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Health Club Management

Health Club Management


IHRSA update: IHRSA 2018

Kristen Walsh takes a look at what we can expect from IHRSA 2018, taking place in San Diego this March

By Kristen Walsh, IHRSA | Published in Health Club Management 2018 issue 2
IHRSA 2018, taking place in San Diego this March
IHRSA 2018, taking place in San Diego this March

San Diego, California, the site of IHRSA’s 37th Annual International Convention & Trade Show, is often known as the ‘City in Motion’. From 21 to 24 March, at the San Diego Convention Center, this will certainly be true, as an estimated 10,000 fitness industry practitioners and enthusiasts, including club owners, operators, developers, fitness professionals, investors, researchers and media representatives are set to converge from some 80 countries around the world.

From keynote speakers to associate members on the trade show floor, all will be there to share industry insights, ideas and fresh information about trends, programmes, products, services, club operations and business models.

More than 100 club owners, consultants and other authorities will be overseeing the educational sessions, assisted by some 350 exhibitors, and aiming to help delegates to sharpen their competitive skills and advantage. Delegates will also be challenged to examine their business, their life and even the world in a completely different way.

As always, the convention and trade show offer a fantastic opportunity for delegates to reconnect with colleagues and old friends and to embark on new relationships as they toast the industry’s achievements and consider what lies ahead. The 13th Annual BASH for Augie’s Quest, on 23 March, is an excellent setting for this. As well as being a great social event, this party also raises funds for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

San Diego
San Diego is a beautiful setting for such a popular event and is known for its beaches, parks and balmy climate. “It’s easy to understand why San Diego is one of our favourite venues for the convention and trade show,” observes Joe Moore, president and CEO of IHRSA. “It has great weather, the lure of the ocean, a long list of must-see attractions, great food and a healthy fitness lifestyle. That’s why we continue to return to the city and why so many people from throughout the world are so eager to join us there.”

Keynote Speakers
IHRSA 2018 promises more than 150 educational sessions, including keynote presenters who will each bring their own unique perspective and focus.

On 21 March, Lisa Bodell, the founder and CEO of Futurethink, will kick off the first day’s activities with a provocatively titled address: ‘Kill the company: End the status quo and start an innovation revolution’. Futurethink creates training programmes for major companies, including 3M, GE and Johnson & Johnson.

In her speech, Bodell will propose that everyone has the potential to be a change agent, and will describe exercises to ignite innovation.

On 22 March, Leah Busque, who founded TaskRabbit, an on-demand service marketplace that was instrumental in launching the ‘sharing economy’, will speak on ‘Making ideas happen’.

Busque started her career at IBM as a software engineer, working on Domino and Lotus Notes, but then, in 2008, she launched TaskRabbit, pioneering the concept of ‘service networking’. She raised US$50m in venture capital to grow the company, taking it international, and recently sold it to IKEA.

The next day, on 23 March, Josh Linkner, an author, serial entrepreneur, investor and jazz musician, will tackle the topic: ‘Harnessing innovation: Turning raw ideas into positive results’.

A talented guitarist, Linkner combines business knowledge with the improvisational nature of jazz to offer a fresh take on unleashing creativity. The best businesses, he says, have developed a systematic process for transforming their team’s imaginative notions into viable products and services.

Finally, on 24 March, Isaac Lidsky, an attorney, author, entrepreneur, consultant and successful CEO, will deliver the final IHRSA keynote address. Though born with a degenerative disease of the retina that eventually took his sight, Lidsky graduated with degrees in maths and computer science from Harvard University at the age of 19, and, subsequently earned a law degree from Harvard. He co-founded an internet startup, which sold for US$230m and, most recently, transformed a struggling US$11m concrete subcontracting business into a US$150m construction firm.

He says his blindness conferred a new 'eyes-wide-open' perspective on life that he now shares with others.

Educational Excellence
Along with the four keynotes, there are also lectures, tutorials, roundtables, orientations, summits, receptions, forums, ‘Fast Track’ continental breakfasts and IGNITE!, a fast-paced format that gives presenters five minutes each to make their case.

The 150-plus sessions during IHRSA encompass every aspect of club operations, including leadership, programming, exercise classes, supplier seminars, management and operations, membership sales and marketing, customer service and retention, research and industry trends, fitness and personal training, health promotion and wellness, and technology and social media.

Furthermore, all keynote sessions and select educational sessions will be translated into Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. In addition, select keynote and educational sessions will be translated into Chinese and Japanese.

Trade show
The extensive trade show takes place on 22 and 23 March. The 2018 edition will showcase the fitness products and services of more than 350 manufacturers and suppliers. This not only provides an opportunity to examine and test-drive the latest offerings, but also to benefit from the expertise of company representatives, who are some of the most knowledgeable sources of intel on industry developments, trends and future prospects.


To access the most up-to-date list by booth number, visit and consult the exhibitor directory, or log on to the IHRSA 2018 app. This app, which can be downloaded to your iPad, iPhone or Android device, can also help you pinpoint and track sessions, speakers and special programmes in real time, navigate the convention centre and contact other attendees. To download it, go to

To obtain more information or to register for IHRSA’s 37th Annual International Convention & Trade Show, log on to

IHRSA attracts thousands of fitness professionals
IHRSA attracts thousands of fitness professionals
IHRSA 2018 is taking place in San Diego this March! Have a look at what you can expect from this event...
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