Fitness Industry Roundup: Celebs Invest in Fitness Chains

    An actor and a former NFL star are investing in fitness chains, innovative water aerobics courses in D.C. are attracting larger audiences, and Mashable is taking a look at the latest fitness tech.

    The fitness industry has some major achievements to celebrate, including the IHRSA Passport Program, powered by TrainAway, enrolling 1,000 clubs in 35 countries; the top fitness podcast celebrating its fourth birthday and 400,000 downloads; Americans averaging over 7,500 steps a day; celebrities investing in health clubs; and new high-tech products that are evolving how we do health and wellness.

    Aerobics Making a Splash

    A new trend is emerging, or shall we say, submerging? Versions of cycling, kickboxing, and bodyweight workouts are showing up at the pool, at least in Washington, D.C. As part of a city initiative to encourage exercise, a new aquatics program is offering a “HydroSuite” of exercise classes. These include HydroKick, where participants are chest-deep in the pool, kicking and punching at a punching bag; HydroSpin, a spinning class taking place in the water; and HydroBoard, which uses a surfboard-wide floating mat that exercisers stand on to perform burpees, planks, and other movements that challenge balance and the core. According to The Washington Post, the aquatics re-brand is being bolstered by the nonprofit Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA). The AEA’s director of education, Julie See, said, “Getting more people to understand the benefits of water...and the wide range of classes now available has helped to promote water exercise as beneficial for all ages and abilities.”

    Read about the growing "cool" factor around aquatic fitness.

    Celebs Invest in Fitness Chains

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    Michael Strahan, right, stands with Blink Fitness CEO Todd Magazine.

    Actor Mark Wahlberg and former NFL star Michael Strahan are dipping their toes in the fitness industry market. Earlier in 2019, Walhberg and his investment company bought a minority stake in F45 Training, a franchise based out of Australia. F45, an IHRSA member, has been wowing exercisers at over 1,500 facilities in 40 countries with an innovative program that combines HIIT, circuit training, and functional training. F45 CEO Rob Deutsch said Wahlberg is an “ideal fit for the company,” because of his passion for fitness. As part of a partnership with Good Morning America host Strahan, Blink Fitness will feature MSX by Michael Strahan X Blink, a line of activewear. The exclusive collection will be available at 100 Blink Fitness locations in a variety of sizes and shapes, staying in line with Blink Fitness’ body-positive brand.

    Read about these investments.

    1,000 Clubs Enrolled in the IHRSA Passport Program

    Since going mobile, the revamped IHRSA Passport Program, powered by TrainAway, has enrolled 1,000 clubs in 35 countries, we announced in June. The program offers members of participating IHRSA clubs discounted guest access to a global network of health clubs when they travel, using the free TrainAway mobile app. TrainAway was chosen by IHRSA to digitalize the IHRSA Passport Program earlier this year with an easy-to-use app for IHRSA clubs and their gym members. “[The Partnership between IHRSA and TrainAway is] a great fit because we have the same shared value: We want to help the members of the club, which is also active travelers stay active on the go and at the same time, of course, also help the gyms,” TrainAway co-founder Kenn Gudbergsen told Bryan O’Rourke in a Fit-C podcast.

    Learn more about the Passport Program or listen to Gudbergsen discuss the TrainAway app.

    Mashable’s Favorite Fitness Tech

    New ways for technology to impact your gym or your members’ lives is always developing, and at the latest Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, NV, those innovations were put on display. There, at the world-renowned annual convention, high-tech fitness-related equipment, apps, gidgets, and gadgets took the spotlight (at least for those of us in the industry). Mashable staff listed their favorite products from the show. From sleek kettlebells to the Deskcise Pro (where one can cycle on a bike and work at the same time), some of the more unique items include the Ozmo Active Smart Water Bottle that tracks how much water you drink and the L’Oreal My Skin Track pH, a wearable that lets the user know what their skin needs to stay healthy. Pivot Yoga apparel gives yogis the power to perfect their postures at home by wearing a shirt and pant combo with built-in sensors. Among the others listed are Flexit, an app to help users find a gym to visit; Withings Move ECG, a trendy watch that tracks heart rate for a more affordable price; Peleton Tread, the treadmill version of the stationary bike; Aaptiv, an app that gives users access to 3,000 audio workouts from 25 expert trainers; Withings Body+Scale, that can collect data on fat mass and water weight for multiple users; and Mirror Fitness, which we’ve mentioned before.

    Read about these hot new products.

    Fitness Podcast Celebrates 4th Birthday in a Big Way

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    The Fitness Business Podcast Host Chantal Brodrick with Owner and Creator Justin Tamsett

    The Fitness Business Podcast celebrated 400,000 downloads and 235 weekly episodes just one week before its fourth birthday in May, according to a press release. To put into perspective, the average lifespan of a podcast is just 14 shows, according to a study. The show, which is based in Australia and hosted by Chantal Brodrick, has been producing 30-minute episodes every week since its launch in 2015. It has become a place to listen to insights from industry experts, best-selling authors and club managers, including Todd Durkin, Bedros Keuilian, Chuck Runyon, Randy Hetrick, Jeb Blount, Rick Caro, Casey Conrad, Jim Worthington, Thomas Plummer, and more. “When we launched the show in 2015, the use of podcasts as an educational medium was still in its infancy. Over the course of the past four years, we have been relentless in our pursuit to provide quality information to our listeners week in week out. This consistency has enabled us to grow to 400,000 downloads whilst also driving awareness of the podcast medium amongst the global fitness industry,” said Brodrick.

    Read about The Fitness Business Podcast’s achievement.

    Is America Stepping Up to Activity Goals?

    How much do Americans walk? Well, it can vary depending on location and lifestyle, but Fitbit data shows that Americans took over 26 trillions steps last year, averaging to 7,994 steps a day or a little over 3.5 miles. That places the U.S. 33rd for average walking distance. Hong Kong tops the list at 10,493 steps a day on average, or about 5 miles. That’s a little over the physical guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which recommends Americans to exercise at least 150 minutes a week, or about 7,500 steps each day. However, the standard goal set by wearables is 10,000 steps a day. Is that what we should be shooting for? Not exactly, according to a recent article. The Harvard Gazette writes that the origins of the 10,000 step goal may be based on marketing decisions. Other research suggests that older women who walk over 4,400 steps a day have a lower risk of death, but the benefits level off at around 7,500 steps. More research on the ideal number of steps is underway, but experts and fitness advocates can agree that any activity is beneficial.

    Read about Fitbit's findings.

    Author avatar

    Rachel Valerio

    Rachel Valerio is the Digital Content Assistant for IHRSA. During the workweek, she is discovering exciting fitness industry news, staying on top of IHRSA's social media accounts and website, and hatching new plans to expand the association's digital footprint. Rachel's free time is mostly spent on pampering her cat, attempting new recipes, planning trips to visit her family in the Southwest (aka stock up on green chile), spending more time on the hyrdromassage bed than the treadmill at the gym, and exploring all things New England.