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FITNESS, HEALTH, WELLNESS

features

Profile: Dr Jobst Müller-Trimbusch & Hagen Wingertszahn

The new co-CEOs of RSG Group are taking on a group of cutting-edge brands with a pipeline of exciting opportunities. They speak to Kate Cracknell

Published in Health Club Management 2023 issue 3
The pair say that Schaller’s charisma left a lasting mark on them / Photo: RSG Group
The pair say that Schaller’s charisma left a lasting mark on them / Photo: RSG Group
Over the next 25 years, we intend to remain one of the most successful fitness companies in the world

How has it felt to take the reins from the late Rainer Schaller?
HW: I’ve been with the company for a long time, as business manager for our home country of Germany, so I was personally and professionally closely connected with Rainer.

From pioneering discount fitness in Germany and Europe to creating numerous other innovative brands, concepts and initiatives, Rainer’s achievements were considerable. He will continue to have an impact on the sector for a long time to come. Even though the reasons could not be more terrible, it is therefore a great honour to take over the management of RSG Group alongside Jobst.

JMT: Rainer was a visionary: he challenged and inspired with new ideas. His influence on the fitness industry was – and still is – hugely significant. He challenged and inspired us too: I joined RSG Group as CFO three years ago and I learned a lot from him.

Hagen and I are therefore well aware of the responsibility that comes with our new roles. We have big shoes to fill.

Of course, none of us can replace Rainer. However, we will find our own way to achieve our goal of making the company sustainably profitable.

It’s important to us that we preserve Rainer’s legacy, reliably and effectively continuing to run the company he founded and we have a great team that Rainer himself developed over the last 25 years. That team now continues to work on developing innovations, with a view to retaining our position as the fitness industry’s trend- and pacesetter.

How have you handled events since 21 October 2022?
HW: The death of Rainer, his family and our colleagues was an incomprehensible shock and terrible loss for all of us.

At first, it was impossible for us to carry out a normal working day, but we supported each other in coping with the grief. RSG Group has a very special corporate culture, and even after the accident we were able to observe a remarkable sense of community among the employees.

JMT: The company has been, and continues to be, fully operational at all times, and the fact that we remain family-owned makes us extremely happy. Having the full support of our employees and business partners is also a great encouragement to Hagen and me in our new role as the co-CEOs, which we took on in December 2022. Together as a team – as well as in consultation with the new Schaller family owners – we now manage the RSG Group.

HW: We do, however, have different and complementary areas of expertise, so while all important decisions are made in close collaboration and discussion, we allocate business matters in a way that best harnesses our respective skills.

What are your key challenges and tasks for the next 12–24 months?
HW: One of our major tasks will be to restructure the company, as it’s been tailored to Rainer in terms of both content and structure for the past 25 years.

Our new alignment will also clearly focus on our fitness brands. Our goal is to continue to be one of the world’s leading fitness companies, actively shaping the development of the fitness market and innovatively leading the way as a trendsetter.

Tell us more about this fitness focus.
HW: What Rainer created over the past 25 years is a great treasure: we currently operate 22 fitness and lifestyle brands within the Group, all united by the creativity and passion with which we conceived and now manage them. This breadth of offering means we can offer our customers a 360° experience and be an essential part of their active everyday lives.

Moving forward, we’re particularly interested in our fitness brands – already the core of the group portfolio – and intend to strengthen and further expand this core business.

In particular, we see the greatest potential in the diversity of our fitness club concepts. Across the spectrum – from McFit to John Reed to Gold’s Gym and more – Rainer has managed to give each brand its own distinct personality. Every fitness concept delivers a completely different experience to its members. We plan to build on this and push it even further.

JMT: It’s also possible that another brand will be added in the future if it fits well into our portfolio.

You launched a new brand, Heimat, last year…
JMT: We opened our first Heimat club last summer, in Los Angeles. This almost 7,000sq m concept fitness club is the only one of its kind in the world, combining a very broad fitness offering alongside a boutique spa, restaurant, relaxation area, co-working and event space.

The second club, Heimat by Waris Dirie, followed in Paris in January of this year – a customised, exclusive, women-only private members’ concept where the offering goes far beyond that of a typical gym.

