No thanks to the pandemic, 2020 was a tough year for the fitness industry. Gyms, recreational centers, and other health clubs are considered high-risk venues of transmission since they are enclosed public areas. As such, many of these facilities had to stay closed for a few months. Others weren’t so lucky. As of September 2020, 15% of these facilities in the U.S. have permanently closed.
Even though many gyms are now open, the staffing is still skeletal. And only a few people are allowed inside each establishment at a time. But where there’s a problem, there is innovation to find solutions. The fitness industry had to adapt to the “new normal” brought by the pandemic. And this effort emerged into trends that bring value to customers. These new trends are likely to stay even in the post-pandemic era.
Online Personal Training
Almost everything has been moved online due to the pandemic. Students take online classes. Employees work remotely and connect via the internet. Even alcohol treatment programs are now conducted online. It’s the same for personal fitness training.
Online personal training isn’t new in 2020. But it became more popular. In this setup, you will hire a personal trainer. And just like a one-on-one session, you can talk to them about your fitness goals. The trainer will then make a personalized workout plan for you. Monitoring can’t be done face to face. So instead, the trainer will check on their client through text-based messaging, emails, video calls, or fitness app logs. This means that there isn’t much real-time communication between you and your trainer. But you do maintain regular contact with each other.
This fitness trend will likely stay even after the pandemic. It helps anyone stay consistent with their workouts while still safe in their own home.
Online Group Classes
If personal training has little to no real-time communication between you and your trainer, a virtual group class is a complete opposite. It’s pretty much what its name suggests. You join an online fitness class with other people. And you can follow a workout routine together.
It may seem strange to work out in front of the camera with strangers. But working out with a crowd, even virtually, is actually beneficial. For example, one study found that overweight individuals who exercised together with their active friends were more likely to lose weight. Other people’s motivation and will to exercise can rub off on you. You also get real-time feedback from your trainer. And this can be helpful in ensuring that you’re on the right track.
The convenience offered by online group classes makes people enjoy them. These people might even prefer virtual classes over personal workouts due to added companionship.
Fitness Equipment Renting
Even if you want to commit to a workout, it may be difficult if you don’t have the right tools and can’t buy them. Realistically, not everyone can afford to buy home gym equipment, especially in the middle of a pandemic where there are other things to prioritize.
And on the other side of the story, gyms and health clubs are losing money due to the lack of patrons coming. Their gym equipment is left unused. But they still need to be maintained, which is an added cost. What these fitness facilities did to solve their problem is to rent out their gym equipment.
You can rent any gym equipment available. And many facilities even offer free delivery and pickup. Renting equipment can save you money since you don’t have to pay the full cost for any equipment. You can also try different kinds of equipment. This way, you can find the equipment you particularly like and want to own, maybe a stationary bike, a treadmill, or bench and weights. In this instance, equipment renting is a win-win situation for both gym owners and gym-goers.
Traditionally, gyms are in closed areas. But the risk of transmission in a public and enclosed area like a gym. The solution may just be creating open gyms, like one in New York City that opened last October 2020. This gym setup allows for better ventilation, which is key in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Also, open-air gyms are accessible to everyone. If they miss going to the gym, they can go to an open-air gym to insert a quick workout.
Going to the gym is now an option. But it’s still risky. Meanwhile, the fitness trends that emerged because of that risk helped people stay active while at home. And these trends will likely stay based on the convenience that they provide.