SOURCE: GlobalFit

December 17, 2007 11:13 ET

How the Fitness Industry Fails Consumers

Napolitano Advises Outreach to "The Middle 60%"

PHILADELPHIA, PA--(Marketwire - December 17, 2007) - Failure to innovate, a lack of market research and a reliance on preaching to the converted -- these are among the ills that one executive cites as preventing the fitness industry from serving a wider audience. Fortunately, he also offers prescriptions for greater outreach and greater success.

Frank Napolitano, President and CEO of GlobalFit, pointed toward "the Middle 60%" of the population that are neither "couch potatoes" nor "exercise believers." "These people are intimidated by our clubs," he told an international audience of fitness industry executives recently, "yet they do want to exercise."

After noting the inclination toward fitness clubs "designed and built by fitness enthusiasts for fitness enthusiasts," Napolitano observed that not everyone wants a body beautiful. For the Middle 60%, he stated, "lowering their risk of illness or injury... is the most meaningful result."

Late in his address, Napolitano confirmed that GlobalFit is readying the 2008 launch of an innovative new program created expressly for this underserved audience. While declining to divulge any details, he did note his company's efforts to "redefine the market" with a product that is "simpler, more convenient and less expensive to appeal to new or less-demanding customers." GlobalFit is the leading provider of healthy living benefits in the U.S.

Napolitano spoke to the 7th Annual IHRSA European Congress, held at Le Méridien Etoile in Paris. An international education and networking summit, the four-day Congress was hosted by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA).

Fittingly, Napolitano's address covered the industry's last quarter-century. Discussing the boom times of the 1980s fitness craze, he quipped that "everyone in the fitness industry was a genius." But when the bubble inevitably burst, "we found fault everywhere except in our own inability to innovate."

Noting his own diverse background in accounting, law and real estate, Napolitano attributed his analysis to his "outsider thinking." Now a 24-year veteran of the fitness industry, he has been at the helm of GlobalFit since June 2006.

About GlobalFit:

GlobalFit is the nation's leading provider of healthy living benefits. As The Source for a Better You, GlobalFit offers a comprehensive selection of programs, products and services designed to create a healthier world by changing the way people think about and access healthy living benefits. Since 1992, GlobalFit's signature offering has been its fitness club network, now with nearly 10,000 providers nationwide. For more information on GlobalFit, please visit

About IHRSA:

The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) is a not-for-profit trade association representing health and fitness facilities, gyms, spas, sports clubs, and suppliers worldwide. The association's membership includes over 8,800 clubs in 74 countries, along with over 600 industry suppliers.

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