BOSTON, MA—September 17, 2020—Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, IHRSA, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, worked with industry leaders in states across the country providing them with tools and resources to strengthen their voices and expand their reach at the state level. IHRSA has worked diligently to pull these valuable assets together in a toolkit to share with the entire industry.

To lobby individual governors and local lawmakers more directly, many IHRSA members are forming regional alliances of operators within their state. IHRSA’s newest toolkit, How to Run a Fitness Industry Alliance in Your State, is a compilation of resources to help club owners and operators create, manage, and run a state or regional alliance.

The pandemic has thoroughly magnified the importance of organizing at the state and local level. During the crisis, states and state governors have the power to close, reopen, and re-close businesses like health clubs. IHRSA has been tirelessly working to open—and, in some cases, reopen clubs—and keep these businesses operating. This toolkit is a necessity for fitness clubs to keep on hand in the case a crisis happens again.

“At IHRSA, we have been lobbying at the state level for over 30 years to stop sales tax on membership dues, halt unfair membership contract regulations, and other issues that would impact the clubs ability to operate,” said Helen Durkin, IHRSA’s executive vice president of public policy. “The COVID-19 crisis has revealed that the old way of doing things isn’t enough. We need a stronger, louder, and more unified voice. We are looking to work with and build state and regional alliances to strengthen our efforts at the grassroots level and build a connection to local lawmakers.”

She adds, “During the pandemic, it’s become clear that policymakers don’t view the health and fitness industry as essential for public health. We’re pushing to fix that, and one of the best ways to do so is by engaging governments at the local level. This toolkit has an abundance of resources for clubs to get involved and lobby their leaders.”

IHRSA and industry partners are constantly creating new resources, so we will be constantly updating and adding to the resources in this toolkit.

The Advocacy team at IHRSA is committed to advancing physical activity and protecting and promoting the industry across the country. Regional and state alliances are beneficial to the industry as we work through closures and reopening—we are much stronger when we work together. If your health club is a member of an alliance or currently in the process of forming an alliance, let IHRSA know.


IHRSA, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, is a not-for-profit trade association representing the global fitness industry of over 200,000 health and fitness facilities and their suppliers.

IHRSA maintains a leadership role in advancing physical activity, which is critical to peak health and fight the battle against obesity and chronic lifestyle disease. As one of the world's leading authorities on the commercial health club industry, IHRSA’s mission is to grow, promote, and protect the health and fitness industry, while providing its members with benefits and resources. IHRSA and its members are devoted to making the world happier, healthier, and more prosperous through regular exercise and activity promotion.