87% of gym members in England are likely to return after lockdown, the fitness industry fights to gain consumer trust as gyms reopen, and what to expect from luxury fitness franchises as they reopen.
What to Expect From Luxury Gyms and Fitness Studios as They Reopen
While it may seem unfathomable to those in New York and other COVID-19 epicenters, where the virus continues to infect thousands and keep everyone on full lockdown, many lesser-affected cities and states are beginning to reopen their economies. This means that, in addition to non-essential businesses like restaurants, bars, malls, and doctors’ offices, gyms and fitness studios in certain parts of the United States are now returning to some sense of normal operations. After months of milk-carton weight-lifting and jumping jacks that annoy downstairs neighbors, most folks are eager to get back to their fully equipped gyms and pricey spinning classes. But with a vaccine still months (if not years) away and the threat of a second outbreak looming in the not-so-distant future, many consumers want to know what health and safety measures their exercise destinations will implement in order to keep coronavirus at bay.
87 Percent of Gym Members in England Likely to Return After Lockdown
A survey by Savanta ComRes, in partnership with Sport England, has studied the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on attitudes and behaviours towards physical activity.
Findings included that 87 per cent of current gym members said they are likely to resume their membership when facilities reopen.
Encouragingly for the fitness sector, 27 per cent of people who are not currently members at a health club said they are also likely to join.
The figure is partly due to people discovering fitness workouts during lockdown and intending to continue the habit once the restrictions are lifted.
The survey – based on interviews with a representative sample of more than 2,000 adults – also showed that people miss the gym (14 per cent of all those questioned) more than any other physical activity, with swimming (13 per cent), football (5 per cent) and cycling (2 per cent) among other popular activities.
Quarantine Put More Fitness Classes Online, and Many Trainers Say They’re Staying There
As gyms across North America prepare to reopen, many trainers who have managed to gain a following online during quarantine aren’t sure whether they’ll go back.
Zumba instructor Assata McKenzie, who was used to leading a packed room of dance devotees at various Toronto gyms pre-COVID, took the popular Latin-inspired workout classes online when the pandemic began.
A following for her free “Zoom-ba” workouts — streamed live via Zoom with a laptop on her North York balcony — grew quickly. McKenzie supplements her income with private online classes for small groups.
“I don’t know for myself how comfortable I’ll be going back to the gym, and I don’t know how comfortable other people will be,” said McKenzie. “I’ll definitely keep the online classes going for a while.”
Consumer Fitness Survey Finds Post COVID-19, Billions in Spend Will Be Lost or Reallocated in Massive Industry Transformation
The survey, conducted in April 2020 of approximately 1,000 fitness club users, was released in a research report today, “COVID-19 Fitness Survey.” The proprietary data reflects that $10 billion annually could leave the club sector, much of it for home fitness options, reflecting changing consumer sentiment surrounding health club safety and cleanliness.
“The difficult economic circumstances currently faced by gyms and health clubs will not disappear once the crisis ends,” said Paul Byrne, a partner at Harrison Co. “Once stay-at-home guidelines are lifted, consumers will continue to work out at home in numbers far beyond anything we saw prior to the crisis.”
California Fitness Alliance Sends Gym Reopening Guidelines to California Governor
The California Fitness Alliance (CFA), which formed in April, has sent guidelines to local, county and state officials about how to reopen California health clubs safely after more than 4,000 fitness locations in the state were shut down in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of May 26, the state has not allowed health clubs to reopen, affecting many of the more than 180,000 people employed by clubs in the state, according to Francesca Schuler, CEO of In-Shape Health Clubs.
Schuler, along with Randy Karr, president and CEO of California Family Fitness, organized the group, which is made up of gyms, clubs, studios, boutiques, private trainers, vendors and others in the industry who are committed to helping carry out its mission. So far, the group has 70 partners.
Fitness Industry Must ‘Fight’ to Regain Trust as Gyms Reopen
As 49 states and D.C. take the first steps in releasing their economies from coronavirus restrictions – with Connecticut set to follow suit on Wednesday – the fitness industry is adjusting to life post-lockdown.
It’s certainly not business as usual in a world of social distancing and strict sanitation protocol. In some cases, it’s not even business at all: gyms are still closed across much of the U.S.
But as the economy slowly emerges after weeks of shutdown, there are “serious challenges ahead” for the fitness market, according to Beth McGroarty of The Global Wellness Institute.
Health clubs have been expanding into spaces “once occupied by department and smaller stores at shopping centers and on city streets,” explained McGroarty. The widespread lockdown in March, however, decimated the revenue of gym owners and left them struggling to pay rent on their large retail locations.
Brick and Mortar Got Exposed
If you are a brick and mortar gym owner much like me, you got exposed. I got exposed — I was shown how unprepared I was to handle this pandemic. My biggest strength was my biggest weakness: the brick and mortar we rent.
In many ways, we were all unprepared, and I get that. But isn’t it the spirit of an entrepreneur to prepare, practice, and plan? In his book, “Extreme Ownership,” Jocko Willink talks about outworking, outsmarting, out-planning and out-preparing your enemy. He says something very special I’ve been thinking about since this pandemic first hit: “The enemy is coming! The enemy is coming!” Well, the enemy came, and for the most part, we were all unprepared.
The pandemic is here. We all started planning our defense, applying for government assistance, and dealing with our members and clients. Now that the dust has somewhat settled, what are the next challenges (enemies who might come) we need to prepare for and think through as we open up our facilities?
Call for Fitness Industry Stakeholders to Unite on 1st June
A worldwide industry-led campaign that calls for fitness club owners, operators and professionals to post a consumer facing message that identifies why exercise is important and that gyms are safe is to be held on 1st June.
Conceived by industry consultant and international speaker Justin Tamsett, the campaign calls for stakeholders in the business of fitness all around the world to, as Tamsett explains “to hijack every social media platform with these two simple messages: exercise is medicine and (that) gyms are safe.”
Explaining his motivation for launching the initiative, Tamsett advises “no matter what aspect of the industry we look at we have all taken a hit – owners, trainers, group fitness instructors, suppliers, business coaches and associations. No one has escaped COVID-19.
“With governments across the globe knowing that exercise … helps the mental as well as physical health of people … now we must unite and to show solidarity and deliver the message to our communities.
“Additionally, while (up to) 40% of our members feel safe to return to our clubs there is still a group that don’t and together the industry can reinforce that gyms are safe.”