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Introducing the theme for the 'virtual' 2020 European Health & Fitness Forum

Where do we go from here?

30th September 2020

Cologne Germany

09:00 – 17:00

Why attend the EHFF20 virtual event

EHFF 2020 will be hosted on the 30th of September as a hybrid event, meaning our speakers will be on-site with a small audience of industry representatives from around Europe but will also be live-streamed. The conference focusses on the impact of C19 on the fitness industry with high-level speakers and highly relevant presentations. The programme includes a talk by trend watcher and futurologist Magnus Lindkvist, results from the Covid-19 Impact Study, a presentation on the rise of tech-based industry newcomers due to C19 and shows how EuropeActive's new mission and vision are now more relevant than ever.

Representatives from key operators will share their thoughts on the situation and help us to answer the question - which also the theme of the event - Where do we go from here? 

A full one day programme

EHFF offers a full one day online programme including speaker sessions, several interactive presentations, a panel session, live Q&A’s and a few suprises.

World renowned speakers

Be inspired and influenced by our worldwide speaker programme. See our programme for details and follow our social media channels.

Join us online...

Register your place now for the hybrid EHFF...


Please find the draft programme of events for the 2020 European Health & Fitness Forum (EHFF).

Note, this may be subject to change.

Confirmed Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Magnus Lindkvist

Trendspotter and Futurologist

Magnus Lindkvist is a trendspotting futurologist and author who weaves together important current trends to forecast what life, society and business might look like in the future.

Most-known for his exciting presentations, Magnus is also an author, with his book ‘Everything We Know is Wrong’ as one of the bestsellers. He is driven by a relentless curiosity about our mental space where the outside world collides with the human brain.

The Swedish futurologist weaves together the worlds of quantitative insights with the imaginative storytelling of Hollywood, with his MSc in Business and Economics and a UCLA degree in film production. He believes that when thinking of the future we should strive to surround ourselves with as many strange, conflicting ideas that we can in order to immerse ourselves in future possibilities and possible futures. Magnus himself calls his talks ‘intellectual acupuncture’.


Herman Rutgers
EuropeActive Ambassador, co-founder EuropeActive, The Netherlands

Herman is an international executive armed with 45 years of experience in managing international businesses, twenty-five of which have been in the fitness industry. His career spans a wide range of multinational companies: Quaker Oats, Akzo-Organon, Sheaffer Pen, Prince/Bennetton Sportsgroup and Brunswick/Life Fitness, where his last position was Executive Vice President for Global Marketing, Sales and Service. In 2001 he launched his own company; Global GrOwth Partners, through which Herman is involved with several companies in- and outside the fitness sector as a board member, advisor or investor. In 2007 Herman co-founded EuropeActive in Brussels and became the first Executive Director. Herman served on the Board of EuropeActive from 2013-2020, and is still involved with events and market research as an Ambassador. He is also co-editor of many EuropeActive books and publications

Karsten Hollasch
Financial Advisory, Partner Deloitte

Karsten is a Financial Advisory Partner with Deloitte in Germany and focus on M&A transaction services for various Corporate and Private Equity clients since 1999. Karsten leads the consumer business and private equity sector for Deloitte in Germany and is part of the global leadership team in these industries. Karsten has advised on numerous transactions and strategy processes in the health & fitness sector over the last two decades and is the co-author of the German and European Health & Fitness Market Report.

Utku Toprakseven
Partner 4Global

Utku is a Partner at 4global and as the Director of Sport Intelligence, he leads the delivery of major participation, data strategy and digital transformation projects in sports and physical activity sector in the UK, Europe, Middle East, Australia and Latin America. With a strong background in programme management, Utku oversees the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of insight-led strategies and digital solutions for high profile clients such as Sport England, ukactive, national governing bodies, local authorities and facility operators to get more people more active more often.

David Stalker
President, EuropeActive

David has been President of EuropeActive since the spring of 2020, after a brief stand-in as Executive Directo. He has spent his whole career in the leisure, health and fitness industry and is known for his many successes in senior-level roles including Bladerunner, Leisure Connection, CIMSPA and ukactive. In January, David joined the Myzone team as CEO of the EMEA region to help drive European expansion.

