Be a Positive Influencer: How our Members can Be the Change

Be a Positive Influence: How our Members can Be the Change

National Health and Fitness Day

By Erin Phelan

By Erin Phelan

Fitness Industry Council of Canada

Influencers are a powerful force in the fitness world. The creator economy has a current market size estimated at $104.2 billion dollars – more than double its value since 2019. Fitness and health influencers demand our attention every time we open an app from Instagram to Tik Tok, offering motivation and inspiration – and often shady advice – to billions of viewers (In fact, YouTube alone has over 2.6B users worldwide).


And yet, there is something missing when inactivity levels remain alarmingly high, and when obesity is at a crisis point. For those of us in the fitness industry, we know – regular exercise is the key to a healthy lifestyle, with incredible physical and mental health transformations that start on the gym floor and ripple through our life. But what many of our members might not realize is that in transforming their life at the gym, they have the potential to influence the lives of their loved ones.


Research underscores the powerful effect of social influence in shifting healthier behavior. Saturday June 1st is National Health and Fitness Day, and Fitness Industry Council of Canada, the voice of the Canadian fitness industry – is inspiring every gym member across the country to Be a Positive Influencer and become a catalyst for positive change.

Social Spread

Your members might not see themselves as influencers, but the research shows they are more powerful than any public service message. In fact, the concept of social contagion – where behaviors, decisions, and attitude spread through social circles is well-documented. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicinefound that health behaviors, including weight loss and smoking cessation, spread through social ties. If your friend loses weight, your likelihood of losing weight increases. Similarly, a gym member’s commitment to fitness can encourage their close contacts to adopt similar healthy behaviors.


The Flex: On National Health and Fitness Day, inspire each member to bring a friend of family member to the gym, to create events and opportunities to create a movement movement from coast to coast. Celebrate your members and the work they do to stay healthy with giveaways and prizes that day, if they share the message: They could post selfies, tagging your facility, using #nhfd as a hashtag, or #exerciseismedicine. Exercise ismedicine, and we each have the power to change our body and our mind.


Family Affair

We continue to fight a battle of inactivity among our youth. In fact, according to the latest Participaction report, only 39% of Canadian kids achieved the recommended 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous daily activity. The parallels of inactive adults and inactive kids cannot be ignored: Families are particularly susceptible to adopting shared health behaviors. A study in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity highlighted that parental physical activity is significantly associated with higher levels of physical activity in their children. This means that when parents regularly go to the gym, their children are more likely to engage in physical activities, too.


The Flex: On National Health and Fitness Day, let’s get families moving together. Host a special hour of open Family Gym, or a bootcamp style challenge of Mom and Dad Versus Kids. Everyone loves a dance party – download the trending Tik Tok songs and create a giant game of freeze tag in your group fitness studio or outside in a park. Let parents know – the kids are watching!

Leaders and Followers

According to a survey by the Health and Fitness Association (formerly IHRSA), over 40% of people who start going to the gym do so because they were invited by someone they know. This simple act can help lower the barrier to entry for those who might be intimidated by the gym environment. When your members consistently show up at the gym, talking about the positive changes they are experiencing, and visibly enjoying the process, they create a powerful example. This can subtly encourage friends and family to reconsider their own habits. Influencers are hyperaware of their followers – everyday influencers have followers, too.  


The Flex: Leading up to National Health and Fitness Day – be direct:  A direct approach can be to create an easily shareable invitation for friends or family members to join your members for a workout (and a potential great membership drive for facilities). Empower your members to step into their role as a Positive Influencer.


Knowledge / Power

Harness the power of positive messages and share knowledge about the effects of exercise on health span – the number of quality years, where we are free of illness and disease and can move in our bodies with ease. For our inactive population, many are interested in improving their fitness but lack confidence – and don’t know where to start. Your members can Be a Positive Influence – sharing articles, workout routines, or and bringing someone they love to the gym on National Health and Fitness Day.  Education and support can empower your friends and family to take the first steps towards a healthier lifestyle.


The Flex: The benefits go both ways – working out together can also strengthen relationships.  A study in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology found that individuals who exercise together experience improved mood and greater stress relief compared to those who exercise alone. Shared activities also provide opportunities for bonding, improving communication and understanding within social and family circles. This, in turn, can create a supportive environment where everyone feels encouraged to pursue their health goals. Your members will have a dopamine boost getting someone they love active on National Health and Fitness Day!

10 Years of Positive Change

This year marks the 10th anniversary of National Health and Fitness Day being passed in parliament, to encourage Canadians to get active. Let’s inspire each other to Be a Positive Influencer! Millions of Canadians are members of fitness facilities: We have the potential to create not simply a ripple in the water, but a full tidal wave. By leading by example, we are inviting our members to engage and inspire positive transformation in the lives of their friends and family. As research shows, these changes are not just beneficial but also contagious, fostering a community of healthier, happier individuals and a healthier, happier Canada.

Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC) is the not-for profit trade association that represents the voice of fitness facility operators across Canada. Representing more than 6,000 facilities with more than six-million members nationwide, FIC pursues a legislative agenda in the hope of bettering the fitness industry for both consumers and operators. FIC aims to work with both industry and government to improve the health and physical activity levels of Canadians.

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