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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Editor’s letter: Maintaining choice while embracing change

Health clubs are increasingly adapting their offerings to become more wellbeing-focused. But as the case of a US gym chain at the centre of a recent media frenzy shows, making wellbeing-centred changes brings new challenges for operators

By Dr Lauretta Ihonor | Published in Health Club Management 2018 issue 2
Some gyms are banning TV news because it is considered negative / shutterstock
Some gyms are banning TV news because it is considered negative / shutterstock
Life Time Fitness’ news ban makes one thing clear: gyms are no longer viewed as places to simply work out

Last month, US gym chain Life Time Fitness made a controversial decision. It removed cable TV news from all of its clubs without warning – leaving many members confused and unhappy. Taking to Twitter to defend the move, the company cited member feedback and the belief that gym-goers cannot truly improve their health and wellbeing while surrounded by negativity as the key reasons for the sudden change.

It’s a decision that triggers debate about censorship, interfering with personal choice and the impact of news on wellbeing. And whether you agree or disagree with the logic behind it, Life Time Fitness’ news ban makes one thing clear: gyms are no longer viewed as places to simply work out.

So where exactly should fitness facilities sit in the wellbeing equation? Do health club operators have a responsibility to walk the walk rather than just talk the talk where member health is concerned?

Let’s be honest, sugar-packed protein bars and sports drinks are still more commonly sold in gyms than fresh, nutritious food options; lifts are regularly used instead of stairs; and gym marketing campaigns still feature fitness models with physiques that the average person will struggle to achieve without going to extremes.

But as we move into an age where gyms are increasingly expected to play a role in improving overall wellbeing, there’s a need to discuss how to strike a balance.

Life Time Fitness members who were unhappy with the news ban told the US media that they weren’t consulted in the decision-making process and have countered the company’s ‘negativity’ explanation with claims that watching the news adds structure to their day and informs them of what’s going on in the world – factors that are also important for wellbeing.

Perhaps then, the lesson to be learned here is the importance of maintaining choice and avoiding blanket assumptions when striving to meet the growing demand for truly health-focused gyms. While many people turn to health clubs to assist their pursuit of wellbeing, that definition differs from member to member, and that’s something that operators cannot afford to lose sight of.

Dr Lauretta Ihonor, editor,

[email protected]

@laurettaihonor

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
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Health clubs should maintain choice, as wellbeing is different for everyone, says Lauretta Ihonor, in response to the recent controversial decision by Life Time Fitness to remove cable TV news from all of its clubs.
Dr Lauretta Ihonor, editor,member preference, Life Time Fitness,
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Diary dates
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Online,
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01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
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07-10 Apr 2022
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features

Editor’s letter: Maintaining choice while embracing change

Health clubs are increasingly adapting their offerings to become more wellbeing-focused. But as the case of a US gym chain at the centre of a recent media frenzy shows, making wellbeing-centred changes brings new challenges for operators

By Dr Lauretta Ihonor | Published in Health Club Management 2018 issue 2
Some gyms are banning TV news because it is considered negative / shutterstock
Some gyms are banning TV news because it is considered negative / shutterstock
Life Time Fitness’ news ban makes one thing clear: gyms are no longer viewed as places to simply work out

Last month, US gym chain Life Time Fitness made a controversial decision. It removed cable TV news from all of its clubs without warning – leaving many members confused and unhappy. Taking to Twitter to defend the move, the company cited member feedback and the belief that gym-goers cannot truly improve their health and wellbeing while surrounded by negativity as the key reasons for the sudden change.

It’s a decision that triggers debate about censorship, interfering with personal choice and the impact of news on wellbeing. And whether you agree or disagree with the logic behind it, Life Time Fitness’ news ban makes one thing clear: gyms are no longer viewed as places to simply work out.

So where exactly should fitness facilities sit in the wellbeing equation? Do health club operators have a responsibility to walk the walk rather than just talk the talk where member health is concerned?

Let’s be honest, sugar-packed protein bars and sports drinks are still more commonly sold in gyms than fresh, nutritious food options; lifts are regularly used instead of stairs; and gym marketing campaigns still feature fitness models with physiques that the average person will struggle to achieve without going to extremes.

But as we move into an age where gyms are increasingly expected to play a role in improving overall wellbeing, there’s a need to discuss how to strike a balance.

Life Time Fitness members who were unhappy with the news ban told the US media that they weren’t consulted in the decision-making process and have countered the company’s ‘negativity’ explanation with claims that watching the news adds structure to their day and informs them of what’s going on in the world – factors that are also important for wellbeing.

Perhaps then, the lesson to be learned here is the importance of maintaining choice and avoiding blanket assumptions when striving to meet the growing demand for truly health-focused gyms. While many people turn to health clubs to assist their pursuit of wellbeing, that definition differs from member to member, and that’s something that operators cannot afford to lose sight of.

Dr Lauretta Ihonor, editor,

[email protected]

@laurettaihonor

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/212587_976519.jpg
Health clubs should maintain choice, as wellbeing is different for everyone, says Lauretta Ihonor, in response to the recent controversial decision by Life Time Fitness to remove cable TV news from all of its clubs.
Dr Lauretta Ihonor, editor,member preference, Life Time Fitness,
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Half of UK adults aren't happy with their physical fitness levels, according to a study ...
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Temporary measures brought in to support businesses in the UK from insolvency during the pandemic ...
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Nadine Dorries has replaced Oliver Dowden as the Secretary of State for Digital, Media, Culture ...
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In a major move against the gym market, Apple has revealed a number of upgrades ...
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Physical activity professionals in England will soon be able to access free, one-to-one learning with ...
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Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Life Fitness introduces Integrity SL, the next generation LED console
Life Fitness has unveiled the new Integrity SL, its connected LED console designed for the Integrity Series cardio portfolio.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Uptivo: Individual and group heart rate tracking
Uptivo is an all-in-one digital solution for fitness clubs, fitness boutique studios and personal trainers that provides powerful tools to schedule activities, manage member payments, and monitor heart rate both for remote and on-site classes.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Being active helps Parkwood Leisure customers save the NHS £16m
Parkwood Leisure, one of the UK’s leading public leisure facilities operators, helped prevent more than 7,000 cases of stroke, dementia, depression and type 2 diabetes in 2019, saving the NHS £16 million, a new social value report has shown.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active generates £342m in social value
Award-winning leisure operator Everyone Active generated £342million in social value at its sites across the country in 2019/20.
Company profiles
Company profile: Core Health & Fitness
Core Health & Fitness offers the commercial health and fitness club marketplace an unmatched portfolio ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Fitronics (CoursePro and TRP)
Fitronics is the company behind The Retention People (TRP) and CoursePro. We truly understand our ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Exercise equipment
Matrix Fitness: Exercise equipment
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
13-14 Oct 2021
Online,
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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