In Appreciation of Our Veterans!

2015 Veterans Day page header v2
Ginger CollinsHello Everyone,

Veterans Day was established for Americans to observe and honor our military veterans for their contributions and loyalty in service to our country.  Tomorrow across the nation, we will express our deep respect and appreciation for our military veterans whose heroic deeds have protected us and maintained peace by their service, contributions and sacrifice.

We would like to share what some of the members of the Gold’s Gym family of franchisees and suppliers have expressed to us recently about how they or their family members have served.

Ginger Collins
GGFA Executive Director

“I have two family members who served in WWII, my father and my uncle (my Mother’s brother):

T Moffatt Burriss-Captain (Major right after war), company commander, 504 Regiment, 82 Airborne Division. Some of the major battles: Anzio Beachhead –lost most of his company –went from 130 men to 13. The Battle of the Bulge. Operation Market Garden, about which the book” A Bridge Too Far” was written and a movie made later. Robert Redford played a composite role in the movie of the Battalion commander, my father and a Lieutenant in my father’s company. After crossing the Waal River in rafts (during which he was shot and lost half his men) he and his company captured the Nijmegen Bridge. For his role in that battle, he was awarded the Silver Star, the Purple Heart and later, the Nijmegen Medal of Honor. He also was awarded two Bronze Stars among several other awards. He is 96 now and is still speaking to groups about the WWII book he wrote entitled “Strike and Hold”.

John F. R. Hay-1st Lieutenant –joined the Army right out of Davidson College and was sent to the Philippines, where he led a tank brigade against the Japanese. Was captured and survived the Bataan Death March but later died of malnutrition in a POW camp. He received two Silver Stars.”

John H. Burriss, Sr.
Gold’s Gyms Columbia, SC

“I retired from the Marine Corps Reserve as a Colonel after 23 years of service, 3 years on active duty and 20 years in the Ready Reserve. I began my military career as a midshipman in the Naval ROTC at Georgia Tech. Upon graduation I was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant and went through officers basic school at Quantico, VA. I subsequently served as a Combat Engineer at Camp LeJeune, NC and then as a seagoing Marine in the Mediterranean. Upon being released from Active duty I immediately became active in the MC reserves serving in many leadership capacities. I had duty assignments with Heavy Tanks, Amphibious Tractors, Motor Transport and Logistics. I was fortunate that my civilian employers supported my Marine Corps parallel career.

I urge you to give a Semper Fi shout out for the 240th birthday of the Marine Corps today, November 10!”

Gordon Johnson
Gold’s Gyms of Douglasville and West Cobb, GA

“I served in the United States Army 81st Brigade HHC1-161 in a Calvary Scout platoon and reach the rank of Staff Sergeant from 1995-2005.  Deployed to Iraq 2003 attached to the 1st Calvary Division.  I was tasked as a Battalion commanders Asset where I and my men conducted route and area reconnaissance, IED search’s to include quick reactionary forces.”

Steven P Meisner
Buck & Affiliates Insurance

 “I served as an officer in the United States Air Force and earned the Rank of Captain. I worked within the Tactical Air Command as a Cost and Management Analyst.”

Dr. Andrea Asha Rodriguez
Gold’s Gym Orangeburg, SC

“I come from long family tradition of serving our country through the Military.  As far back as the Civil War every male in my family has served in active duty. My father is retired Air Force 22 years with two tours in Vietnam.  My Grandfather was retired Navy 29 years and was stationed on the USS Arizona when it was bombed in Pearl Harbor.

I truly feel serving our country in the military has been one of the greatest accomplishments of my life! I learned more about being a man in my 10 years of active duty than in any other time in my life.  I served in the USAF from 1982-1992, reaching the rank of Staff Sergeant.  I received a great formal education paid for by the government, traveled the world and was fortunate enough to work with every DOD branch and some great Special Forces Men.

Lance Henning

 “My father was William O’Rourke. He passed away almost 6 years ago. He was an Air Force Academy graduate and retired as a full Colonel from the US Air Force after over 30 years of service. He served in Vietnam during the war flying the F4 Phatom where he was highly decorated and flew nearly 300 missions.”

Bryan O’Rourke
GGFA Think Tank

“My husband, Lieutenant Colonel Guy DeWees, will be retiring from the US Army in May 2016 after 27 years of service.  Together, we have lived in 5 states and 2 countries.

Following in her dad’s footsteps is my daughter, Cadet Sydney DeWees, who is a yearling/sophomore at the United States Military Academy at West Point.”

