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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

Gymtopia: Project Walk

A health club in the US is being transformed into a world-class facility for people living with a spinal cord injury. Ray Algar reports

By Ray Algar, Gymtopia | Published in Health Club Management 2016 issue 7
Mike Alpert
Mike Alpert
Why do fitness and healthcare work so independently of each other when we know exercise has such a powerful effect on health? - Mike Alpert

ike Alpert’s early career was as a Californian stockbroker with Shearson Lehman Brothers, but it was a move to Oregon that profoundly changed his life. He had been drawn to Oregon for the winter skiing, but soon after arriving decided with a close friend to create The Athletic Club of Bend, a new multi-use athletic, aquatic, tennis and social club.

One programme they started at the club was for children with severe physically disabilities, called US Able Oregon, and Alpert began twice-weekly warm water pool sessions with a five-year-old boy living with severe spina bifida. Alpert was struck by the joy these sessions brought to a boy who would never walk and asked himself why the club wasn’t doing more programmes like this. “I became obsessed with wanting to do more of these kinds of things. That five-year-old boy changed my life and gave me meaning,” he says.

Alpert eventually returned to California where, since 1997, he has been the president and CEO of The Claremont Club. Founded in 1973, the health club, fitness and wellness centre nestles in 7.5 hectares (19 acres) in the city of Claremont – around 52km east of downtown Los Angeles – where it serves more than 10,000 members.

The inclusive operating philosophy that Alpert embedded in his earlier Oregon club is also evident at The Claremont Club, which is why this year it was the recipient of IHRSA’s Outstanding Community Service Award; each year, IHRSA recognises one health club that’s making a difference in, and beyond, its local community.

Spinal cord injuries
In 2007, Claremont Club member Hal Hargrave was involved in a road traffic accident that resulted in a life-changing spinal cord injury. After one year, his insurance company stopped paying for rehabilitation and Hargrave was in limbo until The Claremont Club stepped in and offered to convert a single 84sq m (900sq ft) racquetball court into a dedicated therapy gym.

It soon became evident that there were many other people with spinal cord injuries needing ongoing rehabilitation. What started as the conversion of a single court has therefore been extended into a 474sq m (5,100sq ft) world-class facility called the Project Walk Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Center, supporting approximately 80 full-time clients.

Project Walk is a fee-based programme, as the centre employs seven specialist staff, but the club financially supports people on a case-by-case basis. Close family members receive complementary club membership so they can recuperate and also not have to witness their loved ones going through what can be very distressing therapy.

Approximately 300 people living with paralysis have experienced Project Walk to date. Lives are being transformed, with some people making such remarkable progress in both their physical and mental wellbeing that they are subsequently hired to work at the club.

Meanwhile Hargrave has since formed The Be Perfect Foundation, a non-profit organisation that supports people living with paralysis.

Health club meets healthcare
Alpert believes a health club should be more than a domain for those predisposed to physical activity – a playground for ‘active affluents’. His passion for supporting people affected by a life-changing injury or illness comes from his belief that exercise really is a medicine.

It’s an operating philosophy that’s allowing his club to straddle fitness and healthcare. “We have the ability to reach out and really help people struggling with chronic injuries and illnesses,” says Alpert. “In so many cases, these people have been written off and forgotten.”

He continues: “Exercise is medicine. Isn’t it time we took the lead in merging the experts in healthcare with the experts in fitness? Why do they continue to work so independently of each other when we know that exercise has such a powerful effect on people’s health?”

What does your club believe in?
Helping people living with paralysis may not form part of your health club’s distinctive story, but what does your business believe in?

What I believe is that, as competitive pressure intensifies in the fitness sector, it will be clubs like The Claremont Club that will flourish – and that’s because their staff, employees, management, investors and other stakeholders all know that what they’re doing is transformative and genuinely remarkable.

So ask yourself this: are other people saying the same about your organisation?

Living Well After Cancer programme

“I feel like I’m trying to run away from my cancer when I’m on the treadmill,” says Linda Johnson, a Claremont Club member. Johnson used to describe herself as a ‘professional couch potato’, but that was before she enrolled onto the club’s Living Well After Cancer programme. Private donations enable the specialised programme to be delivered without charge.

