BOSTON, MA—January 30, 2019—The country’s health is at stake. Many citizens and communities are suffering from sedentary lifestyles that fuel epidemic levels of lifestyle-related illnesses. Chronic diseases now cost the U.S. an estimated $2 trillion annually in medical costs and another $794 billion in lost worker productivity. The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) and the fitness club industry believe that lawmakers should actively support—or at least stay out of the way of—their constituents’ efforts to incorporate regular physical activity. Instead, fitness businesses are continuously threatened by legislation that would make running and/or joining a health club costlier and more difficult.

To ensure the industry operates in a business-friendly climate and achieves continued growth, IHRSA regularly monitors, alerts IHRSA members, and when necessary, acts upon legislation that could affect daily business operations at health clubs. “The industry plays a pivotal role in solving our nation’s current health and healthcare crises,” said Helen Durkin, IHRSA’s executive vice president for public policy. “America’s health clubs provide the much-needed support, innovative equipment and training, and safe, secure spaces that enable people to more easily stay physically active year-round and from year to year. And it’s precisely because regular exercise is critical to our country’s health and economic future that keeping the health club industry strong not only benefits IHRSA members but the health, happiness, and prosperity of the entire country.”

“IHRSA is committed to doing everything in its power to protect clubs from legislation that would create unnecessary barriers to physical activity. It is thanks to the support and leadership of Industry Leadership Council (ILC) Members that IHRSA has the funds—and the people on the ground—to do so,” said Meredith Poppler, IHRSA’s vice president of communication and leadership engagement.

The ILC, a voluntary group of fitness industry professionals, focuses on protecting club business operations, ensuring future industry growth, and recognizing/developing the next generation of industry leaders. Joining the ILC is simple, a contribution of any amount (base level is $500) gives an individual or company ILC Membership. “Anyone who cares about the current and future success of the fitness industry is invited to join the ILC,” Poppler added. “If your ‘calling’ is the fitness industry, then the ILC is calling you.”

Financial contributions from ILC members allow IHRSA to fulfill its role as sole protector and advocate for the health club industry by staying on top of legislation in all 50 states, keeping IHRSA members informed of new and evolving regulations, and leading campaigns whenever and wherever needed. Traditionally, the legislative threats facing the industry include tax proposals, restrictions on membership contracts and EFT usage, and trainer regulations. Now, technology and data are changing the way clubs operate. With the influx of new technology (biometrics, e-signatures, electronic contracts, data collection and management, etc.) comes new laws and regulations with potentially severe implications for club operations.

Benefits of ILC Membership

When clubs, companies, or individuals make a voluntary financial contribution (their entry into the ILC)—100% of which is used to promote and protect the U.S. fitness industry—they receive a package of exclusive membership benefits, including enhanced education and networking opportunities at IHRSA 2019 in San Diego, CA, March 13-16. The ILC Experience includes a private lounge, daily lunches and refreshments, discussions with keynote speakers, front-of-the room seating for keynotes, invitations to the 2019 ILC Summit & Reception and more.

The annual ILC Summit—sponsored by ABC Financial—and the reception that follows are to thank current ILC and IHRSA Board Members, as well as past IHRSA Board Members, IHRSA's founding members and facilitate networking with the industry’s global leaders.

“The high-level education, networking, and exclusive information provided to ILC both at the convention and throughout the year are highly valued by ILC members—though most ILC members support IHRSA’s advocacy efforts because they know the value of a strong industry,” Poppler says. “We’re very fortunate to be part of an industry that has so many dedicated leaders who share a common purpose and passion for creating a healthier, stronger, and more prosperous nation.”

To bolster IHRSA’s ability to keep the industry strong and healthy from the increasing number of legislative threats, the IHRSA Board set a goal to expand ILC membership by at least 20% in 2019—from 124 to at least 150 members and to raise more than $600,000 in contributions.

To join the ILC


IHRSA, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association is a not-for-profit trade association representing health and fitness facilities, gyms, spas, sports clubs, and suppliers worldwide. IHRSA and its members are dedicated to making the world healthier through regular exercise and activity promotion.

IHRSA maintains a leadership role in advancing physical activity, which is critical to America’s health and the battle against obesity and chronic lifestyle disease. IHRSA supports policies that promote more active lifestyles to foster a healthier, happier more prosperous America.