Tara DeWees
GGFA Staff

“I served in the US Army as an Air Assault Combat Medic for 8 years active duty; I am a decorated war veteran from my service in the Persian Gulf War , along with many other awards and medals.”

Bruce L. Quickel, II
Octane Fitness

  “My father, Eugene Abt, served in General Patton’s Third Army, Yankee Division, in the European Campaign of World War II 1943-44.  His brother served in the 82nd Airborne of the US Army as a glider trooper, also in the European Campaign.

My son, Staff Sergeant Nicholas A. Collins, is currently serving on active duty aboard Fort Benning, GA.  He is in training to become an instructor in the Army Ranger program.  He has served in Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq) and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan).  In 2012 he was named Marine of the Year for 2nd Division.

As a family, we are not only very proud of them, we appreciate the sacrifices of all of our veterans and active duty service men and women, and that of their families.”

Deborah Hancock
GGFA Staff

Below are photos of Steven Meisner while serving.
Meisner 2014 Iraq 2 (1) Meisner Iraq 2014 (1)

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“I Challenge You to JOIN THE CHALLENGE!” By Dave Kenyon, Chairman, Gold’s Gym Challenge Committee

I was thinking the other day that every year I write a blog about all the benefits of doing the Gold’s Gym Challenge. How the Challenge affects your Personal Training Department, how it makes you more money, how you get more retention and so on.

And every year when I look at the list of gyms that register for the Challenge it’s almost always the same clubs!

So how do you convince someone to do something that is inherently good for them but takes effort?

Well isn’t that the business that we are in! How do you convince a member that they need to start exercising because it’s good for them, even if they don’t want to?Dave Video

I have a favorite saying that I use from time to time. I call it the definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

If you were to ask yourself, what could you do differently to enhance your business and member experiences, what would you do?

The Challenge is part of that answer. And the best part about it is the “playbook” is already written. All you have to do is have someone run the “plays” inside of it.

I was talking to a franchisee just today who had a few questions about the Challenge and some of the logistics. In answering the questions posed, I thought about how simple the “plays” are, and how when each team member does their part it takes very little effort to be successful.

So I’m not going to beg you to participate in the Challenge. I’m not even going to ask if you want to be part of it.

What I am going to ask is – are you doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?? Are you going insane??   If you are, I challenge you to JOIN THE CHALLENGE!!!

Dave Kenyon, Chairman
Gold’s Gym Challenge Committee
Gold’s Gyms of Dutchess County NY

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How Mobile Technology Makes Your Club a Winner

This year marks the beginning of the mobile and digital revolution in the fitness industry. Many clubs will combine great customer service and member engagement with cutting edge technology to drive revenue and enhance the club experience.
As club owners and managers, you’re faced with far too many challenges during the day like staff not showing up, broken machines and trying to increase membership. Adding technology to the mix seems like just another thing to worry about. However, when harnessed the right way, technology can be an advantage for a club operator. Here’s how . . .
It begins with smartphones. Nearly 80% of online Americans have a mobile phone that connects to the Internet. Cell phones have connected millions of people to a host of entertaining apps, devices and services that were never available before. With the vast majority of club members using smartphones, how can health clubs take advantage of not only creating a better member experience, but engaging them and up-sale products and services?
Going mobile
From training videos, to virtual coaching, to online advertisements, clubs are now engaging with members where they live (online) and on their mobile devices. Members now have a growing need to access basic club services such as a class schedule, or enhanced club services like signing up for PT from their phones.
Strategic commerce
For health clubs, the mobile revolution has profit potential because many people are purchasing products and services directly from their smartphones. 1 out of every 4 club members have made purchases from their phones. Imagine if grabbing a protein shake or even a personal training session was as quick as a phone tap.
Wearable devices
In 2014, people spent $700M purchasing wearable devices, and now 1 out of every 5 Americans are using wearable tech every day. These devices such as FitBit, Nike+, Jawbone UP and Apple Watch are giving members access to valuable information that helps them understand how they are progressing towards their fitness goals. Savvy clubs can use these devices to support their members’ fitness programs and offer better opportunities for engagement, such as club fitness challenges for example.
Integrating Technologies
Through combining ASF’s application programming interface (API) with Netpulse, this new app is the first of its kind to be native in the fitness industry and not have to operate through a web-enhanced method. With its software’s online scheduler, club members can now view by day, week, month, activity or instructor and schedule PT sessions, or classes such as Zumba, Spin, etc. Members can also purchase new PT sessions, or view previous PT balances. Members can add themselves to a class or PT waiting list and then synchronize to their phone calendar. Additionally, members can check into the club using the mobile app barcode. Clubs can also send push notifications offering referral rewards, fitness challenges, workout tracking and PT promotions.

