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: Using Data to Plan for the Future [VIDEO]

This week, IHRSA interim President & CEO Brent Darden shares data on the fitness industry and discusses in-person events, health clubs in Texas after the lifting of all pandemic-related mandates, and more.

Many health clubs in Texas are continuing to abide by IHRSA’s Active & Safe Commitment—a reassurance that fitness businesses are making safety a top priority following Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order lifting the mask mandate and opening businesses 100%.

In this week’s Take 5, Brent shares interesting statistics on the number of personal trainers affiliated with health clubs and the significant increase of people looking to better their physical health following the pandemic.

Brent also discusses the future of the fitness industry and answers the question that has been on everyone’s mind—will we ever meet in person again?

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

  • 0:21 - Will We Ever Meet Again?
  • 1:20 - What’s Happening in Texas?
  • 2:54 - Harrison Co. Annual Predictions Report
  • 4:06 - Trainerize Shares Latest Stats on Personal Training

Will We Ever Meet Again?

As we prepare together virtually for the 2021 IHRSA Annual Meeting on March 30, we will discuss financial and other important updates, as well as the election of new board members. The question on everyone's mind is: Will we ever meet in person again? Well, once again, we can look to China for confidence that our industry will recover. The ChinaFit and IHRSA/China Management Forum 2021 was just recently held as a hybrid event, and it had 150 in attendance virtually, and more than 250 people attend live and in person, which is similar to what they've had in years past. This is a good sign that people are ready and willing to return to in-person events. I know all of us here at IHRSA are excited to see as many of you as possible both in person and virtually, at the hybrid 2021 IHRSA 40th Anniversary Convention & Trade Show this September.

What’s Happening in Texas?

I mentioned before, and many of you know, that I'm based in Texas and I've lived here all my life. So when our governor recently decided to remove all state mandates and allow businesses to open completely, I began receiving a lot of calls from friends from clubs all over the country who want to know how gyms were handling the situation. Well, here's what I can tell you. Many Texas clubs are absolutely continuing to do the same thing they were before the restrictions were lifted, and that is follow the safety guidance laid out in the Active & Safe Commitment and reassure their staff and members that their safety comes first. And the reception really has been very positive.

In fact, the morning after the state fully reopened, one club shared that of the 620 members that checked in in the morning only four questioned having to continue wearing a mask. And that afternoon, only five of the 540 members that checked in questioned the mask policy at all. Other clubs around Texas that I spoke with shared similar experiences. The reality is there's very, very few members that are resisting the request to maintain safety measures. Clubs do plan on gradually rescinding restrictions, increasing capacity, and granting access to previously off-limit areas over the coming weeks in sort of a staged approach to complete reopening with no restrictions.

Harrison Co. Annual Predictions Report

Recently, Harrison Company, a firm that uses consumer research and surveys to develop insights for their customers, released their Annual Predictions Report [on] Fitness and Recovery. The key stat I want to share is from their trends and predictions portion where they talk about and share data which suggests that personal trainers have already and will become increasingly independent of clubs, and will take a more holistic and wellness oriented approach with their clients as well. As of 2020, the study reported that 79% of personal trainers remain affiliated with a health club of some sort. Based on the trends, however, they predict that by 2030, only 50% of personal trainers will still be affiliated with health clubs. The pandemic essentially forced trainers to do business differently when their clubs were closed, and some of these newfound opportunities will keep them from returning at pre-pandemic levels—something to think about as clubs reopen, membership levels continue to rise, and personal training, at least in most clubs, seems to be lagging a little behind.

Trainerize Shares Latest Stats on Personal Training

Trainerize has over 300,000 active users and recently released some data that I think you'll find interesting as well. Right now there are approximately 225,000 active personal trainers training clients around the world. 30% of clients connect an external device or app like MyFitnessPal to Trainerize. 20% of active clients are in digital groups that are created by their personal trainers. And most interestingly, from pre-pandemic to post-pandemic times, personal trainers saw roughly a 25% increase in income. This data continues to support the growing sentiment that people will be taking their physical health a lot more seriously following the pandemic.

Well, that's it for this week's Take 5. If you have an interesting stat you've seen concerning the fitness industry, please comment on this video, share it with us. My team would love to hear from you. Thanks a lot. We'll see you next week.

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Ofelia Martinez

Ofelia Martinez is a contributor to IHRSA.org.