• Mid-Priced, Midsized Clubs Must Increase Price, Service

    by Rob Bishop and Barry Klein April 2013

    The Squeeze, which we wrote about a year ago, is growing tighter. If you operate mid-priced, midsized clubs, as we do - that means with fees of somewhere between ...

  • Blog: After a Sad Week, Count Your Blessings

    by Rob Bishop & Barry Klein April 2013

    "This is just like New Orleans."

    In the wake of the tragedy in Boston this week, we were reminded of that quote from 2005. It came from one of our health club members and is seared into our brains. And it reminds us never to become the kind of people who would say that. Such a statement colors our opinion of customer service and how we respond to difficult situations.

  • Helping Fitness Facilities Help PTSD Sufferers

    by Christopher Prawdzik is former editor of National Guard magazine and The Officer journal. March 2013


    Fred Minnick, a former staff sergeant for the Wisconsin Army National Guard, spent nine years in the military, including a year in Iraq. A photojournalist and public affairs officer, he published Camera Boy: An Army Journalist's War in Iraq in 2009, which chronicled his efforts as a public affairs officer in a war zone. His experience in Iraq was tough. He saw combat, and he watched two of his close friends die. One of the great coping mechanisms, he says, was his ability to exercise, particularly running. Unfortunately, when he returned home, he broke his foot and lost that outlet. While he was laid up, he began to suffer the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • Blog: 'Low-Price' Doesn't Necessarily Equal 'High-Value'

    by Rob Bishop & Barry Klein February 2013

    So, who started putting the words "high value" after "low cost" when describing health clubs that we all know and love (and we hate) as the "low-cost providers"?

  • Despite Discomfort, We're Intrigued By Enhancement Fees

    by Rob Bishop & Barry Klein January 2013

    To charge a fee, or not to charge a fee, that is the question. Enhancement fees - one-time annual charges collected from every member of a health club ...

  • 'End Tables' Achieve Separation Between Fitness Equipment

    by Andrew Cohen November 2012

    Fitness equipment is placed in rows because it is space efficient, and because the symmetry of the view helps alleviate the sense of clutter.

  • American Health Clubs Contemplate a Move Toward European-Style Design

    by Andrew Cohen October 2012

    There are all sorts of exercisers, all sorts of health clubs and all sorts of countries. So forgive the many generalizations that follow.

  • Blog: An Impressive Opening to the Technogym Wellness Village

    by Andrew Cohen September 2012

    Cesena, Italy, probably does not see this often. The roundabouts and country roads around the medium-sized city of 97,000 were brought to a crawl as scores of buses and vans inched toward the entrance to Technogym's new Wellness Village, located hard between low walls of the old city and the autostrade. The expansive campus, which houses the company's factory, offices, and workout and spa facilities, is staffed by 1,000 of Technogym's 2,200 worldwide employees, most of whom appear to be here as well, working out on climbers and ellipticals on the massive building's balconies, playing pickup games on the outdoor basketball court, striding by in groups of Nordic walkers, and holding an impromptu-seeming clinic including medicine balls and various other tools of the trade. None of it is impromptu, of course - it is all being done for our benefit, filmed, live-streamed…when our charming tour guide, Rachele Schiavinato, says that the event is taking place because "We are proud of what we have achieved, especially in this economy," it is easy to believe.

  • Rob & Barry: We Couldn't Care More About Our Members

    by Rob Bishop & Barry Klein September 2012

    Imagine that you've just tested your pool water and found it to be - the actual numbers are irrelevant to the story - just fine. A member approaches you 10 minutes later, still in her bathing suit, dripping water on your shoes, and says, "The pH in the pool is high." You say, "I just checked it and it seemed fine, but I'm happy to look into it," even though you'd rather say, "Really? You must be a human chemical testing kit, because the water is actually perfect!" At that moment, would you rather be in the fitness business, or on a beach someplace?

  • Blog: Damned Either Way on Cancellations

    by Rob Bishop and Barry Klein August 2012

    Recently, we posed five real scenarios regarding members who asked for special treatment regarding membership cancellations. What we didn't mention is that in each of those cases, we resolved the issue in the member's favor. What we also didn't mention is how little business value we see in those resolutions because those members had no appreciation for the fact that they were asking us for an exception. They just wanted us to do what they wanted.