• Blog: Wine at the Gym? I’ll Drink to That

    by Emily Attwood April 2014

    Cardio equipment? Check. Towel service? Check. Group exercise schedule? Check. Liquor license? Pending.

  • News and Notes From the IHRSA 2014 Trade Show Floor

    by Michael Gaio March 2014

    There’s nothing like attending a good trade show, especially in the fitness industry. The equipment, the innovation, the music, the energy, the people… Whether it’s our show or IHRSA, I consider attending these shows to be one of the perks of my job.

  • Police Call for More Security After Fight at LA Fitness

    by Nick Daniels March 2014

    When police responded to a large fight Sunday at a Minneapolis LA Fitness, it wasn’t the first time they had been called to respond to an incident there this year — or even the second time.

  • Blog: Let Them Eat Cake, If They So Choose

    by Emily Attwood February 2014

    On Tuesday, the White House announced a series of new initiatives as part of the fourth anniversary of the “Let’s Move!” program. Many of them are a great step forward in the battle against childhood obesity and inactivity, including an expansion of the school breakfast program and a five-year partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association and Boys & Girls Clubs of America will provide 5 million children with healthy snacks and physical activity opportunities after school. 

  • Customer Service Targeting the Club Membership Majority

    by Rob Bishop February 2014

    No good deed goes unpunished. Said differently, we’ve decided that at times we provide customer service that is too good.

    We don’t mean that arrogantly. What we mean is that we can’t care about things that aren’t important to the majority of our customers. It’s just too hard, and it takes a toll on us financially, professionally and emotionally.

  • 5 Tips to Overcoming Gym Intimidation

    by John Agoglia February 2014

    Gym intimidation garners a lot of focus in news stories and motivational columns, and not just due to Planet Fitness' entertaining ad campaign. From the Huffington Post to the Times of India, reports of the impact of gymtimidation -- as Planet Fitness has coined it -- is a leading reason why some 80-percent of the population continues to avoid joining a health club.

    According the Times of India, a recent study conducted by a UK magazine found that "women find exercising at the gym embarrassing and uncomfortable, especially when other people look at them."

    This is not a new revelation, by any means. But, it's not a women-only issue, as men seem to suffer from gym shyness as well.

    A recent NBC News article claims that men are intimidated about not being able to "bench a Volkswagen."

    "The feeling of intimidation is likely quite similar for men and women, varying in intensity, of course, depending on how extreme the (negative, self-assessing) thoughts become. But the triggers can certainly be different,"  Dr. Simon Rego, director of psychology training at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York tells NBC News.

    And while many articles give tips and tricks for people to overcome this obstacle, from working out with a buddy, to programs and equipment for getting fit at home, the question is beyond entertaining commercials and "Lunk" alarms (which seems to be a judgment to me). What can independent health club owners do to help get intimidated members to come through the door, while still catering to the more hardcore fitness fanatics?

    "It really comes down to not only creating an inviting environment, but understanding that certain people -- and groups of people -- have more insecurities than others," says Bill Rundle, owner of Boston-based Mission Fitness. "We have started a special program on the suggestion of one of our mature members that allows that demographic to work in small groups together so they have support and someone to help them."

    It is programs such as this, as well as a good on-boarding process, services, and amenities, that will help clubs build a reputation for being a safe environment, which will help attract and retain those that are a bit  wary of joining a gym.

    5 Ways to Build a Less Intimidating Brand:

    1. Separate free weight, cardio and selectorized machines to reduce intimidation. You don't need to keep weights too light or dissuade people from working hard. Just allow people to go where they are comfortable.

    2. Have demographic- and goal-based programming to allow members to feel comfortable in a group of similar people.

    3. Assign a staff or member buddy to all new members so they will feel welcome and as if they know someone at the gym.

    4. Allow for private showers and changing areas in the locker rooms. 

    5. Be inclusive with your marketing efforts. Don't just focus on one type of member or group.


    John Agoglia has spent nearly two decades either working in health clubs or writing about them. He currently writes for several digital and print publications in and out of the fitness industry. 

