Twenty-nine years. That's how long fitness professionals have been coming to the Club Industry Show in Chicago. As the show nears its pearl anniversary next year, the attendees at this year's show can expect a gem of a time with an expanded educational program, two networking events, new products on the trade show floor, early morning workouts, awards and mentorship giveaways.
Owners, CEOs, directors, personal trainers and other staff are expected from commercial clubs, Ys, university rec centers, corporate wellness centers, medical wellness facilities, parks and rec facilities and more when the show opens on Wednesday, Oct. 22, at the Lakeside Center of McCormick Place in Chicago.
One of the show's highlights is the keynote address at 9:50 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 23, by Gerry O’Brion of What Big Brands Know (Room E350, Lakeside Center, McCormick Place). O'Brion has worked for Procter & Gamble, Coors Light, Quiznos and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers. He has translated his marketing experiences at those companies and his conversations with fitness company executives into his presentation, "The Fitness Club Formula – Building a Powerful and Profitable Brand." In that presentation, he will share five key strategies to fill your club without spending a lot of money. He will share case studies from within the industry and from outside the industry. After his keynote, O'Brion will present a second interactive session on how to ignite your business and personal goals.
Prior to the keynote address on Thursday, John McCarthy, the former executive director of IHRSA, will receive this year's Lifetime Achievement Award for his accomplishments in developing IHRSA into the trade association for commercial club operators and its lobbying efforts on behalf of the industry. That presentation begins at 9:15 a.m. on Thursday (Room E350, Lakeside Center, McCormick Place).
The other award being handed out at the show is the Trainer of the Year Award. PFP Magazine, a magazine for personal trainers, gives out this award each year after asking for nominations. A committee reviews the nominees and narrows it down to three finalists. This year's three finalists are Brent Gallagher of Houston; Jacey Gengenbach of Omaha, NE; and Mindy Mylrea of Santa Cruz, CA. The winner will be announced at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 23, in Club LIVE.
The conference portion of the show includes almost 60 educational sessions focused on topics such as implementing large group training in your facility to increase revenue, creating referral networks, implementing wellness programming in your facility, hiring the right employees and some of the trends to watch for in 2015.
Plus, studio owners are invited to attend four sessions put together by the Association of Studio Owners to help these studio owners with everything from setting a budget, getting funding, marketing and lead generation to using technology effectively in their studios.
On Tuesday, Oct. 21, the Functional Aging Institute will hold a preconference functional aging specialist workshop at McCormick Place in conjunction with the show. This workshop teaches fitness professionals how to work with the aging population, including how to do assessments, demonstrating movements that work best with this market and special concerns related to flexibility.
Trainers and group exercise instructors can earn CEUs and CECs at most of the educational sessions as well as at the active training sessions from the seven certifying agencies represented: American Council on Exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine, Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, National Council on Strength and Fitness, National Federation of Professional Trainers, National Strength and Conditioning Association and World Instructor Training Schools (W.I.T.S.).
Other Special Events
This year's show includes several special events, including two networking opportunities. The opening night reception, sponsored by The Abs Company, will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 22, at the American Junkie Restaurant and Bar. It is noted as a true destination for sports addicts and gastro-chic eating—and it doesn't hurt that it has more than 100 beer choices. Buses will shuttle people from McCormick Place to American Junkie.
At 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 23, attendees should stop by the Top 100 Clubs reception in the registration area for food, drinks and an opportunity to honor the clubs that made Club Industry's annual Top 100 clubs list. The event is being sponsored by CSI Software and ABC Financial. This year, Club Industry is giving away a mentorship with two of the CEOs on the Top 100 list, Joe Cirulli, CEO of Gainesville Health and Fitness Centers, Gainesville, FL, and Jim Worthington, CEO of Newtown Athletic Club, Newtown, PA. The winners will get a trip to their mentor's facility and several over-the-phone consultations with their mentors during the next year. Matrix Fitness is sponsoring the mentee for Joe Cirulli, picking up the tab for that person's trip, and MyZone is picking up the trip for Jim Worthington's mentee.
The 4th Annual Personal Trainer Summit, put on by W.I.T.S., is an opportunity for personal trainers, club operators and certifying or education groups to come together to discuss how to increase the professionalism of the personal trainer career. Part of that discussion is a presentation by an emergency medical technician about how the EMT community in 50 states came together when looking at setting standards for that group so that trainers and club operators can see how their efforts might apply to the fitness industry, especially as more states look to license trainers.
This year also is the fourth year of the CEO Summit, an invitation-only event to address the unique concerns of the owners and CEOs of the largest club companies in the United States. The event, which is sponsored by Motionsoft, has grown from 35 CEOs in the first year to about 65 CEOs this year.
Due to the success of the CEO Summit, the show has launched the Fitness Leadership Forum, which is for owners, CEOs and other top-level executives at fitness facilities of any type and size. The morning panel on Wednesday, Oct. 22, will focus on operational issues and challenges of running a fitness facility. The afternoon session will focus on how to attract women to buy memberships and other products and services. The day will end with breakout discussions on topics chosen by the participants.
About 20 attendees will get to tour three fitness facilities in Chicago during the Wednesday morning club tours, which start at 8 a.m. The clubs on the tour are David Barton Gym, Fitness Formula Club and the recreation center at DePaul University.
The exhibit hall is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 23, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 24. Friday morning will include early morning workouts from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Attendees can watch or participate in demonstrations and catch special sessions in the Club LIVE booth on the exhibit hall floor. At 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, GymGroups will demonstrate its system for helping clubs socially interact with their members and to help members interact with each other to improve retention. Former Mr. America and Mr. Universe Lou Ferrigno, who recently joined the GymGroups team, will be part of the presentation. SCW Fitness will demonstrate BodyCombat, a Les Mills martial arts-inspired workout, at 12:30 p.m. in the Club LIVE booth. At 2 p.m. that day, FacilityDude will present "Risk Management: What's CMMS Got to Do with It?"
Attendees also can participate in a Barre demonstration using Fluidity's portable barre system at 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 22. Rather than being in Club LIVE, this demonstration will occur in the registration area near the windows that overlook Lake Michigan.
The Club Industry Show sponsors are Jonas Fitness, Matrix Fitness, Motionsoft, ABC Financial, BodyMetrix, SPRI, Gym Wipes, The Abs Company, CSI Software, Gym Groups, Sports & Fitness Insurance, Stairmaster and Schwinn Fitness, Twin Oaks and What Gym.
ReebokOne also is a sponsor this year. People who stop by Reebok's booth (719) and join the ReebokOne community will receive a free gift. Certified fitness professionals and gym or studio owners get 25 percent off all Reebok products when they become a member of ReebokOne.
Several other vendors also are offering some specials: MYE Club TV Systems is offering 25 percent off MYE Wireless and LCD TVs, Northstar Medical Equipment is offering an AED Health Club Package, Rick Lake Weighing Systems is offering a personalized body composition analysis and Total Gym is offering a Total Gym Booth Floor Model sale.
You can register for the Club Industry Show prior to next week or onsite at McCormick Place.