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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: Exclusive Research & Revamped IHRSA Membership [VIDEO]

IHRSA interim President & CEO Brent Darden introduces IHRSA’s new membership options, gives us an update on the GYMS Act, shares exclusive research from McKinsey & Company, and more in this week’s Take 5.

Because the pandemic has affected the industry in different ways, IHRSA has announced new membership options that will unite and help the health and fitness industry succeed post-COVID.

In this week’s Take 5, Brent explains the perks of these new, flexible membership options and how they can help you and your business thrive.

He also provides a GYMS Act update, discusses the new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s mask guidelines for vaccinated people, and shares research from an exclusive meeting between McKinsey & Company and the Global Health & Fitness Alliance.

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

  • 0:27​ - IHRSA’s New Membership Options
  • 2:15 - GYMS Act Update
  • 3:33 - New Mask Guidelines from the CDC
  • 4:38 - Exclusive GHFA Meeting with McKinsey

Full Transcript

I'm excited to share a new move IHRSA's making to be more flexible and inclusive and help the fitness industry succeed into the future. Also, after only three months, we've hit a major milestone with the GYMS Act. And also I have a few other updates you should know about. So thanks for joining me for another IHRSA Take 5, sponsored by Precor.

IHRSA’s New Membership Options

As we all know, our industry continues to adapt and change for the future, including an emphasis on personalization and targeted offerings for specific customer segments. This is yet another reason why IHRSA now offers more options for health clubs, gyms, studios, fitness facilities, and fitness professionals through a new flexible tiered membership program.

The first level, the Basic membership, is ideal for companies that want to engage with businesses best practices, resources and experts that will also give operators access to management tools that they can use to grow their business.

Mid-level, or the Standard membership, is the equivalent of our existing club offering. This membership is designed for operators who want to grow their business using data driven research, diverse insights and effective tactics to curate stronger industry relationships.

The top membership level that we're calling the Premium membership includes executive insights, priority service, exclusive networking, and greater brand recognition. The members at this level have the opportunity to participate in increased engagement with IHRSA as well as the National Health and Fitness Alliance, and the broader global fitness industry.

IHRSA membership dues will also go towards supporting other initiatives. For example, a significant portion of the U.S. membership dues will go toward public affairs and the National Health & Fitness Alliance efforts, while international members will contribute to the Global Health & Fitness Alliance. IHRSA's also pledging to donate 1% of its total annual revenues to the IHRSA Foundation, which helps promote health through exercise on a global scale from people of all walks of life. You can visit [the IHRSA site] to see a complete description of membership options and all the associated benefits.

GYMS Act Update

We spent the last year working tirelessly to show Congress that the health and fitness industry is in desperate need of financial relief. And those efforts are starting to pay off. The GYMS Act has reached an impressive milestone of 103 co-sponsors.

Fitness industry professionals and gym-goers alike have sent over 27,000 messages to Congress so far, and while our efforts are definitely paying off, we can't let up. So please keep contacting your local representatives to bring attention to the critical role the health and fitness industry plays in our overall public health and help ensure that our businesses, your businesses, are no longer overlooked.

The fitness industry has always highlighted the importance of well-being and exists specifically to provide a safe space for individuals from all segments of society to be active, and also to enjoy the benefits associated with leading a healthy lifestyle. Our industry needs financial relief to continue providing the nation with these vital services. Indeed, I believe beyond essential, but vital. So if you haven't already participated in our letter campaign, please do so, and if you have, share thegymsact.com with your networks and help us spread the message even more.

CDC’s New Mask Guidelines

The CDC has officially updated their guidelines saying it's safe for vaccinated Americans to go mask-less outdoors. I thought, wow, what a groundbreaking revelation, thanks a lot CDC. But seriously, even though many people were already doing this, for others, the CDC's announcement is a landmark opportunity that they've been waiting to see. However, some people, like Dr. Scott Gottlieb, believe the CDC is moving too slowly when it comes to updating their COVID guidelines, as vaccines become more widely available and infection levels drop off.

In fact, in a recent op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal, Dr. Gottlieb said public health officials really should be willing to relax some of these restrictions, especially as people receive the vaccine, and their risk of infection becomes less and less. This could be another great sign for the fitness industry because easing restrictions, even for outdoor activities, allows people to go out and get their physical activity.

Exclusive GHFA Meeting with McKinsey

McKinsey and Company shared exclusive research with the Global Health & Fitness Alliance recently, and the research showed the physical activity gap between different income levels and the opportunity to make healthy lifestyles accessible to all is something that we need to look further into. It showed physical activity, or inactivity I should say, is tied to lower income groups at an increasing rate while higher income groups are trending in the opposite direction. It also shows the pandemic and lockdown restrictions reduce physical activity levels amongst the youth in part due to schools closing and children no longer having access to sports. Hours spent playing sports decreased an amazing 50% for children ages six to 18. And sadly, 64% of parents say that they're still concerned about their child getting sick if they do return to playing sports. And of course, research continues to show that increasing physical activity provides significant mental and physical benefits, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic for people of all ages.

We also learn how the digital fitness world accelerated due to COVID. Over 71,000 new fitness and health apps were launched last year alone with the most successful apps offering some sort of community element, which has always been a fundamental part of the club environment. In fact, consumers spent 45% more time on fitness apps in 2020, than they did in 2019. So we should really look at this as a positive sign that people want to get more active because it shows health really is a top priority in people's minds as they're coming out of the pandemic.

Well, that's all for this week's Take 5. Thanks for joining me again, and I'll see you next week.

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Ofelia Martinez

Ofelia Martinez is a contributor to IHRSA.org.