I have seen a lot happen in the fitness industry in the last 8 years and we are now going through the biggest change of them all. But can our gyms survive the pandemic?
Lots of people have been working out at home during the pandemic and a lot of people have completely lost their motivation and routine. Many people feel desperate to get back to the gym so they can work out again.
However some may never re-join the gym because they are:
- Happy to workout at home
- Have found new ways to exercise
- Didn’t use their gym membership enough before the lockdown
- They may feel put off by the virus and new rules that will be applied to the gyms.
There are certain times of the year when the gyms are generally very busy they include:
- New year (Jan/Feb)
- Holiday prep season (April/May)
- Christmas party prep (Oct/Nov)
Other than that most gyms never run at full capacity. For a gym to be profitable they need an average of 10 times the amount of members that they can actually fit through the door. One gym member I knew only went to the gym once in the entire year, that session cost him over £500. Ouch. I bet that hurt and I’m not sure it would have encouraged him to renew his membership.
There has been a BOOM of online personal training and it has become easier than ever to workout at home. There are so many options including: free YouTube videos, live Facebook and Instagram videos, apps (especially those that you can connect to others and compete), wii fit, home gym equipment easily available, online classes, online fitness courses etc etc.
There is no doubt that many gyms will struggle to keep going after the lockdown, member retention is hard enough without having any of these extra issues and pressures. There will always be a need for gyms and personal trainers but I think the industry is about to have a big shake up.
Group fitness models have been shown to lead to higher member retention rates, which offer a new kind of fitness experience. Working out in a group brings people with similar goals together. Small workout groups also generally provide higher quality classes and trainers. Working out in a group can be very motivating and much more fun, it is especially good for those that thrive off competition or encouragement. Moving forward I can see there being more options for small group (socially distanced) sessions rather than people going to the gym to do a solo workout.
Let’s hope that it is soon safe enough for our gyms and fitness studios to open so that we can evolve and adapt.