Home of the SoapBox

Welcome to the online archive of John’s SoapBox.

Featuring the leaders in health and fitness club management

A Message From John…As many of you may know, I publish a monthly blog in which I feature the leaders in health and fitness club management. Since my entree into the industry back in 1984, I’ve had the good fortune to cross paths with many knowledgeable, fun, passionate, motivated and caring people.

These special people have changed the lives of their member’s and now via the SoapBox, we have a way to honor them and share their stories.

We hope to share with you what peers in our industry have found to make their operation work better and more efficient. Continue reading “Home of the SoapBox”

John’s October Musings

By John’s Musings

Greetings from the high mountains of Reno/Tahoe

I’m so blessed with the different people that come into my life. The content for the October Soapbox is provided by people that want to make a difference, that have a “heart” to help others and provide a better membership experience.

Social media is a necessary part of branding an athletic facility and yourself. In today’s fitness industry, you need to distinguish yourself from your competitors and cultivating your brand via social media is one way to do so. Amanda Vogel is a fitness expert and speaker that educates decision makers on group exercise, social media, fitness writing and blogging. In this Soapbox issue she shares with us her latest podcast on “Your Guide to Guest Blogging as a Fitness Expert”. In her podcast she talks about  1)What is guest blogging  2) Does blogging benefit your business 3) How do you know if a blog accepts guest bloggers? 4) How can you make your blog stand out from the crowd 5) Common do’s and don’ts and other topics you should find of interest. Take 30 minutes out of your busy schedule and listen to her blog which I believe will give you insight on burnishing your brand and highlighting your facility and yourself.

Continue reading “John’s October Musings”

A recap of Club Industries with Bill McBride

By: Bill McBride

Club Industry was an amazing event.  Marty McCallen and Pam Kufahl did an incredible job with Penton Media in producing a spectacular conference and trade show.  I was honored to be inducted as a Faculty Member of the Medical Wellness Association and to be able to deliver the Leadership Mastery Track with Brent Darden, Allison Flatley and Myself.  We had very good attendance throughout the five session Certificate Program.  Leadership – Management – People – Sales Management – The Product.  Attendees came to learn and were engaging and inspiring.  The entire Club Industry event was full of energy and a who’s who in the industry.  This show is back in full force and firing on all cylinders.  The venue of all events under one roof (The Hilton & Towers, Chicago) was perfect.  No one will want to miss the education, vendor exhibits, connection and networking next year – if they do, it will definitely be their loss.  The CEO Summit was also amazing with the leading CEOs in our Industry.  The feedback has been great.  I highly recommend everyone in our industry consider attending next year.  It is very worthwhile.  And for those of you that are budget conscious: “It’s better to train someone and have them leave, then not to train them and have them stay” – just saying 🙂

-Bill McBride

President & CEO, Active Wellness & BMC3

Hurricane Harvey Update with Brent Darden

By: Brent Darden

As of October 12th, 2017, Brent Darden’s Campaign Raised $37,860! This is an amazing testament to how generous and supportive the fitness community is and we want to share one such example of that generosity:

Luke Carlson has done the best job of involving his club, staff, and members. See below what he did …It would be nice to share this example and acknowledge Luke’s leadership.

Here is what we did:

Our facilities are small personal training studios that focus on 1-on-1 and semi-private training.  When Brent reached out to us, we decided to organize what we call a “Large Group Variety Workout.”  We had trainers from all three of our locations donate their time and we planned a workout for late Saturday afternoon (after our normal closing time).  We marketed to our clients that if they came in for that workout, all revenue would go to relief for this group of Houston clubs.  Our trainers loved donating their time and talent, our clients received awesome workouts, and all of the revenue went to this important cause.  Discover Strength then matched this revenue generated from the workout as well.

Wyoming Athletic Club gets a ‘lift’ from Copper Weights

By: Angela Woody

WAC is among first full service health and fitness centers in U.S. to enlist copper alloys to fight against the spread of infection-causing bacteria.

Casper, WY, August 15, 2017 – The Wyoming Athletic Club (WAC) here has become one of the first full service health and fitness centers in the U.S. to enlist the help of antimicrobial copper alloys to help protect customers from the spread of infectious bacteria.

The Club is using Black Iron Strength’s CuLEAN® line of weight lifting equipment. The line is made with EPA-registered CuVerro®, a copper alloy that continuously kills 99.9% of infectious bacteria it touches.

According to Lou Quint, founder of Health Club Management, Inc. which owns and manages two WAC facilities, infection control is a big concern for customers of health clubs.

“Knowing 80% of germs are spread by touch, we ran tests on our traditional weight equipment using a hand-held microbe measurement tool,” Quint says. “‘Clean’ is any reading below 300. The bacteria readings on our grips at WAC were over 7,000.”

