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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

A place in our hearts

My Sportlady has forged an invaluable place in the lives of women in Munich and beyond. Ray Algar reports

By Ray Algar, Gymtopia | Published in Health Club Management 2015 issue 11
My Sportlady founder Jasmin Kirstein 
(second from left)
My Sportlady founder Jasmin Kirstein (second from left)
During the financial crisis, Kirstein decided members could simply pay what they could afford until they secured new jobs

This month I want to share the remarkable story of how the My Sportlady independent club based in Munich, Germany, is harnessing its altruistic purpose to forge meaningful connections with members as well as the wider community.

Why feature My Sportlady?
Given that there are more than 48,000 fitness clubs and centres across Europe (source: EuropeActive), I’m always fascinated as to why a minority of clubs have a reputation far beyond their operating borders. These days, most clubs typically possess similar resources (skilled people, equipment, facilities, programmes and so on) – globalisation has seen to that – so why does the story and mission of a 2,000-member, women-only club in Germany spread?

A purposeful club
Since Jasmin Kirstein founded the club in 1984, its core purpose – as a special place for women that helps to foster a healthy work-life balance – has remained constant. While budget gyms and boutique studios sprout up around the club, My Sportlady has remained focused on how it can continue to create long-term value, not just for its members but also for women across Munich and beyond.

While possessing all the paraphernalia of other 2,000sq m fitness clubs, it operates more as a centre for cultivating life skills than a typical fitness club. As an example, its cooking school helps members understand the importance of nutrition and healthy eating. The club exists not simply to support a woman’s need for physicality, but also to offer her independence, tranquility and acceptance.

Pay what you can afford
Although most people in Munich are now employed, this was not the case during the global financial crisis, and members began coming to the club to cancel their memberships. Kirstein did not believe this was the right thing for her members to be doing – not visiting a club that some had belonged to for many years would just provide more instability in their lives. So she decided these members could use the club for free, or simply pay what they could afford until they secured new jobs.

Further compassionate acts are evident when members face serious illness, like cancer. After such a diagnosis, a member typically approaches the club to cancel their membership, believing they will be too unwell to attend. However, My Sportlady waives the membership fee during treatment and encourages the member to visit the club when they believe a visit would be beneficial. Members may visit only once in a month, but they know the club is there to support them.

This capacity for a club to simply do what intuitively feels right resonates with all the club’s stakeholders. It’s one reason why staff say they choose to work at My Sportlady over other clubs. Why? They simply feel immense pride in working for such a compassionate business.

My Sportlady Foundation
A separate not-for-profit organisation was set up in 2009 to co-ordinate the club’s growing philanthropic activities. The Foundation’s mission is to help women and children across Germany and overseas.

‘Eat for Smart’ is one of its programmes, offering free nutrition courses at schools and kindergartens across Munich. This programme is now supported by the local government and health insurers. Other programmes – this time overseas – provide support to orphanages in Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

The rationale for the Foundation is that the business should be more than “just a members’ club”, using its influence and expertise beyond the walls of the club.

Supporting mums
For the past five years, My Sportlady has been supporting mothers whose children are receiving cancer treatment at a nearby hospital. The children’s hospital is a centre of excellence and so attracts families from across Germany, with the mothers living between the hospital and a nearby hotel. My Sportlady therefore came up with the idea to provide complimentary access to the club. The hospital issues a ‘club prescription’ which mothers redeem at the club. This allows them precious time to suspend, just for an hour or so, the distress of witnessing a child battle with cancer.

A desire to help others
When trying to understand what motivates a business to put the interest of people before short-term profit, it often helps to look back into the founder’s life journey. In Kirstein’s case it was the experience of seeing her young daughter, Anna-Marisas, battle leukaemia. Her daughter made a full recovery, but it left Kirstein with a profound sense of gratitude and perspective. Anna-Marisas went on to pursue a career in nutrition science and now runs the Eat for Smart initiative.

Would this club be missed?
The test of a remarkable club is knowing members, staff and the wider community would genuinely miss it if it were to permanently close – not simply a temporary sense of frustration as an alternative is sourced, but profound disappointment. This special affinity is no random act of good fortune at My Sportlady, but instead the result of a persistent determination to forge a relevant place in the lives of women.