For those who don’t know her, Waris Dirie is a supermodel, bestselling author and human rights activist whose views on female empowerment perfectly echo the brand essence of ‘proud female fitness’ at this, our first Heimat club in Europe.

There are tailored fitness classes and a state-of-the-art gym complemented by a strong programme of permanent art exhibitions and cultural events.

HW: Our celebrity concepts are a result of Rainer’s personal relationships with the celebrities; alongside Heimat by Waris Dirie, we also have Sergio Ramos by John Reed. This collaborative venture was inspired by Sergio and Rainer’s shared values – motivation and discipline, for example – and their shared passion for sports.

Due to the personal nature of the connections, we expect these collaborations to continue even following Rainer’s passing.

Let’s talk about your US expansion…
HW: The US is the birthplace of modern fitness, and within that, Gold’s Gym always fascinated Rainer. What began in 1965 with a small gym in Venice Beach is now the best-known fitness company in the world. Of course, this fascination for the brand prompted Rainer to acquire Gold’s Gym in 2020 – our first move into the US.

We now have 63 company-owned Gold’s Gym locations in the US, as well as our concept fitness club Heimat in Los Angeles and John Reed clubs in Dallas and Los Angeles.

JMT: Alongside the European market, we see the US as offering the greatest overall growth potential for RSG Group. We’re planning further studio openings for Gold’s Gym, McFit and John Reed in their respective core markets across Europe and the US in 2023.

What other news from Gold’s Gym?
HW: We continue to work on the new positioning of our Gold’s Gym brand and are keen to continue its success story.

In order to operate credible franchises, you first have to strengthen your own business and set a good example to convince potential and existing franchise partners. We will therefore drive both business units forward and see great potential for the further development of both fields.

Meanwhile, sustainability is a key focus at Gold’s Gym: a socially important topic that affects us all. At our 5,200sq m flagship in Berlin, we’ve set new standards in sustainable construction: we were the first ever commercial gym to receive the LEED Platinum certification, the highest international recognition for exceptionally sustainable construction.

Of course, sustainability is also important across all our fitness brands. We’re currently working with external energy consultants to retrofit our studios in a sustainable manner, so we’re optimally positioned in terms of energy efficiency in the future.

Where do you operate now?
JMT: In total, the RSG Group is active in 48 countries. If we consider only our 395 company-owned gyms, we’re represented in 13 countries: Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Switzerland, Turkey, France, the Netherlands, the UK and the US.

We also have a global network of studios through our Gold’s Gym brand, with approximately 530 franchise locations in addition to our company-owned ones. At present, we will not be transferring our other brands to the franchise system.

You exited Poland in 2022 to focus on the US, but then entered Spain. Why?
JMT: The purchase of Holmes Place Spain was an unforeseen opportunity that we seized. Since the acquisition, membership numbers have developed very encouragingly and we’ve integrated the brand into our overall strategy to complement our portfolio in Spain.

Editor’s note: RSG Group is currently considering the sale of its Spanish portfolio, which includes more than 40 McFit gyms, five Holmes Place sites and a Sergio Ramos by John Reed fitness club located in Madrid.

The matter is in the very early stages, with no certainty that RSG will proceed. More: www.hcmmag.com/spainsale.

What news from The Mirai?
JMT: During the early part of the coronavirus pandemic, we decided not to implement The Mirai as a physical location in Oberhausen, as we had originally planned. We’re now continuing with the project as a digital research and development centre for fitness and health – something that was already an integral part of the original concept.

What motivates you to keep the business moving forward?
JMT: Rainer was not only the leader and colleague of us all, but above all a visionary entrepreneur and a good friend. His charisma has left a lasting mark both on us and in the industry. Carrying on his legacy and sustainably strengthening the core RSG brands motivates us every day.

HW: We intend to remain one of the most successful fitness companies in the world.

