The below is the first piece from our new blog. The aim of this blog is to be informative and practically useful to the whole South Australian fitness industry, including both businesses and consumers. We’ll call on those who have knowledge and experience from within the fitness industry. We start with Steve Grace from Fitness Australia.

How does one even begin to describe what a year 2020 has been for the Fitness Industry? Although many colourful terms may immediately come to mind, the one I’ll use here is challenging. Never before has our industry faced a more challenging period than this past six months. Results from a Fitness Australia Industry impact report published on May 1st found that over 81% of Exercise Professional across the country lost their job or main source of income during the national peak of the crisis. Blanket closures of gyms and fitness facilities had a devastating effect on businesses and their employees. These effects are still being felt particularly in places like Victoria where full closures remain in place.

But with any great challenge also comes great opportunity. Opportunity to learn. Opportunity to adapt. Opportunity to evolve. Opportunity to grow. 

As the peak body for the health and fitness industry Fitness Australia have been going above and beyond to provide our members with the help and support they need throughout this crisis. Our ability to build and leverage relationships with key stakeholders has grown the industry’s reputation and provided us with a strong and united voice. This has been demonstrated through countless meetings with Ministers, Heads of Department, medical experts, media and most importantly with our members. Now, with the majority of the country successfully suppressing the virus, it is our job to continue to leverage these relationships to secure the immediate stability and future growth of our industry.

With one eye on the future, we here in South Australia must also remain vigilant and focused on the present. Now is not the time for complacency. We are extremely lucky to be able to return to doing what we love, changing the lives of millions of Australians each year. For this to continue, protocols of social distancing (1.5m), hygiene, contact tracing and others must be maintained. Fitness Australia will continue to assist by providing the most up-to-date and accurate information possible. However it is up to you to keep up the great work and keep South Australia COVID free.

Throughout this process we have also learnt many lessons. Most critically we’ve leant that we as an industry must do everything in our power to raise industry standards and position ourselves alongside allied health as an essential service.

The contribution of the fitness industry to the health and wellbeing of our nation cannot be understated. Regular exercise in a structured environment has been shown time and time again to have countless benefits for both physical and mental health. This service has never been as important as it is right now. It is time for the powers that be to recognize this and reclassify our industry as essential.

To help achieve this goal we must continue to push the importance of registration for both business and professionals. We simply cannot be taken seriously as an industry if we continue to allow unregistered professionals to operate unchecked. We also cannot allow the poor behaviors of the few continue to tarnish the reputation of the many. The time has come for the fitness industry to start taking itself seriously and recognize the importance of professional registration. To assist with this, Fitness Australia is currently conducting industry consultation on moving the industry to a regulated model.

Moving forward, the team at Fitness Australia have never been more motivated and driven to support our industry. We are excited by the challenges ahead and are committed to making the most of the opportunities in front of us. Although we are not completely out of the woods yet, the future of Health and Fitness in Australia has never been brighter.

Steve Grace

Central and Western Manager

Fitness Australia.

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