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: COVID-19 Vaccine News & the Fitness Industry [VIDEO]

This week, IHRSA Interim President & CEO Brent Darden discusses news of a COVID-19 vaccine, introduces the Global Health & Fitness Alliance, shares data from ClubIntel, REX Roundtable, McKinsey & Company, and more.

As cases of COVID continue to increase around the world, a glimmer of hope is looming on the horizon in the form of a vaccine. Although there is still much to be tested and approved, the idea that a vaccine for COVID-19 is within reach is welcome news.

In this week’s Take 5, Brent touches on the impact this news has had on the fitness industry, introduces the Global Health & Fitness Alliance, shares data from ClubIntel, REX Roundtable, McKinsey & Company, and more!

Watch the full video above, read the full transcript below, or jump to a section by topic:

  • 0:03 - Contact Your Local Officials Using IHRSA Resources
  • 1:37 - COVID Vaccine & the Impact on the Fitness Industry
  • 2:11 - IHRSA Announces Global Health & Fitness Alliance
  • 2:35 - Global Wellness Institute Releases “Defining the Mental Wellness Economy”
  • 2:59 - Fitness Industry Closures Continue
  • 3:38 - ClubIntel Study Projects Club Revenue for 2020
  • 3:57 - REX Roundtable Insider Information: Membership Freezes
  • 4:32 - McKinsey Report Finds Intention to Exercise Post Shutdown Has Decreased

Full Transcript

Welcome back everyone to this week's IHRSA Take 5.

Contact Your Local Officials Using IHRSA Resources

As we all know the process continues with a new round of possible closures, more restrictions looming. There are 3,141 counties in the U.S. In addition to varying restrictions being mandated for close by state, there's also deviations by county within the state. So it's hard to determine sometimes who to even plead your case to because decisions are being made locally for the most part.

Some clubs are holding up well so far in many states as potential re-closures are considered. States like Vermont, Maryland, Illinois, Colorado, among others, so far, are remaining open. New Mexico, Washington state, Oregon, [and in Canada] Toronto and Ontario, unfortunately, are not faring as well as closures have already been mandated there. In addition, we know that a collection of northeastern governors met recently to discuss and compare potential restrictions and response to the spike in COVID in their areas, so we're fully expecting additional mandates will come out this week in some of those northeastern states.

At IHRSA, we're encouraging everyone to contact their elected officials and encourage them to please just follow the facts. The research, science, data, and contact tracing confirm the clubs are simply not the source of the problem. IHRSA has the contacts, who to reach out to, the tools, sample letters, of course research, other resources and presentation materials to help you plead your case locally, which is where we found most of the decisions are actually being made.

COVID Vaccine & the Impact on the Fitness Industry

On another note the announcement and pending availability early next year of a COVID vaccine, which was highly publicized I believe back on the ninth of this past week, has had a telling impact on the stock market if you didn't see it. Peloton stock dropped by 14.5%, and Planet [Fitness] stock improved by 10.5%. As the saying goes, "Follow the money." Let's hope that's the case as investors look favorably on a strong return on brick-and-mortar facilities as they look out into the future and the economic impact.

IHRSA Announces Global Health & Fitness Alliance

On an international level, this past week IHRSA is thrilled to announce the inaugural meeting of the Global Health & Fitness Alliance, including over 40 representatives from around the world. This group includes progressive thought leaders, and is collaborating to build a united alliance of health and fitness community partners to serve countries, again, worldwide. And we're really excited about that.

Global Wellness Institute Releases “Defining the Mental Wellness Economy”

The Global Wellness Institute actually released its major research report for 2020 this past week, titled "Defining the Mental Wellness Economy." In that report, you'll find the global wellness economy is worth $128.8 billion and has become sort of a new industry darling, a new industry opportunity, that's growing exponentially.

Fitness Industry Closures Continue

On the research front, based on data for major processing payment firms, 15% of fitness clubs and studios have already closed permanently as of September 30. Additional closures are imminent by the end of the year as club operators grapple with the disproportionate impact of the pandemic. Thanks to the payment processors, Rick Caro and the IHRSA team, for pulling this data together, which also included the fact that more than $15 billion in revenue has already been lost, along with, unfortunately, economic activity than brick-and-mortar facilities contribute to their local communities.

ClubIntel Study Projects Club Revenue for 2020

According to a recent ClubIntel study, U.S. fitness centers still in business are projecting a 37% decline in revenue this year relative to 2019. Of course this information, although current, predates this most recent restrictions and closures that we're undergoing right now.

REX Roundtable Insider Information: Membership Freezes

The REX Roundtable Insider Information this week is about the percentage of freezes, same month, year-over-year, and the average they're reporting is 19.5%. But just as a reminder for all of you, the statistics that we're sharing, especially when their averages across the United States, vary widely, depending on your geography. Some clubs have been open for months, and others, such as in California, have not been opened at all. So your actual location in the country dictates results to a really large extent. So just keep that in mind as you're comparing the numbers we're sharing.

McKinsey Report Finds Intention to Exercise Post Shutdown Has Decreased

McKinsey recently reported that in the U.S., the intention to engage in fitness activity post shutdown is 65%. That trails pretty closely to what we're finding in the industry, perhaps a little higher in the industry. They're also reporting that the use of studios and boutiques decreased to 17% versus 20% pre locked down.

So I just want to end today's session confirming what we all know, which is that these are just so challenging and frustrating times that we're in, it's just really ridiculous about how decisions are being made about whether to close or open facilities, about some of the restriction plans that are in place. Again, we just really are trying to reach out to as many elected officials as we can, present them with the facts, and encourage them to follow the science that shows undeniably that health clubs really just are not the problem. What we can do is choose to be resilient, try to maintain a positive attitude, and we hope that we can do that along with you.

Thanks for coming this week. See you next week. And thank you to Precor for sponsoring this week's Take 5.

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Katie Willis

Katie Willis is the Senior Marketing Operations Manager at IHRSA, where she helps to create and execute marketing campaigns to grow IHRSA and its events. When she isn't working, you can find her spending time with her family, at a barre class, or keeping up with her favorite Bravo TV shows.