Mel Tempest Becomes First Australian Ever To Receive IHRSA Scholarship

If you’re a club owner or manager in the Australian fitness industry, you’ve most likely heard the name “Mel Tempest”.

Mel is a true pioneer in our industry, and she remains a key influencer some 14 years after first opening her club, Ballarat Body & Soul. Since this launch in 2003, Mel’s club has grown into Ballarat’s largest independent health club, and has consistently remained among the top three health clubs – an impressive feat in a community that has seen an increase in facilities from 10 to 70 during this period.

Today, Mel is a leading resource for fellow club operators. A graduate of the Thomas Plummer Social Media and Speaker Schools, Mel is a fitness business influencer and disrupter who specialises in fitness business, social media, creative class programming, marketing ideas, and how to adapt the latest trends to make them work in your club. She is also the founder of the Gym Owners Business Network and the Gym Owners Business Podcast, and she is the author of numerous eBooks.

Recently, Mel’s steadfast passion for fitness and her beloved industry was formally recognised by one of the world’s leading fitness organisations, by being awarded the 2017 John McCarthy Merit Scholarship, from the IHRSA Institute Of America.

This highly coveted scholarship is presented annually to individuals from all over the world, who demonstrate a passion for, and absolute commitment to the health club industry, and for leadership skills in club operations, sales or service.

The recipient of this award is selected by a panel of esteemed industry professionals, which this year included Rick Caro, Bill McBride, Michele Melkerson-Granryd and Bud Rockhill.

The IHRSA Institute Of America boasts a faculty of industry experts and a unique curriculum that covers topics such as strategic planning, innovation, financial management, staff recruitment, training and retention, and member experience and engagement. Mel’s scholarship, valued at US$3,000, saw her travel to the University of North Carolina in August, where she attended the Institute, received full program materials and handouts, and participated in social and networking events.

Mel’s receipt of this prestigious award also marks an historic moment for our local fitness industry, as she is the first Australian to have ever earned this title.

“It is such an immense honour to have my life’s work be recognised by such an important organisation,” says Mel. “Unfortunately, I have been somewhat disappointed in the Australian industry’s response – or lack thereof – to this landmark accomplishment.” However, even in light of this, Mel’s goals remain the same:

  • to create opportunities and choices for fitness professionals and club owners
  • to educate people about changes and trends, and how they can apply them to work in their favour
  • to teach individuals and businesses how to be successful (whatever their definition of “success” may be).
  • to make the industry more accountable for its actions.

Mel adds, “My vision is strong and clear, and I’m not going anywhere. My passion will remain for early adoption to new products, social media marketing, challenging the status quo, and bringing awareness to industry trends. I will continue to take my signature honest, empathetic, ‘no bull’ approach, in order to deliver results for the businesses and individuals I work with.”

You can find out more about Mel Tempest – visit

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