Thomas Rieger

Sport Management

Summary EHFA International Standards Meeting 2013

This years International Standards Meeting was hosted by Dr László Zopcsák and his team from the International Wellness Institute in the beautiful city of Budapest. Nearly 50 delegates from 17 different countries came together on 21-22 November to discuss different topics like research, trends, management, and registration in the fields of Sedentary Behaviour, Active Living and Exercise. The meeting was sponsored by the International Wellness Institute (IWI) and the European Health and Fitness Association (EHFA) and opened by Prof Tóth Miklós, the President of the Hungarian Society of Sport Sciences and Vice-President of the Hungarian Olympic Committee, who underscored the immense importance of physical activity to achieve a high quality of life. Prof Thomas Rieger (Chairman of EHFA Standards Council) introduced to the proceedings and informed about the achievements of the Standards Councils in terms of standards development throughout the last year and how they are linked to the outcomes of the previous meeting in Barcelona. Those are truly impressing. The current set of fitness standards encompasses the complete range of vocational levels (2-5) of the European Qualification Framework (EQF). The European fitness sector, represented by the EHFA has already referenced its education on the EQF. This is a tremendous achievement, as many other sectors have yet not realized, that the EQF is based on a common political decision of the European Union and that it will sustainably form the education in Europe. Thus, the work of the EHFA Standards Council has always been future-oriented.

The international delegate group was composed of representatives from higher education, vocational training and accreditation bodies. The programme contained four keynotes plus four workshop sessions with regard to the overall theme.
Dr László Zopcsák, CEO of the International Wellness Institute (IWI) clearly illustrated in his keynote the similarities and differences between the developed and emerging fitness markets in Europe. Cliff Collins, the Director of European Register of Exercise Professionals (EREPS), focused on the different EHFA activities in relation to EU affairs and outlined the various opportunities for the European fitness sector. Prof Alfonso Jimenez, Dean of the Faculty of Sport Science at the European University Madrid, presented how the European fitness sector can benefit from research activities and projects in order to strengthen the relations to public health stakeholders. Bryan O’Rourke, President of the Fitness Industry Technology Council, impressed the audience with his presentation about how advancing technologies, globalism and changing consumers are converging to create a new era of opportunity and the requirement for collaboration in the health and fitness sector.

Prof Rieger (EHFA Standards Council Chairman) signed two important
Memorandums of Understanding and Trust with Dr László Zopcsák from the Hungarian Register of Exercise Professionals and Mark McManus from Ireland Active to join the European Register of Exercise Professionals (EREPS) Programme. EREPS has members working in more than 30 different countries and is seen as a positive way of helping the understanding of fitness qualifications and to improve transparency and the mobility of trainers wanting to work in different countries. Thus, the next important step for underpinning quality control and the application of agreed standards. Separate agreements are also in place to aid the two-way administration and supervision of fitness trainers who join the Registers and enter into the wider EREPS Programme.

The four offered workshops included different future topics like registration, top trends, active living and customer service. This dialogue-based part of the meeting enabled the delegates to actively participate. A very useful approach, that supports the Standards Council in identifying wishes and needs of the industry due to the involvement of many different stakeholder perspectives.

This meeting was a huge success in terms of common agreements and creating the future of standards development. The delegate engagement was excellent, as we had participants from seventeen different countries. It is quite obvious that the European fitness industry is more and more growing together. The different stakeholders underlined that it is a common interest to continuously promote the benefits of regular physical activity and exercise. Delegates were strongly impressed by the promises that we kept from the ISM 2012 to 2013 regarding standards development and addressing new markets in Europe.

The ISM has now established itself as one of the foremost forum for international standards development in fitness and improving cooperation surrounding operational requirements for registers of exercise professionals.

To view the full ISM presentation including introductory sessions please click

Photos are available

EHFA International Standards Meeting 2013 in Budapest

First Footage! More information will follow!


ENSSEE Forum 2013 in Groningen

Presentation at the 2013 ENSSEE Forum in Groningen. Thanks to Rita and Johan.

Picture ENSSEE 2013