503 Thinking Ahead: Moving the Fitness Industry ahead through Education and Advocacy

503 Thinking Ahead: Moving the Fitness Industry ahead through Education and Advocacy


Chris Craytor is the CEO for ACAC Fitness and Wellness Centers, CEO for Welld Health, and currently the Chair of the IHRSA Board of Directors. He has been in the fitness industry since 2004 and has extensive experience in navigating the competitive landscape of the industry.

Jason Stowell, host of Thinking Ahead, and Chris discuss how owners and operators can support the work IHRSA is doing through education and advocacy, as well as how we can continue to build relationships with the medical wellness world.

episode Overview

In this interview, Chris Craytor discusses the Phit Act, which allows individuals to use their health savings accounts or flexible spending accounts for fitness-related expenses. He explains the importance of the Phit Act for promoting physical activity, and the challenges in getting it passed in Congress. Chris also shares his insights on the fitness industry and the evolving role of technology in engaging members. Additionally, he discusses the topic of integrating the fitness industry with the medical wellness industry and the challenges that come with it

What You’ll Learn

  • How you as an individual fitness business owner and operator can support the work IHRSA is doing through education and advocacy.
  • What the PHIT act is and why it matters to your business.
  • How the fitness industry can better work towards deeper integration with the medical-wellness world.

Timestamped Chapter Summary

  • Introduction [0:00:00]
  • Overview of the Phit Act and its benefits for promoting physical activity. [0:01:40]
  • Misconceptions about the bill [0:06:07]
  • The role of technology in the fitness industry [0:08:08]
  • The importance of building a strong culture 
  • The need for collaboration and partnerships [0:14:20]
  • Ways to support IHRSA and the Phit Act, including Project 435 . [0:09:54, 0:10:29]
  • The work that ACAC has done in the medical exercise space and the challenges in integrating with the medical wellness industry. [0:14:30]
  • The different fitness reimbursement programs available and the need for tailored programs for different types of clubs. [0:16:37]
  • The challenges of third-party payment in the fitness industry and the need to understand and navigate the wide variety of reimbursement programs available. [0:17:11]
  • Differentiating between different types of clubs and the need for doctors to be trained on how to prescribe exercise. [0:17:39]
  • The potential for Medicare Advantage plans to include reimbursement for prevention programs, and the increasing investment in Medicaid and Medicare space for better health outcomes. [0:19:02]
  • Building a technology platform to communicate with physicians and to be on the same data network as the healthcare community. [0:21:18]


Chris Craytor’s insights on the Phit Act and integrating the fitness industry with the medical wellness industry shed light on the challenges and opportunities ahead for the industry. The Phit Act can promote physical activity and provide cost savings for Americans, but requires education and lobbying efforts to be passed in Congress. Technology is changing the way the industry engages with members and creates new opportunities for growth and innovation. Building a strong culture in fitness clubs is essential for success, but it can be challenging to maintain that culture over time. Collaboration and partnerships are key to driving growth and innovation in the fitness industry. To support the Phit Act and IHRSA, listeners can participate in Project 435 and one-click campaigns to write to congressional leaders, donate to political action committees (PACs), and attend fundraising events.

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