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Project 435: The What, the Why and How to Get Involved

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Project 435

Project 435: A new grassroots effort from the National Health and Fitness Alliance aims to unite the fitness industry with one voice across 435 districts.

What is Project 435?

Project 435 is a grassroots effort by the National Health and Fitness Alliance (NHFA) to secure strong representation for the fitness industry in every congressional district throughout the U.S. 

According to Kevin McHugh, the COO of The Atlantic Club and a member of the advisory council to the NHFA, the goal is to form a team of fitness professionals who communicate as one, united voice to all 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. This voice will be used to communicate messaging surrounding the essential aspects of gyms, gain support for important national legislation efforts and more. 

Why is Project 435 Necessary? 

“During the pandemic it became obvious we were all having split messages, where someone in New Jersey, for example, may be communicating something different to their congressperson in Pennsylvania,” explained McHugh. “It taught us we had to have a better, united message going forward, and Project 435 aims to solve that.”

The Who

According to McHugh, in order for the project to be effective, the goal is to garner volunteers from all segments of the fitness industry — from commercial clubs to YMCAs and JCCs, personal trainers to medical fitness centers, and beyond.  

“IHRSA clubs can’t do this alone,” said McHugh. “It has to be studios, it has to be Medical Fitness Association clubs, it has to be all of us getting involved and sharing information.”

Once chosen, the 435 representatives will receive messaging every month from the NHFA that they will then communicate to their dedicated district.

“They will each receive the same document that will have research or a key component of the future of fitness and why fitness is important,” explained McHugh. “All they’ll have to do is personalize it. So 435 districts will get the same exact message with the same exact voice with the same exact information.”

The project is non-partisan, added McHugh, stating the project’s success depends on all sectors of the fitness industry working together to ensure the House of Representatives fully understand the industry’s value. 

Other things to keep in mind, according to McHugh: 

  • Project 435 is committed to ensure individuals that need health, fitness and wellness services can never be under-served again in the event of a future crisis.
  • The project is showing the value and need for the services that health and fitness centers provide to individuals that are not only fit, but also to those involved in specialty and chronic disease programs.
  • The mission of NHFA is to unite the entire health and fitness industry at all levels and sectors of the business to have one voice, one message. Project 435 supports that mission.

“It’s about unity,” added McHugh. “During COVID-19, a lot of politicians looked at gyms in a very negative light, and that’s not going to change overnight. We have to know that this is a long term project, but it’s a start. Because as long as we’re involved with our Congress people, then we have a voice in D.C.”

To apply to be one of the 435 representatives of Project 435, click here.

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Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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