Gold's Gym GGFA Regional Workshop Dallas Texas 2014

This past May we enjoyed another great regional GGFA workshop conducted by none other than Blair McHaney touching on strategy and effectively competing in the health club industry. This is very high quality education with practical takeaways. Blair does an excellent job and the event is very worthwhile and my partner Robert Dyer and I enjoyed seeing many of our friends from the GGFA , like Ginger Collins (I love it when she calls me "sugar" its a southern thing) as well as franchisees in the Gold's Gym System.

Check out the videos via links below from Sal Pellegrino , Robert Dyer and Linda Toth as they discuss all of the benefits of attending these great regional events. If you get a chance to attend the regionals this year or next please do. You'll be happy you did.




About Bryan

Bryan O’Rourke is considered by many to be a thought leader on technology, health club and wellness trends. He has been quoted in global periodicals like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Inc. Magazine, and has been published in journals around the world on his views of how technology will create the dawn of a new era of opportunity for the health club and fitness industries. In addition to being an industry expert, Bryan is a technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He has spoken on a range of business and trend topics on four continents. As a contract executive and advisor, Bryan wears many hats, including working for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 700 facilities in the US. He advises successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank, on ACE's Industry Advisory Panel and is CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council. To join FIT-C visit . To learn more contact Bryan here today .

Marketing Your Fitness Business - Do You Care Enough ?

Thanks to my colleague Eleanor Hisey at Fitsomo who shared a post that I just had to use from Gary Vaynerchuk, and to my partner Robert Dyer who spent so much time with me last week. These two along with my conversation with some of Gold's Gyms leading franchisees at the GGFA roundtable on social media last week led to this post.

By the way it meant a great deal to me to be invited by Ginger Collins and the great bunch of GGFA professionals, who I love, to discuss social media marketing at the Gold's convention. Thanks Ladies :). I was particularly excited that Gordon Johnson, along with several other leading Gold's franchisees, were there and asked so many relevant questions. They wanted to know about using social media, yet the conversation was less about technology and more about being human. I'll explain.

In a world where brands are accustomed to only broadcasting or as Gary Vaynerchuk puts it, presenting their message, now consumers want engagement (see his video below and thanks again Eleanor :)). They want to interact. Consumers want to be relevant. Everything we used to think about marketing has ended because now marketing is the consumer's experience. Its not our message and what we want to tell them; its all about what is important to THEM and our recognizing that fact. The "Connected Consumer" trend has really accelerated this because of technology.

This is a very hard thing for many brands to grasp and execute. In a world where many old school CEO's still worry that having a twitter account opens them up to having to answer to consumers, well what can I say ? Anyone who would have to ask if they should have a twitter account demonstrates they do not understand. You see people who don't understand this, at least 90% of the time, must not really care because if they did they'd want to have customers be able to let them know when they are happy and when they are not. Right ?

This leads to my partner Robert and I having many conversations with customers and industry leaders last week both during the Gold's convention and following it. For those of you who know him, Robert is one of the most sincere and caring people you'd ever meet; he's very human and it shows. It was instructive to hear the comments from a highly respected industry leader who following our meeting asked, "Is this how you conduct all of your meetings?" Well Robert was unclear as to what the person met. They went on, "You see I am so used to getting pressured and sold and you did not even have a presentation." (So I might have paraphrased a bit :)). Get it now ? Its not about us its about them.

The bottom line is this, if health club and fitness brands keep broadcasting content around what they do, what they have, and who they are consumers aren't going to connect. We can't use social media effectively if its not centered around the customer and we must reengineer our businesses accordingly. If the DNA of your organization can't "GET IT" then you've got a real problem on your hands.

Watch the video above from Gary Vaynerchuck and tell me Bryan O'Rourke, what is your marketing strategy with social media ? Do you agree with Gary that you've got to change from presenting to working the room ? Thanks for your thoughts and for reading the post.

About the author:

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He works for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 700 facilities in the US and heads up the firms Integerus and Fitsomo. He advises successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank and is CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council (To join FIT-C visit ). Recently Bryan was named to the ACE industry advisory panel.  To learn more contact Bryan here today.


Les Mills Has Strong Showing At Club Industry 2012

My partner Robert Dyer and I headed to Las Vegas early in the week to attend an important session with Les Mills Internationals New Zealand team prior to the opening of the Club Industry show, along with other US agents. The recent introduction of Les Mills GRIT, a solution that addresses the surge in demand for high intensity small group training, was on the agenda along with many other interesting topics.There is a lot of new and interesting news coming from Les Mills and we are always excited to hear about it.

