Follow the Fitness Leaders: Christina Linzenich, Linzenich Gruppe

Christina Linzenich works in the family business at Linzenich Gruppe, a company founded by her father and two brothers in 1982. She started working at the company in 2017. But joining the family business wasn’t an automatic path for Linzenich. First, she studied economics with an emphasis in human resource management and marketing at university, and then she traveled the world for more than six months and did an internship at the family business as she contemplated pursuing a master’s degree.

But the internship became a permanent job, and she eventually moved into management where she works with one of her brothers and one of her uncles, with plans for the three of them to take over the reins of the 11-club brand in the coming years, she said.

Linzenich will attend the Sibec EMEA hosted buyer event Sept. 26-29 in Sorrento, Italy. She shares her responses to questions that Club Industry has posed to other attendees as part of Club Industry’s Follow the Fitness Leaders series.

Q: During the past three years of adversity, what did you learn and how are you applying that knowledge to your business today? 

A: The past three years haven’t been easy because of COVID. We have learned to react to uncertainty and build new business areas like fitness classes on-demand or live cooking classes for healthy food to keep our members up to date. Today, we have still more digital offerings, and we also try staying up to date and adapt to new trends.

Q: What successes has your company had in the past three years, and what helped you create these successes? 

A: A big success was to survive the COVID crisis. It was good for us that we have accumulated reserves over the years. Another success was that we are slowly recovering from the crisis, and the past three years have made us rethink. Our business got a new dynamic, and everyone is thinking of what we can do better.

Q: We often learn most from our failures. From what failure have you learned the most, and what did you learn from it? 

A: The biggest failure was that we had a moment in the beginning where we were too arrogant and sloppy so that we nearly lost our business. We have learned from it, and now we try to have positive capital.

Q: What trends are you noticing in 2023, and how are you adapting to these trends? 

A: The trend is going to be a holistic healthcare provider. It is not enough to just provide fitness anymore. So we have to incorporate physiotherapists, wellness, rehabilitation sports and so on.

Q: If you had the ability to oversee the whole European fitness community, what would you change to move more people to exercise and to ensure governments understand the essential nature of this industry? 

A: I would increase understanding about our industry, how important a healthy lifestyle— including regular exercise — is, and how we could prevent more widespread diseases and help people have a more successful and happy life.

Q: What are the top three most important criteria you look for when securing a supplier? 

A: Quality, reliability and an attractive price-performance ratio.