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    Fitness Industry Roundup: Fighting Disparities & Opening Doors

    One fitness chain takes a stand for female athletes, a fitness brand acquires a nutrition coaching service, and more fitness news.

    We love to see so many businesses and people in the health and fitness industry reaching new heights during the toughest of times. One brand recently became the first and only fitness corporation to invest in and offer consumers nutrition coaching, while another fitness brand opened its doors to the newest and largest club in its portfolio. Plus, we highlight a feature article that puts the spotlight on two Paralympic athletes that adjusted to training for the Tokyo Paralympics—and life—as the COVID-19 pandemic threw wrenches in their respective plans.

    Before we get into that news, I’d like to cover the reality that while many barriers have been broken and changes made, female athletes are, unfortunately, still overlooked worldwide. Thankfully, many organizations, companies, and thought leaders speak up when these athletes need it most. One fitness chain recently offered a free membership to every softball player on the NCAA women’s championship teams after news leaked that the tournament receives substantially less support than the men’s.

    Orangetheory Stands in Solidarity With NCAA Women’s Softball

    The NCAA is in hot water yet again after further disparities faced by female athletes have come forth. An abundance of inequalities between the men’s and women’s College World Series Tournaments recently became apparent—such as competing on subpar surfaces in locations without showers that cannot accommodate half as many fans as men’s stadiums, and playing a rigid schedule with multiple games per day. Club Industry reports that Orangetheory Fitness, an IHRSA member, extended a free one-year membership to all of the softball players on the final eight teams in the tournament. Ellen Latham, founder of Orangetheory Fitness, said, "We have the utmost respect for extraordinary female athletes and hope this invitation helps them not only with physical health and wellness, but feeling supported and knowing their hard work, dedication and commitment do not go unnoticed or unappreciated."

    FIR July 9 Orangetheory Fitness limited use column

    Source: facebook.com/orangetheoryfitness

    Find out more.

    Self Esteem Brands Incorporates Consumer Nutrition Coaching in Acquisition

    Recently, Self Esteem Brands became the only global fitness corporation to invest in and offer consumers nutrition coaching with its acquisition of Stronger U, a digital, personalized nutrition-based health coaching services brand. According to Business Wire, with the acquisition, Self Esteem Brands’ global footprint of more than five million members across every continent will have access to a full range of fitness, personalized nutrition and health coaching, and personal wellness services.

    “As we know, nutrition is one of the hardest parts of overall health and wellness for consumers to manage,” said Mike Doehla, founder of Stronger U. “Our members deserve Stronger U at its best and Self Esteem Brands will now help us become the best we can.” Chuck Runyon, co-founder and CEO of Self Esteem Brands, said, “This is a natural synergy for the portfolio companies of Self Esteem Brands.” Self Esteem Brands is the parent company of Anytime Fitness, The Bar Method, Basecamp Fitness, and Waxing the City.

    Read the press release.

    Pure Fitness Unveils its Largest Health & Fitness Club

    K11 Musea gym in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, is Pure Fitness’s 23rd—and largest—fitness facility to date. The 30,000-square-foot health club focuses on health and sanitation, boasting high ceilings, roomy corridors and changing rooms, an outdoor exercise area, spaced out exercise equipment and machines, and more. When asked about signing the lease during the height of the pandemic, Colin Grant, IHRSA member and Pure Group co-founder and CEO, told South China Morning Post, “Once we reopened, the business was going strong, and it’s on the back of the fact that because of Covid, they [gym goers] value their health far more than they ever did. So once we could reopen, we saw people wanting to come back in almost record numbers.”

    FIR July 9 PURE Fitness limited use column

    Source: scmp.com / Edmond So

    Check out the article.

    Grit of Paralympic Athletes Comes to Light During Pandemic Training

    Healthline featured the powerful stories of how Paralympic athletes Allysa Seely and Oz Sanchez adjusted to training for the Tokyo Paralympics—and life—in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic. Seely, an elite paratriathlete, highlighted that the pandemic was a test of “learning how to practice controlling what I can and not stressing about everything else, really focusing on my health, both mental and physical.” In contrast, Sanchez, a paracyclist, noted that six years in the Marine Corps and two deployments had prepared him to “unplug from society.”

    “'No matter if it’s physiological or psychological, they are tied together. Our stress impacts our physiological well-being,' said Seely.”

    Although Seely and Sanchez detailed disparate experiences they both faced major roadblocks and highlighted the correlation between mental and physical health. Chad Asplund, M.D., a primary care sports medicine physician at Mayo Clinic in Minneapolis, MN, underlined that COVID-19 took its toll on athletes at every level—from hobbyists to the elite. He said, “The pandemic has been very disruptive and mentally challenging for athletes.” Asplund encourages everyone to get moving no matter their age or ability.

    Read Healthline’s full article.

    Has your health or fitness-related business been featured in the news recently? We want to know! Send a link to any news article or video that highlighted your business to pr@ihrsa.org, and we may include it in a future issue of the Fitness Industry Roundup.

    Author avatar

    Sami Smith

    Sami Smith is IHRSA's Communications and Public Relations Assistant. On a typical day, she delivers communications and creates content for IHRSA's advocacy efforts, while working to shape IHRSA and the fitness industry's public image on multiple platforms. Outside of the office, you can find her traveling to new areas, indulging in food, or participating in just about any sport.