Natalia Karbasova
CEO , FitTech Company

Natalia Karbasova is founder of FitTech Summit and CEO of FitTech Company. Previously, Natalia was with Hubert Burda Media, one of Europe’s largest media companies, for 9 years. She worked as personal assistant to the company owner and one of Germany’s top billionaires, Dr. Hubert Burda, looking into global digital trends.

Later on, as Burda’s Creative Evangelist, she successfully launched several innovation initiatives like hackathons, rapid prototyping labs, pitch competitions and startup conferences. She founded the FitTech Summit while still at Burda and spun it off 2020 to run it as an independent company. She has been into track-and-field athletics for 8 years and is a certified fitness coach.

Humphrey Cobbold
CEO PureGym Group

Humphrey joined PureGym as CEO in 2015 and has been a EuropeActive Board member since 2017. He joined PureGym when there were 80 sites and has overseen growth to over 250 sites in the UK and now over 500 sites with the acquisition of Fitness World in 2019.  Before he started at the biggest fitness chain in the UK, he was CEO of Wiggle, the World’s largest specialist online cycling goods retailer which he expanded from a UK base to being a business that sold products to 95 countries from 11 international websites and operated in 9 languages. Earlier in his career Humphrey was the Director at Trinity Mirror, the UK’s largest newspaper publisher where amongst other things he was responsible for managing the Racing Post, investments in new media, and overseeing redevelopment of the printing network. He was also a Partner at strategy consulting firm McKinsey & Company, where he was the UK leader of the Media and Corporate Finance service teams. Humphrey remains a keen sportsman and has completed both marathon and Ironman distance triathlon events in the last few years.

Cecilie Elde

Cecilie Elde is CFO of SATS Group, which through the brands SATS, ELIXIA, Fresh Fitness, and HiYoga represents the leading provider of fitness and training services in the Nordics, with 250 clubs, more than 10,000 employees and 700,000 members. Cecilie has over 15 years of experience in the fitness industry, holding several positions within finance since joining SATS in 2002. In 2013 she decided to pursue an opportunity in Telecom, heading Commercial Excellence and Business Control in Telia Norway, but returned to SATS in 2016. Cecilie has also worked as a fitness instructor in SATS, and viewing the business from different perspectives has given her valuable insights and operational knowledge, which have proved important for delivering on SATS strategy. By following the industry for almost 20 years she has internalized unique knowledge about the development of the rapidly expanding fitness industry in the Nordics.

Stefan Tilk

CEO, Anytime Fitness Germany

For almost 10 years, Stefan was Managing Director of Fitness First Germany and responsible for the realignment and restructuring of business units at leading companies such as Bertelsmann, Deutsche Bahn and the TUI Group in leading positions in Germany and abroad. For Stefan, fitness and health are not just important for one's own well-being. His experience is that healthy employees are an increasingly important key to business success. With his leadership and management skills as well as his business successes in the fitness and healthcare market, Stefan is keen to establish Anytime Fitness, the largest franchise fitness chain in the world, as a major health brand on the German market.

René Moos

CEO, Basic-Fit International

Rene Moos (born 1963, Dutch) is Basic-Fit’s CEO. As a former professional tennis player who opened his first fitness club in 1984, he has over 30 years of sector experience. In 1984 Rene co-founded HealthCity, a premium health and fitness club operator, and was appointed CEO. In 2010 HealthCity acquired 28 Basic-Fit clubs and Rene decided to separate HealthCity and Basic-Fit in 2013. He had expanded the Basic-Fit club portfolio from the initial 28 clubs to more than 750 clubs by the end of 2019. Rene studied at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA.

Jennifer Halsall

EuropeActive Board Member
Ethics and Strategy Committee

Jennifer is a C’Merican (you read that right- a North American Hybrid) who, after living ten years in the Netherlands is officially Dutch. She is the International Retention Manager for Basic-Fit by day and is a EuropeActive Board member for many of the hours in between. Twentyish years ago, she started her career as one of the (then) few female Personal Trainers and was able to turn her passion into a career by leading 2 of the Canadian market’s largest PT Departments: Bally Total Fitness and GoodLife Fitness before convincing René Moos to make his best hiring decision ever in 2011. Since then, Jennifer led the Product Team at HealthCity and Basic-Fit before setting her sights on Member Retention two years ago. In her spare time, (what’s that?) she passionately contributes to the growth of our sector.  She is an EuropeActive Board Member, International Ambassador for WIFA (Women in Fitness Association), co-creator of the WIFA WOMENtor Leadership program, a CEN workgroup member for our branch’s Health and Safety Standard and Basic-Fit Headquarter’s Workout Cheerleader.  She derives her energy by fulfilling her purpose: Connecting us with our strength and magic so that there’s no such thing as impossible!

