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Hedgehog Concept Ltd
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Hedgehog Concept Ltd
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

The management challenge

Health clubs must invest in upskilling health club managers if the sector is to gain credibility and build a strong future, says Liz Terry

By Liz Terry, Leisure Media | Published in Health Club Management 2014 issue 1
management is worth investing in. it’s time to upskill instead of simply promoting the most competent gym instructor

There’s never been a better time to be in the health and fitness industry. Every day, new research emerges to prove that exercise can help practically every known health problem, from depression to cancer, as well as being the most effective anti-ageing treatment.

People want to be healthy, they’re learning they need to exercise to achieve this goal, and they want to do it in ways that are convenient, enjoyable and affordable: great news for health clubs with the right business model. We could be at the dawn of a golden age, when operators grow their businesses quicker than ever before and achieve record profits and market penetration – but only if we’re able to crack one yawning weakness.

That weakness is bad management: it’s one of the only things that will stop the industry becoming pivotal to the lives of the majority.

We’ve cracked pretty much all the other challenges: industry suppliers compete to keep a flow of well-designed equipment coming to market, we’re great at building clubs, and gym staff are better trained and qualified with every passing year. But the management challenge is one mountain we haven’t yet climbed.

Time to upskill
People have the cash to be able to afford memberships, yet the market penetration of health clubs stands stubbornly between 12 and 18 per cent (depending on how you work out the numbers) and industry growth has plateaued, simply because of the huge levels of churn – most health clubs leak their members like a sieve.

Any service business that loses customers to this degree has to look to its people for solutions, and it’s time decision-makers in this sector recognised that management is a discipline worth investing in and paying for. It’s time to upskill in this discipline instead of simply promoting the most competent gym instructor.

In the UK, CIMSPA – the Chartered Institute set up to lead the charge towards industry excellence in the field of professional development – has faced a number of challenges since it was launched and has recently undergone a comprehensive, ukactive-led review, unveiling its new business plan and governance structure in November.

Feedback gathered during the review included the need for the Institute to facilitate quality management training; many members and stakeholders also said it should be “a badge of quality”. “We’re aware of the challenges that face managers in the sector, whereby a third of them don’t have the appropriate skills or qualifications for their role,” acknowledged Steve Philpott, CEO of DC Leisure, in response to the review.

The health and fitness sector needs an organisation that can champion management training and qualifications and open a debate about how we can upskill staff; CIMSPA’s restructure has been designed to establish it as the strategic lead in this area.

Good track record
We’ve done this before with REPs, so we know it’s possible. In the case of REPs, the sector was after government recognition and cash in the form of subsidies. The sector was told in no uncertain terms that, unless health club staff were registered and trained, the government simply couldn’t recognise, support or engage with the industry. That was the push we needed as a sector to get on and create REPs – the Register of Exercise Professionals.

But while our fitness instructors are now qualified and registered, we’ve so far failed to create the same training and career development infrastructure around our managers. There’s no degree available in health club management, no proper career path to be followed and – if we’re honest – fairly limited prospects for ambitious people to build big careers.

Yet done well, the job is a sophisticated, demanding and complex one, which requires high levels of knowledge in everything from exercise science to marketing, and from innovation in food and beverage to yield management. It also requires managers who can deliver in both B2B and B2C environments, while also seeking out and developing partnerships for outreach work.

Sector-wide responsibility
The newly revitalised CIMSPA will now set out to support the fitness sector in developing such managers, with solid career pathways that help staff progress from technical roles to management level.

CIMSPA has already received a vote of confidence from the sector, with operators such as DC Leisure investing in the development body since its business plan and governance structure were approved by members.

But the responsibility cannot rest on CIMSPA’s shoulders alone. Here at Health Club Management magazine, we think health club management matters, so we’re committed to raising the profile of this important area by sharing information and inspiration about best practice. In a new series that will run throughout 2014 – developed in conjunction with CIMSPA – we’ll be highlighting areas of interest and sharing knowledge and expertise on health club management.

We believe passionately that it’s time health club management was taken seriously as a discipline in its own right in the wider business community – but if we as a sector don’t invest in it, value it and innovate within it, then the chance of our sector achieving wider respect and recognition is non-existent. It’s time the industry put management training at the heart of the agenda.

Liz Terry has been writing about and analysing the global leisure industries since 1983. She’s managing director of Leisure Media, which includes Health Club Management in its portfolio of leisure-focused magazines.

