Each week, IHRSA Interim President & CEO Brent Darden will bring you his most important topics of the moment in a short five-minute video as part of an ongoing series called “Take 5.”

IHRSA’s Take 5: 2021 a Great Year of Revival [VIDEO]

This week, IHRSA Interim President & CEO Brent Darden remembers the late Stephen Tharrett, who contributed to the industry in a multitude of ways. Brent also introduces five initiatives and changes IHRSA is taking on to better serve members and the industry.

  • January 06, 2021

The new year brings hope, which can help fuel us to achieve our goals. By taking the lessons of 2020, there’s only one place the industry can go in 2021: forward.

But first, we must pause to remember the late Stephen Tharrett, co-founder of ClubIntel and former IHRSA Board president. As an impactful figure, Tharrett brought his expertise, analytical prowess, leadership, and passion to the industry. He will be missed.

In this week’s Take 5, Brent takes us through the five initiatives and changes at IHRSA that will boost the industry now, and future-proof it for later. Learn more about some of these initiatives:

Watch the full video to learn more about the five initiatives from Brent. You can also read the transcript below.

  • 0:15 - Fitness Industry Loses Leader Stephen Tharrett
  • 1:16 - 5 Initiatives IHRSA Takes On
  • 1:32 - Associate Members Are Now Industry Partners
  • 2:04 - Two New Advisory Councils Will Lead the Industry Forward
  • 3:01 - Medical, Allied Health, & Public Health Professionals Give Support
  • 3:37 - Over 1,000 Clubs Sign Active & Safe Commitment
  • 4:24 - IHRSA Has Launched the National Health & Fitness Alliance

Full Transcript

Welcome back everyone to the first Take 5 of the new year. From all of us here at your trade association, we hope you had a happy new year and are ready for 2021. I know we're anxious to get started here at IHRSA.

Fitness Industry Loses Leader Stephen Tharrett

Unfortunately, over the holiday, our global industry lost one of its well-known and beloved leaders, as Stephen Tharrett passed away.

Steve was truly a gentleman and a scholar. He was a personal friend and colleague of mine that was always willing to help in any way that he could. And he regularly contributed his time and expertise for the benefit of myself, for IHRSA, and the industry at large.

Steve really did possess a brilliant mind, which was evidenced by his prolific research, presentations, and writings. He was a passionate student, continually learning, and also a grand teacher in health and fitness, using his analytic prowess to foster an understanding, professionalism and the credibility our industry wants so badly. He really was a dedicated servant leader that will be dearly missed.

5 Initiatives IHRSA Takes On

There are a lot of changes [and] initiatives rolling out that you won't want to miss. I wanted to take a few minutes and share five things that we've been working hard on so that we can serve you better and have the association serve its purpose at an even higher level.

Associate Members Are Now Industry Partners

Moving forward, IHRSA decided to recognize our current associate members as industry partners. Health club operators rely on manufacturers, suppliers, and consultants for equipment, products, and services needed to grow and fuel their business. Like this week's Take 5 sponsor, Precor. This name change recognizes the critical role these companies play within our industry, and also their partnership with IHRSA towards ensuring the industry's growth and prosperity.

Two New Advisory Councils Will Lead the Industry Forward

I'm also excited to tell you about two new advisory councils that will help lead the fitness industry forward.

The Industry Partner Advisory Council will help support IHRSA's mission to grow, protect and promote the health and fitness industry and help ensure the success of all of its members. We're thrilled to work with the nine individuals who've been selected to be part of this council that have demonstrated success and a commitment to the broad health and fitness industry.

Next, the IHRSA Medical, Science, and Health Advisory Council includes experts in medicine, public health, exercise science, exercise physiology, medical fitness, fitness, nutrition, and behavior change. These council members will serve for two years, advising IHRSA on current research and science that will help advance the health and fitness industry on a really broad perspective.

Medical, Allied Health, & Public Health Professionals Give Support

The next thing I want to share is the letter medical experts signed on in support of clubs. Research and data, as you know, continue to show that health clubs are really not the driving COVID transmission. In fact, they represent a relatively very low risk of that possibility. And IHRSA has amplified medical voices speaking up on the importance of exercise, and the vital and safe role that health clubs play. Experts in medicine, allied and public health have already signed on to this medical endorsement of exercise and lifestyle letter.

Over 1,000 Clubs Sign Active & Safe Commitment

Also in December, we launched the Active & Safe Commitment to affirm the industry's commitment to providing a safe and effective space for physical activity. Since the launch, not that long ago, over 1,000 health and fitness facilities on over five continents have already made the Active & Safe Commitment part of their program and proclamation to their communities, showing those community's members and policymakers that they're committed to providing a low risk environment for people to be physically active. 2020 laid bare the reality that we have to do a better job positioning our industry with public officials, promoting how vital physical activity and health clubs are for our physical, mental and emotional health.

IHRSA Has Launched the National Health & Fitness Alliance

The need for a stronger, more politically powerful industry has really never been greater. And that's why IHRSA's launched the National Health & Fitness Alliance. This alliance is going to help IHRSA fight for the industry, stop harmful legislation and promote our industry's role in shaping a healthier and brighter and better future for our world. In part, funding will come from revenue generated from IHRSA membership dues, and other association activities. But it's also going to come from donations made by allied organizations, industry stakeholders, and individuals. It's going to be very inclusive. And because of this, we made a distinct operating division of IHRSA with a clearly itemized operating budget, and a segregated bank account to make sure those funds are used to promote our industry at the highest levels.

As we've all become painfully aware, over the course of this last year, policymakers discuss and decide on issues that affect the health of our nation and our individual states, as well as regulations for America's small businesses. And the health and fitness industry has to—has to—have a seat at that table if we want to track, confront and overcome future threats to our businesses, as well as take advantage of opportunities that may arise.

In closing, I just want to say that I truly believe 2021 will be a great year of revival for our industry. And from all of us here at IHRSA we look forward to everything we can accomplish alongside you in this new year. Thanks for watching this week. See you next week.

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Rachel Valerio

Rachel Valerio previously served as IHRSA's Digital Content Editor—a position focused on collecting and reporting on fitness industry news, staying on top of IHRSA's social media accounts and website, and hatching new plans to expand the association's digital footprint.