Fitness Industry Roundup: Gym Design Meets Instagram

    A growing number of gyms are recognizing the business value of incorporating “Instagram-worthy” design.

    This week, gyms are fine-tuning their aesthetic with social media in mind, LeBron James is teaming up with celebrity superstars for a wellness campaign, In-Shape gyms reach their campaign goal, and more.

    Gyms Eye Instagram Appeal

    More and more gyms and boutique studios are experimenting with the perfect Instagram-worthy aesthetic, the Boston Globe writes. Why? According to Mark Partin, founder of B/SPOKE Indoor Cycling Studios, “People will go to a studio just to take a shot. It becomes a badge of honor. ‘Hey I was here.’” Some popular motifs include banana leaf print, anything with Millennial pink, bright neon signs, cute sayings, and plenty of natural light. Gym owners look to Instagram itself for ideas on the perfect aesthetic, many times reaching out to artists to help design a wall space—something Cassandra Foster, owner of Mission Hill Yoga, did. Foster’s selfie wall was designed by artist Sneha Shrestha, who included her Twitter handle in the mural. Encouraging selfies with a gym’s name emblazoned in the background serves as a quick trick for marketing. “You’re basically leveraging other people’s social media circles to promote and market the brand indirectly for you,” Partin told the Globe. “It’s free marketing, in a way."

    Read more about gym’s achieving the perfect aesthetic.

    In-Shape Raises $150K to Fight Cancer

    As reported in September, In-Shape Health Clubs launched its 4th annual Fight Cancer campaign with a goal to raise $150,000 in October, a 15% increase from last year. The clubs reached that and more, with a total of $153,500. Funds will go to the American Cancer Society and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, a press release announced. In-Shape approached the fundraiser from many sides, including sponsoring the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event in two cities in California; allocating 20% of sales from Fight Cancer merchandise to the fund; donating $1 each time a new member joined or each time someone shared a photo on social media with the hashtag #InShapeFightsCancer; hosting donation-based fitness events; and selling paper kettlebells. The clubs’ business partners, such as Les Mills, Matrix, Precor, Motionsoft, Petra-1, Hillyard, Keiser, and Impendi Analytics, also boosted the campaign with donations and participation. “The Fight Cancer campaign is a way for us to say 'Thank You' to our community by raising money for cancer research—a disease that impacts everyone—on an annual basis,” said Kris Mulkey, vice president of marketing at In-Shape.

    Read more about the event.

    Superstar Team Launches Wellness Brand

    Los Angeles newcomer LeBron James joins Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lindsey Vonn, and Cindy Crawford for the launch of Ladder, a health and wellness company, along with other top fitness experts, who will serve as advisors and content creators. According to The Wall Street Journal, Ladder will at first offer four core products, including protein and green powders, with plans to expand into snack foods. As a whole, Ladder aims to move away from fads to long-term plans for each customer, according to its website. That individualization is also reflected by how the company is run. Ladder is eliminating the middleman—instead of relying on an existing wellness company to bring products to market, Ladder will sell directly to the consumer. This approach is a shift away from tradition endorsements where celebrities take stakes in a product. “It’s an organically developed company,” Schwarzenegger said, versus “a company coming to us and saying, ‘We’ll give you some stock if we can use your name.’ That’s what I’ve done in the past, but I didn’t have the control. That’s why I got out of the deals.” Another tenant of Ladder is product transparency. The aim is to develop safe and certified products with quality ingredients, in an effort to combat misgivings in the unregulated world of supplement.

    Read more about Ladder.

    8th Annual ChinaFit a Hit!

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    A thumbs up from 2018 attendees!

    More than 470 fitness industry professionals attended the ChinaFit / IHRSA China Management Forum was held December 2-5 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Shanghai. Over the four days, attendees participated in interactive workshops, which focused on personal training management, sales and marketing, customer service, member retention, and more. The presentations and topics were “exactly” what attendees wanted to learn about, said John Holsinger, director of IHRSA Asia-Pacific. The event also featured a Women of Influence Panel moderated by Leila Timergaleeva, IHRSA's ambassador to Russia and CIS, and a Chinese Leadership Panel, as well as presentations by New Evolution Ventures’ Derek Gallup, Active Wellness’ Bill McBride, and Retention Guru Paul Bedford. According to The IHRSA Greater China Health Club Report, the combined revenue from the top 10 cities on mainland China ranks fourth among all global markets at $3.9 billion in annual revenue (USD), while the number of club members ranks ninth in the world at 4.5 million. Next year’s event will be held December 8-11 in Shenzhen, China.

    Read more about the event.

    Mirror, Mirror, Who’s the Fittest of Them All?

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    Mirror shows your reflection and a virtual trainer.

    Two new products have entered the fitness market that could change up the game, according to the December issue of CBI. Mirror, the brainchild of Brynn Putnam, who is the CEO of Refine Method in New York City, is an actual mirror plus an LCD screen. The combination shows users their own reflection and that of a subscription-based virtual trainer. Mirror is discrete and is the “perfect tool to build a nearly invisible, interactive home gym,” Putnam said. Tonal, a strength-training device that looks like a vertical flat-screen television, incorporates an electromagnetic engine to generate resistance on attachments. To use Tonal, a user would pull out adjustable arms and choose from over 200 workouts on the screen, go through a 10-minutes assessment, and then begin an AI-led workout. Aly Orady, CEO and founder, said in an interview with Inc., “We're the only ones doing any sort of connected fitness with strength training,” and hopes the machine will help people keep the pounds off.

    Read more about Mirror and Tonal.

    60 Organizations Attend European Us Girls Stakeholder Event

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    Attendees at the event pose.

    Sixty organizations from 32 countries attended the European Us Girls Stakeholder Event in Paris during the MOVING PEOPLE, MOVING EUROPE conference on November 22-23. The event supports European Us Girls, a project led by the UK sport charity StreetGames that focuses on promoting female participation in grassroots sport and physical activity, particularly through peer leadership. IHRSA’s International Public Policy Advisor Kilian Fisher attended this by invite-only stakeholder event, which was organized by International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA). “It was great to develop partnerships and learn about new initiatives in sport, fitness, and physical activity and to seek out potential involvement and opportunities for IHRSA member health clubs around the world,” he said.

    Read more about European Us Girls.

    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.