ASF logoStephen Wilson is the marketing manager at ASF Payment Solutions and a 20-year veteran of marketing and advertising. His focus on branding and strategic communications in the health and wellness industry for over 20 years has earned him numerous accreditations and awards on national marketing and advertising campaigns. For more information, e-mail, or visit to learn more about products and services.

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“10 Reasons Your Gym Business Has Become Stagnant” By Jim Thomas, Fitness Management & Consulting

Jim ThomasWe work at both ends of the fitness industry—with gym owners who are just starting out and want to shorten the learning curve and those who have been in business and are in need of a turnaround (and everything in between).

There are many reasons why some gyms grow and others become stagnant. Of course, there are factors like market size, competition and consumer demand. But there are also other factors that have to do with operations, leadership, accountability and systems.

Based on what we’re seeing across the country, here are 10 reasons why gym owners and their business become stagnant.

1. Success apathy. Just because you have had success in the past, it doesn’t guarantee success in the future. Simple complacency … we take our eye off the ball. An independent gym is usually a reflection of the club owner’s needs, desires and personality.

2. The right staff. You cannot build a successful gym without the right people in place. This requires both the proper hiring and training process and the willingness to make the changes that become necessary as the business grows. This is easier said than done for many gym owners. It takes dedication to the process.

3. The lack of standards, systems and controls. It’s not enough to have high standards in your gym without implementing the control systems that assure those standards are met. Without the controls, you will have good intentions accompanied by bad results.

4. The member attitude. This is not the members’ attitude but the gym’s attitude toward its members. There is nothing more destructive than gym staff that dismisses difficult members as “nutty” and concludes there is no way to make them happy. The problem is that most nutty members have not-so-nutty friends, and word of mouth travels fast these days.

5. Technology. New technologies can do many great things but can also be overwhelming and time-consuming for gym owners. Acquiring the financial, technical and staff resources necessary to solve a technology problem can be very difficult for a small gym, but there’s not much choice. The marketplace does not stand still.

6. Marketing. This includes everything from branding to advertising to market analysis. How your gym executes may be the major driver of its success, but how your gym is perceived also is crucial. The other reality is that small gyms can have a difficult time finding resources to help them with this critical part of their business. That means that the success or failure of a small gym’s marketing frequently comes down to the abilities of the club owner. Few people are good at everything.

7. Stale fitness services. Whether you are talking about fitness products or members, the market is always changing, and your products and services have to change with it. If you are fortunate, the changes are slow and subtle. Sometimes, they are dramatic.

8. Lack of investment. Whether it is for more new gym equipment and accessories, new technology, a bigger facility or more employees, growing gyms require more cash than non-growing gyms. Getting this cash may require borrowing money, finding more investors or using up whatever cash is on hand. It is ongoing. Some gym owners tire of the demands and decide to slow down the investments—and that slows down the growth of the gym.

9. Stubbornness. It is stubbornness that helped the gym owner get the club off the ground, get through the learning curve, survive the recession and cope with every problem along the way. At some point, though, focused adherence to what you know can limit a gym’s ability to adapt to change and get to that next level. Policies and strategies that might have worked when you had 10 employees can hold you back when you have 30. A common example is when you start to hire higher-priced managers who have different expectations than a $10-an-hour employee.

10. Leadership. This includes vision, courage, fortitude, attitude and gym culture—all of which should create an inspired staff. And of course, there’s the often-used word that is many times called the secret to it all: passion. Here is the real secret: Passion is critical, but it can’t make up for deficiencies in the other categories. I have seen many owners struggle in the gym business who had plenty of passion. It will not be enough.

Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting and turnaround firm specializing in the fitness and health club industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars and workshops across the country on the practical skills required to successfully build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. Visit his website at

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“Leadership” by Sara Kooperman, CEO, SCW Fitness

sarah kooperman

Leadership by Sara Kooperman

Over and over again, I have witnessed my staff self-appointing a leader when performing tasks which may be simple or complex.  A leader seems to rise out of all situations.  Even when stuffing envelopes, coordinating schedules, laying down steps for a workout, inventorying clothes … just about any task big or small requires a leader.

Leadership is not a right, leadership is an honor.  Leadership is earned. It is earned in the kindness of a small gesture, it is earned in the succumbing to the interests of another, it is earned in the strength of boldly addressing adversity and it can even be earned in the showing of weakness.

