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IHRSA Advocate

The IHRSA Advocate is your guide to knowing and understanding the policies that influence daily health club operations. We analyze the action, so you know when to take your own.

For more timely relevant news about advocacy issues affecting the industry, and your bottom-line, subscribe to​ the bi-weekly (member-only) IHRSA Advocate newsletter

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April 11 Issue

#PassPHIT Makes an Impact

Since the beginning of April, #PassPHIT reached almost 400,000 Twitter accounts. PHIT is federal legislation that would allow Americans to pay for health club membership using pre-tax dollars. Help us go even further by tweeting #PassPHIT, and support the #PassPHIT Campaign at

Health Clubs Fight the Good Fight During NPHW

In case you missed it, last week was National Public Health Week in the U.S. Here’s a summary of what health clubs are doing to better the lives of people across the nation and around the globe and how your club can get involved by following the examples of others.

Allow Us to Introduce Ourselves

Your IHRSA Advocacy Team covers every aspect of Growing, Promoting and Protecting the industry.  This week, we’d like to introduce you to the talent behind those great IHRSA Health Promotion ResourcesAlex Black, IHRSA’s Health Promotion Manager.

Meeting with Your State Legislator? There’s a Fact Sheet For That

Have you ever wanted to meet with your legislator but didn’t due to lack of guidance or some talking points to get a conversation started? Don’t worry. Look no further. IHRSA has you covered.

We Appreciate You

The IHRSA staff was looking stylish last week. Big thanks to Missy Moss for making us look good. 

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IHRSA Releases Health Club Industry State Fact Sheets

Physical activity and visiting a local health club are key components in establishing and maintaining good health. However, have you ever stopped to consider the economic and physical impact that health clubs have at the local, state, and national level?

That is the reason why IHRSA created 51 state fact sheets—to demonstrate the tremendous impact health clubs have on the communities they serve. Every day health clubs better overall quality of life among community residents, offer employment opportunities, and generate additional tax revenue, while running a successful business. 

To learn more about your state's health club industry, please select your state from the list below and click on the link: 

  • Download the Alabama state fact sheet.
  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Iowa
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Nevada
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Washington D.C.
  • Wisconsin
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

For more information on how to put these fact sheets to use, please contact IHRSA Public Policy at, or call 800-228-4772.


#PassPHIT Reaches More Than 380,000 Twitter Accounts in 8 Days

We are proud to announce the new representatives and senators supporting the Personal Health Investment Today Act (PHIT Act): 34 bi-partisan supporters (17 Democrats and 17 Republicans).

Under PHIT consumers could save 20-30% on fitness expenses. To help spread the word about this legislation, we created the #PassPHIT campaign. We wanted to give you an update on how the campaign is doing.

In the last eight days, with only 100 tweets, #PassPHIT has reached more than 380,000 twitter accounts, according to TweetReach. That is amazing!


We want to give a big THANK YOU to everyone who has used #PassPHIT to help us spread the word! However, it's not over yet. Please keep tweeting about #PassPHIT and keep helping us show Congress that this legislation is important to us all!

We've made it easier than ever to ask Congress to pass PHIT. Just click here to send your representative or senator an email, a tweet, or even a Facebook message. Help IHRSA make physical activity more affordable!

See a full list of the PHIT Act supporters here. 


Meet Team IHRSA: Alex Black, Health Promotion Manager

Allow us to introduce ourselves. We are the IHRSA public policy team, and we hope that this series will help you get to know us a little better.

Alex Black

Health Promotion Manager 


Explain your role at IHRSA. What do you do? What is the best part of your job?

As the Health Promotion Manager, I work on resources, initiatives, and policies that promote physical activity, make exercise more accessible, and help clubs run successful wellness programs in their communities. I also work on communicating the health benefits of regular exercise via social media and the Health Benefits of Exercise Report, among others. 

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

As a kid, I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon (no idea where I got that idea from) and for most of middle and high school it was a lawyer. Now I get to work on improving people's health and public policy, so I suppose I got the best of both worlds without having to attend medical or law school.


What drew you to work for an organization that supports the health club industry?

