On May 9-10, IHRSA brought a select group of 60-plus studio, gym and supplier partner executive leaders to the nation’s capital for its Fly-In and Advocacy Summit. It was the first time in over a decade that IHRSA has done an event of this nature.
“This event demonstrated to Representatives and Senators, their staff members and key Biden Administration officials that IHRSA is active, engaged and leveraging our grass roots network to help build support for and pass the PHIT Act and other key policy priorities,” said Liz Clark, the president and CEO of IHRSA.
If passed, the PHIT Act would allow pre-tax flexible and medical savings accounts to cover physical activity expenses, effectively reducing the out-of-pocket expenses for American families and individuals for youth sports fees, health club dues, training costs and more.
“The PHIT Act is a vital tool that will help consumers and youth improve their physical and mental health by allowing flex spending and health savings accounts to pay for many exercise, fitness and youth sports activities,” said Clark. “During our Fly-In, we had 11 groups who participated in 110 meetings with elected officials to advocate for the PHIT Act and in support of our industry. We began with a small group this year and after the success we’ve seen will expand this event in the future.”
Adam Zeitsiff, the deputy chief information officer for LA Fitness, was one of the industry leaders who gathered in D.C. for the event. He took to LinkedIn to share about his experience.
“As a group we held over 100 meetings with elected officials from around the country! And my friends Amy Bantham, DrPH , Frank Lawrence, Jonathan Nabavi and I had seven whirlwind meetings with three Senators and four members of Congress. Our core topics of conversation included the PHIT Act and the major concern around the readiness of our military and its new recruits as it relates to their overall health and physical fitness. Did you know that of those who have a desire to serve in the military in our country, only 2% of them can actually pass the physical fitness test required for entry? When an industry comes together in Washington like it has never done before in its history, things get done. We gained many new supporters of our initiatives here on the Hill and have a ton of new momentum around the legislative areas that will drive us forward and help our citizens live healthier, more active lives. Exciting times ahead with lots of positive change and innovation coming for the U.S. fitness industry.”
Overall, Clark said she is grateful to their members and supplier partners for making time for the Fly-In and Advocacy Summit and helping carry the industry’s message directly to lawmakers and staff.
“And while the work began two weeks ago in Washington D.C., it’s now up to our entire industry to continue to nurture relationships made, make new ones and educate policy makers on our role in the health continuum,” said Clark. “We’re finally starting to be recognized as employers, thought leaders and influencers across the country and it feels great.”
If you’d like to help the cause, use this one-click campaign to tell your members of Congress to support the PHIT Act.