The programme is a collaboration between The Claremont Club and Pomona Valley Hospital’s cancer care centre, and over 13 weeks men and women take part in fitness conditioning, nutrition workshops and support group meetings. As at June 2016, 790 people have completed the programme, reporting higher self-esteem, better fitness levels and an enriched quality of life as a result.

Due to its popularity, the club now offers a free one-year programme for children and young adults living with cancer.

IN A NUTSHELL

Project by: The Claremont Club, US

Web: www.claremontclub.com

Charities supported: Various

Project status: Ongoing and long-term

Impact: United States

Gymtopia keywords: Health & Wellbeing, Helping Children, Education

The club serves more than 10,000 members
The club serves more than 10,000 members

Gymtopia – a place where clubs do social good

Ray Algar
Ray Algar

Gymtopia was conceived by founder and chief engagement officer Ray Algar, who believes that the global health and fitness industry has enormous influence and potential to be a force for good in the world, reaching 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

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
The club offers a free one-year programme for children and adults living with cancer
The club offers a free one-year programme for children and adults living with cancer
Crash victim Hal Hargrave was the first beneficiary of Project Walk
Crash victim Hal Hargrave was the first beneficiary of Project Walk
Alpert at Project Walk
Alpert at Project Walk
Project Walk patient Brandon Rayburn was injured while snowboarding
Project Walk patient Brandon Rayburn was injured while snowboarding
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/626185_867970.jpg
The club that's helping those with spinal cord injuries to walk again
Mike Alpert, president and CEO of The Claremont Club Ray Algar, Founder and chief engagement officer, Gymtopia,Gymtopia, Ray Algar, Project Walk, spinal cord injury, Claremont Club, Mike Alpert, Hal Hargrave
People
Our success in moving the date for reopening happened because there was a shift in how the fitness sector is perceived
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People in Club V trust me and I want to do the best for them and help them progress
People
HCM people

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Co-founder, House of Wisdom
People think making a change is easy and fast, but that isn’t true. It’s hard and it takes time
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Research
The findings of this research could help explain the link between exercise and relieving stress –which, apart from there being a plethora of anecdotal evidence – has not been well understood by scientists
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Write to reply
Fuel the debate about issues and opportunities across the industry. We’d love to hear from you – email: [email protected]
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Insight
As the physical activity and sports sector unites to fight its corner in making a case for government investment, Sport England has commissioned a research study to prove the economic value of activity, giving weight to the argument. Tom Walker reports
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In a post-Covid world, member experience is more important than ever before. Your customers’ expectations have been heightened as the coronavirus continues to dominate our everyday lives.
Opinion: Why member experience is more important now than ever before
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promotion
Our world has changed since March and together, we are learning and adapting to how this sector can continue to thrive in this COVID conscious world.
Opinion: Why fitness clubs and facilities need to evolve in a COVID-conscious world
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Annual Fitness & Active Brands Summit offering invaluable insight from over 40 leading industry speakers
Join the second Annual Fitness & Active Brands Summit and walk away with the expertise you need to transform your business model and maximise the US$59.23bn virtual fitness market opportunity.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Premier Software Solutions offers scalable software for single or multi-site businesses
Premier Software Solutions' flagship business management system, Core by Premier Software, is the leading single and multi-site solution designed specifically for the spa, wellness and leisure industries.
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Click on a catalogue to view it online
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features

Gymtopia: Project Walk

A health club in the US is being transformed into a world-class facility for people living with a spinal cord injury. Ray Algar reports

By Ray Algar, Gymtopia | Published in Health Club Management 2016 issue 7
Mike Alpert
Mike Alpert
Why do fitness and healthcare work so independently of each other when we know exercise has such a powerful effect on health? - Mike Alpert

ike Alpert’s early career was as a Californian stockbroker with Shearson Lehman Brothers, but it was a move to Oregon that profoundly changed his life. He had been drawn to Oregon for the winter skiing, but soon after arriving decided with a close friend to create The Athletic Club of Bend, a new multi-use athletic, aquatic, tennis and social club.

