header splash Jan 9th, 2019

    Association News


IHRSA Passport Program Supercharged for 2019

IHRSA’s Passport program is one of the association’s most popular member offerings. It gives IHRSA facilities a valuable added benefit they can offer their members—a way for them to remain physically active, and continue to pursue their fitness goals, whenever they travel, either for business or pleasure. The program allows members to purchase a discounted guest pass, and—just that easily—obtain access to any IHRSA club, worldwide, that participates in the Passport network.

This year, for the first time, this benefit is being made available on mobile devices via a convenient, user-friendly, and free app. IHRSA has partnered with TrainAway, a Copenhagen-based company, to digitalize the Passport service. By capitalizing on the firm’s innovative technology and sophisticated user interface, IHRSA’s made it possible for its clubs’ clientele to use their tablet or smartphone to locate participating facilities in a matter of seconds.

“The IHRSA Passport Program is invaluable to us,” attests Alan Leach, the CEO of the West Wood Clubs, based in Dublin, Ireland, and a member of IHRSA’s board of directors. “It’s a great sales and marketing tool for our membership team, particularly when they’re dealing with the corporate market. The program represents a great competitive advantage because it imparts exclusivity to a West Wood membership. “As a retention tool, it’s indispensable, because members who leave us can no longer use other clubs whenever they travel. It’s quite a perk.”

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"How has your staff training changed and improved over the years? What aspect of your current staff training do your employees find especially helpful/important?"



Sherry Miles
Health Systems Group director of operations, Ontario Region

Health Systems Group (HSG) has been in the fitness, recreation and wellness business for 40 years. The development of our staff is crucial to our operations and has significantly evolved with changing times and trends. We discovered long ago that employees who are competent and on top of changing industry standards, help us hold a position as a leader in the fitness and recreation industry. It’s our people that make the difference!

HSG has always been committed to the continuous improvement and growth of our staff. This commitment can be a time-consuming endeavour, but we believe success happens by design and not by chance so the investment has been well worth the effort.


Lauren Walker
All Fit All Ages
Port Perry, Ontario

Because we are a small facility with a limited professional development budget, our club continues to offer staff some professional development training while also encouraging staff members to do additional training on their own time.

Personally, I have recently taken the canfitpro online Active Aging Certificate. It is quite helpful in teaching fundamental exercise prescription for the 50+ age group. I have also taken correspondence courses through the C.H.E.K Institute which have benefited me greatly. I’d highly recommend “Scientific Back Training,” “Scientific Core Training” and “Scientific Shoulder Training.” As a club we continue to stay on top of the latest trends and to share them with others. We have always taken time to discuss these issues as a group and to bring in local professionals, often from a local college or university.


Jeff McCarroll
Ontario Racquet Club
Mississauga, Ontario

While this may not be strictly a professional development issue, our team has somewhat recently begun using a new software app which has greatly improved communication in our organization, one of the biggest challenges of any busy operation.

For many years, our large club struggled with how to get information to both staff and members. We tried snail mail, print memos, emails, text messaging and eblasts to name a few. Each was effective for a time and served a purpose depending on who we were targeting. This past year we started using Slack, an extremely efficient, effective and free (for our size club) communication tool. It is similar to text messaging, however, it also allows you to create subgroups of identifiers such as “urgent message,” “service calls,” front desk,” “PTs,” or “tennis trainers” or any other grouping important to your club. It can be installed on your mobile phone or your desktop and has a unique audio “ding” which indicates you have a message.

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    Featured Article
Disrupting The Way We Age


Reprinted from Fitness Business Canada magazine November 2017

By Colin Milner

What will it take to age well?

This simple question has spawned industries around the world, as researchers, product developers and service providers all search for optimal solutions. There is a growing thirst within society, among young and old alike, not only to manage the challenges of poor health, but also to embrace the opportunities associated with aging well. The heartbeat of aging well? It might just be technology.

