LISBON, Portugal, and BOSTON—October 22, 2018—Approximately 600 fitness industry leaders came together in Lisbon for the 18th Annual IHRSA European Congress, which concluded on October 18. Participants traveled from 36 countries to network and learn about what leaders need to know as the health club business continues to undergo rapid change.

“IHRSA is especially grateful to José Carlos Reis, President, AGAP / Portugal Active, the 33 sponsoring companies and of course, our many IHRSA country partners for helping to make this year’s event thought-provoking and truly memorable,” said Joe Moore, president and CEO of IHRSA.

Among the many highlights of the program were:

  • The presentation of the IHRSA European Club Leadership Award to Henrik Gockel, founder and managing director of PRIME TIME fitness in Germany.
  • The release of the 2018 IHRSA European CEO Study Report, sponsored by Technogym, gaging CEO sentiment on current and future business factors affecting the fitness industry (media copies available).
  • More than a dozen seminars, including keynote presentations by Lucy Adams, CEO, Disruptive HR, and Former HR Director, BBC, United Kingdom; and Chris Roebuck, British Economist & Visiting Professor of Transformational Leadership, Cass Business School, United Kingdom, both sessions sponsored by Technogym. A third keynote presentation by Pedro Vieira, Master Trainer, LIFE Training, Portugal was sponsored by Keiser Corporation.
  • A CEO panel and discussion with club leaders from Romania, Portugal, and the U.K. on how new developments about consumer expectations and technology are impacting the health and fitness club industry.
  • All presentations, including the keynote sessions, were simultaneously interpreted in French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
  • Discussion groups by language helped attendees apply what they learned to their businesses.
  • A sponsor showcase where club operators could connect one-on-one with leading industry suppliers.
  • Two club tours of some of Lisbon’s finest health clubs.
  • Announcement of the new mobile app for the IHRSA Passport Program for 2019, providing discounted travel benefits worldwide for members of participating health clubs.

See more at #ihrsacongress and view a short video of the event.

I am glad that our European Congress is making strides each year to become the number one education event for club leaders in Europe. Whether it is the results of our first ever European CEO study, our five language discussion groups, or our ability to attract leaders from all corners of Europe, IHRSA is committed to working even closer with its club members and sponsors,said Florian Cartoux, IHRSA’s Europe director.

“It was an honor to return to Lisbon after 10 years and work again with our Federation Partner AGAP / Portugal Active. The entire board and staff rallied behind the event. We are grateful for their support and look forward to returning in the future,” points out Alison O’Kane Giannaras, IHRSA’s associate vice president of international development and operations.

The 2018 IHRSA European Congress is sponsored by American Council on Exercise, B.W.H. LDA, Core Health and Fitness, Escape Fitness, Fabiano Designs, Fun & Fitness Lda, FunXtion International BV, GANTNER Technologies, Gruppo P&G — Fit interiors, Gympass, HydroMassage, Intenza, RiminiWellness, Johnson Health Tech. Co. Ltd. / MATRIX FITNESS, Keiser Corporation, Les Mills Shared Services Ltd., Life Fitness, Mindbody, Myzone, NASM, Ojmar, Perfect Gym Solutions S.A., PinMeTo, Precor, QualiCert — Qualitop International, SELVAS Healthcare, Inc., SportsArt, Technogym SpA, TrainAway, Transaction Services Group (TSG), Virtuagym, Wexer Virtual, and Zumba Fitness LLC.


IHRSA, The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association is a not-for-profit trade association representing health and fitness facilities, gyms, spas, sports clubs, and suppliers worldwide. IHRSA and its members are dedicated to making the world healthier through regular exercise and activity promotion. IHRSA's events provide a vast array of speakers on business and corporate culture, instructional sessions on all aspects of succeeding in the health club industry, social events to mix and mingle with peers, and the most spectacular trade shows in the industry. IHRSA and the global health club industry will convene in San Diego, CA, from March 13-16, 2019, for IHRSA 2019, IHRSA’s 38th Annual International Convention & Trade Show.