The COVID-19 pandemic shuttered gyms and boutique fitness studios across the country for nearly two months and left 500,000 people out of work.
Meanwhile, quarantine has accelerated the at-home fitness trend, led by high-tech offerings from the likes of Peloton and Mirror.
Gyms and studios across the nation, already overwhelmed by a saturated market, are scrambling to keep customers loyal with virtual offerings and equipment rentals.
Devotees say ‘gym is church’ and that customers will come flocking back, but analysts aren’t so sure.
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The sharp smell of cleaning products fills a Gold’s Gym in San Antonio, Texas. Adam Zeitsiff, the fitness chain’s president and CEO, watches workers smiling beneath facemasks and waving with blue latex-gloved hands.
Zeitsiff said he was a bundle of excitement, nerves, and pride as he road tripped across the state to visit some of the locations that are preparing to reopen. Just two weeks prior, the global chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and announced it would permanently close 30 locations.
Gold’s Gym isn’t the only one struggling. After 38,000 fitness gyms and studios nationwide were forced to shut down, roughly $10 billion, or a third of fitness industry revenue, is expected to shift away from in-person to at-home options, investment bank Harrison Co. found in a survey. As for workers in the industry, 500,000 have been furloughed or laid off.
Zeitsiff believes workers and customers are happy to be back, even with the strange new circumstances. “You don’t normally walk into your gym with a mask on,” he said.
Gold’s Gym’s reopening has been a mixed bag. Seventy-five people lined up at 5am outside the Murfreesboro, Tennessee, location when it opened its doors, but overall Zeitsiff told Business Insider that reopened clubs are seeing 65% of its usual check-ins compared to last year.
The pandemic has proven to many people that working out from home can be convenient, cheap, and motivating. Though Gold’s Gym upped the offerings on its personal training app, big brands like Peloton and Mirror have entered the at-home workout business in full force with prestige products, influencer instructors, and armies of virtual accountability buddies. To compete, gym owners will have to rely on the pull of the in-person community and adapt to include a seamless mix of virtual and physical offerings.
Necessary for a healthy human life, fitness has turned into a $94 billion global industry, and has its own web of status symbols, apps, and influencers. And just like you might still be coming to grips with how to get or stay fit in our new socially distanced reality, the industry is being forced to remake itself in real time, step by step, rep by rep.
Business Insider spoke with dozens of investors, analysts, gym-goers, business owners, and fitness executives who all agreed that many Americans wouldn’t make a swift return to the gym, thanks …read more
Source:: Business Insider