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Working Together: Resources to Help the Fitness Industry Survive the COVID-19 Pandemic – Club Industry

Posted: December 3, 2020 at 10:56 am


Even though a vaccine for COVID-19 is on the way, cases of the virus have increased across the United State recently, which has caused new restrictions and closures of health clubs in some states. It can leave owners and staff members at health clubs, YMCAs, medical wellness facilities and others feeling powerless as they watch what theyve built slowly dwindle.

But operators are not completely powerless, especially when they work as a group. Currently, 15 states have alliances for health clubs, and many of those alliances are open not just to commercial club operators but also to studios, YMCAs, JCCs, parks and rec facilities and even suppliers.

These alliances are following the restrictions in their states as well as sharing with local and state authorities the research showing that clubs can operate safely and recommending best practices for the continued operation of fitness facilities through the pandemic. IHRSA offers a listing of the alliances along with website addresses and contact information on this page. The page also includes a toolkit on how to create your own alliance if your state doesnt already have one, as well as additional resources.

In addition, Gale Landers, founder and CEO of Fitness Formula Clubs; Scott Gillespie, owner of Saco Sport & Fitness; and JoAnna Masloski, COO of Wellbridge, were part of a panel, The U.S. Industrys Survival Requires Health Club Alliances, that was moderated by Al Noshirvani, chairman of Motionsoft, during the Future of Fitness virtual event. These fitness leaders helped to form the fitness alliances in their states and offered insights into the formation process and the impact their alliance has had in their state. You can view that session for free by going here and finding the session in the agenda tab.

These alliances move the fitness industry into the political realm, which is something that mature industries have known is necessary for a long time but that the fitness industry left to IHRSA to handle on its own in the past. The truth is that individual players in the industry need to be more active politically to show local, state and federal politicians the power of this industry.

To find out how to step into the political arena, make sure to watch this on-demand and free panel, The Fitness Industry Needs a Political Movement Impacting U.S. Legislation and Regulations, which was recorded for the Future of Fitness event. The panel was moderated by Helen Durkin of IHRSA and featured as panelists Jennifer LaTourette, vice president of lobbying firm Van Scoyoc Associates; Chris Craytor, president and CEO of acac Fitness & Wellness; and Mark Miller, COO of Merritt Clubs.

To get across to politicians that fitness facilities are safe, the industry needs research. Another session from the free Future of Fitness event shared some of the latest research in this area. IHRSA interim CEO Brent Darden presented a session, The Latest COVID-19 Era Research: Making the Case for the Industry, with Alexandra Black Larcom, senior manager of health promotion and health policy at IHRSA.

IHRSA also has additional resources related to the impact of exercise on health. You can read more here and here, and you can find a downloadable PDF with facts about the fitness industry and the status of the health of people in your state by going here.

Working with the medical community has become more important for the industry. In fact, a few health club operators who partner with the medical community were able to survive shutdowns of their fitness business because their medical business was still open. Find out more about what Dr. Raj Gupta, owner of Soul Focus, and David Rachal III, founder and CEO of HealtheFit, did in this area by watching the on-demand How Healthcare Integration Saved These Clubs and Can Save Yours During the Next Pandemic session from the Future of Fitness event.

Part of working with the medical community will involve healthcare reimbursement opportunities. The Future of Fitness event featured two sessions on this topic. Chris Craytor of acac Health & Wellness is also CEO of WellD, and he presented Healthcare Reimbursement Strategies for Fitness: Moving Beyond Check-in Programs. In addition, the panel How U.S. Clubs Can Increase Membership Revenue by Partnering with Health Insurance Companies will provide additional help on the topic with insights from panelists Garrett Marshall, president of fitness streaming for Xponential; Brett Hanson, executive leader in personal health for Rally Health (a subsidiary of United Health/Optum); and Matthew Schober, chief development officer of Concierge Health. The panel was moderated by Jeff Skeen, CEO of Results Redefined.

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Working Together: Resources to Help the Fitness Industry Survive the COVID-19 Pandemic - Club Industry

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