How COVID-19 changed the fitness industry – and what you can do to stay on top

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How COVID-19 changed the fitness industry – and what you can do to stay on top
How COVID-19 changed the fitness industry – and what you can do to stay on top
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How COVID-19 changed the fitness industry – and what you can do to stay on top

It’s impossible to name an industry that was left unchanged by the pandemic. The wellness industry is no exception. There’s no denying COVID-19 shook up everyone’s usual exercise routine. And while gyms and fitness studios may be returning to business as usual, many of the new habits our clients cultivated over the last year are here to stay. It’s lucky fitness business owners are remaining agile in more ways than one.

The impact of COVID-19 on the fitness industry

This time last year, gyms were closed, yoga studios had locked their doors and boot camps had been kicked to the curb. Things were looking pretty bleak. Fitness business owners worried their clients’ focus on fitness would fade (or they would replace attendance with online classes instead) as regular gym attendance would become a thing of the past. But COVID-19 didn’t turn Australia into a nation of couch potatoes. In fact, it did just the opposite.

There was a shift in the way we approached fitness and wellbeing, which was driven by the individual. We can all remember the time when our spare rooms and back gardens became gym floors for the first time. We can proudly look back on how the everybody turbocharged their home fitness regimes, rediscovering exercise on our own terms and schedules. 

Attitudes changed. Fitness was not just about being competitive, losing weight or lifting heavy, it became a survival strategy, as much about mental health benefits as physical ones.  Health was top of the agenda. Perspectives shifted to thinking about health in light of the pandemic. 

A study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine reported a surge in interest in exercise following the first lockdown (PDF). Population-level interest in exercise was at an all-time high in April 2020 in Australia, the UK and the USA. 

With this in mind, we’ve pulled together some tips to keep your post-pandemic fitness business at peak performance.

How to get your fitness business ready for COVID normal

Are you ready for everything to go back to our ‘new normal?’ Here's a few tips on how to get started.

Get physical

So, you’ve got the green light to reopen?

  • Make people WANT to come back into your gym or fitness studio by ensuring the look and feel of it is in tip top condition. Clear out any broken or tired equipment. 
  • Make sure staff try to remain positive - yes its been a tough year but your members will be more than delighted to see you; give them a big smile and make them feel more welcome than they ever have. 
  • Ensure your gym and fitness studio staff are ambassadors of the COVID-safe plan, and that it is visible and accessible for all members – no excuses!
  • Increase the frequency of cleaning for all spaces. Ensure there’s sanitiser accessible near all equipment and changing rooms – now is the time to shine… literally!

Conduct an agility audit 

Fitness business owners have now had the opportunity to trial a ‘blended’ fitness model with both online and offline classes. Online does not work for everyone but its important to consider given the unknowns about the future.  

  • Consider aintaining  online classes and courses as a part of your timetable. We suggest sending out a survey to find our which members would USE your classes online.  
  • Are most of your classes online? Consider reducing the overheads of your physical studio by co-sharing your space with other like-minded fitness businesses. 
  • Ensure your new timetable is clear and visible to all members – schedule management tools like Clubworx  fitness software ensures everything is easily shareable and accessible, providing the same experience for online and in-person members.

Try something new

The pandemic gave people a new, creative approach to fitness. 

  • Why not try introducing barre classes, meditation workshops or new high-intensity workout classes as part of your fresh new post-pandemic program?
  • Loving the new challenge-style workout plans like 75 Hard or F45? So do your clients. Why not pull together your fitness knowledge and craft a challenge-style program for your members? The next hot fitness trend could be your creation! 

Ask for feedback

What was top of your clients’ list of priorities before, mightn’t be the same now. It’s important you give your clients the opportunity to provide feedback on what they want from their reinvigorated approach to fitness. You could:

  • Use social media polls to test which classes and trends your clients are interested in. Do clients want more spin classes? Do they miss the 6am boot camp? What can you do to better meet their needs?As mentioned above even asking if online classes are something they still want to continue. 
  • Schedule calls or catch up sessions with your members to ensure everything is up to their standards and to make them feel a part of the new community.  

Get organised

Every fitness business that has weathered the pandemic has one thing in common – great organisation. Ensure billing, registration, scheduling and database management are up to scratch - if there is anything we need more of after this pandemic is - TIME. Good software can give you back previous hours in your day. 

If you’d like to see how Clubworx could power your dojo, yoga studio or fitness business; get in touch today to find out more

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