One programme they started at the club was for children with severe physically disabilities, called US Able Oregon, and Alpert began twice-weekly warm water pool sessions with a five-year-old boy living with severe spina bifida. Alpert was struck by the joy these sessions brought to a boy who would never walk and asked himself why the club wasn’t doing more programmes like this. “I became obsessed with wanting to do more of these kinds of things. That five-year-old boy changed my life and gave me meaning,” he says.

Alpert eventually returned to California where, since 1997, he has been the president and CEO of The Claremont Club. Founded in 1973, the health club, fitness and wellness centre nestles in 7.5 hectares (19 acres) in the city of Claremont – around 52km east of downtown Los Angeles – where it serves more than 10,000 members.

The inclusive operating philosophy that Alpert embedded in his earlier Oregon club is also evident at The Claremont Club, which is why this year it was the recipient of IHRSA’s Outstanding Community Service Award; each year, IHRSA recognises one health club that’s making a difference in, and beyond, its local community.

Spinal cord injuries
In 2007, Claremont Club member Hal Hargrave was involved in a road traffic accident that resulted in a life-changing spinal cord injury. After one year, his insurance company stopped paying for rehabilitation and Hargrave was in limbo until The Claremont Club stepped in and offered to convert a single 84sq m (900sq ft) racquetball court into a dedicated therapy gym.

It soon became evident that there were many other people with spinal cord injuries needing ongoing rehabilitation. What started as the conversion of a single court has therefore been extended into a 474sq m (5,100sq ft) world-class facility called the Project Walk Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Center, supporting approximately 80 full-time clients.

Project Walk is a fee-based programme, as the centre employs seven specialist staff, but the club financially supports people on a case-by-case basis. Close family members receive complementary club membership so they can recuperate and also not have to witness their loved ones going through what can be very distressing therapy.

Approximately 300 people living with paralysis have experienced Project Walk to date. Lives are being transformed, with some people making such remarkable progress in both their physical and mental wellbeing that they are subsequently hired to work at the club.

Meanwhile Hargrave has since formed The Be Perfect Foundation, a non-profit organisation that supports people living with paralysis.

Health club meets healthcare
Alpert believes a health club should be more than a domain for those predisposed to physical activity – a playground for ‘active affluents’. His passion for supporting people affected by a life-changing injury or illness comes from his belief that exercise really is a medicine.

It’s an operating philosophy that’s allowing his club to straddle fitness and healthcare. “We have the ability to reach out and really help people struggling with chronic injuries and illnesses,” says Alpert. “In so many cases, these people have been written off and forgotten.”

He continues: “Exercise is medicine. Isn’t it time we took the lead in merging the experts in healthcare with the experts in fitness? Why do they continue to work so independently of each other when we know that exercise has such a powerful effect on people’s health?”

What does your club believe in?
Helping people living with paralysis may not form part of your health club’s distinctive story, but what does your business believe in?

What I believe is that, as competitive pressure intensifies in the fitness sector, it will be clubs like The Claremont Club that will flourish – and that’s because their staff, employees, management, investors and other stakeholders all know that what they’re doing is transformative and genuinely remarkable.

So ask yourself this: are other people saying the same about your organisation?

Living Well After Cancer programme

“I feel like I’m trying to run away from my cancer when I’m on the treadmill,” says Linda Johnson, a Claremont Club member. Johnson used to describe herself as a ‘professional couch potato’, but that was before she enrolled onto the club’s Living Well After Cancer programme. Private donations enable the specialised programme to be delivered without charge.

The programme is a collaboration between The Claremont Club and Pomona Valley Hospital’s cancer care centre, and over 13 weeks men and women take part in fitness conditioning, nutrition workshops and support group meetings. As at June 2016, 790 people have completed the programme, reporting higher self-esteem, better fitness levels and an enriched quality of life as a result.

Due to its popularity, the club now offers a free one-year programme for children and young adults living with cancer.

