Aspiring Fitness Leaders Should Be ‘Hungry’ Students

HealthQuest’s Wade Williams says “being a hungry student of the industry” will help you continually grow and evolve as a business leader in the fitness industry.

The Lessons in Fitness Leadership series highlights IHRSA’s industry leaders and thanks them for their continued commitment to growing, promoting, and protecting the health club industry. By sharing their business expertise, we hope that you will get to know them, what they've learned along the way, and how they view leadership.

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Wade Williams
General Manager

What is the most fulfilling part of being a business leader in the fitness industry?

The fitness industry is full of dynamic, vibrant individuals with similar mindsets to make a difference [in people’s lives]. We are extremely fortunate to be provided the opportunity to harness our efforts and energy into making the difference in the lives of individuals and call it “work.”

Coming from an education background, prior to entering the fitness industry, the most fulfilling aspect of my position is the continuous education and development of our team in honing our industry and business knowledge. I believe that some of the most driven people reside in the fitness industry; there is a constant hunger for knowledge and personal development. We certainly have a bright future in the fitness industry ahead of us!

If you were able to go back in time, what is one piece of leadership advice you would have given your younger self about working in the fitness industry?

If I could go back in time, I would tell my younger self to stop trying to take over the world in a day. Being a lifelong learner and being a hungry student of the industry will provide you tenfold returns. Never be afraid to ask those tough questions. You will learn and continuously develop and sharpen your skills.

Learn from not only industry leaders, but leaders outside of the industry. Some of the most beneficial opportunities I have had were stepping outside of the fitness industry and applying key “takeaways” to our fitness business. There is some great stuff going on out there. Take a step out of the industry, apply what makes sense, and continue to evolve your business. This is a fast-paced, constantly evolving industry. Keep learning and evolving.

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What prompted you to join the Industry Leadership Council?

The industry’s brightest and best seemed to be involved in the ILC. Getting involved and supporting the efforts of the ILC to support the future of the fitness industry wasn’t a question for us. We are at a turning point in this industry, and the ILC is certainly helping to lead the way.

The Personal Health Investment Today Act, or PHIT, is legislation that would make access to physical activity more affordable. How will the passage of this bill help America get fit?

The passage of the PHIT bill will be massively beneficial for the fitness industry. This will aid to shift the mindsets of individuals to understanding the “Exercise is Medicine” portion of the health and wellness equation. Rather than focusing on the reactive portion of health and wellness, why not shift the attention to prevention? When PHIT passes, this will be a huge industry win and an awakening point for many individuals to take control of their own personal health.

“Getting involved and supporting the efforts of the ILC to support the future of the fitness industry wasn’t a question for us. We are at a turning point in this industry, and the ILC is certainly helping to lead the way.”

Wade Williams, General Manager

HealthQuest - North Flemington, NJ

IHRSA does a significant amount of advocacy work to Grow, Promote, and Protect clubs across the country. How do you feel that work benefits your business or the industry at large?

IHRSA provides tremendous support to fitness industry professionals by laying the framework and providing insight into industry trends and upcoming challenges as well as providing education opportunities to continuously grow and evolve.

Beyond the day-to-day, IHRSA provides tireless efforts in supporting the fitness industry and fighting potentially harmful legislation that could be catastrophic to this industry as a whole. We are fortunate to have the talent and expertise of the individuals from the IHRSA team. Thank you!

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Shannon Vogler @vogler_shannon

Shannon Vogler is an avid fitness consumer who uses her creative abilities to craft beautiful content for health and wellness businesses. She offers a variety of digital marketing services that aim to promote the importance of an active body and mind. When she’s not working, Shannon enjoys lifting, running, and cheering for the New England Patriots.