5 Actions You Can Take to Ignite Change in the Fitness Industry

    Here are five actions you can take to endorse the benefits of physical activity and health club membership in future conversations with your legislators.

    • Suzanne Trainor
    • October 09, 2017

    Nelson Mandela once said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” We tend to agree. That’s why we created the following two-minute video explaining how each of us can advocate for the fitness industry.

    If you're looking for more information, check out our list of five actions you can take to endorse the benefits of physical activity and health club membership in future conversations with your legislators.

    1. Compose a sincere email to build trust

    Start by sending an email to your lawmaker, introducing yourself, and if applicable, explaining your civic involvement, or charitable work. Keep in mind that, even though you may be sharing these efforts via social media, your elected officials may not be aware of them. It is important to include examples of your work in your email because they tell your brand’s story, illustrate your commitment to members, and highlight your company’s values.

    2. Request a meeting

    If possible, it’s best to put a face to a name by getting acquainted in person. First, find out if any of your members are lawmakers. In the case that some are, take advantage of the opportunity to introduce yourself, and, engage in a conversation about pertinent issues. If none of your members are lawmakers, that’s okay too. Then you can do some research on local politicians and invite them to your facility for a brief visit, open house, a charity fundraiser, a blood drive, or another scheduled event.

    You can also invite your legislator to have coffee or you can stop by when they’re holding office hours to meet with their constituents. When you meet, ask questions you’d ask anyone during a first introduction. For example, what’s their background? Why did they enter politics? Do they have a family? What do they do for fun? You want to understand where your legislators’ interests lie. If you’d like, you can also attend political fundraisers or volunteer for reelection campaigns. Any elected representative will be pleased to have your support, in any form.

    3. Join with other clubs

    As an IHRSA member, you have a built-in support network of fellow club operators who have experience with taking action on behalf of the industry. In particular, members of the Industry Leadership Council, fitness industry leaders who fund IHRSA’s public policy efforts, will gladly share their advice and experience.

    4. Deliver the data

    Clubs that have achieved legislative victories have highlighted how long they’ve been in business, the number of people they employ, the number of members they serve, the number of pounds lost in a weight loss challenge, or the amount they’ve raised for charity. Legislators enjoy responding to proven results like these.

    5. Make your intentions clear

    Each time you interact with a lawmaker, pose questions that facilitate deeper engagement. They can be policy-driven (“Will you oppose efforts to tax gym membership?”) or social (“What’s the best way to stay in touch with your office?” “What social media account should I follow?”) Legislators are invested in seeing people become happier, healthier, and more productive. They want healthcare to improve, while costs decline. As a wellness expert, employer, citizen, and voter, your thoughts and opinions matter.

    Author avatar

    Suzanne Trainor @SuzanneMTrainor

    Suzanne Trainor is IHRSA’s Government Relations Coordinator—a position that includes tracking legislation at the state and federal levels, as well as communicating IHRSA's policy positions to key decision-makers. The best part of her job is involving members in the fast-paced political process. Outside of work, Suzanne practices yoga and enjoys running.