RSG Brands

• Gold's Gym

• Gold's Gym Nutrition

• McFit

• McFit Models

• Helmat

• Heimat by Waris Dirie

• John Reed

• Sergio Ramos by John Reed

• John and Jane's

• The Reed

• High5

• Steven Baker

• Cyberobics

• Loox

• Master of Enthusiasm

• Pearl Model Management

• The Mirai

• Tigerpool

• Qi2

• Holmes Place Spain

• Mother Tongue

• Marcell von Berlin

• Ron Miller

FAST FACTS
RSG Group

• Locations: 1,000

• Countries: 48

• Brands: 22

• Owner: Schaller family

• Employees: 41,000

• Members: 6.4m

"None of us can replace Rainer. However, we will find our own way to achieve our goal of making the company sustainably profitable" – Dr Jobst Müller-Trimbusch

"We see the greatest potential in our fitness brands and intend to strengthen and further expand this core business" – Hagen Wingertszahn

The latest RSG brand is Heimat by Waris Dirie in Paris, in partnership with the famed supermodel / Photo: DIDIER DELMAS/RSG
The latest RSG brand is Heimat by Waris Dirie in Paris, in partnership with the famed supermodel / Photo: DIDIER DELMAS/RSG
The first Heimat club in Europe – a women-only site – opened in Paris in January 2023 / Photo: DIDIER DELMAS/RSG
The first Heimat club in Europe – a women-only site – opened in Paris in January 2023 / Photo: DIDIER DELMAS/RSG
Supermodel Waris Dirie has partnered with RSG on a new Heimat concept / Photo: François Goizé/RSG
Supermodel Waris Dirie has partnered with RSG on a new Heimat concept / Photo: François Goizé/RSG
Heimat by Waris Dirie brings a new aesthetic to the company / Photo: DIDIER DELMAS/RSG
Heimat by Waris Dirie brings a new aesthetic to the company / Photo: DIDIER DELMAS/RSG
The loss of visionary entrepreneur Rainer Schaller has been deeply felt in the company / Photo: RSG Group GmbH / Steffen Roth
The loss of visionary entrepreneur Rainer Schaller has been deeply felt in the company / Photo: RSG Group GmbH / Steffen Roth
RSG acquired Gold’s Gym in 2020, opening a new Net Zero flagship in Berlin / Photo: Dominik von Winterfeld/RSG
RSG acquired Gold’s Gym in 2020, opening a new Net Zero flagship in Berlin / Photo: Dominik von Winterfeld/RSG
The new John Reed in Dallas / Photo: LuisMartinez2022 / RSG
The new John Reed in Dallas / Photo: LuisMartinez2022 / RSG
McFit / Photo: fb.com/mmntphtgrphy/RSG
McFit / Photo: fb.com/mmntphtgrphy/RSG
John Reed Istanbul / Photo: John REED /RSG
John Reed Istanbul / Photo: John REED /RSG
John Reed Vienna / Photo: John REED/RSG
John Reed Vienna / Photo: John REED/RSG
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2023/146950_697468.jpg
The new co-CEOs of RSG Group talk about succeeding the late Rainer Schaller and setting their course for the next stage of the company’s growth
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features

Profile: Dr Jobst Müller-Trimbusch & Hagen Wingertszahn

The new co-CEOs of RSG Group are taking on a group of cutting-edge brands with a pipeline of exciting opportunities. They speak to Kate Cracknell

Published in Health Club Management 2023 issue 3
The pair say that Schaller’s charisma left a lasting mark on them / Photo: RSG Group
The pair say that Schaller’s charisma left a lasting mark on them / Photo: RSG Group
Over the next 25 years, we intend to remain one of the most successful fitness companies in the world

How has it felt to take the reins from the late Rainer Schaller?
HW: I’ve been with the company for a long time, as business manager for our home country of Germany, so I was personally and professionally closely connected with Rainer.

From pioneering discount fitness in Germany and Europe to creating numerous other innovative brands, concepts and initiatives, Rainer’s achievements were considerable. He will continue to have an impact on the sector for a long time to come. Even though the reasons could not be more terrible, it is therefore a great honour to take over the management of RSG Group alongside Jobst.

JMT: Rainer was a visionary: he challenged and inspired with new ideas. His influence on the fitness industry was – and still is – hugely significant. He challenged and inspired us too: I joined RSG Group as CFO three years ago and I learned a lot from him.