What’s your club’s story?
Among the ocean of clubs and fitness offers, what is your business doing to stand for something and use its influence to create meaningful change? If you’ve made a difference, share your story on Gymtopia and see how remarkable things spread.

IN A NUTSHELL

Project by: My Sportlady, Germany

Web: www.my-sportlady.de

Charities supported: Numerous

Project status: Ongoing and long-term

Impact: Germany and overseas

Gymtopia keywords: Clothing and shelter, education, food & nutrition, health & wellbeing

Gymtopia

a place where clubs do social good

Chief Engagement Officer Ray Algar
Chief Engagement Officer Ray Algar

Gymtopia was conceived by founder and chief engagement officer Ray Algar, who believes the global health and fitness industry has enormous influence and potential to do good in the world, beyond its immediate customers.

The idea of Gymtopia is simple: to curate and spread remarkable stories in which the fitness industry uses its influence to reach out and support an external community in need. It was created with the generous support of five organisations: Companhia Athletica, Gantner Technologies, Les Mills, Retention Management and The Gym Group. Gymtopia received an Outstanding Achievement Award in the ukactive Matrix Flame Awards 2014.

Read more stories and submit your own: www.Gymtopia.org

If you would like to get each issue of HCM magazine sent direct to you for FREE, plus the weekly HCM ezine, sign up now!
Member fees are suspended if a user is being treated for an illness
Member fees are suspended if a user is being treated for an illness
The Foundation supports projects in Myanmar and Sri Lanka
The Foundation supports projects in Myanmar and Sri Lanka
The Foundation supports projects in Myanmar and Sri Lanka
The Foundation supports projects in Myanmar and Sri Lanka
The Foundation supports projects in Myanmar and Sri Lanka
The Foundation supports projects in Myanmar and Sri Lanka
‘Eat for Smart’ is one of the Foundation’s charitable programmes, offering free nutrition courses at schools and kindergartens across Munich
‘Eat for Smart’ is one of the Foundation’s charitable programmes, offering free nutrition courses at schools and kindergartens across Munich
‘Eat for Smart’ is one of the Foundation’s charitable programmes, offering free nutrition courses at schools and kindergartens across Munich
‘Eat for Smart’ is one of the Foundation’s charitable programmes, offering free nutrition courses at schools and kindergartens across Munich
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/310185_507168.jpg
Building a business around doing good – Jasmin Kirstein's MySportlady club proves it's possible
People
HCM people

Aaron Smith

Founder, KX Pilates
‘KX’ stands for ‘the Kaizen Experience’, which means ‘change for the better’ in Japanese. It’s a philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement. We’re always seeking to improve, not only as a company but as individuals
People
I want us to make sure we’re still the go-to sector with the greatest power to improve health and wellbeing in society. We absolutely must not abdicate that opportunity
People
HCM people

Ben Lucas

Founder, Flow Athletic, Sydney
We advise our Flow Athletes to complete classes at a ratio of one yoga class to one strength class to one cardio class. This combination has very positive effects
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features

A place in our hearts

My Sportlady has forged an invaluable place in the lives of women in Munich and beyond. Ray Algar reports

By Ray Algar, Gymtopia | Published in Health Club Management 2015 issue 11
My Sportlady founder Jasmin Kirstein 
(second from left)
My Sportlady founder Jasmin Kirstein (second from left)
During the financial crisis, Kirstein decided members could simply pay what they could afford until they secured new jobs

This month I want to share the remarkable story of how the My Sportlady independent club based in Munich, Germany, is harnessing its altruistic purpose to forge meaningful connections with members as well as the wider community.

Why feature My Sportlady?
Given that there are more than 48,000 fitness clubs and centres across Europe (source: EuropeActive), I’m always fascinated as to why a minority of clubs have a reputation far beyond their operating borders. These days, most clubs typically possess similar resources (skilled people, equipment, facilities, programmes and so on) – globalisation has seen to that – so why does the story and mission of a 2,000-member, women-only club in Germany spread?

