Gymnasium rats are bullish with regards to private exercises, however the traits level to a extra hybrid future

It’s been a tough year and a half for any place you go for a half-hearted, 20-minute StairMaster session. Since the pandemic began, 22% of U.S. fitness clubs have permanently closed and taken 1.5 million workers away, according to the International Health Racquet & Sportsclub Association.

But for the gyms that managed to stay open through the locks, business is booming.

  • Planet Fitness increased sales 241% in the last quarter compared to 2020 and added 700,000 new members.
  • Colin Waggett, CEO of London’s luxury gym Third Space, said its clubs are seeing a record low in cancellations for pre-booked classes (3%).
  • Xpontential, the boutique fitness company that owns brands like Club Pilates and Pure Barre, said sales were only 13% lower than Q2 2019.

How did these gyms do it? Quickly switch to virtual? Enough cash to weather the storm? Annoyingly Complicated Membership Cancellation Methods? Could be all three. But one thing to keep in mind, the Financial Times stated, is that Americans currently have fewer options for out-of-home workouts.

  • Cycling studio Flywheel filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy (meaning liquidation) in September, while YogaWorks, Gold’s Gym, 24 Hour Fitness, and the parent company of New York Sports Clubs and Boston Sports Clubs all closed and filed hundreds of US locations Chapter 11 Bankruptcy (Restructuring) Citing Pandemic Issues.

Will the good times last?

In May, when Covid capacity restrictions were lifted in the US, gym traffic returned to 83% of pre-pandemic levels. But overcrowded weight rooms may not last long. The Delta variant has already led city governments in New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans to require vaccines for public venues, including gyms. And some states, most recently Oregon, are reintroducing indoor mask requirements to make your chin even more sweaty while trying the correct squat form.

  • Planet Fitness CEO Chris Rondeau told CNBC this week that there are currently around 150 clubs in need of masks as per local guidelines, but he hopes the mandates will be short-lived.

Add to this the existential threat posed by in-home fitness companies that exploded during the pandemic. To ensure there are no future supply chain congestion, Peloton broke ground for its first U.S. factory in Ohio this week. Even if we avoid another massive lockdown, most of the data suggests that home fitness stays nearby and coexists with gyms.

  • According to McKinsey, 70% of online fitness program users plan to keep using them after a pandemic.
  • According to Peloton, 40% of its users also have a gym membership.

Looking ahead…In many ways, the career of the gym mirrors the career of the physical office. Advances in technology have made fitness at home a sweaty, comfortable pleasure, but others may crave human interaction and equipment they can’t find at home.

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