Welcoming a New Decade and New Generation
As we kickoff a new decade this year we also enter the next generation for LVAC, with the replacement of the last of the original four clubs that my father, Rudy Smith, and Andy Palluck acquired in 1991. The last of the original clubs on East Flamingo was 30 years old and only 30,000 square feet and was replaced with our new almost 90,000 square foot Henderson club. The Henderson club includes a new feature for LVAC with its Team Training area for small group performance and athletic training. We are also currently converting a space at our North Las Vegas club for Team Training. In the last edition of the magazine I described at the core of the LVAC culture of “making lives better” is our vast array of exercise equipment and abundant variety of group fitness programming. The strength and cardio equipment are primarily individual-based exercise, while group fitness is primarily large groups of 20 or more people. With the addition of Team Training we now offer small group programming, of 5-15 people, which we believe connects the multi-generational fitness experience.
There is so much excitement right now, especially in the foreseeable future, with some fabulous projects in the greater Las Vegas/Henderson area. Coming to completion in 2020 we have the new Raider’s Allegiant Stadium and the expansion of the Convention Center, and the following year are the Madison Square Garden (MSG) Sphere at the Venetian and the Resorts World Hotel and Casino. Then in 2022 we have the new Drew Hotel and Casino, formerly the Fountainebleau. Through the next three years, over $10 billion under development and coming online with just these five projects.
In the Summer magazine I wrote about the legendary Jack LaLanne, who is recognized as the Godfather of Fitness, and his invention that led to the development of the Smith Machine by my father. In the same letter I explained that the late LVAC owner’s Donahue Wildman and my father, as well as one of our other LVAC owner’s, Jerry Kahn, were founding fathers of the health club industry. While the founding fathers came from the first two large health club companies, Vic Tanny’s Gyms and American Health Studios, Jack LaLanne would also be considered a founding father of the industry. Although Jack LaLanne didn’t work for either Vic Tanny’s or American Health, he opened the first gym in 1936 in Oakland, California. His name was also used in the second generation of the American Health Studios: the Jack LaLanne’s European Health Spas. He was also an inspiration to millions of people with his long running Jack LaLanne Show, which ran between 1953 and 1985.
Prior to 1953, he also inspired a young Rudy Smith at Muscle Beach in Southern California, which ultimately led my father to working for Vic Tanny’s. My father, who was about 10 years younger, was watching Jack LaLanne and his other buddies perform their feats of strength. This was before there were any dumbbells or barbells at Muscle Beach, and mainly consisted of displays of gymnastics and acrobatics. My father asked Jack LaLanne how he developed his phenomenal muscle mass, assuming it didn’t come from gymnastics or acrobatics, and he was told that “you have to lift weights.” Thereafter, my father joined a gym and started weightlifting, and years later was hired by Vic Tanny. My father and mother remained good friends with Jack and Elaine “LaLa” LaLanne throughout their lives, and Jack LaLanne passed away at the age of 96- one year after my father.
There is much to be celebrated as we embark on a new era for LVAC, including our members voting us as the Review Journal’s Best of Las Vegas in the fitness center category. We would like to express our gratitude to all of you, and this means a lot to us as a local and hometown health club operator. We will continue to work hard to earn your vote. As my father use to say “there is no such thing as staying the same, you are either striving to improve or allowing yourself to get worse.” We would also like to thank all of you who brought in a gift for the children during the “Fill the Fire Truck” holiday gift drive. Fill the Fire Truck is in support of the Southern Nevada Burn Foundation, and we also want to thank our amazing group fitness instructors for their support of this fabulous cause.
On behalf of the entire LVAC Team of 800 strong, we look forward to serving you and always striving to improve in our quest and culture of making lives better!!
Yours in health, fitness and Viva Las Vegas!
Todd O. Smith
CEO/ Chief Experience Officer/Chief
Exercise Officer/ Chief Equipment Officer