A purposeful club
Since Jasmin Kirstein founded the club in 1984, its core purpose – as a special place for women that helps to foster a healthy work-life balance – has remained constant. While budget gyms and boutique studios sprout up around the club, My Sportlady has remained focused on how it can continue to create long-term value, not just for its members but also for women across Munich and beyond.

While possessing all the paraphernalia of other 2,000sq m fitness clubs, it operates more as a centre for cultivating life skills than a typical fitness club. As an example, its cooking school helps members understand the importance of nutrition and healthy eating. The club exists not simply to support a woman’s need for physicality, but also to offer her independence, tranquility and acceptance.

Pay what you can afford
Although most people in Munich are now employed, this was not the case during the global financial crisis, and members began coming to the club to cancel their memberships. Kirstein did not believe this was the right thing for her members to be doing – not visiting a club that some had belonged to for many years would just provide more instability in their lives. So she decided these members could use the club for free, or simply pay what they could afford until they secured new jobs.

Further compassionate acts are evident when members face serious illness, like cancer. After such a diagnosis, a member typically approaches the club to cancel their membership, believing they will be too unwell to attend. However, My Sportlady waives the membership fee during treatment and encourages the member to visit the club when they believe a visit would be beneficial. Members may visit only once in a month, but they know the club is there to support them.

This capacity for a club to simply do what intuitively feels right resonates with all the club’s stakeholders. It’s one reason why staff say they choose to work at My Sportlady over other clubs. Why? They simply feel immense pride in working for such a compassionate business.

My Sportlady Foundation
A separate not-for-profit organisation was set up in 2009 to co-ordinate the club’s growing philanthropic activities. The Foundation’s mission is to help women and children across Germany and overseas.

‘Eat for Smart’ is one of its programmes, offering free nutrition courses at schools and kindergartens across Munich. This programme is now supported by the local government and health insurers. Other programmes – this time overseas – provide support to orphanages in Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

The rationale for the Foundation is that the business should be more than “just a members’ club”, using its influence and expertise beyond the walls of the club.

Supporting mums
For the past five years, My Sportlady has been supporting mothers whose children are receiving cancer treatment at a nearby hospital. The children’s hospital is a centre of excellence and so attracts families from across Germany, with the mothers living between the hospital and a nearby hotel. My Sportlady therefore came up with the idea to provide complimentary access to the club. The hospital issues a ‘club prescription’ which mothers redeem at the club. This allows them precious time to suspend, just for an hour or so, the distress of witnessing a child battle with cancer.

A desire to help others
When trying to understand what motivates a business to put the interest of people before short-term profit, it often helps to look back into the founder’s life journey. In Kirstein’s case it was the experience of seeing her young daughter, Anna-Marisas, battle leukaemia. Her daughter made a full recovery, but it left Kirstein with a profound sense of gratitude and perspective. Anna-Marisas went on to pursue a career in nutrition science and now runs the Eat for Smart initiative.

Would this club be missed?
The test of a remarkable club is knowing members, staff and the wider community would genuinely miss it if it were to permanently close – not simply a temporary sense of frustration as an alternative is sourced, but profound disappointment. This special affinity is no random act of good fortune at My Sportlady, but instead the result of a persistent determination to forge a relevant place in the lives of women.

What’s your club’s story?
Among the ocean of clubs and fitness offers, what is your business doing to stand for something and use its influence to create meaningful change? If you’ve made a difference, share your story on Gymtopia and see how remarkable things spread.

IN A NUTSHELL

Project by: My Sportlady, Germany

Web: www.my-sportlady.de

Charities supported: Numerous

Project status: Ongoing and long-term

Impact: Germany and overseas

Gymtopia keywords: Clothing and shelter, education, food & nutrition, health & wellbeing

Gymtopia

a place where clubs do social good

Chief Engagement Officer Ray Algar
Chief Engagement Officer Ray Algar

Gymtopia was conceived by founder and chief engagement officer Ray Algar, who believes the global health and fitness industry has enormous influence and potential to do good in the world, beyond its immediate customers.