Join us online...

Register your place now for the hybrid EHFF...

The EuropeActive Team
look forward to seeing you online for this virtual event

30th September 2020

Presentation Details

Magnus Lindkvist


We lost the old future in March 2020 and are now in search of new horizons - as businesspeople, club owners and human beings. How can we think strategically in these tactical times? Using a future-back approach, futurologist Magnus Lindkvist will outline why the long-term is easier to predict than the short-term, how we are doing digitalisation wrong in most industries and how future is better thought of as a verb, not a noun.

Karsten Hollasch

The European Fitness Market and the impact of the Covid-19 crisis

The first EuropeActive/Deloitte European Health & Fitness Market Report (EHFMR) was published in April 2014 as the first authoritative, comprehensive report with European market data and has been the most comprehensive report on the European market, serving as a valuable source of information for all industry stakeholders ever since. The latest edition has been published in April 2020. In a further cooperative research, “QUO VADIS – Impact of COVID-19 on the European fitness and physical activity sector”, Deloitte and EuropeActive have analysed the short- and long-term effects on our industry. Next to the research covering the impact on major club operators regarding members and various financial and non-financial KPIs, the report comprises a selected number of third-party research, consumer data as well as case studies of listed European operators. Among others, Karsten Hollasch will inform you about the main research findings as well as providing an outlook on the question “where do we go from here?”.

Utku Toprakseven

The C19 Impact Study in the UK

In June 2020, 4global published the C19 impact study in partnership with ukactive. By combining the participation data from the DataHub - the largest sector repository in Europe - with datasets from a range of industry sources, the study analysed the initial impact of C19 on the leisure sector before the lockdown and explored how people reacted to lockdown and the changes in their exercise and fitness behaviours. Using consumer behaviour analysis and predictive modelling, the study provided an evidence-based set of projections for the recovery of the sector and the long term impact of C19 on participation and social value. In this session, we will discuss some of the key findings of the C19 impact study and share the actual sector recovery rates after the re-opening of the leisure centres in the UK in comparison to the projections from the modelling.

David Stalker

How EuropeActive’s mission and vision are now more relevant than ever

Covid19 hit our sector as EuropeActive was in the middle of its 2025 strategy process. It forced the team to critically rethink priorities and initiatives of its strategy, such as updating standards for fitness and health clubs to safely operate through Covid19. The crisis and lockdown firmly reiterated the importance of healthy living, including physical, social and mental wellbeing. It represents a massive social responsibility and opportunity for the European fitness and physical activity sector to ensure that current economic challenges, stemming from the pandemic, do not diminish physical activity and public health further across Europe. With a dynamic speech President David Stalker will inform the audience of the EuropeActive’s strategic planning and ambitions for our sector in the coming years. Under the four strategic headlines of Health, Digital, Community and Standards, David Stalker will present such new initiatives and projects as EuropeActive’s new research centre THINK Active, the President’s Council for operator CEOs, EuropeActive’s Digital Council (to be launched in 2021), the Green Pledge and updated professional standards for people and places.

Natalia Karbasova

Are gyms “so yesterday”? How market newcomers are disrupting the industry and nobody notices

Future shock: fitness is getting disrupted and nobody notices. After Corona struck and the global health awareness rose dramatically, the market for digital fitness and wellbeing has sky-rocketed. With new players rushing in to fill the space - like AI trainers and VR games, home fitness, video streaming and audio-guided workouts in your pocket, virtual sports events and DNA companies -  the market is getting crowded, with less space left for traditional gyms and non-connected hardware suppliers. This session provides an overview of things to come.

Panel session with 3 fitness operators

Where will you go from here?

With panellists Humphrey Cobbold (PureGym), Cecilie Elde (SATS) and Stefan Tilk (Anytime Fitness Germany). In this session key European operators inform each other and the audience how the last few months have been, what the current state of business is and what their thoughts are on the future of the European fitness and physical activity market.