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IHRSA Introduces the National Health & Fitness Alliance

SOURCE: International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association

BOSTON, MA—October 13, 2020—To ensure the industry has a seat at the table when policymakers are meeting on issues that impact the health of the nation, IHRSA, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, and the IHRSA Board of Directors introduce the National Health & Fitness Alliance.

Before the coronavirus crisis, health and fitness businesses across the U.S. were already facing an onslaught of anti-business regulation and litigation, on top of the perennial issues that handcuff club operators from serving their members. Now, with lengthy lockdowns, untenable capacity restrictions, and threats of reclosures, the need for a stronger, more politically powerful fitness industry in Washington, D.C., and state capitals across the country has never been greater.

For more than 30 years, IHRSA has been advocating for America’s health and fitness industry. In that time, IHRSA has a successful track record of protecting health clubs from legislative and regulatory burdens while also promoting the industry's vital contributions to the health and prosperity of the nation. For the past 20 years, these efforts were supported by and partially funded by contributions from members of the Industry Leadership Council (ILC).

The drastic situation the coronavirus crisis has created for the fitness industry led to the realization that the health and fitness industry must have stronger representation in Washington, D.C., and state capitals across the country in order to establish America’s health clubs and the fitness industry as ESSENTIAL to the country’s health.

This prompted ILC members and the IHRSA Board of Directors to reimagine and refocus the ILC. The result of that reimagining is a stronger, broader-based alliance that represents the entire health and fitness industry, the National Health & Fitness Alliance.

“One of my first orders of business in coming on board with IHRSA was to make sure that the ILC was repositioned to better represent our industry,” said IHRSA Interim President and CEO Brent Darden. “The National Health & Fitness Alliance will allow us to have deeper engagement and fundraising potential within the broader health and fitness industry and better name-recognition and clout when working with policy and lawmakers.”

The National Health & Fitness Alliance will support IHRSA’s U.S.-focused efforts to promote, protect, and save the health and fitness industry. Support from the Alliance includes contributing and raising much-needed funds so IHRSA has the financial resources to carry out industry objectives; expanding IHRSA and the industry’s reach by working with state alliances, industry coalitions, and stakeholders; and representing the industry with policymakers. 

It is contributions from and raised by the Alliance that support IHRSA’s legal, lobbying, and advocacy efforts across the country, including retaining a team of lobbyists in D.C. and battleground states, bill tracking and grassroots lobbying services, legal guidance, and media outreach. These contributions are NOT used for IHRSA operations or payroll. 

“We know the country’s health is at stake, thanks to sedentary lifestyles and lifestyle-related illnesses, all made worse by the lockdowns. We also know that our industry is a vital part of the solution to these problems,” said Darden. “With the support of a greater nationwide Alliance, I am confident that we can turn the tide and get more lawmakers to actively support our industry’s efforts to provide access to club communities encouraging regular physical activity.”

There are over 200 founding members of the Alliance through their contributions to the former Industry Leadership Council (ILC) and/or the 2020 Special Industry Fund.

While the ILC primarily consisted of health club operators, the Alliance is open to anyone with a vested interest in the current and future success of the health and fitness industry. This includes fitness facility operators and their staff, industry professionals and stakeholders, corollary businesses, and industry suppliers.

To learn more about joining or collaborating with the National Health & Fitness Alliance or to contribute to its efforts, contact Meredith Poppler, mpoppler@ihrsa.org.

To join or support the National Health & Fitness Alliance:

About IHRSA

IHRSA, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association is a not-for-profit trade association representing health and fitness facilities, gyms, spas, sports clubs, and suppliers worldwide. IHRSA and its members are dedicated to making the world healthier through regular exercise and activity promotion. IHRSA maintains a leadership role in advancing physical activity, which is critical to America’s health and the battle against obesity and chronic lifestyle disease. IHRSA supports policies that promote more active lifestyles to foster a healthier, happier, more prosperous America.

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