IN A NUTSHELL

Project by: The Claremont Club, US

Web: www.claremontclub.com

Charities supported: Various

Project status: Ongoing and long-term

Impact: United States

Gymtopia keywords: Health & Wellbeing, Helping Children, Education

The club serves more than 10,000 members
The club serves more than 10,000 members

Gymtopia – a place where clubs do social good

Ray Algar
Ray Algar

Gymtopia was conceived by founder and chief engagement officer Ray Algar, who believes that the global health and fitness industry has enormous influence and potential to be a force for good in the world, reaching 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

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
The club offers a free one-year programme for children and adults living with cancer
The club offers a free one-year programme for children and adults living with cancer
Crash victim Hal Hargrave was the first beneficiary of Project Walk
Crash victim Hal Hargrave was the first beneficiary of Project Walk
Alpert at Project Walk
Alpert at Project Walk
Project Walk patient Brandon Rayburn was injured while snowboarding
Project Walk patient Brandon Rayburn was injured while snowboarding
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/626185_867970.jpg
The club that's helping those with spinal cord injuries to walk again
Mike Alpert, president and CEO of The Claremont Club Ray Algar, Founder and chief engagement officer, Gymtopia,Gymtopia, Ray Algar, Project Walk, spinal cord injury, Claremont Club, Mike Alpert, Hal Hargrave
Latest News
Rod Hill, former president of TRIB3 and director general of Anytime Fitness Iberia, has signed ...
Latest News
Persistent and rising levels of lifestyle disease across the world have exacerbated the effects of ...
Latest News
Customer experience software provider, AskNicely, has announced it will host a new virtual event called ...
Latest News
In breaking news, HCM understands the UK government has removed gyms and fitness facilities from ...
Latest News
Globally, gyms have, on average, seen nearly 70 per cent of their pre-lockdown members return ...
Latest News
A UK government U-turn – just announced – will see gyms and leisure centres staying open ...
Latest News
"Dozens" of gyms in Liverpool, UK, have defied the government and stayed open for business ...
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Opinion
promotion
In a post-Covid world, member experience is more important than ever before. Your customers’ expectations have been heightened as the coronavirus continues to dominate our everyday lives.
Opinion: Why member experience is more important now than ever before
Opinion
promotion
Our world has changed since March and together, we are learning and adapting to how this sector can continue to thrive in this COVID conscious world.
Opinion: Why fitness clubs and facilities need to evolve in a COVID-conscious world
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Annual Fitness & Active Brands Summit offering invaluable insight from over 40 leading industry speakers
Join the second Annual Fitness & Active Brands Summit and walk away with the expertise you need to transform your business model and maximise the US$59.23bn virtual fitness market opportunity.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Premier Software Solutions offers scalable software for single or multi-site businesses
Premier Software Solutions' flagship business management system, Core by Premier Software, is the leading single and multi-site solution designed specifically for the spa, wellness and leisure industries.
Video Gallery
Temple Gym - Nautilus Equipment
Core Health & Fitness
Temple Gym - Nautilus Equipment Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Harlands Group
Harlands Group is the leading provider of membership management services to leisure operators, processing over ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Fisikal Limited
Fisikal helps fitness professionals, operators and education organisations improve efficiencies and service through its online ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Digital gym floor
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Exercise equipment
Power Plate: Exercise equipment
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Member feedback software
AskNicely: Member feedback software
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Fitness software
Go Do.Fitness: Fitness software
Management software
fibodo Limited: Management software
Property & Tenders
11 - 25 Union St, London SE1 1SD
Bankside Open Spaces Trust
Property & Tenders
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
17-23 Oct 2020
Pinggu, Beijing, China
Diary dates
03-06 Nov 2020
Online,
Diary dates
12 Nov 2020
Virtual, United States
Diary dates
17 Nov 2020
Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom
Diary dates
27-28 Nov 2020
Athena, Leicester, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-03 Dec 2020
Virtual,
Diary dates
08-09 Dec 2020
Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore, Singapore
Diary dates
02-04 Feb 2021
Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, 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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