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: Fitness Industry in Full Swing [VIDEO]

IHRSA interim President & CEO Brent Darden encourages viewers to sign up for the WHO webinar, shares news on the GYMS Act dashboard is being recognized by a software company, and discusses new research that can help turn digital fitness fans into members at your club week’s IHRSA Take 5.

  • June 02, 2021

September 20, 2023 Update: Since publishing this article, IHRSA has retired its Quorum dashboard. Our new action center can be found at votervoice.net.

The fitness industry is working towards building a stronger system to encourage people to become more active and IHRSA is sharing ways you can help.

In this week’s Take 5, Brent discusses the World Health Organization’s upcoming June 3rd webinar, Ready for Change: The future of sport, exercise and fitness, and encourages viewers to register to show the commitment the fitness industry has to help people live healthier lives.

He also shares news on the GYMS Act Dashboard being recognized by grassroots software company, Quorum, and provides new information on the IRS Employee Retention Credit that can help you figure out if your club is eligible for the credit.

We also have new research from Les Mills that can help turn digital fitness fans into members at your club and new data from Placer.ai on gym foot traffic showing people are heading back to the gym.

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

  • 0:24 World Health Organization (WHO) Webinar - Ready for Change: The Future of Sport, Exercise and Fitness
  • 1:22 GYMS Act Dashboard Recognized by Software Company
  • 2:20 Employee Retention Credit (ERC) Update
  • 3:38 Converting Digital Fitness Fans into Members Les Mills
  • 5:10 Placer.ai Data on Gym Foot Traffic

Full Transcript

This week, we have some new research that can help you turn your digital fitness consumers into members at your club, an update on the employer retention credit, and data showing many across the country have been heading back to the gym.

Thanks for joining me for this week's IHRSA Take 5 sponsored by Precor.

WHO Webinar - Ready for Change: The Future of Sport, Exercise and Fitness

First, if you haven't already, please register for our upcoming WHO webinar, Ready for Change: The future of sport, exercise and fitness. It's happening tomorrow, June the third. This webinar is going to focus on the impact that COVID-19 had on exercise fitness and physical activity and we're also going to be discussing key trends that will influence how we build a stronger system and sector and explore new ways of communication to reach and engage more people to be physically active.

We'll include a link to the registration page in the description of this video. And again, I'd ask you to please register, even if you're really not going to be able to attend the live event. So that the World Health Organization, the WHO, will appreciate the breadth and the interests of our industry, it's important that we show them we're actively involved in helping people get more active.

GYMS Act Dashboard Recognized by Software Company

Many of you visited and used the GYMS Act dashboard and shared how much it has helped to keep you informed and up to date on the bill's progress. We're really proud that the GYMS Act dashboard and all the hard work that all of us in the industry have accomplished so far is being recognized and applauded by the grassroots software company that made it possible, Quorum.

The GYMS Act dashboard provides updates on the bill, co-sponsors, and emails sent to Congress and all of that in real-time. So, thanks to everyone who's used the dashboard and the one-click campaign to support the GYMS Act and to Quorum for featuring our accomplishments and recognizing them. We're really proud of our GYMS Act success being recognized, and so much more so by professionals outside our industry who work in public affairs and grassroots lobbying.

Employee Retention Credit (ERC) Update

The IRS employee retention credit allows businesses to claim a refundable tax credit equal to 70% of the qualified wages they pay to employees from December 31, 2020 through June 30th of 2021. This credit's designed to help businesses who choose to keep their employees on payroll despite all the challenges that came with the pandemic. And in a recent update, effective January one of 2021, businesses are eligible if their business had to stop operating during the pandemic due to government orders or if they had a decline in gross receipts and more than 20% in a calendar over the quarter in 2021.

Small Businesses can also apply and receive the credit through an advance payment from the federal government. So, visit the IRS website or make sure you have a discussion with your accounting professionals for more information and be sure to take advantage of this credit if your club is eligible, but don't wait because the deadline is June 30. And don't overlook it because it is a great opportunity. You want to make sure you know if you're eligible or not so that you can take advantage of it.

Converting Digital Fitness Fans into Members

As clubs start their recovery journey and start reopening, many are now wondering how they can convert some of these digital fitness fans into members. New research by Les Mills with responses from over 3,200 Les Mills On Demand subscribers gives us insights on what digital fitness consumers are looking for, and how clubs can turn them into actual paying members. So I want to share three of the things their research found.

First, the best place to find digital fitness users is social media. Social media channels like Facebook and Instagram were the most popular destinations when it comes to seeking out fitness support, like nutritional advice, and health and wellness information.

Second, there's an inclination towards class formats. In other words, clubs should really emphasize the experience they can offer such as their motivational instructors, and club environment, which includes the social connection that may not be available through at-home digital workouts.

And third, research showed that clubs really are expected to offer digital even though clubs are reopening. Among Les Mills On Demand subscribers that have joined via their club, 95% said they felt more positive towards their gym for offering a digital option to work out. It also showed that offering members a digital option helps them keep up their physical activity when they weren't able to make it to the gym.

Placer.ai Data on Gym Foot Traffic

Now, I'd like to share a bit more good news. New data from place or AI provides some insights on foot traffic across many of the major gym chains, and it shows a very clear recovery pattern. March 2021, saw a significant increase in foot traffic compared to march of 2020 with a 45% year-over-year jump. Comparing 2021 numbers to 2019 also reveals a clear increase in gym visits. While the gym visit gap in March of 2021 was down 21.2%, there was a 26.8% jump month-over-month between February and March. Data also show that in month to month metrics, gyms saw the traditional increase in traffic in January 2021, with visits up nearly 30% despite COVID-related restrictions still in place across much of the country. This is yet more data indicating that the fitness industry indeed is on its return and is in full swing.

That's it for this week's Take 5. Thanks again for joining me and I'll see you next week.

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Ofelia Martinez

Ofelia Martinez is a contributor to IHRSA.org.