HOUSTON, TX — In October, 109 owners, managers and entrepreneurs from across North America and some from Japan converged upon Houston, TX, for the first Harmony Fitness Workshop. The conference was tailored for smaller neighborhood health clubs that offer 30-minute circuit training using hydraulic machines.

Conducted by the newly formed Association of Hydraulic and Fitness Clubs (AHFC), the two-day workshop focused on the challenges and concerns specific to running small hydraulic circuit training gyms. During the workshop, attendees networked and shared with each other their problems and solutions in areas such as adding profit centers, choosing software and setting up EFT billings.

The seminars focused on nutrition, weight loss and club management. One hot topic was how to deal with the “plateau” that members feel after being with a fitness program for a while. Most of the solutions involved adding variety at the recovery stations for maximum fitness benefit and to make the routine more fun.

Gin Miller of Step aerobics fame also addressed the group.

“She mesmerized them,” Symanthia Harper, founder of the AHFC, said about Miller. “They were begging for those Ramps of hers.”

Miller spoke to the group about her new program, the Ramp, which some hydraulic clubs are using in their recovery stations instead of running boards. Harper said that insurance claims often come from injuries incurred on the running boards.

All attendees were trained in the proper use of the hydraulic fitness machines, which led to official certifications.

“The certifications will go a long ways toward minimizing injuries and maximizing member benefit,” said Harper. “With the overwhelming success of this first conference, we are now planning future conferences all over North America throughout the year to fill this growing need for industry knowledge.”

The next workshop is tentatively scheduled for April 2005, but a specific date and location have yet to be determined.

Future workshops will cover issues such as risk management, marketing and proper training, and certification on use of the hydraulic machines, said Harper.