I actually found IHRSA by accident. I was a clinical dietitian with a newly minted graduate degree in public health, looking for work that would allow me to help people improve health and live better, longer lives. I had considered working as a dietitian at a health club during graduate school, but found IHRSA while job searching for work in "health promotion." When I interviewed, I couldn't help but be drawn to an organization with people so motivated and excited about the work they're doing. 

Tell us about your fitness routine. How do you stay active?

I usually alternate between CrossFit and running or circuit training during the week, and try to find something fun or new to dohiking, skiing, racquetball, golf, etc.with my husband on the weekends. My goal is to stay fit so I can partake in whatever active adventure finds me next. 

What do you do for fun in your spare time?

In addition to the above mentioned fitness hobbies, I like shopping, trying to cook healthy food that tastes good, socializing with friends, and on Saturdays in the fall, watching the Florida Gators play football.  

Share a random fact about yourself.

I used to be a pole vaulter in college, at the University of Florida. My best jump was 12'8", or about the height of an African elephant (though I have never tried to jump over one). 


Alzheimer's Disease, Aging, and Club Members

Without any reliable treatment available on the market, Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive decline in mental functioning, continues to impact communities, particularly the 65+ population. More than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and one in 10 people age 65 and older have been diagnosed with the disease.

In the April 2017 issue of Club Business International, you will find the article Accommodating Members with Alzheimer’s Disease. The article provides real-life examples of strategies health clubs have used to serve members that are living with Alzheimer’s, such as:

-Communicating effectively with caretakers

-Training staff to work with the population

-Partnering with local Alzheimer’s advocacy groups

Be on the lookout too for IHRSA’s new health promotion e-book on active aging: Health Club Programming for All Ages.


IHRSA Among Industry Voices for #PHITDay17

Last week, IHRSA participated in #PHITDay17 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Organized and hosted by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the event brought together SFIA members, as well as members of the PHIT Coalition to generate support for the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act and urge Congress to pass the industry’s top legislative priority. Representing IHRSA and health clubs across the country were IHRSA President and CEO, Joe Moore, and IHRSA's federal lobbyist, Jay Sweeney and Tom Scanlon.

#PHITDay17 gave participants the opportunity to discuss the importance of physical activity within the larger context of preventive healthcare and show lawmakers how increased access to affordable, active lifestyles can positively influence the physical and fiscal health of the entire nation. Throughout the course of the day, Sweeney and other industry representatives met with more than 100 lawmakers in the House and Senate, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Senate Republican Conference Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD), to speak on behalf of the legislation.

In addition, several professional athletesincluding former infielder Steve Garvey, Olympic track and field star Carl Lewis, and former NFL players Herschel Walker and Ken Harveyalso attended to lobby key members of Congress to sign on as sponsors of PHIT.

The day’s event helped further emphasize that the timing is right to get PHIT passed during the 115th Congress, as there are several opportunities for its inclusion within a larger healthcare reform package or tax reform plan.

But, just because there are increased opportunities for PHIT’s passage, does not mean that it will pass. At least not without the combined support of the entire industry.

Take targeted action by: 

And, if you’d like more information on PHIT and all the ways it would benefit the industry, please visit


March 30 Issue

Serving Members with Alzheimer’s Disease

One in 10 seniors are currently living with Alzheimer’s. The good news is regular exercise is proven to improve brain health. Here’s how your club can make physical activity more accessible and fun for affected individuals.

More State Regulation Coming Along with Proposed Updates to Federal Overtime Rules 

The new administration has delayed implementation of the Overtime Expansion until May 1, 2017 and is expected to prevent the overtime rule from ever coming back into play. But, with this decrease in federal regulation, there is potential for increased state regulation.

Increasing Support for #PassPHIT on Capitol Hill

Last week, Joe Moore and IHRSA lobbyist Jay Sweeney attended #PHITDay17—a gathering of industry professionals, policy makers, and influencers to raise support for PHIT. Here is a recap of the successful event.

#PassPHIT Campaign Gaining Traction

Your support of #PassPHIT is working. See what you've accomplished since March 1!