Hagen and I are therefore well aware of the responsibility that comes with our new roles. We have big shoes to fill.

Of course, none of us can replace Rainer. However, we will find our own way to achieve our goal of making the company sustainably profitable.

It’s important to us that we preserve Rainer’s legacy, reliably and effectively continuing to run the company he founded and we have a great team that Rainer himself developed over the last 25 years. That team now continues to work on developing innovations, with a view to retaining our position as the fitness industry’s trend- and pacesetter.

How have you handled events since 21 October 2022?
HW: The death of Rainer, his family and our colleagues was an incomprehensible shock and terrible loss for all of us.

At first, it was impossible for us to carry out a normal working day, but we supported each other in coping with the grief. RSG Group has a very special corporate culture, and even after the accident we were able to observe a remarkable sense of community among the employees.

JMT: The company has been, and continues to be, fully operational at all times, and the fact that we remain family-owned makes us extremely happy. Having the full support of our employees and business partners is also a great encouragement to Hagen and me in our new role as the co-CEOs, which we took on in December 2022. Together as a team – as well as in consultation with the new Schaller family owners – we now manage the RSG Group.

HW: We do, however, have different and complementary areas of expertise, so while all important decisions are made in close collaboration and discussion, we allocate business matters in a way that best harnesses our respective skills.

What are your key challenges and tasks for the next 12–24 months?
HW: One of our major tasks will be to restructure the company, as it’s been tailored to Rainer in terms of both content and structure for the past 25 years.

Our new alignment will also clearly focus on our fitness brands. Our goal is to continue to be one of the world’s leading fitness companies, actively shaping the development of the fitness market and innovatively leading the way as a trendsetter.

Tell us more about this fitness focus.
HW: What Rainer created over the past 25 years is a great treasure: we currently operate 22 fitness and lifestyle brands within the Group, all united by the creativity and passion with which we conceived and now manage them. This breadth of offering means we can offer our customers a 360° experience and be an essential part of their active everyday lives.

Moving forward, we’re particularly interested in our fitness brands – already the core of the group portfolio – and intend to strengthen and further expand this core business.

In particular, we see the greatest potential in the diversity of our fitness club concepts. Across the spectrum – from McFit to John Reed to Gold’s Gym and more – Rainer has managed to give each brand its own distinct personality. Every fitness concept delivers a completely different experience to its members. We plan to build on this and push it even further.

JMT: It’s also possible that another brand will be added in the future if it fits well into our portfolio.

You launched a new brand, Heimat, last year…
JMT: We opened our first Heimat club last summer, in Los Angeles. This almost 7,000sq m concept fitness club is the only one of its kind in the world, combining a very broad fitness offering alongside a boutique spa, restaurant, relaxation area, co-working and event space.

The second club, Heimat by Waris Dirie, followed in Paris in January of this year – a customised, exclusive, women-only private members’ concept where the offering goes far beyond that of a typical gym.

For those who don’t know her, Waris Dirie is a supermodel, bestselling author and human rights activist whose views on female empowerment perfectly echo the brand essence of ‘proud female fitness’ at this, our first Heimat club in Europe.

There are tailored fitness classes and a state-of-the-art gym complemented by a strong programme of permanent art exhibitions and cultural events.

HW: Our celebrity concepts are a result of Rainer’s personal relationships with the celebrities; alongside Heimat by Waris Dirie, we also have Sergio Ramos by John Reed. This collaborative venture was inspired by Sergio and Rainer’s shared values – motivation and discipline, for example – and their shared passion for sports.

Due to the personal nature of the connections, we expect these collaborations to continue even following Rainer’s passing.

Let’s talk about your US expansion…
HW: The US is the birthplace of modern fitness, and within that, Gold’s Gym always fascinated Rainer. What began in 1965 with a small gym in Venice Beach is now the best-known fitness company in the world. Of course, this fascination for the brand prompted Rainer to acquire Gold’s Gym in 2020 – our first move into the US.

We now have 63 company-owned Gold’s Gym locations in the US, as well as our concept fitness club Heimat in Los Angeles and John Reed clubs in Dallas and Los Angeles.

