09/17/2020

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The Fitness Industry Exercises its Creativity



Innovative Solutions


Gym closures across the country have forced Americans to get creative with at-home workouts. Kitchens have turned into yoga studios and books have turned into weights. Instead of meeting to go for runs or take exercise classes, friends are working out together on Zoom (ZM).

Gyms have also found innovative ways to connect with their clients at home. Spin class companies, like Flywheel and CycleBar, have had to close down their studios but are renting out bikes for customers to use at home. ClassPass, a subscription service which gives users access to a variety of gyms, is offering over 50,000 on-demand workouts each week, ranging from kickboxing to yoga.

Though many charity races and walks have been canceled this spring, some fitness companies are finding ways for people to help their communities by working out at home. Fitness app NEOU recently hosted a Fit-a-Thon to raise money for Operation Food Fight, a group that provides meals to healthcare workers fighting coronavirus.

Financial Hardships for Gyms


Despite the fitness industry’s resourcefulness during the pandemic, some companies are facing severe financial difficulties. On Monday, Gold’s Gym, which has 700 locations worldwide, announced that it filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. 24 Hour Fitness has also suffered during coronavirus lockdowns, and is reportedly considering bankruptcy options.

Equinox Group, which also operates Blink Fitness, SoulCycle, PURE Yoga, and other brands, failed to pay April rent for more than 300 of its locations.

Looking Ahead


As the weeks of quarantine workouts go on, fitness companies and their customers are beginning to wonder what impact this period will leave on the way people exercise post-pandemic. Habits formed and equipment purchased during quarantine may be here to stay.

Fitness equipment sales have surged by 170% since coronavirus lockdowns were put in place. Peloton (PTON), a company that makes stationary bikes, saw its revenue increase 66% from a year ago. Sales of other luxury at-home fitness equipment like Mirror, Regatta, and FightCamp are also up. Less pricey options for at-home workouts—like the Obe Fitness app, or the wildly popular free YouTube (GOOGL) channel, Yoga with Adriene—are also gaining millions of new fans.

Though at-home fitness is surging, brick-and-mortar gyms are also thinking about how to reopen safely once lockdowns lift. Equinox has said it will scan all members with a thermal camera when they enter. Orangetheory will require everyone to wear masks while they exercise. Some people will likely be excited to get back to the community that a physical gym offers. Others, however, may be wary of returning to crowded spaces for some time, or may decide that they like the privacy, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness of sweating it out at home.


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