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Health & Fitness Association Fly-In and Advocacy Summit Yields 130 Congressional Meetings

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IHRSA Fly-InWASHINGTON, D.C. - One hundred twenty industry leaders participated in this year's Health & Fitness Association Fly-In and Advocacy Summit, May 7 - 8 in Washington, D.C., doubling last year's attendance, according to the Health & Fitness Association (formerly IHRSA), a global community of industry leaders.

Operators from health clubs, studios and industry suppliers met with 130 Congress members or their staff on May 8, asking for co-sponsorship of the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act. The PHIT Act currently has 76 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and 18 in the Senate. It would allow Americans with flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) to use up to $1,000 for single people and $2,000 for couples to pay for fitness facility memberships, fitness equipment and youth sports leagues.

"The majority of people we met with on Capitol Hill said the PHIT Act seems like common sense, indicating they saw little reason to oppose it, so we hope to see additional sponsors signing onto the bill in the coming weeks," said Mike Goscinski, HFA Vice President of Government Affairs.

In addition to the PHIT Act, fly-in participants advocated to promote National Guard soldier readiness through community-based fitness initiatives by adding AFFIRM to the National Defense Authorization Act. They also urged federal protection for those who use AEDs, which are mandated in fitness facilities in many states.

Prior to the meetings, participants gathered on May 7 for a day of preparation and education. As part of the education, the Association released data quantifying the economic impact of the health and fitness industry and results of polling about Americans' preference for expansion of HSAs and FSAs to include gym memberships, fitness equipment and children's sports league fees, as well as a presentation on childhood obesity and the impacts of inactivity on their physical and mental health.

Participants also attended a reception at Nationals Park, sponsored by ABC Fitness, Studio Grow and Technogym, and then stayed for the game between the Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles with tickets sponsored by ABC Fitness.

The next morning before meetings with legislators, about 30 industry leaders joined with Rep. William Timmons (R-SC) for a workout near the capitol building. The workout was led by Michaela Brown, General Manager of VIDA Fitness & Aura Spa - Logan Circle, and was sponsored by Myzone, VIDA Fitness and the Physical Activity Alliance. It was part of the Congressional Physical Activity Challenge organized by Myzone and the Physical Activity Alliance to raise awareness about the importance of physical activity.

Participants in the fly-in included executives from 40 club and studio brands plus leaders from sponsoring suppliers:

  • Premier Sponsors: ABC Fitness, Studio Grow and Technogym;
  • Industry Leader Sponsor: Matrix;
  • Advocate Sponsors: Daxko, Myzone and ROR Partners;
  • Supporters: Alta Technology Group, ClubConnect, DX Factor, EGym, Fit On Health, Junk Headbands, NASM/AFAA, Precor, Tivity Health, Wellhub (formerly Gympass), WellnessSpace Brands (formerly Hydromassage) and Wexer.

"With three fly-ins now under our belt, we have increased our visibility on Capitol Hill, and that is due to the busy industry leaders who are stepping out of their comfort zones and away from their businesses for two days to participate," said Liz Clark, HFA President & CEO. "We appreciate that such a large group of leaders understand that building relationships with legislators and advocating for important legislation will make a difference for their businesses and the industry overall."

The next HFA Fly-In and Advocacy Summit is scheduled for May 6 - 7, 2025.

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