The idea of Gymtopia is simple: to curate and spread remarkable stories in which the fitness industry uses its influence to reach out and support an external community in need. It was created with the generous support of five organisations: Companhia Athletica, Gantner Technologies, Les Mills, Retention Management and The Gym Group. Gymtopia received an Outstanding Achievement Award in the ukactive Matrix Flame Awards 2014.

Read more stories and submit your own: www.Gymtopia.org

If you would like to get each issue of HCM magazine sent direct to you for FREE, plus the weekly HCM ezine, sign up now!
Member fees are suspended if a user is being treated for an illness
Member fees are suspended if a user is being treated for an illness
The Foundation supports projects in Myanmar and Sri Lanka
The Foundation supports projects in Myanmar and Sri Lanka
The Foundation supports projects in Myanmar and Sri Lanka
The Foundation supports projects in Myanmar and Sri Lanka
The Foundation supports projects in Myanmar and Sri Lanka
The Foundation supports projects in Myanmar and Sri Lanka
‘Eat for Smart’ is one of the Foundation’s charitable programmes, offering free nutrition courses at schools and kindergartens across Munich
‘Eat for Smart’ is one of the Foundation’s charitable programmes, offering free nutrition courses at schools and kindergartens across Munich
‘Eat for Smart’ is one of the Foundation’s charitable programmes, offering free nutrition courses at schools and kindergartens across Munich
‘Eat for Smart’ is one of the Foundation’s charitable programmes, offering free nutrition courses at schools and kindergartens across Munich
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/310185_507168.jpg
Building a business around doing good – Jasmin Kirstein's MySportlady club proves it's possible
Latest News
Industry body ukactive has launched an Independent Operators' Steering Group, catering for members who run ...
Latest News
The UK's fitness industry can finally get back to business on Saturday 25 July, following ...
Latest News
HCM understands a decision on reopening dates for gyms and also for spas will be ...
Latest News
Interest in gym reopening in England is reaching fever pitch, with an announcement expected any ...
Latest News
Exercising increases levels of a protein hormone secreted by the bones which has a powerful ...
Latest News
A free-to-access training platform has launched to help the sport and fitness workforce confidently return ...
Latest News
Glasgow Life, which runs leisure and culture facilities on behalf of Glasgow City Council, has ...
Latest News
Fitness equipment firm Nautilus Inc is looking for a buyer for its commercial equipment brand ...
Latest News
Technogym has announced the launch of live streaming and on-demand classes. The new content will ...
Latest News
A number of gym operators are concerned that local lockdowns could come into effect in ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: EGYM presents Corona Gym Solution, for the successful re-opening of fitness studios
Finally, the time has come: fitness and health facilities around the globe are gradually resuming operations.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Fisikal chosen as tech partner for ‘JP4’; new health app from fitness expert, Jessie Pavelka
Fitness expert and television host, Jessie Pavelka has collaborated with Fisikal, experts in digital management solutions, to create the new JP4 app, a premium 12-week personal health and fitness transformation programme that takes the user on a journey of change through four key elements of health.
Video Gallery
Temple Gym - Nautilus Equipment
Core Health & Fitness
Temple Gym - Nautilus Equipment Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Technogym
Founded in 1983, Technogym is a world-leading international supplier of technology and design-driven products and ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Core Health & Fitness
Core Health & Fitness is more than gym equipment, we offer innovative solutions for all ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Management software
Fisikal: Management software
Fitness Software
FunXtion International BV: Fitness Software
Design consultants
Zynk Design Consultants: Design consultants
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Gym flooring
REGUPOL/Berleburger Schaumstoffwerk (BSW): Gym flooring
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Direct debit solutions
Harlands Group: Direct debit solutions
Property & Tenders
Greywell, Hampshire
Barnsgrove Health and Wellness Club
Property & Tenders
Derby City Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2020
Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Coronado, United States
Diary dates
22-23 Sep 2020
Heythrop Park, United Kingdom
Diary dates
17-23 Oct 2020
Pinggu, Beijing, China
Diary dates
27-30 Oct 2020
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
03-06 Nov 2020
Online,
Diary dates
27-28 Nov 2020
Athena, Leicester, United Kingdom
Diary dates
23-26 Feb 2021
IFEMA, Madrid, Spain
Diary dates
03-04 Mar 2021
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-06 Jun 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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