Time for industry to give thanks for a great 2013
Wed, November 27, 2013 at 12:28
IHRSA in 24 Hour Fitness, Anytime Fitness, Augie Nieto, Chris Clawson, Chuck Runyon, European Congress, Hard Candy, IHRSA 2013, International, LLife Fitness, Meetings & Events, NEHRSA, News, Summit

There is plenty to be thankful for in the fitness industry.

Helping members become healthier is a logical start. Then you can include the fact that most clubs are contributing to their respective communities with fundraisers, donating time and goods, and educating about health and wellness.

Suffice to say that it is a feel-good industry. And this time of year is a great time to look back and remember some of the things owners, managers, businesses and the general public has to be thankful for.


When clubs are hitting milestones, like the 100th club to open, the 10,000th member and so on, it is not only a reflection on the specific club. It shows that the industry is vibrant and growing.

One of the most recent is Keep Cool. The brand that recently was named the most recognizable fitness company in France just cracked 100 franchises.

Anytime Fitness made it five different continents with locations when it opened a club in Singapore. The club is sure to be a success if the 200 pre-sale memberships signed when the doors opened for the first day.

Staying in Asia, a Russian chain eclipsed two milestones right around the same time. X-Fit hit 50 clubs and 100,000 members in 2013. And, the clubs reports more clubs are to open before the end of the year.

It wasn’t lofty numbers for Hard Candy, the club who ownership includes Madonna. This chain opened the doors to its first North American location, in Toronto, right around Halloween. Is that a coincidence, Hard Candy opening near Halloween?

It wasn’t only clubs hitting milestones in 2013. The CEO Pledge, a national campaign promoted by the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity to encourage every CEO in the United States to recognize physical activity as an important driver of employee health and business performance, secured its 100th signature (there are now more than 150). 

Anytime Fitness, which has mostly franchises, opened its 250 Australian club in 2013.


IHRSA President Joe Moore, left, and Augie Nieto.Probably the most awe-inspiring achievement in the industry in 2013 was seeing Augie Nieto exercise on the trade show floor of the IHRSA International Convention & Trade Show. Nieto, who is battling (and doing a damn good job at it) ALS, did leg presses at the Octane Fitness booth. He later replicated the feat – 25 with 120 pounds – at Augie’s Quest, the annual fundraiser for ALS.

A couple of industry veterans were honored for their longevity, contribution to the industry and career success with lifetime achievement awards. Rick Caro, president of Management Vision, Inc., past IHRSA board member, and former club owner and operator, was given the inaugural IHRSA Lifetime Achievement Award; Daniel Levin, owner of East Bank Club in Chicago received Club Industry’s honor.

Also coming in pairs are Chris Clawson and Chuck Runyon, heads of Life Fitness and Anytime Fitness, respectively. Aside from another successful year for both companies, Clawson made it to the final stage of Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year (he did not win) and Runyon was tabbed as the Executive Magazine Mid Market CEO of the Year.

“I am proud, humbled and thankful for this award,” Runyon said. “I know it is an individual award but I accept it as a team award. It shows what a great, talented team we have here at Anytime Fitness.”

“(The award) reinforces what I said when I came back to Life Fitness,” Clawson said. “The company has heritage, history and a lot of pride. We can live on that for awhile but at some point we need to move forward. We want to be market-drivers. All of the people here are making it happen. We have tremendous talent and the needed someone to let them do their thing.

While it was for 2012, 24 Hour Fitness found out in 2013 that it was ranked #7 by the The Orange County Register as a Top Workplaces to Work. Accolades like that is nothing new for 24 Hour Fitness as it has placed in the Top 100 Military Friendly Employer and a Top 25 Military Spouse Friendly Employer by veteran-owned Victory Media.

Speaking of 24 Hour Fitness, founder Mark Mastrov, who is now part of the UFC gyms franchise, became part owner of the Sacramento Kings in the NBA. The lifelong dream came true this fall.


Keynote speaker Chip Conley at the 2013 International Convention & Trade Show.Another year, another smashing success at the IHRSA International Convention & Trade Show. The trade show was one of the biggest as the booths sold out early; thousands of attendees got great education sessions, keynote speakers and networking opportunities. And, Las Vegas was a great location for the almost 12,000 from scores of different countries in attendance.

This year IHRSA co-hosted with NEHRSA for its first New England event in many years. The NEHRSA/IHRSA Fall Conference & Trade Show, which included member clubs from New England, New York and New Jersey, appears to be here to stay.

Of course, European Congress, Summit for a Healthier America and IHRSA/Fitness Brasil were both well attended and informative.

It wasn’t only events that IHRSA was proud of this year. The Public Policy department here in Boston and Washington, D.C., was busy protecting our members and the industry as a whole by promoting and protecting the industry, as well as health promotion.

Some of the state bills we are keeping an eye on are Pennsylvania considering taxing helath clubs; Michigan regulating dieticians and nutritionists; and clarifying the California child care laws.

If we missed anything here and you think it should be included, reply below and include a link, for authenticity. And for all news on IHRSA and the industry, check out the IHRSA blog.

Article originally appeared on IHRSA (http://www.ihrsa.org/).
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