Of the 66.5 million health club members in the U.S., one third of members belong to a racial minority group and half are females, according to the 2022 IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report. Although we have a long way to go in terms of creating a beautifully diverse, equitable, and inclusive health and fitness industry, there are encouraging movements happening.
“The fitness industry is about changing the lives of people—all people,” says Michaela Brown, general manager of VIDA Fitness & Aura Spa - Logan Circle and chairwoman of the VIDA Diversity & Inclusion Board. “Being homogenous limits us in this plight, while being diverse and inclusive empowers us.”
In 2023, health clubs, gyms, and studios should make it a priority to create, support, or expand diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives and encourage underserved communities to join. Sure, it may help you reach your revenue or sales goals, but it’s so much deeper than that. Discrimination is a human rights issue that spans the length of time itself.
It takes all of us to change the industry. “DEI in the fitness industry means making a commitment to fitness programming and business operations that serves more than just the people we know,” says Michaela.
IHRSA members have taken the lead by sharing steps that other clubs and industry professionals can take to improve DEI at their facility—within their employee culture and amongst members and consumers. They also highlight successful programs and partnerships they’ve formed to advance DEI.
Key Steps to Improve DEI at Your Facility
Step one of implementing DEI is truly understanding its meaning. Michaela hit the nail on the head in part one of her series, 7 Key Steps to Start Implementing DEI in Your Club. Once you can fully comprehend DEI, it’s time to start enacting a plan. Part of the process is aligning leadership with the mission and vision.