JMT: Alongside the European market, we see the US as offering the greatest overall growth potential for RSG Group. We’re planning further studio openings for Gold’s Gym, McFit and John Reed in their respective core markets across Europe and the US in 2023.

What other news from Gold’s Gym?
HW: We continue to work on the new positioning of our Gold’s Gym brand and are keen to continue its success story.

In order to operate credible franchises, you first have to strengthen your own business and set a good example to convince potential and existing franchise partners. We will therefore drive both business units forward and see great potential for the further development of both fields.

Meanwhile, sustainability is a key focus at Gold’s Gym: a socially important topic that affects us all. At our 5,200sq m flagship in Berlin, we’ve set new standards in sustainable construction: we were the first ever commercial gym to receive the LEED Platinum certification, the highest international recognition for exceptionally sustainable construction.

Of course, sustainability is also important across all our fitness brands. We’re currently working with external energy consultants to retrofit our studios in a sustainable manner, so we’re optimally positioned in terms of energy efficiency in the future.

Where do you operate now?
JMT: In total, the RSG Group is active in 48 countries. If we consider only our 395 company-owned gyms, we’re represented in 13 countries: Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Switzerland, Turkey, France, the Netherlands, the UK and the US.

We also have a global network of studios through our Gold’s Gym brand, with approximately 530 franchise locations in addition to our company-owned ones. At present, we will not be transferring our other brands to the franchise system.

You exited Poland in 2022 to focus on the US, but then entered Spain. Why?
JMT: The purchase of Holmes Place Spain was an unforeseen opportunity that we seized. Since the acquisition, membership numbers have developed very encouragingly and we’ve integrated the brand into our overall strategy to complement our portfolio in Spain.

Editor’s note: RSG Group is currently considering the sale of its Spanish portfolio, which includes more than 40 McFit gyms, five Holmes Place sites and a Sergio Ramos by John Reed fitness club located in Madrid.

The matter is in the very early stages, with no certainty that RSG will proceed. More: www.hcmmag.com/spainsale.

What news from The Mirai?
JMT: During the early part of the coronavirus pandemic, we decided not to implement The Mirai as a physical location in Oberhausen, as we had originally planned. We’re now continuing with the project as a digital research and development centre for fitness and health – something that was already an integral part of the original concept.

What motivates you to keep the business moving forward?
JMT: Rainer was not only the leader and colleague of us all, but above all a visionary entrepreneur and a good friend. His charisma has left a lasting mark both on us and in the industry. Carrying on his legacy and sustainably strengthening the core RSG brands motivates us every day.

HW: We intend to remain one of the most successful fitness companies in the world.

RSG Brands

• Gold's Gym

• Gold's Gym Nutrition

• McFit

• McFit Models

• Helmat

• Heimat by Waris Dirie

• John Reed

• Sergio Ramos by John Reed

• John and Jane's

• The Reed

• High5

• Steven Baker

• Cyberobics

• Loox

• Master of Enthusiasm

• Pearl Model Management

• The Mirai

• Tigerpool

• Qi2

• Holmes Place Spain

• Mother Tongue

• Marcell von Berlin

• Ron Miller

FAST FACTS
RSG Group

• Locations: 1,000

• Countries: 48

• Brands: 22

• Owner: Schaller family

• Employees: 41,000

• Members: 6.4m

"None of us can replace Rainer. However, we will find our own way to achieve our goal of making the company sustainably profitable" – Dr Jobst Müller-Trimbusch

"We see the greatest potential in our fitness brands and intend to strengthen and further expand this core business" – Hagen Wingertszahn

