After 10 years of consistent revenue growth, the fitness industry lost $29.2 billion—with a 'B'—in revenue from March 2020 through June 2021. That's a 52% decline from 2019, through no fault of their own. There were simply no viable options for gyms to sustain any revenue while being shut down for multiple months.
Are people returning to gyms?
IHRSA has worked with industry partners and global insights firms to track how Americans feel about their fitness routines and gyms throughout the pandemic. Yes, people are starting to return—and want to return—to gyms and studios.
One survey found 95% of gym-goers missed at least one aspect of going to their gym in person, and 94% of people said they will return to their gym in some capacity after the pandemic.
In a June 2021 survey of over 2,000 Americans within major U.S. markets and across all U.S. regions, nearly 50% plan to return to their gym membership in the next 6-12 months.
Are gyms safe?
Gyms are following safety best practices. IHRSA, along with hundreds of thousands of gyms, health clubs, and studios worldwide, are—and always have been—dedicated to providing safe, secure places for members to achieve their health and wellness goals. Moreover, research throughout the pandemic continued to show time and time again that health clubs posed no additional risk in transmitting COVID than any other public space. Still, even if a member did report testing positive, gyms had safety protocols and contact tracing measures in place to minimize exposure and risk for their other members and staff.
Fitness facilities even ramped up their cleaning guidelines and safety procedures, and data showed clubs were not guilty of spreading COVID-19. Even doctors have stepped up to promote the positive impact that fitness facilities bring to the public—especially in a time when physical activity can help mitigate the worst of COVID-19 symptoms and cases.
Will the fitness industry get financial relief?
The National Health & Fitness Alliance has rallied support from over 100,000 people—from club members to fitness professionals to medical experts, and more—in support of the GYMS Act. This powerful movement has gained 150 bill sponsors in the House of Representatives who support providing the relief our industry desperately needs.
America's fitness facilities are a vital part of the solution to ensuring the United States never endures another year like 2020. By the end of 2020, one out of five fitness facilities had already closed permanently, and 10s of thousands more remain at risk without the same access to the relief provided to restaurants and venues.
The industry should not be left behind again.
Congress needs to provide the same financial relief they gave to similarly impacted industries to ensure that America's fitness facilities survive.