I have not ever fully examined what makes one person a leader and one person a follower.  When I was young, leadership had always meant power.  Maybe this is my upbringing.  “Do what I say.” “Listen to me.” “When I say jump, ask how high.”  Yet, as I grew up and started SCW Fitness Education, my definition of leadership slowly evolved.

I remember another important story in my growth as a business person.  This is about my now twenty-four year old when he was only seven.  I took Sam (the oldest son of my four boys) with me to one of the MANIA conventions, Florida MANIA.  He never really understood what I did.  He had never come to a convention before.  We walked into registration where hundreds of people stood in line.  He saw me greet the registration staff, and smile and chat with the attendees. He was awestruck.

I’ll never forget how he looked up at me and said “Wow, mom.  All these people work for you.”  And I looked down at him, smiled and without missing a beat, I said, “No, Sammy. I work for all these people.”  That is leadership.  Leadership is not power; leadership is responsibility.

Now this may sound like the poor imitation of a line from a Spiderman movie, but it clearly defines for me the complex concept of leadership.

To me leadership is speaking 70 different languages and only then being able to communicate with each and every staff member.  Leadership is listening to complaints and criticisms without prejudice, and taking those criticisms like a man (I don’t want to be sexist, I just am turning a phrase.)  Leadership is always seeing two sides of a coin, tossing it and making tough choices. Leadership is balance during the most unstable of times.

Being able to:

Criticize with kindness

Correct with discretion

Admit mistakes

Forgive yourself

Retain your focus

Change midstream

Set direction

Readjust priorities

Leadership is setting your own goals, in your own style.

I think what all this boils down to is leadership is taking control.  This means taking chances, and taking chances most definitely means making mistakes. Leadership is the person who takes the risk to be wrong. Whether it is setting the steps up incorrectly, hitting “reply all” to an email that never should have been sent, teaching your first really horrible pilates class, or firing the best employee that you ever had.  Leadership is taking a chance and risking mistakes.

For women this is sometimes a harder task.  Women tend to be “pleasers” caring more for the feelings and thoughts of others than for themselves, wanting to make everyone get along, wanting everything to be smooth and comfortable.  Men tend to have the ability to drive their desires into action.  Take control and tell others what to do.  Women ask.  Men tell.  Yet, both men and women are leaders, and we can learn from each other.

Once In a meeting with a prominent male fitness industry leader, I was complaining about a situation in my office.  The man I was speaking with told me to simply, “take control” and do what had to be done.  I stated that I had to “ask my staff what needed to be done.” “Why” he inquired.  I stated, “Because if I listen to my staff, I get 150% out of them, otherwise I’m stuck with 80-90%.” He smiled in response.

Now there was no great wisdom in my statement, and no great change of management style to be learned.  It was just simple.  Different approaches work for different people.  I am sure that he gets 150% from his staff.  Yet, I could learn from his style, and he could learn from mine.

The binding factor in our relationship was the willingness to take a risk.  We both took risks, day in and day out.  We made decisions over and over and over again, starting projects, ending projects, and running projects.

If you want to be a leader, take risks.  If you want to be a better leader, don’t demand respect, instead earn it.  Ask advice, ask more advice, and then reconfirm advice, then without hesitation take a risk, because the responsibility is worth the rewards.


SCW Fitness Education: We’re a Family.

SCW is an internationally recognized education body that provides hands-on certifications and continuing education courses and conventions to fitness professionals in multiple disciplines nationwide. For the past 28 years, since 1987, Personal Trainers, Group Exercise Instructors, Small Group Training Leaders, Aquatic Exercise Professionals, Cycling Teachers, Mind-Body Experts, Sport Specific Training Educators and many more get certified through SCW. This outstanding Family of Leaders also supports Managers, Directors and Owners of clubs and facilities nationwide with our business and management tracks. As the largest Conference Leader and Continuing Education Provider in the world, MANIA® offers eight Professional Training Conventions in Philadelphia, California, Florida, Atlanta, Dallas, DC, Midwest (Chicago), and Boston serving over 10,000 health and wellness professionals and reaching over 90,000 virtually.

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“What is “Sexual Harassment”?”

By: Karen Perlmutter, Executive VP of Smart Fitness

Let’s face it, when you mix bodies sweating alongside one another, wearing (at times) revealing clothing, and add in surges of hormones flowing from physical activity, you’ve got a recipe for wandering minds (and sometimes hands), and often locker room behavior that enters the gym floor.

I’m sure you’ve seen inappropriate behavior in health clubs. You’ve seen trainers giving each other back rubs, or staff flirting “harmlessly” with members or other staff members. But you think that’s not harassment. And besides, sexual harassment would never happen in your club.

Think again.