Today’s technology offers us the ability to fill the gaps, to meet new expectations and to connect in ways once left to the imagination of science fiction writers. The human touch must never be replaced. Yet we certainly are working hard at replacing humans—think robotics and artificial intelligence, as well as the environments we engage with; think augmented reality, virtual reality and holograms. These are only a few of the ways in which we will interact differently in the future.

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pic5IHRSA Announces New Board Nominees

IHRSA, The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, has announced four nominees for the IHRSA Board of Directors.

The four nominees are:
  • Frank Lawrence, CEO - Little Rock Athletic Centers, LLC
  • Chris Smith, CEO and President - SNFW Fitness BC Ltd.
  • Chris Stevenson, Owner - Stevenson Fitness
  • Greta Wagner, Executive Director, EVP - Chelsea Piers
All four will stand for election during IHRSA’s annual meeting in March at the IHRSA International Convention & Trade Show in San Diego, CA.

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pic1 Brain Fitness - As Important as Body Fitness

by Patricia Clark

As we age, certain body functions slow down. Some changes are inevitable, such as grey hair, and possibly less of it. Our lungs lose capacity and even our brains lose volume. As our body fitness declines, must our brain fitness as well? There is no doubt that most over the age of 65 have more trouble with memory than in the past. That’s especially true for short-term memory. “Where did I leave my keys?” is the common question asked by many.

But the more important question is “Do I know what to do with my keys once I find them?” These questions point out the difference between normal aging and diseases such as dementia. That critical difference is very important.

Normal aging is not a disease.

If you allow your body to remain sedentary over the years, you will become less independent. You will also be at higher risk for chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. Similarly, the unchallenged mind will slowly lose neural connections. It will display symptoms of confusion, memory loss, and less ability to quickly process complex information. Too many older adults simply give up. They believe the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” That is absolutely wrong! We have over 100 billion brain cells at maturity and 100 trillion connections between them. Yes, we can afford to lose a few as we get older.

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pic1 The Active Resolution: Good Habits Mean Good Health

by Lauren Walker

A new year often brings the onslaught of what I call “Resolutionists.” These are people who are keen to get started on a new healthy path. Often after a few months of enthusiasm they taper off and sink back in to their old habits. Why can’t people stick with it? Creating a habit takes time, practice and energy. It takes time, practice and energy to be unhealthy. This means old habits often creep back in. We have to use our time and energy to help our clients practice good habits. How can we encourage our clients to successful and realistic in order to create better habits?

Be Realistic: The time it takes for someone to be unhealthy is the time it takes to become healthy. The biggest mistake is thinking you’re going to overhaul a life time of bad habits in three months. It’s not going to happen! Help set short term goals. Three months is a reasonable amount of time to help get your client in to an active routine.

You are What you Eat: Setting your client on a healthier eating routine requires making gradual changes. Keep in mind your clients’ individual needs. Focus on creating a realistic timeline. Nutritional habits affect energy levels, sleep habits and sense of well being. This is a lifestyle change. It’ll take time and consistency to get it right.

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    What's New

whatsnewThe PW-511 Belt Squat allows users to perform squats without the pressure of having a bar on their back. Users clip the belt into one of four possible positions, depending on their height and mobility, and the weight plates are loaded directly in line with the hips, creating the ideal movement for this exercise. Once the user is set up they extend upwards causing the stability bars pivot towards them. The non-skid rubber footplates provide optimal stability during the movement. Optional Dip Bars can be added so that the unit becomes a weighted dip machine. For more information, visit www.atlantisstrength.com or call (877) 454.2285


38th Annual IHRSA International Convention & Trade Show

Supercharge you growth!

Canadian delegates save US$100 on a full package registration. Use promo code FBC19.

Click here for more information and to register.

    About FBC

FBC 2018Fitness Business Canada (FBC), first published in January 2000, is the primary trade magazine for owners, managers and staff of health and fitness facilities across Canada. To get your copy, call our office at 905-873-0850, email us at fbc@fitnet.ca or click here to subscribe online.

Next Issue: Winter 2019
Special Feature: IHRSA San Diego

plus much more...look for it this Winter!

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