Gyms Are Moving Outside

Outdoor gym class

Things are moving into spaces that they weren’t in before. Work is being done at the kitchen counter instead of the office, and gyms are… outside? It’s time to start thinking outside the gym. It’s like someone picked up our lifestyle, gave it a shake, and let things fall where they may. It’s my marketing style that the faster you embrace the new normals, the more success you will have, and if you can predict the new normals before they become normal- even better! That’s why we saw upticks in things like Netflix, and Peloton. Peloton was already wanting people to work out from home, Netflix was begging people not to go to the movies anymore. So they were ready to strike when the moment was right while gyms and theaters scrambled to catch up by offering their own online incentives.

Many industries were hard hit during the crisis, and many still continue to suffer as a result. We have seen restaurants begin to open back up — albeit at limited capacity. One industry though which has yet to be able to rebound is the fitness industry. Many gym owners as a result are now suffering and consequently having to come up with creative ways to earn money so that they can in fact keep the doors open.

The health and fitness industry represents a huge sector in the US. In 2019 it was estimated to be worth near 35 billion with over sixty million members of various gyms and health clubs across the country. Almost overnight this past March, it all came to a devastating standstill.

Classpass a platform that links gyms with prospective users, saw more than 95% of revenue disappear by April. Thousands of health and fitness club workers have been furloughed in recent months. And so, to try and reverse this trend, gym owners now have decided to take things to the streets. That is to say, thinking outside the box for their survival, they are now holding classes outdoors, in parks, some are actually having members meet them on the street.

By holding class outdoors, the gyms are able to maintain the requisite six feet between participants and thus socially distance. For those classes requiring props or equipment, gyms are supplying heavily sanitized versions. Having classes outdoors also means more flexibility on everyone’s part as far as time and location. Some gyms text the class participants an hour prior to start time to give them the details so that everyone is on the same page.

Fitness studios are still in trouble. The outdoor classes for some (depending on location) can only last until the weather holds up. This is why there are numerous fundraising efforts in place now to try and help struggling facilities stay afloat until normal activity can resume — though no one is certain when exactly that might be. Fundraising pages are popping up frequently on social media. Communities and cities are establishing grant opportunities for those proprietors hurting during this crisis.

For the most part, class participants have been responding positively to the new outdoor venues we’re seeing emerge across the nation. Among the benefits for customers, beyond of course the health and fitness aspect, is being able to feel that sense of community again that belonging to a fitness studio fosters. Many gym owners are quick to point out that it isn’t merely a physical boost to your body, but also a mental one, particularly during a period when we could all use such a boost.

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