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Feds Are Leaving, but the States Are Coming

Employee Overtime Rules an Example of States Stepping-in where Feds Are Cutting Back 

There is a shift in Washington D.C. With the Republicans controlling the White House and Congress, it is widely expected that the federal government will take a step back from regulating business activities. In fact, the Trump administration has already made rolling back business regulations a top priority. However, where the federal government starts stepping back, you could see states stepping in to fill the void. Employee overtime could be an early example of this emerging trend.  

Under the Obama administration, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a new overtime rule, which was scheduled to go into effect on December 1st, to extend overtime eligibility to an additional 4.2 million workers. Late in November 2016, a federal judge put the overtime rule on hold. Though the DOL appealed the judge’s ruling, President Trump, who does not support the overtime rule, took office before the DOL’s appeal could be heard.

As expected, now under the direction of the Trump administration, the DOL has delayed the implementation of the overtime rule by requesting a 60-day extension–until May 1. While the extension request is only a temporary delay, it is expected that the DOL will prevent the Obama overtime rule from ever coming into effect by either refusing to defend the rule in court, or rewriting the rule through a formal rulemaking process. End of story, right? Not quite.

A State Senator in Maryland has picked-up the overtime fight that the DOL appears ready to abandon. A bill (SB 607) that appears to have been inspired by the DOL overtime rule was filed in the Maryland state senate proposing changes to the state’s overtime laws. Similar to the DOL rule, SB 607 would add a salary threshold of $47,476 to the determination of whether an employee is eligible for overtime. Meaning, in order for an employee to be exempt from overtime, the employee’s salary would have to be at least $47,476 per year. In addition, the salary threshold would be adjusted every three years based on wage census data published by the DOL.  

Maryland SB 607 failed to be voted out of committee and has been withdrawn from further consideration. However, it illustrates how even just two months into the Trump administration that while you may see less regulation on the federal level, you should not expect that trend to flow down through all the states. In fact, you should expect to see some states become much more assertive in applying their regulatory authority as they perceive the federal government stepping back.


March 14 Issue

We’re back from sunny Los Angeles where we had a great time spending four amazing days with many of you. Now it is back to work. One of our top legislative priorities involves doing everything in our power to ensure PHIT passes in the 115th Congress. PHIT received an outstanding showing of support during IHRSA 2017 last week, so thank you once again to all of you who took action, made a difference, and brought us one step closer to reaching our goal. But don’t worry, in case you missed the Virtual PHIT Fly-Inor want to relive the excitement—you’ll have plenty of opportunity to participate in the #PassPHIT Campaign.

Check out the photographic recap showing the efforts to #PassPHIT during IHRSA’s 36th Annual International Convention & Trade Show. 

Ask Your Member of Congress to Help #PassPHIT

What are you waiting for? Tweet at them and let your voice be heard.

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10 Moments From the PHIT Fly-in at IHRSA 2017

As you know, the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act was introduced in Congress earlier this month. If it passes, it could be a monumental success for the health club industrymaking physical activity more affordable by allowing consumers to use pre-tax accounts to pay for qualified fitness expenses, including health club memberships. But just because PHIT can pass, does not mean that it will. It will take a collaborative industry effort to make it happen. This movement began last week at IHRSA 2017 in Los Angeles.

Here are 10 moments from the PHIT Fly-in last week:

#PassPHIT fans were distributed during Thursday's keynote address to get the industry excited about opportunities to pass PHIT. 

IHRSA president and CEO, Joe Moore, encourages convention attendees to take action to pass PHIT prior to the keynote.

Patriotic balloons were also distributed to get attendees in the spirit.

IHRSA Board Members Allison Flatley and Jim Worthington get the crowd excited about passing PHIT.

Attendees respond to Joe Moore's request to take action on PHIT.

Derek Gallup (left), IHRSA's Meredith Poppler, and Jim Worthington (right) show newest ILC member, Mike Spiegel, the importance of passing PHIT.

Industry leaders gathered at the ILC Meeting on Thursday to discuss ways to drive excitement to pass PHIT.

Brad Wilkins, Bryan O’Rourke, Alan Leach, and Carrie Kepple were elected to the IHRSA Board of Directors during Friday's keynote address. They proudly wore #PassPHIT stickers in support of the legislation.