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The COVID crisis has taken the fitness industry by storm. Gyms and Fitness clubs have suffered a huge negative impact, with thousands of clubs closing to the public.
Given that many people will continue to work out remotely and others might be fearful of returning, clubs should expect a slow recovery, and might be well advised to design a solid comeback strategy.
It is also possible that the size of the eventual market may never be as large as it was before COVID19, because social distancing measures might decrease the maximum capacity of a lot of gyms. This will force many gyms to re-think their business models and reinvent themselves offering new activities, if they want to survive.
So ¿what will separate “survivors” from “victims” in this harsh environment? .. We think that business owners need to move fast, and some investment will be needed. Two things will set winners apart.
First, they will need to make members feel safe by designing implementing and communicating safety policies to members. This will include social distancing measures (2m policiy with floor makers and clear signage), capacity limits, hygienic measures both for members (gloves, towels, hydrogel and disinfection), and for employees (IPEs, masks or pannels), increase in cleaning frequency.. etc. All of those measures will need to be communicated clearly to members, so they feel safe and comfortable coming back to the club.
Secondly, clubs will need to prepare for a relaunch in September to attract new members. Business owners will have to invest in local advertising campaigns and offer discounts and promotions to both current members and new ones.
But this will definitely not be enough. Old members that have started to exercise at home or outside during the confinement period, won’t see the need to go back to the gym unless it offers something new and enticing.
Specialist gyms — fitboxing, reformer pilates, crossfit — are likely to recover faster than generalist weight-training gyms. This is because they are characterized by community bonds, group and one-on-one training, specialist trainers, complex movements and progressions, and expensive equipment — all things that are not easy to replicate at home or outdoors.
For many generalist’s recovery will be difficult. Even low-cost clubs will suffer, because capacity limitations will make it impossible to make enough turnover. Many generalist gyms are starting to look at specialized concepts that they can bring to their clubs. This “boutique fitness corner” approach may be the largest trend in the fitness industry after COVID.
Boutique fitness corners have become increasingly popular in the last few years. They offer specialized concepts in activities such as boxing, cycling, yoga, bootcamps and others with a unique training experience, a community-rich experience, usually in a reduced space and most of the times charging a premium price. Some companies like F3Fitbox offer out-of-the box solutions to gym owners looking for innovative proposals.
Traditional gyms love this approach because it is a a low risk way to test a new fitness concept, normally requires a low investment, and it allows to introduce innovation and new services in their clubs. The corner provider constantly invests to improve the concept whilst the club owner can concentrate on member acquisition and retention, but not on product development.
So, in summary, fitness clubs will need to define a clear comeback strategy after COVID. Only those businesses who implement solid safety policies and introduce strong innovations in the coming months will see a rapid recuperation from the crisis.
ABOUT F3 FITBOX
F3Fitbox is part of BFI, the world leader in fitboxing. It has created a unique Fitboxing Corner Box solution that offers:
- Patented technology, fully working in +140 gyms working in +10 countries
- The most complete training system that includes Warmup, Boxing, Functional training and cooldown in 47”.
- High quality video sessions updated periodically provide new training routines that keep the training fun and new every couple of days. All training videos are uploaded via web to a mini-server and updated every month.
- Exclusive music specifically designed for for our system.
- Sensor and light technology integrated in the boxing bags and the structure measures power of punch, synchro with music and energy burnt and gives feedback to fitboxers.
- Exclusive web-app, where fitboxers see their evolution and performance. This transforms the training routine into a self-challenging game that keeps people engaged and motivated.
- Online trainer certification: We provide trainer education video materials to certify each of our trainers.
For more information, [email protected]