Club Insider

"Insider Speaks"

The State of the Health Club Industry Today

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Thomas PlummerThomas Plummer

Publisher's Note: Starting off the New Year with a dose of Thomas Plummer's thoughts and beliefs is a great stimulator of thought and consideration. Club Insider also welcomes your viewpoints on all subjects, including any of those presented in Plummer's summary of The State of The Health Club Industry Today.

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What terrifies us in this business, and then causes mass panic and overreaction, usually turns out to be the invisible monster under your child's bed that is all imagination and dust balls. It's never the horrible reality we imagine. We see something new. It's something we don't understand, and we are immediately scared that it will destroy us.

The industry trends and changes in direction that have scared us into making bad decisions for so many years are hard to count and beyond a simple list, but here are a few that have driven us into overreaction and heavy breathing:

  • The rise of the Gold's Gyms business model back in the 80s, followed by World Gym, Powerhouse and a dozen or more other imitators. Bodybuilding was the culture; seas of isolation, single-joint, fixed-plane equipment was the plan; and we still see the mainstream competitors ordering the same equipment out of habit 40 years later.
  • The rise of Curves and the advent of the 30-minute circuit. There wasn't a fitness facility in the country that didn't rush out and buy the 30-minute circuit equipment. Curves had the apparent magic, and the industry was in a panic. But, has anyone seen a new Curves open lately?

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