Fitness Industry Roundup: Gyms Keep Public Health at Forefront

Health and fitness clubs are seeing an uptick in visitors and memberships. Plus, on the rise are news features focused on gym safety and the vital role the industry plays.

Overall, the health and fitness industry has overcome membership and revenue loss, facility closures, fighting negative perceptions, and more due to the pandemic. Over a year later, there are still many steps to take until the industry can be back to “normal” again. For now, any positive news is something to hold onto in the hopes of returning to a more normal life—one where health and fitness is a higher priority for everyone.

Fitness Industry Gains Famed Talk Show Host’s Support

Aaron Harber, the host of “The Aaron Harber Show”, wrote a column for The Gazette in support of keeping gyms open and asking officials “to address the unreasonable restrictions'' in place. He believes that, “Giving people the opportunity to be active again — after over a year of isolation — is an immediate need due to the severe physical and psychological damage so many have suffered.” In the article, Harber also discusses the evidence that shows health and fitness clubs have not been a source of spreading COVID-19 and specifically uses the University of Oregon study to support his claims.

Read Harber’s full article.

Fitness Chains Invent New Strategies & Campaigns to Connect With Members

In a recent AdAge article, numerous fitness club chains were featured for reinventing the way they establish relationships with consumers and members. For instance, ahead of Mental Health Awareness month, Planet Fitness, an IHRSA member, will alter its messaging to connect with members on their mental and physical health. “What’s different now, because of restrictions lifting and COVID fatigue, people want to take the step and be out with other people and be in a club environment, and we’re celebrating that,” said Jeremy Tucker, chief marketing officer of Planet Fitness.

More strategies that fitness chains are utilizing to connect with members.

Gyms Eagerly Welcome New Visitors & Members

With COVID cases dropping and vaccination numbers rising, health and fitness clubs see an uptick in visitors and members. Inner Me Studios, a dance studio in Houston, TX, has added over 100 memberships after losing members to the pandemic last year. Plus, some businesses are expanding—a Crunch Fitness franchisee, an IHRSA member, announced plans to add eight new locations throughout Texas. Lilly Golden, president of Evergreen Commercial Realty in Houston, TX, told Bisnow, “People are focused on their health and wellness, they're going to both be staying at home and coming out to work out among others. Neither one of them is going to stop, and it's going to be a priority for people.”

Learn how other health clubs are carrying on.

Augie’s Quest Partners With Zumba, Strong Nation, & AV Now

To make an impact and advance critical ALS research initiatives by Augie’s Quest to Cure ALS, IHRSA member Zumba and Strong Nation are offering two free virtual exercise classes. The event is in partnership with AV Now Fitness Sound, a fitness sound gear provider, and Augie’s Quest, a nonprofit committed to changing the lives of people with ALS by raising funds and awareness for research and treatments to find a cure. The Zumba and Strong Nation classes will take place on Saturday, May 8, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sign up for the event and donate to Augie’s Quest.

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Learn more about the partnership.

Self Esteem Brands CEO Touts Health Club Safety on Cavuto Live

Chuck Runyon, Self Esteem Brands co-founder and CEO, recently discussed vaccine passports, health club safety, current COVID guidelines, and the health benefits of exercise on Cavuto Live. “By and large, the fitness industry has done a great job of making sure our environment is safe by following all the local protocols,” said Runyon. “At the end of the day, we are in the business of health, and that starts with creating a safe environment for our members. And so, with masks, capacity [restrictions], and social distancing, we can do that.” Self Esteem Brands includes Waxing the City and IHRSA members, Anytime Fitness, Basecamp Fitness, and The Bar Method.

Author avatar

Sami Smith

Sami Smith is IHRSA's Senior Manager of Digital Communications, working to shape the organization's image on various digital platforms. On a typical day, she creates content, delivers impactful communications, and executes targeted marketing efforts to keep IHRSA at the forefront of the industry. Outside of the office, you can find her exploring new destinations, indulging in food, or participating in just about any sport.