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River Valley Club has lofty goals

Owner(s): Joe and Elizabeth Asch
Location: Lebanon, NH
Employees: 45 full-time and 60 part-time 
Number of members: 2,200
Year opened: 1998  


Talk about high expectations: River Valley Club hopes to see up to 65 percent of their members working with a personal trainer in five years.

That may seem like a goal that is out of reach, since the industry average is in the 5-10% range. But the Lebanon, N.H., club already sees its numbers hovering around 35% - which translated into $2 million in revenue last year for a club with 2,200 members - so the reputation for a strong trainer-member relationship is already there.

Knowing what to do and how to do is obviously an important factor when reaching your goals and working with a trainer is a great way to do so. To that end, not only does River Valley Club stress the connection at the club, but also when you are not visiting. On its website the club features “Ask a Trainer” where your inquiries are answered by one of the 28 trainers employed by the club. For example, the latest asked if one’s BMI (body mass index) can go down even if one’s weight increases. Answer: “It typically means an inaccurate test because your BMI is based on your weight, so technically your BMI shouldn’t go down if your weight goes up.”

For more on River Valley Club – there is more than personal training - check out its answers to IHRSA questions.

Mission Statement: Through the promotion and provision of health-related programs, services and facilities - within RVC and our community at large - we endeavor to improve the quality of life of our members - and by extension, their loved ones and fellow Upper Valley citizens.

Classes: We offer approximately 95 group exercise classes per week including: Yoga (various disciplines), Pilates (both Mat and Reformer), BodyCombat, BodyPump, RPM, Spinning, Zumba, CrossFit, HydroCrossFit, TRX, Active Aging, Aqua Fit.

Offerings: Free towel service, whirlpools and saunas in locker rooms, whirlpool/waterfall in the pool area, two indoor salt-water pools, one outdoor pool, free weights, cardio equipment, separate Pilates studio with reformer machines, full-service spa and four indoor tennis courts.

Innovative ideas at the Club: 35% of our members work regularly with a personal trainer (industry standard is 5-10%).

Where you hope the Club will be in 5 years: We hope that the percentage of members using personal training grows from 35% to 60-65%; we hope to have 40-50 trainers (up from 28 trainers at present) Note: we are actively seeking highly qualified personal trainers. If you are interested, please contact Jen Poljacik at

Area in which you would be of assistance for networking)?: personal training;

Describe the area/community the club is in. The Club is located in Lebanon, N.H.., a relatively small community adjoining Dartmouth College and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

Do you have any community outreach programs: RVC regularly supports the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center; Prouty fundraising event; and the CHaD half marathon benefitting the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth. RVC also hosts Cancer Awareness Month in October, where we offer many free services to cancer survivors (member or non-member) who choose to visit RVC. In addition, we also host a Strong Man competition and a Spin-a-thon to benefit the Humane Society. This year our daycare center hosted a “Tot-Trot” to raise money for David’s House (a local charity).

Famous former or current members: Freestyle skier and Olympic Gold Medalist Hannah Kearney, Snowboarder and X-Games medal winner Kevin Pearce.

How long have you been a member of IHRSA and what IHRSA programs have you instituted and events have you attended? RVC has been an IHRSA Member Club for 16 years and we are active participants in NEHRSA event. We attend the IHRSA Trade Show at least every other year. On the IHRSA Web site, in the “Ask an industry leader” section, RVC’s Jen Poljacik comments on personal training questions.


 If you are an IHRSA member and are interested in being profiled, e-mail 

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