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How the Fitness Industry is Preparing to Reopen

Fitness brands are getting creative in order to stay top-of-mind with their customers while also planning ahead.

As the country and world enter yet another week of the coronavirus pandemic, many people are wondering: When will I be able to go to the gym again? 

That exact date remains to be seen, but some fitness brands are already coming up with contingency plans to best serve customers when that happy day does arrive. While gyms across the country have been forced to close their doors, fitness businesses and fitness instructors have also gotten creative. A recent CNN Business report, which noted that the fitness industry was worth $94 billion in 2018, reported that individual fitness instructors are currently maximizing their side hustles in order to keep income flowing in and that some fitness companies are offering free online classes. 

Fitness franchises are also finding creative ways to stay top-of-mind for customers and continue offering their services online. They’re also using this slower time to prepare for what they hope will be successful, profitable reopenings post-COVID-19. 

Personal training franchise GYMGUYZ, which lets customers exercise in the comfort of their own home, has adapted to the current climate by going completely digital and offering virtual personal training sessions. The brand is also lending exercise equipment to customers. 

“What COVID-19 has allowed us to do is to go back to our roots and be the scrappy, proactive company that does what it takes to get through hard times,” GYMGUYZ founder and CEO Josh York said. “We quickly shifted our core business model to provide support to our franchise owners and a resource for people that need to exercise even when social distancing.” 

While there are many economic challenges at the moment, York is not too concerned, as he founded his company during the Great Recession. The brand has certainly adapted to the changing landscape, and he believes other brands in the fitness space will get creative in order to maintain their revenue streams. 

“People are getting a taste of our service and will keep coming back for more because they know what it’s like to have had a convenient, customized and creative workout wherever they please,” York said. “We feel confident that we will be stronger as a brand and as a franchise system on the other side of this.”

The leadership team for fitness brand Workout Anytime, whose gyms are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is preparing for reopening in a variety of ways. For one, the brand has outlined a new approach to club sanitation and has provided guidance on how to maintain gyms while they’re closed. They also are offering tips to franchisees on how to train staff members before reopenings.

“When it became clear that COVID-19 was going to impact our clubs for an extended period of time, we did everything in our power to set our franchisees up for success,” Workout Anytime COO Mark de Gorter said. “In addition to ensuring that our owners are able to engage members through our virtual workouts and technology enhancements, we made it our top priority to be an available resource for our Franchise Partners, regardless of what they need help with. At the end of the day, we’re only as successful as our ownership group, and we’re now preparing to help them reopen their clubs when it’s safe for everyone to return.”

The brand has also used this time to consider past customer requests and see if those can be made a reality when gyms reopen. 

“When we reopen, we’re viewing it as a grand reopening, if you will,” Oklahoma-based Workout Anytime franchisee Rana Pawan said. “It’s all about celebrating our members, because they’re a part of our gym family. That’s why we’re looking at making enhancements that have been on our members’ lists, like getting vending machines with protein bars and energy drinks.”

Like so many of its peers, boutique fitness franchise REGYMEN Fitness is currently offering virtual workouts. The brand has also partnered with two of its vendors to rent out exercise equipment to customers to make sure they can still have the best possible workouts. REGYMEN Fitness is also enhancing its technology and preparing for post-coronavirus trends. 

“We’re not sure how long our gyms will have to be closed, so we aren’t slowing down when it comes to the resources that we’re creating,” REGYMEN Fitness Director of Sales and Marketing Tatum Crews said, adding “One of the most important factors we are focusing on at this time is preparing our company and franchisees for the opportunity that follows once the world is turning again. We believe that once we are able to open again, the way we operate on a daily basis will be changed, and as a brand, it is our responsibility to be prepared for when we are able to embrace our communities again!”

By getting creative in making sure customers continue to get their workouts while also using this slower time to install new features, fitness brands such as these prove there is hope for some degree of normalcy post-coronavirus.