Email [email protected]
Twitter: @elizterry

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!
Good management is vital to the growth of the fitness industry / all Photo: Shutterstock.com
Good management is vital to the growth of the fitness industry / all Photo: Shutterstock.com
People want to be healthy and are learning that they need to exercise to achieve this goal – great news for health clubs / all Photo: Shutterstock.com
People want to be healthy and are learning that they need to exercise to achieve this goal – great news for health clubs / all Photo: Shutterstock.com
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/HCM2014_1challenge.gif
Health clubs must invest in upskilling their managers if the sector is to gain credibility and build a strong future, says Liz Terry
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
HCM people

Jo Smallwood

general manager, Oldham Leisure Centre
We saw the opportunity to initiate new partnerships with the Oldham Foodbank to help local residents during the COVID-19 crisis. We can’t serve our community in the way we would usually do, so we’ve moved resources to help where people need us most
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
Features
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Gym staff didn’t sign up to be frontline workers in a global pandemic, yet as clubs reopen, this is where they’re finding themselves
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feature
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Opinion
The over-70s were treated as one homogenous group during the lockdown and advised to shield. Colin Milner, founder and CEO of the International Council on Active Aging says this is leading to an increase in ageism that the industry must fight to overcome
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Partner briefing
BMF, the outdoor fitness franchise company co-owned by Bear Grylls, is launching a £1m initiative designed to offer financial support to PTs and exercise professionals in getting back to work after the lockdown
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Working with Precor, Aberdeen Sports Village has undergone a £500k overhaul to strengthen the user experience and put digital connectivity at the core of its offering
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Balance training is set to become a major fitness trend, with exercisers increasingly appreciating the benefits of having a strong core and good balance, particularly as they age. Lauren Health-Jones rounds up the latest product releases
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Latest News
The hospitality and attractions sectors will benefit from a temporary cut to VAT as part ...
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 ...
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A free-to-access training platform has launched to help the sport and fitness workforce confidently return ...
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Glasgow Life, which runs leisure and culture facilities on behalf of Glasgow City Council, has ...
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Fitness equipment firm Nautilus Inc is looking for a buyer for its commercial equipment brand ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Incorpore and MoveGB ink groundbreaking partnership to transform corporate wellness offering
Incorpore and MoveGB have entered into a landmark partnership, combining the UK’s largest provider of corporate gym memberships with the nation’s biggest network of classes.
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.
Video Gallery
Temple Gym - Nautilus Equipment
Core Health & Fitness
Temple Gym - Nautilus Equipment Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: fibodo Limited
fibodo is the digital solution helping people lead healthier and happier lives. From grassroots individual ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Bungee Super Fly
We have developed our own Bungee harness and cords with CE certificate....
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Fitness software
Go Do.Fitness: Fitness software
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Fitness equipment
TRX Training: Fitness equipment
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Gym flooring
REGUPOL/Berleburger Schaumstoffwerk (BSW): Gym flooring
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Management software
Fisikal: Management software
Exercise equipment
Technogym: Exercise equipment
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

features

The management challenge

Health clubs must invest in upskilling health club managers if the sector is to gain credibility and build a strong future, says Liz Terry

By Liz Terry, Leisure Media | Published in Health Club Management 2014 issue 1
management is worth investing in. it’s time to upskill instead of simply promoting the most competent gym instructor

There’s never been a better time to be in the health and fitness industry. Every day, new research emerges to prove that exercise can help practically every known health problem, from depression to cancer, as well as being the most effective anti-ageing treatment.

People want to be healthy, they’re learning they need to exercise to achieve this goal, and they want to do it in ways that are convenient, enjoyable and affordable: great news for health clubs with the right business model. We could be at the dawn of a golden age, when operators grow their businesses quicker than ever before and achieve record profits and market penetration – but only if we’re able to crack one yawning weakness.

That weakness is bad management: it’s one of the only things that will stop the industry becoming pivotal to the lives of the majority.

We’ve cracked pretty much all the other challenges: industry suppliers compete to keep a flow of well-designed equipment coming to market, we’re great at building clubs, and gym staff are better trained and qualified with every passing year. But the management challenge is one mountain we haven’t yet climbed.

Time to upskill
People have the cash to be able to afford memberships, yet the market penetration of health clubs stands stubbornly between 12 and 18 per cent (depending on how you work out the numbers) and industry growth has plateaued, simply because of the huge levels of churn – most health clubs leak their members like a sieve.

