Fitness Industry Roundup: Startups, ‘Sweatworking,’ & GDPR

    Tech ventures are aiming high in the fitness industry, exercisers are surfing without the ocean, GDPR takes effect, and more.

    This week, we take a look at three schools that were awarded a $100K fitness center with the help of an IHRSA member, Gold Gym’s goal to continually grow its legacy, and how GDPR can affect your health club.

    Professionals Are Bringing Networking to the Gym

    Member Retention Networking Column

    Networking at the gym is a new trend.

    Some professionals are turning meetings into “sweatworking” sessions at group X classes such as SoulCycle or Barry’s Bootcamp, according to an article by Moneyish. “It takes the pressure off of trying to force a connection over an awkward lunch. The endorphins are flowing and everyone’s in a good mood,” said business coach Lindsey Anvik of Charlotte, NC. As golf memberships decline among millennials, according to the article, boutique fitness clubs are filling the need to network by booking group classes for team bonding or recruiting exercises and creating corporate wellness partnerships. Not to mention, it’s harder to bail on a scheduled class.

    Read more about the shift to “sweatworking.”

    TuffStuff Provides Equipment for New Tennessee School Gym

    Equipment Tuffstuff Show Floor Column

    A woman puts TuffStuff equipment into action at IHRSA 2018.

    A multimillion dollar campaign is fighting to beat the obesity epidemic starting at elementary schools nationwide, according to a Tennessee news station. The National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils program helped fund $100K gyms, called “DON’T QUIT! Fitness Centers,” at qualifying schools through public/private partnerships with companies like Coca-Cola Co. and Nike. IHRSA member TuffStuff Fitness International is providing all the equipment to the winning schools, the report said. “This is a very exciting time for Tennessee and the three schools being awarded a DON’T QUIT! Fitness Center for their efforts in demonstrating a passion for fitness,” said Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.

    Read more about the winning schools.

    GDPR Takes Effect in EU, with Global Implications

    The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect May 25 in the European Union. As we become more connected worldwide, the new regulations, which aim to protect personal data, can impact your health club even if it is not located in the EU. There are six principles that should be applied to how a company handles its customers information, and if the company is not in compliance with the rules, it will be penalized. The penalties can be a fine of up to €20 million euros or 4% of a company’s annual revenues, whichever is higher. An IHRSA report summarizes the implications of the new rules and offers guidance on getting your club in compliance.

    Read more about GDPR and how it affects your business.

    Fitness-related Startups Eye Growth with Help from Investors

    A Crunchbase News report looks at fitness startups aiming to make waves in the industry. Many are seeking to take advantage of the significant growth in the sector. For example, digital platform Peerfit is focusing on reinventing corporate wellness programs to help businesses better integrate health benefits and rid the need to process reimbursements. And Zenrez, a sales and marketing platform, is partnering with studios to help track membership attendance and uses that data to create offers that will encourage more participation. A glut in fitness industry seed-funding will allow these companies and others like them will continue to take the industry by storm, Crunchbase reports.

    Read more about fitness startups’ goals.

    How Gold’s Gym Is Keeping Up with the 21st Century

    Since its inception over 50 years ago, Gold’s Gym has aimed to be a leader in the industry, an article in D Magazine reports. The company doubled down on that mission in 2013 when Brandon Bean took the helm as CEO and continued looking for new ways to innovate and strengthen the Gold’s brand. Bean said he is working to keep the gym’s legacy alive through focusing on membership engagement, making joining easier, launching a corporate wellness program, and looking for expansion opportunities nationwide. “We were the pioneers of the industry 53 years ago and I think we are the pioneers again today. We’re just scratching the surface of what is possible,” said Bean.

    Read more on Gold’s Gym growth through the years.

    Cowabunga: Georgia Gym Takes Up Surfing

    Despite being almost 300 miles away from the Atlantic Ocean, exercisers at Surf’s Up Fitness are not shying away from taking on the surfboard. The studios, located near Atlanta, offer different class experiences all using a “total body surf trainer” in a sand-filled workout room. There are three types of workouts, with a focus on either flexibility and balance, resistance and strength, or burning fat. The classes help improve balance, core stability, and strength, according to a Surf’s Up trainer. “It’s all about working on an unstable surface,” the trainer said.

    Watch what Surf’s Up Fitness is all about.

    UK Health and Fitness Industry Continues to Strengthen

    According to the recently released 2018 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report, growth has slowed to 4.6% from last year’s 5%. Nonetheless, the report shows an increase in the number of gyms in the United Kingdom, with 7,000, and total gym membership is nearing 10 million. The penetration rate has remained the same from last year at 14.9%, prompting some experts to question if the boutique studio movement has affected growth, while others disagree. “I’m sticking to my prediction that the period up to 2020 remains the time for fitness to continue to break all barriers,” said David Minton, director of LeisureDB. IHRSA’s 2018 Global Report, scheduled for release at the end of this month, will give a broader look into the health of the fitness industry worldwide.

    Read more about the 2018 State of the UK Fitness Industry.

    IHRSA, Fitness Brasil Extend Partnership Through 2030

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    Waldyr Soares, founder and president of Fitness Brasil, with Joe Moore, IHRSA president and CEO.

    IHRSA and Fitness Brasil are extending their long-standing partnership for at least 12 more years through the annual IHRSA Fitness Brasil Conference and Trade Show in 2030. “This is a great moment for both organizations,” Waldyr Soares, founder and president of Fitness Brasil, said in a release. “Fitness Brasil and IHRSA are committed to growing the industry in Brazil and continue to bring together the best minds on the club and supplier sides of the industry in a dynamic event in São Paulo.” The partnership is evidence of IHRSA’s investment in the Brazilian health and fitness industry. Earlier this year, IHRSA launched a new Portuguese language biweekly newsletter as well as several Portuguese language e-books on key operational topics.

    Learn more about IHRSA’s partnership with Fitness Brasil.

    Author avatar

    Rachel Valerio

    Rachel Valerio previously served as IHRSA's Digital Content Editor—a position focused on collecting and reporting on 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.