Last night, I was at the launch of the Fitness Writers’ Association, a new industry membership group here in the UK which aims to unify the communications arm of the fitness industry, bringing together those of us who write about it and those of them who supply it, lobby for it, train people in it and otherwise contribute to the products, services, ideas, campaigns and trends which make up the sport and fitness industry.
What a great idea! I don’t quite know why nobody’s thought to put something like this together for us before now (similar things exist for the health industry, for example). Three cheers for the lovely Cheryl at Action PR and Fiona at The Running Bug (and a few other hard-working ladies) for coming up with the idea and driving it forward. The result of their efforts was unveiled last night, at the rather swish Dolphin Club in London.
We were treated to canapes and champagne (of which I had none being 7 weeks out from my comp ) before the first of the speakers took to the floor. Fiona and Cheryl introduced the Fitness Writers’ Association, explaining why it had come about, why it’s needed and what it will develop into (events, education, training, contacts, a network of experts us writers can go to for information/ideas/leads/comment, as well as fantastic links with the FIA).
Then we heard from the Dolphin Square Fitness Club, who gave a thought-provoking talk about the legacy the 2012 Games will leave behind… and why it might not have the impact we’d like to think it will. Is the Olympics actually inspiring us to become fitter? Do the Games significantly encourage uptake in sport? What social/cultural shifts do we need to see in Britain to turn us from a nation of spectators (bums on seats) to participators (bums off seats!) The emphasis was on how we, as the writers serving the sport and fitness sector, can help make the legacy of the Games a lasting and positive one.
Then David Stalker, CEO of the Fitness Industry Association, talked about how we absolutely must link this fantastic opportunity – our Olympic Games – with much wider health and fitness goals and programmes in this country. The time is now, he said. We have to get it right. Dave is a passionate speaker and advocate of getting the entire population healthier through activity, exercise and fitness. He and the FIA have strong, respected links with Government, Public Affairs and Policy, huge corporates, the medical industry and the education sector. I have heard him speak in small settings like this many times now and, each time, I feel very honoured: this is a man who has direct links into, and is helping to drive, some of the most important health/wellness/fitness campaigns in Britain and here he is sharing it with us. Thank you David.
Lastly Dr Jess Leitch of Run3D in Oxford talked to us about the latest in high tech gait analysis and how this is helping our Olympic athletes – and those of the future – train, compete and continue on with their sport with as little injury as possible.
Then it was time to chat with the other writers, Editors, freelancers and inhouse people who’d been invited to this inaugural FWA event. I decided I definitely wanted to join – I get asked to join quite a lot of networking things, memberships groups and industry bodies, but the FWA is the only one of its kind and I think it will be very important to our industry.
You can follow the Fitness Writers’ Association on Facebook and contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to ask about joining.
Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.