September 2015

Welcome to the September Edition of the SoapBox!

Last month was one our most popular edition! Thank you to all our faithful SoapBox readers, we truly hope you enjoyed hearing the story behind Augie Nieto of Augie’s Quest and finding out about our Donation Nomination winners.

This month, we are diving into WHY we get active.

We want our bodies fit and healthy to prevent illness or injury. To help us introduce this topic, we are very excited to have Brent Darden, IHRSA Past Chairman of the Board, to share his personal story of why staying active is so important to him and his family.

Our Featured Guest

Brent Dardin

Brent Darden
IHRSHA Past Chairman of the Board

Contact Brent



‘Why Get Active’ from Brent Darden

Why indeed? The answer seems self-evident to those of us who have made careers founded on the premise of physical activity.

The indisputable evidence and ongoing avalanche of research supporting the benefits of an active lifestyle are endless. Hopefully you have seen, and perhaps even participated, in IHRSA’s “Why Get Active” campaign aimed at helping to reverse the epidemic of physical inactivity. This is a cause I am extremely passionate about. It’s very personal to me. Not only “why” get active, but “how”.

When asked recently to scribble a few words on a small whiteboard to answer this question and pose for a photo with the sign, I was at a loss. Not because I didn’t have an answer, but because my response was so much deeper than I could possibly communicate in such brevity. I could have defaulted to the typical, and very appropriate reasons such as; to stay young, to feel better, to look better, to be healthy, and to manage my stress.

Or, I could have been more pragmatic and shared that I am “scared straight” to exercise because of my genetic predisposition that includes a family history of; high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, gout, shingles, and dementia.

Of course, as a former club owner and current industry consultant, I preach the message of regular exercise – almost always conjoined with the encouragement to join health clubs. After all, our best clubs offer a supportive and empathetic environment filled with resources to help individuals reach their wellness goals. But, to reach the masses of the uncommitted, we must remember that activity itself is the ultimate goal – wherever, whenever, and however it occurs.

As health and fitness professionals, we “know” intellectually (in our mind) that exercise is good for everyone. As human beings, we “feel” instinctively (in our gut) that movement is good for people. To expand our influence, we must realize that as leaders of this effort we need to “show” others (in our heart) that we sincerely care about helping them lead an active life-style. Although as club operators we frequently lament the proliferation of increased competition on all fronts, we hopefully will never lose sight of the stark reality that our offering can not, and will not, be the answer for everyone.

On a very personal level, this idea has been reinforced through those closest to me. I love the health club business and have an affinity in particular for luxury level, multi-purpose clubs, since that has been my background throughout most of my career. Naturally, my family has been afforded the opportunity to use these facilities over the years and have enjoyed the experience. However, over the last year, my two grown sons have moved away and joined a budget club (Planet Fitness), a boutique studio (Yoga), and a training studio (Crossfit). Meanwhile, unable to drive very far from home due to progressing Alzheimer’s, my mother now belongs to a nearby boutique Pilates Studio. All of these offerings once regarded as “lesser” fitness options and relegated to “second class” consideration, are now effectively serving the needs of Very Important People – at least to me. I’m absolutely thrilled that they are all continuing to be active and beyond thankful that the diversification of our great industry is providing such a variety of options.

Herein lies the underlying essence of the Why Get Active campaign – reversing physical inactivity will be accomplished only through meeting individuals where they are, and embracing the broad spectrum of activity through any and all mediums. Together, let’s celebrate the simple victory of activity with as many others as possible!

Anti Theft Towel LogoFeatured Petra Product

This is our second installment of five feature products. This month, our feature demonstrates an effective use of technology in the interest of quality service.

Introducing the Anti-Theft Towel System: Developed specifically for the health and fitness industry, this system solves the problem and expense of towel theft at your facility.Through membership and guest compliance, your towel budget will shrink without compromising quality of service. The AT Towel System pays for itself and puts money back into the club…guaranteed.
Learn more >>

Donation Nomination Winner Knight Cancer Institute: You are part of an unstoppable movement against cancer

Earlier this summer, we honored every single one of you at Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland with a domino art installation that read: “One billion dollars raised. We fight cancer differently.” The crowd cheered as 10,000 dominoes fell, one by one, and the word “cancer” collapsed in a heap. Thank you for all you have done for the Knight Cancer Institute. This is merely the beginning. We are moving forward-into new realms of research and discovery. We will take down cancer. Together.

Donating money over an increasing graphYour Donation Nomination Matters!

It is through your personal and professional networks that we are able to give.

The nonprofit organizations we have been introduced to from all across the West Coast have truly been blessings. Send us the nonprofit story that has touched your life.

If selected, they will receive a $500 donation in your name. Send in your Donation Nomination here.

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