in Oak Park, California; East Bank Club in Chicago, Illinois; Saco Sport & Fitness in Saco, Maine; Sportsclub in Greenville, South Carolina; and Newtown Athletic Club in Newtown, Pennsylvania - who have had success running weight loss programs.

This e-book includes:

  • An introduction to the global weight problem
  • Stories from 5 IHRSA clubs with different strategies for running successful weight loss programs
  • A discussion of common themes in successful programs
  • Additional resources



Like-Minded MyFitness Pal Users Creating Tribes 

A tribe is defined as a group of like-minded individuals.

MyFitnessPal, an online and app-based program that aids those looking to lose weight and get in better shape by exercising, has discovered that its users have created their own tribes - Fitness Tribes as MyFitnessPal is now calling it.

The company started to produce trend reports from its data and survey results and learned some interesting information:

  • 64% surveyed belong to at least one Fitness Tribe
  • top group workouts for 2013 and so far in 2014 are yoga, Zumba and group indoor cycling.
  • 24% joined a gym with another tribe member

And using the stats and survey results from its 65 million users it has also discovered that those who use MyFitnessPal’s food diary lose twice as much weight.

MyFitnessPal has created a free eBook, The Rise of the Fitness Tribe from MyFitnessPal, which delves deeper into Fitness Tribes.

For more, visit the MyFitnessPal website.



Wanted: health club member success stories

Teena Henson at 332 pounds and 166 pounds.It’s hard to put in word when people ask me, “What is your story?” To me it isn’t a mere story; it is my life. I’ve heard the expression, “Your ‘a ha’ moment.” Well, my moment came in 2011 while listening to a commercial on the radio for Anytime Fitness. I said, “God, I wish you would put one of those in Gilmer.” Two weeks later, an ad appeared in the local paper that Anyime would be opening in my hometown. “Now,” I thought, “it’s in your hands. What are you going to do?”

I walked into the doors of the gym on March 8, 2011, and never looked back. Left behind is the person of 332 lbs. and the new improved woman of 166 lbs. has arrived. Self-confidence has replaced self-loathing.

That is an except of Get Active! magazine’s “Results” column, which highlights a health club member success story. Has one of your members lost 100+ pounds, or otherwise drastically improved their life and/or health? If so, IHRSA, and our readers, want to hear about it!

Please send details to by Aug. 20. Be sure to include print-quality before and after photos as well as details about the person and what makes their story special. The winning submission will be featured in an upcoming issue! 

Read the rest of the above sample "Results" column here.


Healthtrax Fitness & Wellness trainer helps member lose 100 pounds

Annette Bruce and her trainer, Henri.Healthtrax Fitness & Wellness in West Springfield, Mass., has shown one member what a gym and personal trainer can do.

Annette Bruce had been going to the club to use the pool, but when she hooked up with personal trainer Henri she became focused on getting in better shape and not having to rely on her cane.

The end result is a healthier, and lighter, Annette. How about 100 pounds less than when she started!

“Everybody is motivating me and pushing me, showing so much love and concern," said Bruce, in a local TV interview. "I come here all the time and they wonder why. I can’t help but come here all the time because of all the love.” 

See more in the WGGB story and video.