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Behind the Scenes

In Wake of Sandy, Fitness Clubs Prove Resilient Again

The fitness club industry was viewed by many national media outlets during the past few years as being recession-resilient. This week, the industry has shown its resiliency once again during the wrath and aftermath of Hurricane-turned-Superstorm Sandy.

More than a few national media outlets have reported on how fitness clubs that have remained open along the East Coast have became a safe haven for Sandy victims in need of a shower or a recharging of their batteries (literally, for their phones and computers, and figuratively, for themselves).

"Gyms should be places where health is nurtured not just in sets and reps, but in [disbursement] of health to the community on an ongoing basis—and especially in times of crisis," Jeff Halevy, CEO of Halevy Life, told The Huffington Post.

Today, Town Sports International (TSI) announced it is opening the doors of all New York Sports Clubs for the use of its showers to all members and nonmembers who are without power and water. The offer is good for local residents 18 and older with a photo ID through Nov. 14.

"Please kindly bring your own towel," TSI mentions on its home page.

TSI, like several club companies, have updated members as to which clubs remain closed. LA Fitness also has a list on its website of the closed New York-area clubs. Equinox tweeted today that 12 of its New York City clubs remain closed.

Equinox clubs in New York, as Bloomberg reported today, have been overrun with people who are without power.

"I've never seen anything like this. Usage has been crazy," Equinox spokesperson Judy Taylor told the news service. Equinox Chief Operating Officer Scott Rosen compared gym traffic this week to the rush in January after New Year's.

The rush had gotten so out of control that Equinox sent out an email this morning saying its clubs are barring guests of members and would be open only for members and members of closed clubs. Many of those members are staying longer than usual, or "at least until their phones are charged," Rosen tells Bloomberg.

What has your club done this week to help your members and communities during Sandy? Feel free to post your comments here and on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

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