Continue reading “Wyoming Athletic Club gets a ‘lift’ from Copper Weights”

Can you spare a cup of soap?

By: Don Miller
St Vincent de Paul of North Central Montana

When you picture a typical business or customer of PETRA products, you probably see health clubs and their members. Let me tell you that nearly all of our customers can’t afford their next meal, let alone a refreshing day at the spa. We serve our clients living on the streets and in the local prison. Beyond the necessities of food and shelter, we have found the gift of a shower and some clean clothes to be medicine for people needing hope. The volunteers of our group visit jails and homeless camps with a few treats and nutrition, but one of the most appreciated gifts we can share is cleanliness.

We have found that body wash and shampoo are a blessing to those struggling through life each day. In the jail, we give writing paper, a bit of candy and a small cup of shampoo. That shampoo gives a nice aroma in their cell, it helps them stay healthier in the over-crowded cell blocks, and it even doubles as laundry soap so they can clean their uniforms more than once per week.

Continue reading “Can you spare a cup of soap?”

Amanda Vogel: Your Guide to Guest Blogging as a Fitness Expert

By: Amanda Vogel

Amanda Vogel has a Master’s degree in human kinetics and is a certified fitness instructor. She regularly speaks at top fitness conferences–including IDEA World, NASM Optima, canfitpro and IHRSA–where she educates fitness pros on group exercise, social media, fitness writing and blogging. She recently completed her role as the Social Media and Technology Track Captain for the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual summit meeting. In addition to being a social media consultant for fitness brands and public figures, Amanda reviews fitness technology, exercise gear and workout wear on her blog FitnessTestDrive.com. As a professional writer, she has contributed to many popular publications—including IDEA Fitness Journal, Shape and Women’s Health—and guest blogged for the American Council on Exercise, NASM, AFAA and more. Amanda lives in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

http://fitnessbusinesspodcast.com/127-amanda-vogel-your-guide-to-guest-blogging-as-fitness-expert/

Front line stories from David Cardone’s FitMarc Team

By David Cardone’s

Thank you Brent for thinking of the impacted club’s.  I’m sure all clubs impacted by disasters have very similar stories.

It’s definitely trying times.  Many of our displaced staff are front liners.  It’s hard for us because we want to just write checks to make their world right again.  But, the club also has to think of our long term viability because the flooding displaced 1000-1500 of our members.  Many of which are still under water, over a week after the storm.   It will be a year before many of these people are back in their homes. The club needs to be prepared to handle those losses.

It is humbling to see what front line people go through to have the privilege of working.  They are critically important to our customer service chain. But, for many, the club is everything to them and they care more about us even though they may of lost everything.

Continue reading “Front line stories from David Cardone’s FitMarc Team”

A Note from Brent Darden

Who would ever have thought the words “go fund me page” and Brent Darden would ever be in the same sentence? Amazing what the right motivation will do.

Knowing that I live in Texas, many people have been reaching out to me with concern related to the ongoing damage from Hurricane Harvey. The following clubs were impacted to varying degrees – temporary club closings, power outages, increased membership cancellations, requests for memberships to be placed on hold, flooding, facility and equipment damages, cancelled programs / classes (affecting staff earning and member spending), inability of staff and members to access the clubs due to bridge and road closings, etc. Of course in time, insurance will hopefully cover many of these business losses.

However, an immediate need is taking care of affected staff members (especially front-line employees) that may not have the resources to cope with this catastrophe.

Clubs impacted include:

  • Corpus Christie Athletic Club – Lisa Gorsline
  • Golds Gym Houston – Bryan Murphy
  • Houstonian – Cher Harris (are establishing their own “Houstonian Employee Assistance Fund” for Houstonian employees)
  • Memorial Athletic Club – Dave Cardone
  • Villa Sport – Cypress & Woodlands – Laurie Smith

Continue reading “A Note from Brent Darden”

Hurricane Harvey

By John’s Musings


The devastation is of biblical proportion affecting millions of people in the Houston, Corpus Christie and southern/coastal communities of Texas. We have all seen the heart-wrenching images and in our heart, theres a desire to do something. On Sunday morning, IHRSA icon Brent Darden sent me an email sharing with me the text below on how we can do the right thing and make a difference. Fitness facilities in the areas mentioned above need our help! Yes, with Brent leading the charge, we can make a difference.

Besides Brent’s content, we have video of Villa Sport – Cypress & Woodlands facility and the flooding that occurred.

Finally, Dave Cardone from Memorial Athletic Club and his “first hand” account on how hurricane Harvey is effecting our “first liners” at these facilities is another snapshot about the human impact Hurricane Harvey has had.

Continue reading “Hurricane Harvey”