Rob Bishop
Rob Bishop is the co-owner of Elevations Health Club in Scotrun, Pa. His award-winning health club column debuted in the March 2010 issue of Athletic Business, with partner Barry Klein, and Rob has been a regular contributor ever since. You can hear insight from Rob in person at the Athletic Business Conference & Expo where he's been a speaker since 2007.
  • Tuesday, June, 19, 2018
    11 Design Changes That Might Benefit Our Club

    This issue of AB features facilities from all over North America with unique, often spectacular designs. I was recently asked what I would do differently if I could redesign our health club. That question really caused me to take a critical look around.


  • Friday, June, 01, 2018
    How the Club Market Continues to Change

    A few weeks ago, I was talking with a friend who owns a small chain of very successful paint and wallpaper stores in my area. He said, "Even with all of the experience I've gained over the past 20 years, I'd never open an independent paint store in today's market." I was surprised by this comment, as I know he really loves what he does.


  • Wednesday, April, 11, 2018
    Stemming Attrition Following Record Sales

    A number of factors conspired to send our membership and revenue numbers into steady decline throughout 2016. These included internal financial problems, along with increased competition in our marketplace from a low-price chain — not to mention Zumba, personal training and rock climbing studios. With the help of a consultant, we started doing things differently last year, changing our marketing, service and pricing models rather dramatically.


  • Tuesday, February, 13, 2018
    Business Tips for Your Club’s Personal Training Efforts

    As readers of this column know, last year our club revamped our membership structure to better suit the needs of our customers. We also restructured our personal training department.


  • Tuesday, December, 12, 2017
    Advantages of Pushing Club Operations Online

    When we first purchased Elevations Health Club, 22 years ago, members would sign in when they arrived at the club on a piece of lined notebook paper. Membership dues were collected at the front desk each month. Not exactly technology-dependent.


  • Thursday, October, 26, 2017
    How a Customer Service Reboot Rescued Our Club

    After approximately 18 months of declining membership and revenue, I realized that our club was in serious trouble. As identified in this space last month, we had two big issues: poor customer service (we weren't as good as we used to be) and a seeming invisibility in our marketplace.


  • Tuesday, October, 03, 2017
    Identifying Operational Challenges as an Independent Club

    Because I write a column that often focuses on helping club owners and managers become more successful in their own clubs, everyone usually assumes that we have a great club (true) and are wildly successful (not necessarily true).


  • Tuesday, August, 22, 2017
    Building a Brand Around Your Business Image

    If you read business books and articles, you're bound to be familiar with "branding" — the idea that consumers can and should immediately recognize your business, its logo and what your business stands for. What's special about your company?


  • Wednesday, July, 05, 2017
    Unique Health Club Design Elements

    I started working out when I was 12 years old. So in the past 20 years (okay, 35 years), I've performed more than my fair share of workouts. One thing I really look forward to is working out in different health clubs.


  • Wednesday, June, 07, 2017
    Five Tips for Retaining New Club Members

    If your club is anything like mine, right about now you're wondering what happened to Stan who was always on the treadmill on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 6 a.m. Or perhaps you can't remember the last time you saw Nancy, who was always in the 10 a.m. cycle class. And wasn't the weight room more crowded last month?


  • Wednesday, April, 30, 2014
    Blog: Does Wearable Fitness Have Legs?

    Wearable fitness tracking technology is the future!

    Such excitement was so early-2014. We saw articles in The Wall Street Journal that described how corporate CEOs were big users of wearables and how they were competing against each other to see who could sleep better or walk more. BusinessWeek ran a story earlier this year that discussed the possibility — the likelihood? — of wearables putting gyms out of business. The New York Times ran a piece two weeks ago today about how wearables were being used in gyms.


  • Thursday, June, 27, 2013
    Blog: Why Calling 'Obesity' a 'Disease' Is So Troubling

    Jerry Seinfeld does a bit during which he discusses topics that make people whisper. Cancer is one of them. "Did you hear about Bill? He has (whispering) cancer."


  • Monday, May, 20, 2013
    Blog: SoulCycle Lawsuit Could Hurt Fitness Industry

    The recently filed class-action lawsuit against the indoor cycling chain SoulCycle for allegedly violating California and New York wage laws could have a huge impact on the health and fitness industry. We're fascinated by it and are watching to see how it progresses. The complaint, filed by a former SoulCycle instructor, claims that SoulCycle instructors - who are paid only for the classes they teach - are "required to work above and beyond the time instructing a class." Their duties include training, preparation, communication with customers, meetings, special-event classes and assisting with marketing.


  • Friday, April, 19, 2013
    Blog: After a Sad Week, Count Your Blessings

    "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.


  • Wednesday, February, 27, 2013
    Blog: 'Low-Price' Doesn't Necessarily Equal 'High-Value'

    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"?


  • Monday, February, 18, 2013
    Blog: Calling All Catch-Phrase Professionals!

    If there is one area of our business that we know is deficient, it is this - our catch phrases.

    They're getting better. Can you guess what we used to call our new member introductory program that provided three workouts with a trainer, a fitness evaluation and a free consultation with a nutritionist? We called it "our new member introductory program that provides three workouts with a trainer, a fitness evaluation and a free consultation with a nutritionist." We were nothing if not descriptive.


  • Wednesday, April, 13, 2011
    Blog: Zumba's Great - Just Not for Us

    We're going to come right out and say it, and then go hide behind something sturdy in anticipation of the response.