Let me ask you this, what can be construed as sexual harassment? Quiz yourself and let’s see if you can spot what constitutes sexual harassment:

Is winking at a coworker sexual harassment?

Is commenting on a coworker’s sex appeal on social media outside of work considered harassment?

Staring at a coworker. Is that considered sexual harassment?

The answer to all of the questions above is, yes. And it’s costly. In fact, statistics from 2012 show that 1 in 3 lawsuits filed concerned employment claims and the average cost of defending those claims, without going to trial, was $150,000.

Yikes! Guess what? If you are the club owner and operator, i.e. the employer, you hold strict liability for those claims. In other words, owners have absolute responsibility for any damages arising out of the harassment claim. But it’s not just about money. It’s also about your reputation in the community, your values and your brand.

Sexual harassment suits arising out of unwanted or unwelcome sexual advancements, whether verbal, physical or nonverbal, can be avoided and should be. But you have to know the law and most importantly, your employees need to know the law as well. Sexual harassment is a difficult topic and it’s not black and white. So the more you and your staff understand what can be construed as sexual harassment, the better, because a wink may not just be a wink. It could be considered an unwelcome advance.

smart fitness logo

A knowledgeable, qualified staff equals a successful business. Smart Fitness provides all the education you’ll need, from how to prevent sexual harassment and safety training, to personal training, Group X, CPR training more!

Smart Fitness provides an interactive website with all the education a health club staff would need to become trained in their perspective roles within the health club. The platform can also assist in advancing the careers of the health club staff by offering an education continuum that allows individuals to grow into other departments within the club.

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“Beneath the Surface”

By:  Stefanie Fee, Social Media Specialist with ECORE and member of the USA Field hockey Team

The foundation of every mission statement in gyms across America is a commitment to empowering all members to be the best version of themselves while providing quality gym experiences that keep them coming back for more. What is it that allows some gyms to successfully meet these declarations, and others to fail? Customer satisfaction does not only rely heavily on the visible features gyms provide, such as innovative machines, appealing aesthetics, cleanliness, and great customer service. In fact, most membership fulfillment comes from the behind the scenes extra mile that gyms take to support their customers. Customers often overlook such features, even though the impact is remarkably influential on their satisfaction.

Nothing says, ‘We support you, from the soles of your feet to the top of your head,’ more than quality gym surfacing. It’s pretty easy to make a gym floor look attractive, but it’s what lies beneath the surface that truly matters. When a member is interested in signing up for your gym, they aren’t going to ask questions like, “Can you please share the slip resistant properties of your flooring?” “What is the thickness and critical fall height rating?” “Can you tell me if I’ll be able to clearly hear the fitness instructor and if my knees and back will be sore after I workout?” But, n reality, these details help to form the foundation your mission statement stands on, and should be addressed for your members. Can a floor do more? Yes.

Investing in quality surfaces that provide safety, good acoustics, and ergonomics is critical. Some sports and fitness flooring manufacturers use state-of-the-art technology that features recycled rubber to achieve this. The result: members can reach their optimal performance, while benefiting from energy return and force reduction characteristics that safely minimize body-to-ground impact, and make the floor more noticeably comfortable underfoot. This high performance surfacing also provides sound and shock absorption, which means that athletes dropping heavy weights in one room will not disrupt the yoga class next door. Safety is another key aspect that is crucial but often overlooked. Fitness floors that feature rubber are slip resistant and provide much more cushion than other surfaces, like wood. When you pair these three things – safety, good acoustics, and ergonomics – along with the given attributes that floors featuring rubber provide – durability, sustainability, ease of installation, ease of maintenance, and slip resistance– it’s really no contest. Sports and fitness floors that feature rubber offer superior performance; and, if installed, your customers will be inspired from the ground up. The best way to support your members begins beneath the surface!


About ECORE International:

ECORE was born “green” and has been making smart choices for more than a century. What began as the Lancaster Cork Company in 1876 is now ECORE International. In addition to creating cork products, ECORE is committed to transforming reclaimed waste into unique performance surfacing.

Today ECORE offers a full line of the smartest, highest-performing and most eco-logically responsible recycled rubber products made in the United States. ECORE leads the commercial rubber flooring category and continues to blaze trails and set new standards in recycled rubber technology, responding with intelligent solutions that improve people’s lives every day. ECORE’s brands include ECORE Commercial Flooring, ECORE Athletic, Everlast Fitness Flooring with Nike Grind, PlayGuard Safety Surfacing, and QT Sound Insulation.

To learn more about ECORE International, its advanced technologies, and portfolio of products and brands, please visit

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