Global Health & Fitness Alliance Opens to New Applications

The Global Health & Fitness Alliance seeks to add new fitness industry leaders and organizations to its expansive team. Here’s what you should know before applying.

As the need to unite the global fitness industry heightened, IHRSA stepped up to the challenge to lead the initiative. First, in November 2020, IHRSA set up an inaugural meeting of global industry thought leaders. Then, in the February 2021 edition of Club Business International (CBI), the magazine featured an initial introduction to the Global Health & Fitness Alliance (GHFA). Afterward, IHRSA announced the GHFA’s mission and objectives in a press release.

Now, the GHFA is open to include industry leaders who want to contribute and make a difference. This opportunity includes being part of the first-ever Global Economic Impact Study for the fitness industry. The deadline to be recognized as a contributor is July 15, 2021, so contact Kilian Fisher, GHFA coordinator and IHRSA director of international public affairs, now.

What to Know Before Applying

The GHFA is a select group of strategic thought leaders, CEOs, and C-suite industry stakeholders. The group’s goals include:

  • Positioning the health & fitness industry as a key contributor in the preventive healthcare continuum.

  • Promoting the industry’s vital contributions to the health, well-being, and prosperity of societies.

  • Facilitating third party, credible, evidence-based research on the health and fitness industry’s benefits and economic contributions.

  • Promoting policies, standards, and regulations that support health and fitness business operations.

GHFA Application Criteria

The following criteria will assess those who wish to apply:

  1. The applicant is recognized as an industry leader in their country, region, and/or internationally. (An industry leader is a C-suite level executive known for thinking beyond their own business and desires to grow the industry for all stakeholders.)

  2. The applicant is a strategic thinker and willing and able to participate in the depth and breadth of GHFA objectives.

  3. The applicant must be willing to act collaboratively in a trustworthy manner and avoid activities that are considered a conflict of interest.

  4. All those accepted into the GHFA are expected to participate actively, including attending the majority of the central meetings and ideally engaging in at least one of the working groups. (If you cannot attend one of the central meetings on occasion, you may delegate an appropriate C-level representative from your company, which must be approved in advance by the GHFA coordinator.)

The GHFA will review applications to ensure that all regions are represented and have a voice. If we achieve sufficient representation from a country or region, we may turn down the application. However, we may reconsider the application in the future. The GHFA will disqualify any applicant or organization from the application process which has acted unprofessionally or disreputed the industry. The IHRSA Board International Committee will act as the final arbitrator in the event of any appeal on these grounds.

The GHFA Leadership Team

Over 80 health clubs, industry suppliers, national industry associations, and other fitness industry stakeholders participate in the GHFA.

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The GHFA has a leadership group that meets regularly to agree on strategy and changes and monitor progress. Kilian Fisher is the GHFA coordinator, assisted by John Holsinger with support from a number of the IHRSA Executive Team and other staff. In addition, there are several voluntary facilitators for the main subgroups. These are hugely experienced and internationally respected industry leaders who we are privileged to have:

  • Art Curtis, Ph.D., GHFA Research Group Facilitator, President of Curtis Club Advisors and former IHRSA Board Chair

  • Justin Tamsett, GHFA Facilitator, Managing Director of Active Management and REX Roundtables Chair in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand

  • Greg Oliver, GHFA Long-term Strategy Group Facilitator, CEO and Managing Director of Fitness & Lifestyle Group

The GHFA’s Work So Far

Following the inaugural GHFA meeting on November 11, a series of meetings—as listed below—have taken place. The GHFA planned to have six meetings per annum, but we held nine meetings in the first six months due to the interest, engagement, and desire to have different types. These meetings include:

  1. Discussion and agreement on the objectives and structure of the GHFA on December 3, 2020.

  2. Two Town Hall meetings with Brent Darden, IHRSA interim CEO & president, on January 14, 2021.

  3. Deloitte China presented the IHRSA/Deloitte report, which attracted global interest and discussion on February 24, 2021.

  4. Paul Byrne, Harrison Co. partner and former CEO of Precor, presented his insightful industry report on March 3, 2021.

  5. McKinsey & Company partners from Switzerland and Canada produced a special mini-report for the GHFA and IHRSA on the Future of Fitness. They presented and discussed this to the GHFA on April 27, 2021.

The GHFA has held further meetings to discuss and ensure input is given to the World Health Organization (WHO) Policy Brief of the physical activity sector, which has included our industry for the first time. We will provide more information on this when the brief is finalized and published. But, for now, a glimpse at some of our subgroups’ activities and initial outcomes:

  • The GHFA Research Team, facilitated by Curtis, meets regularly to explore the types of research needed and potential means to achieve desired outcomes.

  • The GHFA Long-term Strategic Team, facilitated by Oliver, has divided into three working groups around Efficacy, Economics, and Recognition/Credibility. The outcomes will help determine research and other tasks and activities to be undertaken.

  • The GHFA Short-term Goals Team, facilitated by Tamsett, has covered a range of short-term topics already producing some results—e.g., a petition to governments and a “template” letter. The team has also been constructive in standards consultation discussion, which has been input to the standards headlight team.

If you’re passionate about the fitness industry and interested in making a difference globally, please fill out an application to join the Global Health & Fitness Alliance.

Author avatar

Kilian Fisher

Kilian Fisher previously served as IHRSA's Director of International Public Affairs and Manager of the Global Health & Fitness Alliance, IHRSA's international advocacy arm.