Each week, IHRSA Interim President & CEO Brent Darden will bring you his most important topics of the moment in a short five-minute video as part of an ongoing series called “Take 5.”

IHRSA’s Take 5: COVID's Impact on Industry Becomes Clearer [VIDEO]

This week, IHRSA Interim President & CEO Brent Darden gives insights on how clubs are faring so far in 2021. He also announces a just-released IHRSA resource on sharing industry data, legislative updates, and a new partnership with REX Roundtables.

  • February 03, 2021

The numbers continue to come in—some good and some bad for the fitness industry.

This week, Brent shares recent data that gives a clearer look into the pandemic’s toll on the industry, including gym closures in China, Portugal, and Italy, along with Mindbody booking data confirming January 2021’s downturn from the same time last year.

But it’s not as dire as it sounds. There is some good news, like decreasing COVID-19 cases, hopeful vaccine news, a stronger partnership between IHRSA and REX Roundtables, and updates on state-level policies that could affect your club.

Watch the full video for all of the latest news. You can also read the transcript below.

  • 0:21 - Good News on Vaccines Provide Hope
  • 1:07 - January Booking Data from Mindbody
  • 1:48 - The Numbers on International Club Closures
  • 2:22 - Share Industry Data with the 2021 IHRSA Media Report
  • 3:10 - IHRSA & REX Roundtables Agree on Strategic Partnership
  • 3:58 - Look for Legislative Alerts in Your Inbox

Full Transcript

It seems like every day new data is released on how this pandemic is impacting the health and well-being of people everywhere, and the businesses they frequent. If you're wondering what it all means for you and your club, you're not alone. So let's talk about some recent data and how you can use it. It's time for another IHRSA Take 5, sponsored by Precor.

Positive News on Vaccines Provide Hope

Right now, we're all wondering when this pandemic will be over, and when we'll be able to get back to anything resembling normal. According to several public health experts interviewed by The New York Times this week, the news is really even better than we think.

Even though the vaccines vary in their ability to prevent infections, all the vaccines that have finished phase three trials and reported efficacy data have reduced deaths among those vaccinated to zero, and hospitalization rates have also been near zero. This means even those less effective vaccines can still help in the pandemic, and the more vaccines that are available, the faster we can get them in people's arms and move toward achieving herd immunity.

January Booking Data from Mindbody

I don't think anyone was surprised that this January for clubs was vastly different than January of 2020. With the exception of Maryland, bookings and appointments for the week of January 15, compared to the same last year, were down in every state. Some states saw minimal difference was bookings down in the single digits. But for others like California and Oregon, where there have been more restrictions and clubs were not open, the drop, of course, was more substantial.

The Numbers on International Club Closures

A few weeks ago, we shared that 17% of U.S. fitness facilities have permanently closed and sadly, club closures internationally are even higher. In China, 30-50% of gyms won't reopen. In Italy and Portugal 40-50% of fitness clubs could close. Health clubs across the globe are in trouble and the fitness industries in almost every country need relief from their governments.

Share Industry Data with the 2021 IHRSA Media Report

Another way to use the data that I've been talking about is when you're talking to the media to share how hard the industry has been hit. And IHRSA just released a free media report to help you do just that.

This report covers a lot of information including what we know so far about this pandemic's impact on the fitness industry, the member outlook post-COVID, the biggest issues facing the health and fitness sector, and much more.

Download this report and give it to your local news outlets to help them share accurate, compelling information regarding fitness clubs, our members, and the countless benefits clubs provide to our communities. This really is a great resource for you and I'm really proud of the work our team has done on it.

IHRSA & REX Roundtables Agree on Strategic Partnership

In the spirit of sharing valuable information, I'm pleased to announce a strategic partnership between IHRSA and REX Roundtables. Together we want to bring the knowledge and expertise of industry veterans to fitness professionals everywhere through peer-to-peer sharing.

I've already told you about Talks & Takes, but we'll also be offering new REX/IHRSA Roundtable groups. That's a core concept for REX for almost 25 years. Every month, REX will also share key insights from its global roundtable discussions in CBI magazine, and we're also working on some special educational and networking programs as part of the IHRSA Convention, and also the IHRSA Institute in 2022.

Look for Legislative Alerts in Your Inbox

One last thing, we know that for many, keeping your club in business is practically the only thing on your mind. Which is why it's crucial that if you're a club in the United States, you keep an eye out for any legislative alert IHRSA sends you. In January alone, we sent over 20 alerts to clubs in 11 different states whose legislators are looking at new regulations or laws concerning membership contracts, sales tax, biometric data, data, privacy, and others. All things that could seriously affect your club's operations in a normal year, but could be especially impactful during times like these, so please make sure you're checking for any legislative alerts from IHRSA.

That's it for this week. Thanks for joining me. I'll see you next time.

Related Articles & Publications

  • 2021 IHRSA Media Report

  • IHRSA’s Take 5: Good Things to Come [VIDEO]

  • 2019-2020 China Health and Fitness Market White Paper

Author avatar

Rachel Valerio

Rachel Valerio previously served as IHRSA's Digital Content Editor—a position focused on collecting and reporting on fitness industry news, staying on top of IHRSA's social media accounts and website, and hatching new plans to expand the association's digital footprint.