Any service business that loses customers to this degree has to look to its people for solutions, and it’s time decision-makers in this sector recognised that management is a discipline worth investing in and paying for. It’s time to upskill in this discipline instead of simply promoting the most competent gym instructor.

In the UK, CIMSPA – the Chartered Institute set up to lead the charge towards industry excellence in the field of professional development – has faced a number of challenges since it was launched and has recently undergone a comprehensive, ukactive-led review, unveiling its new business plan and governance structure in November.

Feedback gathered during the review included the need for the Institute to facilitate quality management training; many members and stakeholders also said it should be “a badge of quality”. “We’re aware of the challenges that face managers in the sector, whereby a third of them don’t have the appropriate skills or qualifications for their role,” acknowledged Steve Philpott, CEO of DC Leisure, in response to the review.

The health and fitness sector needs an organisation that can champion management training and qualifications and open a debate about how we can upskill staff; CIMSPA’s restructure has been designed to establish it as the strategic lead in this area.

Good track record
We’ve done this before with REPs, so we know it’s possible. In the case of REPs, the sector was after government recognition and cash in the form of subsidies. The sector was told in no uncertain terms that, unless health club staff were registered and trained, the government simply couldn’t recognise, support or engage with the industry. That was the push we needed as a sector to get on and create REPs – the Register of Exercise Professionals.

But while our fitness instructors are now qualified and registered, we’ve so far failed to create the same training and career development infrastructure around our managers. There’s no degree available in health club management, no proper career path to be followed and – if we’re honest – fairly limited prospects for ambitious people to build big careers.

Yet done well, the job is a sophisticated, demanding and complex one, which requires high levels of knowledge in everything from exercise science to marketing, and from innovation in food and beverage to yield management. It also requires managers who can deliver in both B2B and B2C environments, while also seeking out and developing partnerships for outreach work.

Sector-wide responsibility
The newly revitalised CIMSPA will now set out to support the fitness sector in developing such managers, with solid career pathways that help staff progress from technical roles to management level.

CIMSPA has already received a vote of confidence from the sector, with operators such as DC Leisure investing in the development body since its business plan and governance structure were approved by members.

But the responsibility cannot rest on CIMSPA’s shoulders alone. Here at Health Club Management magazine, we think health club management matters, so we’re committed to raising the profile of this important area by sharing information and inspiration about best practice. In a new series that will run throughout 2014 – developed in conjunction with CIMSPA – we’ll be highlighting areas of interest and sharing knowledge and expertise on health club management.

We believe passionately that it’s time health club management was taken seriously as a discipline in its own right in the wider business community – but if we as a sector don’t invest in it, value it and innovate within it, then the chance of our sector achieving wider respect and recognition is non-existent. It’s time the industry put management training at the heart of the agenda.

Liz Terry has been writing about and analysing the global leisure industries since 1983. She’s managing director of Leisure Media, which includes Health Club Management in its portfolio of leisure-focused magazines.

Email [email protected]
Twitter: @elizterry

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!
Good management is vital to the growth of the fitness industry / all Photo: Shutterstock.com
Good management is vital to the growth of the fitness industry / all Photo: Shutterstock.com
People want to be healthy and are learning that they need to exercise to achieve this goal – great news for health clubs / all Photo: Shutterstock.com
People want to be healthy and are learning that they need to exercise to achieve this goal – great news for health clubs / all Photo: Shutterstock.com
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/HCM2014_1challenge.gif
Health clubs must invest in upskilling their managers if the sector is to gain credibility and build a strong future, says Liz Terry
Latest News
The hospitality and attractions sectors will benefit from a temporary cut to VAT as part ...
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: Incorpore and MoveGB ink groundbreaking partnership to transform corporate wellness offering
Incorpore and MoveGB have entered into a landmark partnership, combining the UK’s largest provider of corporate gym memberships with the nation’s biggest network of classes.
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.
Video Gallery
Temple Gym - Nautilus Equipment
Core Health & Fitness
Temple Gym - Nautilus Equipment Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: fibodo Limited
fibodo is the digital solution helping people lead healthier and happier lives. From grassroots individual ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Bungee Super Fly
We have developed our own Bungee harness and cords with CE certificate....
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Fitness software
Go Do.Fitness: Fitness software
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Fitness equipment
TRX Training: Fitness equipment
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Gym flooring
REGUPOL/Berleburger Schaumstoffwerk (BSW): Gym flooring
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Management software
Fisikal: Management software
Exercise equipment
Technogym: Exercise equipment
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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