THE FUTURE OF FITNESS: An inside look at the winners and losers as the industry faces upheaval

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The sharp smell of cleaning products fills a Gold’s Gym in San Antonio, Texas. Adam Zeitsiff, the fitness chain’s president and CEO, watches workers smiling beneath facemasks and waving with blue latex-gloved hands. 

Zeitsiff said he was a bundle of excitement, nerves, and pride as he road tripped across the state to visit some of the locations that are preparing to reopen. Just two weeks prior, the global chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and announced it would permanently close 30 locations. 

Gold’s Gym isn’t the only one struggling. After 38,000 fitness gyms and studios nationwide were forced to shut down, roughly $10 billion, or a third of fitness industry revenue, is expected to shift away from in-person to at-home options, investment bank Harrison Co. found in a survey. As for workers in the industry, 500,000 have been furloughed or laid off.

Zeitsiff believes workers and customers are happy to be back, even with the strange new circumstances. “You don’t normally walk into your gym with a mask on,” he said.

Gold’s Gym’s reopening has been a mixed bag. Seventy-five people lined up at 5am outside the Murfreesboro, Tennessee, location when it opened its doors, but overall Zeitsiff told Business Insider that reopened clubs are seeing 65% of its usual check-ins compared to last year.

The pandemic has proven to many people that working out from home can be convenient, cheap, and motivating. Though Gold’s Gym upped the offerings on its personal training app, big brands like Peloton and Mirror have entered the at-home workout business in full force with prestige products, influencer instructors, and armies of virtual accountability buddies. To compete, gym owners will have to rely on the pull of the in-person community and adapt  to include a seamless mix of virtual and physical offerings.

Necessary for a healthy human life, fitness has turned into a $94 billion global industry, and has its own web of status symbols, apps, and influencers. And just like you might still be coming to grips with how to get or stay fit in our new socially distanced reality, the industry is being forced to remake itself in real time, step by step, rep by rep.

Business Insider spoke with dozens of investors, analysts, gym-goers, business owners, and fitness executives who all agreed that many Americans wouldn’t make a swift return to the gym, thanks to at-home habits and fears of infection. Just over 35% of people surveyed said they have already canceled, or are considering canceling, their gym memberships and half said they wouldn’t return upon reopening. 

Gymgoers lovingly refer to the fitness centers they attend as “church.” Thanks to the pandemic, we’re heading for reformation. 

To compete with at-home fitness, gyms will have to ‘innovate or fail’

Quarantine, working from home, and fears of infection have only accelerated the rise of at-home fitness. 

During the 12 months preceding February 2020, consumers poured $2 billion into the home …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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