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Gym Closures Spark Creativity Amid COVID-19


Businesses have been feeling the impact of pandemic closures worldwide, requiring them to be creative to continue to have a stream of income.

Restaurants turned to delivery services and carry-out food. Retail stores have heavily relied on online shopping. However, gyms and fitness studios faced a new challenge: how can a business that relies solely on in-person interaction still bring in money during a time when no in-person interaction is allowed? 

Many places rose to the occasion with imaginative solutions that not only helped them bring in revenue but also helped their members stay active. 

As a frequent gym-goer myself, the closure was something I was dreading. I often use the gym as my main form of stress relief, and I wasn’t sure how to cope without it. Like the gym owners, I had to find new inventive ways to stay active. 

I made the switch to outdoor workouts and increased cardio due to my lack of equipment. I found myself going on more runs, walks, and bike rides. I even decided to try out Chloe Ting’s, a fitness YouTuber, two-week shred challenge, which is made up of a series of videos designed to get you in shape. This challenge has become especially popular during quarantine, where participants share their progress on apps such as Tik Tok and Instagram. 

Slowly, states are beginning to open their gyms backup, Florida is one of the states that have already taken that step. 

However, going back to a gym might be frightening to those who are immunocompromised or have someone who is at home thankfully, if quarantine has taught us anything it is how to adjust to a new normal.

Here are our top 4 tips on how gyms can adapt to the new normal:

#1 Rent out your equipment to members

As dumbbells and resistance bands began to fly off the shelves of Target at the beginning of quarantine, Unite Fitness in Philadelphia chose to rent out their equipment. They rented out all the weights and bands they owned. This switch was mutually beneficial for them financially and their members who couldn’t access equipment. 

Many other smaller studios have followed in suit with different rental options. Even spin studios have taken to renting out their bikes so members can participate in virtual spin classes. This is a great option to help you continue to bring in revenue, especially if you’re in a state when there are still closures.

#2 – Host virtual workouts on social media platforms

Other nationwide gym chains have turned to the internet to host virtual workouts for members. Planet Fitness, Orangetheory, Crunch, L.A. Fitness, and Pure Barre are just a few offering them. Unfortunately, many of these gyms had to go over a month without charging members, so how does the gym benefit from free virtual workouts? They gain social currency.

While some gyms have their own platform to host their online workouts such as CrunchTV or Pure Barre On Demand, many have also held Instagram and Facebook Live fitness classes available to the public. These sessions often lead to an increase of likes and follows on their page, as well as exposure to a new audience.

#3 – Offer both in-person and virtual personal training

Many gyms and trainers have begun to offer virtual personal training. This is a good option for not only states who continue to experience closures but also for clients who don’t feel comfortable heading to the gym. 

My mom has recently started working out with a personal trainer online. Even though this is typically unconventional, she has enjoyed this approach to staying active.

#4 – Make safety features and sanitary items prominent to members

As excited I was to be back at Crunch the first day they opened, I was a little hesitant to be around that many people amid a global pandemic. Luckily, they have implemented new safety precautions, such as providing members with a bottle of antibacterial spray, requiring individuals to bring workout towels, increased sanitation stations, and 6-feet distance between equipment. 

They also had large signs promoting social distancing and employees, ensuring members are following policy. All of these steps help make members feel more comfortable with attending the gym. It also limits the spread of Covid-19.

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