Fitness Industry Roundup: Media Stresses Industry Need for Relief

Since the start of the new year, media outlets have been interested to learn more about the fitness industry’s struggles and what it will take to recover. Here are some of those stories.

The battle to obtain financial relief for the fitness industry is not over. IHRSA continues to receive numerous media inquiries weekly and we have partners sending pitches to major media outlets to push our story that gyms need and deserve economic assistance.

Interviews and features on major news outlets help IHRSA control the narrative around the fitness industry and reach three primary goals:

  1. Gain economic relief for the fitness industry,

  2. Be seen as the international authority on the industry, and

  3. Be at the center of conversations related to exercise and overall health.

TODAY Show Features Liz Clark, IHRSA President & CEO

The biggest media hit that IHRSA has received this year came early with an inquiry from the TODAY Show. Vicky Nguyen, investigative and consumer correspondent for NBC News, interviewed IHRSA President & CEO Liz Clark to learn more about the fitness industry’s pain points and what is needed to move forward. In the piece, Liz noted, “Before this variant, our gyms were somewhere between 65-70% capacity, which is really about breaking even. We are really, really struggling.” Nguyen detailed the ongoing struggles of the industry and mentioned that relief is needed. While the segment highlighted at-home workouts as an alternative fitness option, the segment closed by encouraging people to go back to their gyms because they are safe. This point resonates with viewers and helps to leave a lasting positive impression on working out in fitness facilities.

Watch the TODAY Show segment.

Politico Highlights the Struggle to Receive Necessary Relief

Beltway media articles are highly beneficial in the fight for relief. Recently, Politico published a story that highlights the industry’s need for relief and the struggle to receive direct aid. “Groups representing restaurants, gyms and other businesses have been warning for months that their members still need help because the earlier programs didn’t meet their needs and economic headwinds have persisted, including rising costs and staffing shortages,” wrote Zachary Warmbrodt, a Politico reporter. The article also highlights the bipartisan letter sent to Congress in December urging for small business relief: “Instead of lifting all boats, we’ve only lifted some, leaving scores of small business owners out in the cold through no fault of their own. Many of these small business owners have taken on extraordinary debt while they wait for much-needed federal assistance. We must help them before it is too late.”

Read the article.

Axios: ‘Omicron Collides With Resolutions’ & Fitness Facilities

Another important beltway media feature came from Mike Allen, Axios co-founder and executive editor, who focused on the fitness industry’s woes in two recent editions of the Axios newsletters. The Axios AM newsletter and Axios PM newsletter each featured the fitness industry as its top story. Data from IHRSA and interviews with fitness industry professionals and veterans helped to tell the story that health clubs are in distress and the industry needs financial assistance for any chance to recover. Allen said, “Chains like Planet Fitness, Equinox, Soul Cycle, Life Time Fitness and 24 Hour Fitness thought they had put the worst behind them…” “But Omicron threatens to reverse that momentum at the worst possible time,” suggested Axios business reporter, Nathan Bomey.

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Find out more.

Gym Members Left Without a Community as Fitness Facilities are Forced to Close

While it’s obvious that health club owners, operators, and staff have been seriously impacted by the pandemic, many forget the millions of members that rely on these facilities. NBC called attention to the health club consumers and members that don’t have anywhere to exercise because their facility has permanently closed. In an interview, Liz Clark, IHRSA president & CEO, shed light on the irreplaceable community that health clubs, gyms, and studios provide. “In some instances, people don’t have their club to go back to. When you’re a member of a club, it’s different, it’s a community you tend to rely on,” she said. “Finding a new place is something people take very seriously.”

Read the 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.