Fitness Industry Roundup: Gym Reservations Grow by 329%

A ClassPass report highlights fitness and wellness industry trends. Among the key findings, fitness reservations have grown by 329% since January 2021.

We’re dialing in on some important fitness industry news to share with you. Keeping an eye out on consumer trends is vital for the fitness industry, and ClassPass just gave us all a leg up in the race with its 2021 Fitness & Beauty Trends Report.

We also recently came upon an interesting New York Times article that examines a study that may explain why people who are overweight or obese experience more severe COVID symptoms. And lastly, one health club chain will soon open its 400th location.

First, remember the decision to roll back the ERTC? Lawmakers have introduced a new bill to restore the grants and IHRSA signed on in support.

IHRSA Applauds Introduction of ERTC Reinstatement Act

In response to the rollback of the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), U.S. Representatives Carol Miller (R-WV), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Kevin Hern (R-OK), and Terri Sewell (D-AL) introduced the ERTC Reinstatement Act on December 7, 2021. This bill would restore the ERTC for Q4 of 2021, according to a press release by Rep. Miller. IHRSA has joined a coalition of organizations in strong support of this bill and the reinstatement of the ERTC. Liz Clark, IHRSA president & CEO, said, "The Employee Retention Tax Credit has been crucial for the fitness industry still struggling under the weight of COVID-19 related closures and restrictions. The unexpected early termination of the program worsened an already difficult situation for many of these businesses. We applaud Representatives Miller, Murphy, Hern, and Sewell for their leadership in working to restore the promise Congress made when they introduced the program." The IRS has released guidance on how the current ERTC rollback for Q4 will be implemented.

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Take part in the NHFA’s ERTC campaign.

Fitness Reservations Have Grown by 329% Since January 2021

ClassPass released its 2021 Fitness & Beauty Trends Report with great results for the fitness industry. The report gathers responses from ClassPass users and focuses on emerging themes as people return to studios, salons, spas, and offices in 2022. Among the key findings:

  • Fitness reservations have grown by 329% since January 2021.

  • Over 70% of working adults visit fitness facilities on work from home days.

  • A majority (64%) of professionals stop by fitness facilities during their office commutes.

  • Strength training is the most popular workout of 2021.

  • Those who regularly work out with friends are 63% more likely to keep a routine for 12 months or longer.

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Source: ClassPass

The report also includes information regarding wellness, state-specific trends, when people prefer to work out, the most common activities, and more.

Check out the full report.

Study Claims Adipose Tissue Allows COVID-19 to Evade Immune Responses

Adipose tissue (body fat) is known to harbor pathogens and a recent study tells us body fat may be acting as a dangerous reservoir in COVID-19 cases, which could help explain why those who are obese are more vulnerable to the virus. The New York Times notes that researchers found that the coronavirus infects both fat cells and certain immune cells within body fat, prompting a damaging defensive response in the body. “The more fat mass [surrounding internal organs], and in particular visceral fat mass, the worse your inflammatory response,” explained Senior Author Tracey McLaughlin, M.D., professor of medicine (endocrinology) at Stanford University School of Medicine.

McLaughlin stressed that inflammation is the body’s response to an invader, and it can be more harmful than beneficial when it is too abundant. “Maybe that’s the Achilles’ heel that the virus utilizes to evade our protective immune responses — by hiding in [fat],” suggested Vishwa Deep Dixit, Ph.D., professor of comparative medicine and immunology at Yale School of Medicine. As of publishing, the research has not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal.

Read the article.

Crunch Fitness Eyes Milestone Opening of 400th Location Amid Growth

In February 2022, Crunch Fitness will open its 400th location in San Angelo, TX. The health club will offer cardio options, weights, advanced high-intensity interval training sessions, HydroMassage—an IHRSA Partner—dry saunas, red light therapy, group fitness classes, and more. On top of this milestone achievement, as of October, Crunch announced 128% growth from pre-pandemic membership levels. "The significant growth we experienced is a true testament to not only Crunch's leadership in the space but to our ongoing commitment to our members and their safety,” said Ben Midgley, CEO of Crunch Franchise. “It also speaks to our franchisees' tremendous efforts and shows that our members wanted to get back in the gym as soon as possible."

Find out more.

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, and we may include it in a future issue of the Fitness Industry Roundup.

Author avatar

Sami Smith

Sami Smith is IHRSA's Communications & Digital Content Producer. On a typical day, she delivers communications and creates content to shape IHRSA's image on a variety of digital platforms. Outside of the office, you can find her traveling to new areas, indulging in food, or participating in just about any sport.