We distribute Les Mills and serve 12 states and nearly 700 fitness facilities and 4,000 group fitness instructorsl offering the very best group fitness solutions in the world. All of our customers are very important and we love being able to visit with many of them at events like Club Industry. Ingrid Owen of 24 Hour Fitness, was kind enough to join us for a dinner hosted by Phillip Mills Tuesday evening ( that's Ingrid with my partner Robert above). The dinner was fantastic - thanks to Les Mills and Phillip for being such gracious hosts.

So what do you think about small group training trends ? Are you offering these classes ? Let me know your thoughts. The LES MILLS GRIT™SERIES is designed for small groups and has science, safety and results at its core. “High-intensity interval training works, and it works fast,” says Les Mills International CEO Phillip Mills. “These three new 30-minute programs attract and keep new, younger members – including more men.” The LES MILLS GRIT™SERIES delivers the ultimate mix of great music, high-intensity exercise and inspirational trainers who motivate every individual while harnessing the power of the team.

About the author:

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, and shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He advises several successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank and serves as CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council. To learn more contact Bryan here today .

What's Happening In The Fitness Business ? Panel Shares Their Views At Club Industry 2011

It is wonderful to be here in Chicago for Club Industry ! A real treat was being on a panel with my partner Robert Dyer, my friend and colleagues Michael Scott Scudder and Bill Rodriguez of Snap Fitness and Mike Grondahl of Planet Fitness, who I met for the first time today. We were talking about where the fitness industry is headed. It was really interesting and the room was completely full. To give you an idea of how entertaining and real the discussion was,  I'll quote Mike Grondahl, who in describing the Planet Fitness Model said:

"I don't know what customer satisfaction really means. How can you measure it ? At Planet Fitness we say hello, goodbye and provide a clean club. Its busy so just deal with it."

I think hat kind of honest feedback to a room full of health club industry players went over well . I found Mike Grondahl to be very funny and insightful as were the other participants. A lot of thanks and credit goes to Michael Scott Scudder for putting together such an eclectic group of participants and for crafting a lot of interesting points for discussion. Michael Scudder continues to elevate the conversation about the industry.

Bill Rodriguez of Snap Fitness spoke about how new technologies and location opportunities (like their recent Flying W deal for Truck Stops) are going to make the Snap brand continue to grow and be viable.

Robert Dyer commented on a variety of topics including understanding customers, health club business models, and how group fitness programming can be and should be leveraged in certain facilities.

I repeatedly talked about bifurcation trends and how technology is going to remake business models. Mike Grondahl was very interesting in a variety of ways. He attributed much of the success of Planet Fitness to atmosphere, the "judgement free" zone and characterized his model as a "$60 club being offered for $10".

There was general agreement that mom and pop operators need to be very careful and that low cost high value competitors will take increasing market share.

So tell me, Bryan O'Rourke, what do you think about where the fitness industry and health club industry are headed ? Did you enjoy Club Industry this year ? Were you able to attend the session? Let me know your thoughts please and thanks to all the panel members for a great session and a great time.

About the author Bryan O’Rourke:

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness and health club business service companies. He is also a partner in The Health Club For Women and Chairman of the Medical Fitness Association’s Education Committee. To learn more contact Bryan here today .


IHRSA 2011 - My First Report And First Meeting With Les Mills International

Its going to be a long week, but I'm not complaining I live for this stuff ! Having arrived late last night in San Francisco, I got a 6 mile run in before meeting up with my friend and partner Robert Dyer for breakfast (fun as always). It is rare we get to spend time alone uninterrupted . Our first meeting of the IHRSA 2011 show was with our strategic partner, Les Mills International (if you don't know by now fitmarc distributes Les Mills in 12 U.S. states to over 600 customers).

Arriving without his luggage that was misplaced by the airline and after visiting his son in Los Angeles, Les Mills founder Phillip Mills and I sat down for a chat about Les Mills, its future and our business relationship. He recently has a new 3 month old grand son, and is trying to recoup from the terrible earthquake in New Zealand, where he lives, which destroyed two of his Les Mills gyms.

My partner and fitmarc CEO Robert Dyer was, as always, animated and positive and the rest of the group including LMI's CFO, General Counsel and Marketing Brand Guru (see picture on left and yes I was the guy holding the camera) exchanged pleasant and frank views about how we could continue our great relationship and potentially expand our relationship. This, the beginning of a full week of discussions and meetings about the future of the fitness industry and where we might possibly have a role. There was considerable interest among Les Mills executives about the recent strategic advisory alliance our companies Fitmarc , Integerus and I have with Star Trac and its owner Michael Bruno. All was positive as our business is broadening its influence and relevance in the industry. I know Robert and I both, as well as our customers, partners, employees and stakeholders are delighted at the prospects. I'll be sharing more each day as the IHRSA 2011 30th anniversary unfolds.