What is the future for gyms?
I posted several months ago about why I went to Pure Gym every week, despite having my own studio. Personally, I find it’s great having a change of scenery, and I love the sound of other people lifting weights – feeding off that energy.
I appreciate that this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea though, and so my own services cater to people who would rather not go to public gyms.
It’s clear that Covid-19 isn’t suddenly going to disappear overnight, and will have a lasting impact in all kinds of ways.
I’ve been keenly following what’s been going on in the global fitness industry, as I’m passionate about all of this. I also want to ensure I can carry on providing and improving my one-to-one and flexible PT.
At the time of writing, I’ve been supervising more Zoom workouts than ever, which is helping clients stay fit, strong and healthy, and breaking up their days spent working from home. I will definitely continue to build on this, even when I can reopen my doors to in-person training with a 3D human being!
Once the Government confirms a date, I’m expecting official guidelines for best practice from CIMSPA – the fitness sector’s professional body that I’m a member of. I have loads of disinfectant spray, wipes and a face shield at the ready.
So, what’s going to happen with the larger ‘big-box’ gyms once Lockdown restrictions are relaxed, but social distancing has to be maintained? It's hard to predict whether there will be a fear of catching the virus in this kind of busy environment, where a lot of people share equipment and breathe heavily.
Here’s some predictions based on what I’m hearing:
A lot of gyms are unfortunately going to have to close permanently, if the maths of having fewer members per square feet of space are not economically viable.
On the other hand, prices may go up, to account for less people allowed to train at peak times. Several gym chains in America have already done this.
Depending on government policy, some gyms overseas are instructing members to wear face masks while exercising, which is causing concerns due to oxygen restriction, not to mention the constant fiddling with the masks due to sweating.
This image is currently going viral (pun not intended) in the fitness industry, as a creative gym owner in California has set up plastic workout ‘pods’, that I can’t help thinking look like a sci-fi prison, but seems to be boosting confidence for his members.
Assuming that Pure Gym reopens in July, they've produced a good video detailing the lengths they have gone to (with expert guidance) to minimise spreading the virus.
Meanwhile, the recent spike in home exercise programmes is predicted to continue, but a lot of these are being hampered by the lack of equipment available. It’s still hard to find suppliers, and prices have shot up due to the demand!
However, there are creative ways to use body weight and typical household items to stimulate muscles safely and effectively. I’m going to focus on producing free video content, so you can try this at home.
Exercise is critical to maintaining health and having a robust immune system, so I hope the fitness industry adapts successfully to a ‘new normal’ and we’ll all come out stronger as a result!
Stay healthy and safe!