The latest RSG brand is Heimat by Waris Dirie in Paris, in partnership with the famed supermodel / Photo: DIDIER DELMAS/RSG
The latest RSG brand is Heimat by Waris Dirie in Paris, in partnership with the famed supermodel / Photo: DIDIER DELMAS/RSG
The first Heimat club in Europe – a women-only site – opened in Paris in January 2023 / Photo: DIDIER DELMAS/RSG
The first Heimat club in Europe – a women-only site – opened in Paris in January 2023 / Photo: DIDIER DELMAS/RSG
Supermodel Waris Dirie has partnered with RSG on a new Heimat concept / Photo: François Goizé/RSG
Supermodel Waris Dirie has partnered with RSG on a new Heimat concept / Photo: François Goizé/RSG
Heimat by Waris Dirie brings a new aesthetic to the company / Photo: DIDIER DELMAS/RSG
Heimat by Waris Dirie brings a new aesthetic to the company / Photo: DIDIER DELMAS/RSG
The loss of visionary entrepreneur Rainer Schaller has been deeply felt in the company / Photo: RSG Group GmbH / Steffen Roth
The loss of visionary entrepreneur Rainer Schaller has been deeply felt in the company / Photo: RSG Group GmbH / Steffen Roth
RSG acquired Gold’s Gym in 2020, opening a new Net Zero flagship in Berlin / Photo: Dominik von Winterfeld/RSG
RSG acquired Gold’s Gym in 2020, opening a new Net Zero flagship in Berlin / Photo: Dominik von Winterfeld/RSG
The new John Reed in Dallas / Photo: LuisMartinez2022 / RSG
The new John Reed in Dallas / Photo: LuisMartinez2022 / RSG
McFit / Photo: fb.com/mmntphtgrphy/RSG
McFit / Photo: fb.com/mmntphtgrphy/RSG
John Reed Istanbul / Photo: John REED /RSG
John Reed Istanbul / Photo: John REED /RSG
John Reed Vienna / Photo: John REED/RSG
John Reed Vienna / Photo: John REED/RSG
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2023/146950_697468.jpg
The new co-CEOs of RSG Group talk about succeeding the late Rainer Schaller and setting their course for the next stage of the company’s growth
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As one of the most energy-intensive industries in the UK, leisure facilities face a critical challenge in balancing net zero goals, funding and increased costs.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Sibec EMEA to blend fitness with luxury at Fairmont Monte Carlo
Experience the pinnacle of fitness and luxury at the premier industry event, Sibec EMEA, set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Fairmont Monte Carlo this Autumn.
Company profiles
Company profile: BLK BOX
BLK BOX is recognised as a trusted authority in strength equipment and facility design. Through ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Panatta Srl
Panatta's mission is to create machines that are aesthetically pleasing, functional and competitive in price ...
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Supplier showcase - Jon Williams
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Featured press releases
Greenwich Leisure Limited press release: Pioneering project boosts business in Basingstoke
A sports complex might not be your first thought when you’re looking for a peaceful and comfortable, drop-in workspace. However, that could soon change thanks to an innovative new project at Basingstoke Leisure Centre.
Featured press releases
The Health & Fitness Institute press release: The future of fitness education: The Health and Fitness Institute champions digital learning
The Health and Fitness Institute (THFI) is leading a revolutionary paradigm shift in fitness education by fully embracing digital learning.
Directory
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
salt therapy products
Saltability: salt therapy products
Snowroom
TechnoAlpin SpA: Snowroom
Lockers
Fitlockers: Lockers
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Cryotherapy
Property & Tenders
Loughton, IG10
Knight Frank
Property & Tenders
Grantham, Leicestershire
Belvoir Castle
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
22-24 Apr 2024
Galgorm Resort, York,
Diary dates
10-12 May 2024
China Import & Export Fair Complex, Guangzhou, China
Diary dates
23-24 May 2024
Large Hall of the Chamber of Commerce (Erbprinzenpalais), Wiesbaden, Germany
Diary dates
30 May - 02 Jun 2024
Rimini Exhibition Center, Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
08-08 Jun 2024
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
11-13 Jun 2024
Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore, Singapore
Diary dates
12-13 Jun 2024
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-05 Sep 2024
IMPACT Exhibition Center, Bangkok, Thailand
Diary dates
19-19 Sep 2024
The Salil Hotel Riverside - Bangkok, Bangkok 10120, Thailand
Diary dates
01-04 Oct 2024
REVĪVŌ Wellness Resort Nusa Dua Bali, Kabupaten Badung, Indonesia
Diary dates
22-25 Oct 2024
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
24-24 Oct 2024
QEII Conference Centre, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2024
In person, St Andrews, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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