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: A $30B Gym Relief Bill & Industry Trends [VIDEO]

This week, IHRSA Interim President & CEO Brent Darden discusses the GYMS Act and what you can do to get it passed. Plus, some top trends from market experts and an impactful IHRSA Foundation project.

  • February 10, 2021

In the U.S., relief for the health and fitness industry is closer to reality after lawmakers filed the $30 billion Gym Mitigation and Survival (GYMS) Act, which would provide grants to affected health clubs.

Introduced by Reps. Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), the GYMS Act would establish a program to help distressed fitness facilities by allowing owners to apply for grants from the Small Business Administration, similar to other existing relief programs.

In light of this news, Brent discusses IHRSA’s efforts to get it passed and urges gym owners, staff, and members to share their support for the bill with lawmakers.

Also this week, Brent shares some top fitness industry trends by Les Mills and McKinsey & Company and announces an impactful IHRSA Foundation project.

Watch the full video for all of the latest news. You can also read the transcript below.

  • 0:24 - Gym Mitigation & Survival Act
  • 1:14 - Trends to Be Cheerful About by Les Mills
  • 2:50 - Trends Shaping the Industry by McKinsey & Company
  • 4:04 - IHRSA Foundation Working with Victory Outreach International

Full Transcript

Some say the fitness industry is in flux, while others believe there are signs to be optimistic and actually cheerful about the future. Let us know what you think after watching this video. But first, there's some exciting news out of D.C. and it could mean relief for thousands of U.S. health clubs. It's time for another IHRSA Take 5, sponsored by Precor.

Gym Mitigation & Survival Act

Last week, Representatives Mike Quigley [D-IL] and Brian Fitzpatrick [R-PA] filed the Gym Mitigation and Survival, or GYMS Act. This is huge. If passed, the GYMS Act will create a $30 billion fund to provide grants to the affected businesses in the health and fitness industry.

Right now we're wrapping up some virtual meetings with House members regarding the relief bill. And I cannot stress enough how crucial it is that you visit [IHRSA.org/savefitness] and ask your state representative to also support this bill. We've also created a simple one-click way for your club members to help as well. So please share the link with your members, with your friends and family, and with your community.

Trends to Be Cheerful About by Les Mills

Les Mills recently put out a list of eight reasons fitness operators should be cheerful about 2021. And here are the top four reasons.

Number one, health is the new wealth: They shared that one study found 90% of people intend to spend the same amount or more on being active as they come out of lockdown. As the old saying goes, "If you don't have your health, the rest really doesn't matter."

Number two, most members still love their club: Since reopening, operators in China, Japan, New Zealand and the UAE have all reported reaching upwards of 95% of pre-COVID attendance levels.

Number three, the new second space: Many workers plan to continue working from home or plan on implementing a hybrid approach even after the pandemic ends. That provides an opportunity for facilities with enough floor space to become the second space for members who need to get out of their home office. For years we've talked about clubs being the third place and now that working from home is so common, we have an opportunity to actually move up a notch in the pecking order, if you will.

Number four, meeting mental health needs. This crisis has amplified the stress and anxiety many feel. Clubs have long been hailed for the fiscal health benefits they bring to communities and should now also be a key pillar for supporting mental health. For the other four reasons to be cheerful, be sure to visit lesmills.com. It's a great read.

Trends Shaping the Industry by McKinsey & Company

In another recent report, McKinsey & Company released their eight trends that they believe will shape the industry in 2021. The full report is 80 pages long, but I'm just going to highlight their top three trends.

One: There's an opportunity to put healthy lifestyles within reach for everyone. This report shares that COVID-19 has triggered significant shifts in physical activity levels, with 40% of people being less active and 30% report being more active.

Number two: They believe digital workouts will continue to trend, but that digital won't fully replace in-person workouts. So the omnichannel approach to tackling the inactivity crisis may prove more important than ever. And this is consistent with other resources that we've seen.

Number three: To attract members back into your brick-and-mortar locations, clubs will need to find new purpose, new experiences, and new levels of convenience that cannot be offered digitally. I'd also add personalization to that list.

IHRSA Foundation Working with Victory Outreach International

Finally, the IHRSA Foundation, with support from the Caritate Life Enhancement Foundation, is kicking off a unique project aimed at helping church leaders in predominantly Latin American and Hispanic communities guide their congregations to making healthy lifestyle changes. The IHRSA Foundation is working with Victory Outreach International, a Christian ministry with a network of over 700 churches around the world. And during this project, we're going to assess the current knowledge and readiness of the U.S.-based church leaders so that we can model and facilitate healthy behavior changes and develop tools and resources to support their efforts geared toward improving the health and well-being of their communities through diet, exercise and wellness.

Well, that's it for this week. Let us know what you think about the future of the industry by commenting on this video. Thanks for joining me once again and I'll see you next time.

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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.