BOSTON – In its inaugural year, I Lost It at the Club!, a fitness industry weight loss initiative coordinated by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) and sponsored by equipment manufacturer Life Fitness, helped more than 6,500 participating health club members lose 12 tons (25,587 pounds) of excess weight. Six hundred and fifty IHRSA member health clubs participated in the eight-week program, which began on Jan. 10, 2005.

“This initiative was established to support both current and prospective health club members to fulfill their New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and get in shape,” said John McCarthy, executive director of IHRSA. “The program’s overwhelmingly positive results are a testament to the creativity and commitment of fitness professionals who work tirelessly to assist club members to achieve their fitness goals.”

IHRSA estimates that 1 million Americans joined health clubs in the month of January alone. A recent study that measured American attitudes about exercise indicated that 79 percent of current health club members joined a health club to get in better shape and 54 percent joined to lose weight. In addition, health club exercise proved more effective than any other weight loss method, according to the IHRSA/ASD Obesity-Weight Loss Trend Report. Comparing weight loss methods, 30 percent of health club exercisers reported being “very/extremely” successful in their weight loss attempt, while only 26 percent of formal dieters, 21 percent of outdoor exercisers and 19 percent of home exercisers reported the same.

Participating health clubs were encouraged to use I Lost It at the Club! to reinvigorate their existing programs, to introduce new programs and to hold special educational seminars. Participants were also encouraged to use the program to foster a sense of community in the club, bringing members together in the same weight-loss program. IHRSA provided additional program ideas and tools, including activity cards, member newsletters and weight loss tracking sheets.