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Male group exercise instructor showing the calories expended on his phone which will be converted to free memberships for physically inactive people

Holmes Place supports Portuguese Cardiology Foundation Across Portugal

Holmes Place Portugal has forged a partnership with the Portuguese Cardiology Foundation to raise the issue of physical inactivity among the national population. It is written by Ray Algar, founder of Gymtopia.

‘Month of the heart’ is how Portugal uses May to encourage its citizens to embed just a little more physical activity into their everyday lives. Like many Europeans, the Portuguese are failing to move enough – a European Commission study from 2014 reported that more than six in 10 adults never exercise or take part in sport, ranking the Portuguese 27 from 29 countries. By comparison, Sweden topped the table with fewer than one in 10 never active. Holmes Place – which operates 19 clubs and studios in Portugal – recognised an opportunity to join the national inactivity debate by partnering with the Portuguese Cardiology Foundation. The charitable foundation exists to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease, which accounts for three in 10 of all deaths in Portugal. The Foundation believes small lifestyle changes can nudge people towards a healthier future by reducing their risk of heart disease and stroke.


A young girl from the Belo region of Ethiopia is smiling. She is dressed in a long olive coloured dress and standing next to a mud wall which creates a lovely contrast – Gymtopia.org

Creating a sustainable community in Ethiopia Sasiga Lowlands, Ethiopia

Since Fifth Avenue Club opened in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 1996, it has developed a local reputation for setting the standard for “friendly, personalized service”. On the other side of the world in Ethiopia, it has become known for supporting a sustainable development project that has changed the lives of over 40,000 people, in nine villages, in the Belo region of Ethiopia. The club, owned by Darren Kanwischer, has been involved with Food for the Hungry (FH) since June of 2007. Three dollars of each member’s dues are donated to Belo each month. Fifth Avenue Club has also donated proceeds from the sale of old equipment, held a 10k fundraising run (“Run for Belo”),  had members fund raise among themselves and are currently involved with “Run for Water” in Calgary, Alberta.


Lovely pictures showing staff and young children dressed in red Santa Clause costume

Genae Fitness Club Christmas charity event Across France

The idea started in 2004. We wanted to share the Christmas spirit by organising a charity event and giving back to the community. Every club creates a relationship with a local cause and shares all the benefits of the Christmas Fitness Marathon. Local associations and individuals receive 100% of the entrance fees and exposure in all club communications.


Adult special needs group exercise class underway at the Franco's health and fitness club in Louisiana

Franco’s – The remarkable health club that never says no Mandeville, Louisiana, USA

This is the story of how Franco’s Athletic Club located in the American state of Louisiana is using generosity to become one of the world’s most admired health clubs. It is written by Ray Algar, founder of Gymtopia.

I first met Sandy Franco, one of the co-owners, when she was presenting at the 2013 IHRSA European Congress in Madrid. Her message was a simple one: Invest in your community and the community will invest in your club. Sandy and Ron, her husband, have consistently pursued this strategy for 26 years.