  • 3 Ways Health Clubs Can Help Keep Kids Active

    by John Agoglia February 2014

    As reported by Athletic Business yesterday, a recent study published in the Wall Street Journal shows that participation in the top four youth sports are on the decline. While that could be seen as an alarming revelation given the current obesity epidemic, it can also be viewed as an opportunity for club owners to help pick up some of the slack and keep America’s youth moving. 

  • A Perspective Shift May Help Club Owners Get Teens Active

    by John Agoglia January 2014

    When one person walks into a room they may notice that the walls are painted blue; meanwhile their friend notices the room’s warm temperature. How we view things is based on our unique perspectives. 

    As an industry, health clubs may have a somewhat inaccurate perspective when it comes to certain topics. 

    This isn’t anybody’s fault. This error in perspective is simply an inevitable product of unavoidable circumstances. 

    caglecartoons.comLast week, a widely-covered story reported that only 1 in 4 American kids ages 12 to 15 meet the government’s recommendation of an hour or more moderate to vigorous activity every day. Depending on the perspective of the person reading this story, it can mean a number of different things. 

    If you, like me, have kids that are involved in sports, achieving that level of activity appears to be relatively easy. My son, who plays hockey, has two practices and two games coming up this weekend alone. My perspective is that he is getting his recommended activity. 

    RELATED: Weight Control and the Workplace: A Valuable Opportunity for Clubs

    Of course, another perspective would see that he hasn’t had a game or practice all week, so many days are spent sitting in front of the Playstation, instead of being active. The ten minutes of recess per day, and two thirty-minute gym classes each week do not come close to helping him achieve the recommended level of activity. 

    Club owners should adopt the perspective that this report provides an opportunity to not only help kids be more active, but also carve out a niche that can help them improve their bottom line at the same time, by catering to an untapped demographic.

    There is a chance to offer some great after-school fitness programs (or to reach out to the school in town and offer additional “gym” time). There is a chance to train young athletes as well as those that just need to move more to meet the recommended levels of activity. It really comes down to perspective. 

    It takes more than just scaling down traditional fitness programs and techniques, because while effective for kids, they may not be enough to get kids excited and committed to living a healthy lifestyle. In other words, look at it from a kid’s perspective.

    RELATED: Obesity is Considered a Disease: What Does That Mean for Clubs?

    “The first thing with programming that a fitness center can do is embrace the concept of play- based activity,” says Pat Rigsby, Co-Owner, CEO, Fitness Coach, Director of Fitness Marketing and Fitness Business Development at Fitness Consulting Group. “Exercise shouldn't be viewed as work, and if it is, kids will be far less likely to embrace it. If activity is fun, kids are much more likely to engage.”

    But it also takes a shift in the way a club thinks of itself and its services—not to mention how it goes about letting others know about the shift. So, a self-aware perspective shift. 

    “Overall, just having a very proactive approach to get all kids involved rather than simply reacting when a child or family wants to get involved would go a long way to improving the health of children,” Rigsby advises club owners. 

    Sure, it may take some work to change your club’s perspective to be more inclusive of kids than just having a babysitting room for the little ones, to one that can help get the next generation fit. But, that shift allow, health clubs, not only help get kids healthy today, but turn them into members for years to come.

    John Agoglia has spent nearly two decades either working in health clubs or writing about them. He currently writes for several digital and print publications in and out of the fitness industry.

  • Hackfit Adds Exercise, Healthy Diet to Weekend Hackathons

    by Nick Daniels January 2014

    Think of computer programmers and coders, and long hours in front of dimly lit screens surrounded by empty energy drink cans and fast food wrappers might be the image that first comes to mind, but technology and fitness startup Hackfit are hoping that image may soon be on the way out.

  • CrossFit Community Rallies Around Paralyzed Athlete

    by Emily Attwood January 2014

    The CrossFit community was shaken earlier this week when one of its members was severely injured in what is being described as a freak accident. During a competition in California, Kevin Ogar, a trainer with CrossFit Unbroken in Englewood, Colo., severed his spine while doing a lift, leaving him permanently paralyzed from the waist down.