Fitness Industry Roundup: Mandates, Resolutions, & 2022 Trends

IHRSA members attract positive media attention, learn how to earn revenue without relying on membership levels, and more.

This week, we cover two IHRSA Premium members who took on crucial interviews with highly touted media outlets and share a CNN article that lists several studies that prove COVID-19 risk greatly increases due to a person’s weight. Plus, learn tips on how to earn revenue for your gym and exercise trends and objectives for 2022.

Boston Gyms Hopeful that Vaccine Mandate Brings Members Back

Following local mandates and pushing the narrative that gyms are safe is the best way through the pandemic. One health club owner recently scored a primetime interview with Boston 25 News to help spread the message. Enforcement of the vaccine mandate for Boston gyms, restaurants, and indoor venues started on January 15, and many surrounding towns are following the lead. Mark Harrington, HealthWorks Group owner—an IHRSA Premium member with locations in Boston and Brookline—is taking the vaccine mandate in stride and hoping that members will feel safer returning. “I’m hoping it’s going to spur more people coming to our downtown districts that need their customers back,” Harrington told Boston 25 News. “We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from our membership base, looking at emails we’ve received almost 200 positive emails for every negative email, and we’ve received thousands of emails.”

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Source: HealthWorks

Watch the video.

FOX News: Health & Fitness Industry is the Best Thing to Fight COVID

IHRSA Premium Member Jeff Sanders landed a critical interview with FOX News to discuss the challenges that come with vaccine and mask mandates in gyms. Sanders, the executive vice president of sales & growth strategies at Energy Fitness and the New York State Fitness Alliance board chair, echoed that while the mandates alone are challenging, the fact that the fitness industry hasn’t received direct relief puts gyms in an adverse position. “We are the answer… We help people prepare to fight against [illness],” said Sanders. “Let us help be a part of the solution in getting the community past this. That’s really who we are and what we should be. We need [the politicians’] help doing that.”

“The best thing to happen to anybody is to get in better shape to fight this illness, that’s where health and fitness comes in. Why can’t these politicians see that this is an opportunity?”

FOX News

View the segment.

Scientists Agree Weight Loss is Integral to Protect Against COVID

Those who are obese are at a 113% higher chance of being hospitalized with severe COVID-19. Rekha Kumar, M.D., an obesity medicine specialist and an associate professor of clinical medicine and attending endocrinologist at Weill Cornell Medical College, urged that obesity is a major threat for COVID-19. "If you're starting with a compromised respiratory system and this is a respiratory disease, you're already at a disadvantage," said Kumar.

What is more alarming is that according to Barry Popkin, a distinguished professor in the Department of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, "There's not a country in the world that has less than 20% of adults with obesity." CNN covered the issue of obesity and how it increases COVID-19 risk by detailing numerous studies—from Wiley Online Library, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Lancet, and more—that prove weight loss can be highly beneficial. "Any weight loss is a positive at nearly any weight level," Popkin noted. "Just marginal weight gain can impact us health-wise."

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Read the full article.

Earn Revenue Without Relying on Your Gym’s Membership Levels

With Omicron raging through the country and mask and vaccine mandates coming into effect, some members may not feel comfortable returning to the gym. While retaining and increasing membership is typically how fitness facilities increase revenue, one easy way to bring in money is by increasing each member’s average spend per week, according to Steve Grant, GymHub director. “The benefit of this strategy is that your existing members already know, like, and trust you,” Grant said. “Because of this, they are more willing to pay extra money for convenience or additional services that you make available to them.” In a recent—IHRSA member—Mindbody blog, who is an IHRSA member, Grant lists 10 Ways to Increase Revenue for Your Fitness Studio Without Adding New Members. Some ways to increase revenue include:

  • Rolling out premium memberships

  • Providing personal training

  • Offering fitness challenges

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Americans Aim to Use Gyms to Lose Weight, Improve Mental Health & More in 2022

Life Time, an IHRSA member, released the findings of its annual health and wellness survey. According to the survey, 88% of Americans are happier when exercising rather than using social media. Anika Christ, a personal trainer, registered dietitian, and certified sports nutritionist at Life Time, said, while exercise helps to relieve tension, "There are a lot of things [on social media] that create stress. Limiting screen time is a big topic with our clients."

As for the top objectives in 2022, losing weight (33%) is most important to respondents, followed by building muscle (22%), moving more (13%), eating better (13%), and improving mental health (11%). The mental health revelation—most likely a byproduct of the pandemic—is a big win for the fitness industry. "There's much greater acceptance around the whole issue of mental health,” Christ told Star Tribune. “It's great to see people reaching out. Your mental health is everything. You have to start there."

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.