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   Graham Melstrand
   President CREP Board of Directors
 
March marks the one-year anniversary of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic related closures and restrictions that idled the health and fitness and sports sectors overnight. According to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), those closures were responsible for a 58% decline in revenue and the loss of 1.4 million jobs in 2020. Those number do not include the exercise professionals who work in in academic, professional and club sports settings.
 
Moving into April, we have reason for optimism.  As I write this, infection rates are declining, vaccination rates are improving, and exercise professionals are returning to work in facilities that are reopening to serve consumers and athletes eager to return to health, fitness and sports programs they love. 

As the restrictions are lifted, CREP and its member organizations will continue to play an important role by:
  • Serving as advocates for the exercise professional and their important contributions to health and the economy. CREP is advocating for HR 890, the Gym Mitigation and Survival Act which, if it passes, would provide grants to fitness facilities and studios and their employees as part of future COVID-19 relief.
  • Supporting employers with the tools that they need to positively verify the current credentials of exercise professionals returning to the workforce with the United States Registry of Exercise Professionals (USREPS).
  • Publishing guidance for the industry to mitigate risk for the participants and exercise professionals returning to facilities and sport.
  • Helping athletes safely return to sport after the prolonged COVID-19 layoffs and elevating the inter-association recommendations crafted by the Intercollegiate Council on Sports Medicine (ICSM) and CREP for athlete safety.
As we move through spring and into summer, we will begin to see a clearer picture of what the fitness and sports sector will look like post COVID-19. CREP continues to be here to support our members and the communities they serve as we all begin to navigate a new normal.

In health,
Graham Melstrand
H.R. 890, Gym Mitigation and Survival Act (Gyms Act)
CREP is actively supporting this legislation in cooperation with the International Health Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA).
 
Providing SBA grants to small gyms and fitness studio owners who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 related closures and restrictions will help them towards recovery from significant lost revenue in 2020 due to COVID-19 and may, in fact, could be the difference between remaining in business or closing/leaving the profession. Many of the staff and owners of these facilities earned their certifications as exercise professionals from CREP member organizations. This important legislation not only supports the fitness industry, but also the healthy lifestyles that our society seeks. It has the potential to save thousands of these small businesses that have been so severely financial impacted, and the jobs they provide.
 
The pandemic caused the permanent closure of 17% of clubs and the loss of 1.4 million jobs in 2020. The fitness industry was one of the first to close at the onset of the pandemic, and with the reopening requirements, was one of the last to reopen. In a recent survey conducted by CREP: 20% of employers have reduced their staff, and of those they have done so by 30%; nearly 38% said that it will take 12 months or more for their business to return to pre-COVID levels. Additionally, 49% of employers reported that their number one challenge was financial. Self-employed exercise professionals also reported 49% experiencing financial hardship. The International Health Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) estimated that the U.S. health club industry lost $20.4 billion, which equates to 58% of the industry’s total revenue in 2020.
 
As our country continues to grapple with COVID-19, and as we prepare for the next public health challenge, the contribution of exercise professionals will be important for promoting the healthy active lifestyles that are necessary to prevent and mitigate inactivity related chronic disease.  Financial support for our exercise professionals is critical to help offset the unintended negative impact affecting healthcare costs, productivity, and public safety/military readiness.
The start of a new year sees the convening of legislative session in many states, and with that our continued tracking of legislation that may affect our profession. These include those related to Athletic Trainer’s Practice Acts and the definitions of the work they perform that sometimes are contained in them. While we support the good work that Athletic Trainers do, we have an interest in making sure any definitions for the “Athletic Trainer” and in particular, “Athlete” in proposed legislation does not negatively impact exercise professionals. When such legislation does arise, we reach out to the legislator(s) who introduced them to express our concerns and suggest remedies to eliminate them. CREP seeks to avoid confusion and the potential unintended consequences associated with a failure to differentiate and clarify the distinction between the scope of practice for Athletic Training and other exercise professions that may also impact consumers and employers.
 
This year also saw the convening of a new Congress (the 117th). One piece of legislation that has been introduced is directly related to our profession. It is H.R. 890 - Gym Mitigation and Survival Act (Gyms Act). This Act is one of many additional measures Congress is considering to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. If passed, it will provide relief to the nation’s health and fitness industry by providing Small Business Administration grants to small gyms and fitness studio owners to help them recover from significant lost revenue in 2020 due to COVID-19. CREP is making legislators aware that this important legislation: offers much needed relief to the fitness industry; supports the healthy lifestyles our nation seeks for the citizens; and has the potential to save thousands of jobs and small businesses. We know that measures have been approved to help other industries affected by this pandemic and CREP hopes that similar considerations will be given to the health and fitness industry, one that has not received targeted government aid to date. Without it, many businesses and jobs will be lost, and the health of our nation further challenged. To date, we have reached out to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and the members of the House Committee on Small Business (charged with reviewing this legislation), requesting their support for this legislation. We will be reaching out to others in the coming months.  
 
