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Club Standards Coming Together

I just stepped out of the session Voluntary Facility Certification: An Update and Forum on the Current Industry Initiative where four panelists explained the process that NSF International is undertaking to develop standards for health clubs.

I thought the room would be packed—and apparently IHRSA did, too, as the session occurred in the largest room at Moscone. However, only about 15 people were in the room (not counting the four panelists). I was surprised that more people weren't interested in this topic since it could affect their future.

We plan to run an item in the magazine in the near future on this issue, but I'll give you a brief update here.

The panel was made up of Art Curtis, CEO of Millennium Partners Sports Club Management LLC, and chairman of IHRSA's subcommittee on standards; Walter Thompson, regents professor, Department of Kinesiology & Health, Georgia State University, and chairman of NSF Joint Committee on Health and Fitness Standards; Mike Motta, member of the NSF Joint Committee on Health/Fitness Facility Standards and president of Plus One Health Management; and Frank Napolitano, president and CEO of GlobalFit, and member of the NSF Joint Committee on Health/Fitness Facility Standards.

The NSF Joint committee is on the 11th version of the standards and they are in the comment phase, so people can comment on the standards by e-mailing You can view the standards by going here.

IHRSA surveyed its members (the survey is still open through the end of the month). Of the 14 questions asked in the survey, the average agreement rate for the questions (those who agreed with the standard in question) was 78 percent for 254 respondents (as of March 13).

One of the questions on the survey was whether the standards covered the right areas. The percent responding was 69.9 percent with 8 percent saying no and 22 percent saying maybe. Seventy percent of the respondents said that they would be willing to participate in voluntary standards, while 6 percent said they would not and 24 percent answered maybe.

The main reason for participating (at 84 percent) was to help grow the industry by increasing consumer confidence in the safety of accredited facilities. The main obstacle to participating was the cost (64 percent)—although the panelists said that no costs had been set yet. Administrative burden was an obstacle for 50 percent of respondents.

In the question and answer portion of the session, Mark Daly, spokesperson for Anytime Fitness, voiced concerns about the standard that would require facilities to be staffed by a person certified in CPR and AED 67 percent of the time. Anytime Fitness facilities, which are key card clubs, are required to be staffed just 40 hours per week, which would not equate to 67 percent of their “open” hours.

The committee members said that they hope to have standards ready for final approval at the end of this year. Stay tuned to our Web site and magazine for continuing developments in this area.

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