In this day-and-age there is little that shocks me, but I did let out an audible “WOW!” last night when I saw this Facebook post from a respected and well-liked facility owner:
“Time to get back to normal
and NOT this new normal [BS]”
Whilst that one sentence is sure doing a lot of heavy lifting, there is perhaps no better summary of the two-schools of thought that currently exist in the fitness industry today.
Over the last few months, gym-goers and fitness studio members have experienced a lot of different options – from free sessions delivered by people like Joe Wicks, to incredible, slick online session delivery via Peloton. And if when you think Peloton, you still just think of “bikes”, you need to do some Googling and find out what they’re offering your members from just $12.99 per month.
Industry guru, Thom Plummer, categorises those returning gyms as fitting one of three groups:
- The “keen” group, who include the COVID-deniers and will be knocking on the door the moment the gyms re-open
- The “wary ones”, which is likely the biggest group and contains those who want to return, but want to be safe, and
- The “scared”, who are those who would like to return but anticipate a resurgence, and are nervous about getting ill
During the period in which facilities have been forcibly closed, Quoox has taken on a number of new clients – all of whom realise that, come re-opening, the landscape will have changed and their members are going to expect more.
I don’t believe anyone has ever questioned the fact that most people prefer to train in person at a facility, and the general desire to get back in the gym is undeniable.
What does worry me is those facility owners that seem to be in denial about the change in landscape, many led by those who simply have the loudest voice in their Facebook group. If your facility has little-to-no competitors, then chances are you’ll be fine. Those who emerge into a competitive market may be in for more of a rough time – and, as Thom Plummer says, “not everyone will make it”.
As a facility owner myself, we have had to adapt. We extended our online training – both on-demand and live, and we recently added MZ-Remote into the equation. All of this we deliver, of course, via Quoox. Now, we’re adding in outdoor sessions with the thirst to re-open ASAP (“July 4th is the new June 8th”…).
Even when we have re-opened we will be offering a different service to before. There will be an even greater focus on all-round well-being, including mental health (many people have been struggling with lockdown). We will be continuing with a hybrid of in-person; on-demand; and live sessions. And our sessions won’t just be focused on fat-burn and getting/keeping fit. The wind-down and delivery of calm & balance are of equal importance.
Individual training pods, perspex screens, enhanced cleaning and distancing aren’t a “return to normal”. They are all just a tiny part of the “new normal”. Deny it at your own risk.