CREP has and continues to tell government officials at the federal and state level that the contributions of exercise professionals are vitally important in promoting the healthy active lifestyles that are so important to the wellness of this country, especially during, and may be even more so after, the pandemic.  


Wade Delk,
Government Affairs Director
For calendar year 2021, ACE is focusing on shared-use agreements (SUAs) and their associated permitting models that create opportunities to delivery physical activity and exercise programs in community spaces. Through the Moving Together Outside Campaign, ACE and its partners hope to better utilize available resources and expertise to raise awareness of the benefits of SUAs, especially in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, but beyond as well. These types of agreements have the potential to improve access physical-activity to all communities, especially those that are most vulnerable to lifestyle-related diseases such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. 
 
Join us. We are looking for partners and supporters who are passionate about physical-activity promotion to join us in our campaign. To easily sign on as a partner click here. Or to learn more, email advocacy@acefitness.org.  
CSCCa News – March 2021
 
The CSCCa Annual National Conference is going to be held in person and as normal in Fort Worth, Texas, May 5th – 7th 2021!  This will be a significant event not just for the fact that it is an in person conference coming off the Covid era, but as was announced in the December issue of CSCCa Monthly, Chuck and Becky Stiggins will be leaving their positions within the CSCCa which  they have been a part of for 21 years. 

The CSCCa Board of Directors has worked diligently to select a new executive team to lead the organization.  After months of interviews and deliberations, a new leadership team has been selected and will be comprised of the following:

Scott Bennett, previously the Assistant Athletics Director for Sport Performance at Radford University, has been selected to be the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).  Scott has over three decades of experience in the field.  He served as an ex-officio representative for strength and conditioning coaches on the NCAA Safeguards Committee for over five years in addition to serving as a member of the CSCCa Board of Directors for 9 years.  He is highly qualified to take over the CEO position and to lead the organization into a new and exciting decade of growth and development. 

Sandy Abney has been selected to be the newly created Chief Science Officer (CSO).  Sandy was at the University of Texas for close to 20 years and was the Assistant Head Coach of Athletic Performance and the Director of the University of Texas Olympic Sports Strength and Conditioning Internship program.  Most recently, she was the Deputy Director of High Performance for Team China under the direction of the Chinese Olympic Committee.  Within the CSCCa, Sandy has served as the Chair of the Certification Commission as well as a member of the organization’s Board of Directors.

Allan Johnson has been selected to be the newly created Chief Development Officer (CDO).  Al has been a full-time strength and conditioning coach for close to four decades.  He was an original member of the CSCCa Board of Directors and has continued to serve as a Special Advisor to the Board for the past 14 years.

 

The National Pilates Certification Program is now a newly incorporated, independent organization.

 

The National Pilates Certification Program was established in 2005 as an autonomous program within the Pilates Method Alliance to recognize and promote the professionalism of Pilates instructors who have undergone comprehensive training and passed an examination that demonstrates competence in Pilates teaching. We take pride in the fact that this examination was developed with input from groups of practitioners representing each lineage of the Pilates Method.

Currently, this is the only nationally recognized certification for the Pilates industry, and it represents an important standard to measure competency, bridging across various lineages of the Pilates Method.

In 2012, we sought and received accreditation from the 
National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) placing us in the company of other highly regarded programs in fitness, health, rehabilitation, and allied professions across the US. Over the years, many studios and employers have embraced our credential, and our recent re-brand in 2019 has helped us to further our autonomy, setting the stage for this most recent development.

As the NPCP shifts into an independent status, we would like to express our sincerest gratitude to the Pilates Method Alliance for the many years of partnership and collaboration.

Use an Exercise Professional!
Credentialing: What is It and Why is It Important?
Credentialing: What Is it & Why It Is Important?
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The United States Registry of Exercise Professionals® (USREPS®) provides verification of valid credentials for the largest number of exercise professionals in the world.

With nearly 200,000 certificants, representing five fitness professions, USREPS® serves as the sole clearing house for verified NCCA-accredited or ISO 17024-compliant certifications for Group Exercise Instructors, Personal Trainers, Pilates Teachers, Strength and Conditioning Professionals and Clinical Exercise Specialists.

USREPS offers the most efficient and streamlined method of positively verifying the current professional credentials of prospective and existing staff. Employers may verify a single professional or verify a large group of professionals at one time.
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