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When Covid-19 struck, and the pandemic took hold, most businesses faced their worst nightmares. Many shuttering permanently, and some barely holding on. It's a sad story, one that the health and fitness industry knows all too well. This is why a question of what this industry might look like after Covid-19 is finally beaten and the world begins to rebuild after the pandemic is so important. We look ahead for hope and strategy. What might this future be like?
The news may sound bleak, but not without hope. While it may be true that over half of gym members froze or canceled their memberships, hopeful signs continued to show:
"Despite the coronavirus restricting gym capacity while shuttering some entirely, the traditional January spike in memberships has matched — and in some ways exceeded — those of years past. Part of that can be tied to the predictable explosion of online classes, and a move toward maintaining mental as well as physical health." (Jacqueline Davalos, Fitness Industry May Never Return to Its Old Ways After Covid-19 — Bloomberg)
But the question quickly emerges, will such trends hold? More and more people are looking at online options, and even hybrid models, that many experts say will likely be permanent, "The online shift is contributing to what experts said will be a permanent change to how the $32 billion industry works." (Jacqueline Davalos, Fitness Industry May Never Return to Its Old Ways After Covid-19 — Bloomberg)
But this doesn't mean that the future of the industry is entirely online or even hybrid. 75% of gym members said that they will eventually return to physical gym memberships eventually. But they will do so with some new approaches, such as in-home and virtual approaches to health and wellness as well,
"…many [gym members] indicated they will retain a virtual component — a phenomenon with broad implications for the sector." (Jacqueline Davalos, Fitness Industry May Never Return to Its Old Ways After Covid-19 — Bloomberg)
The world will be unquestionably different after the Covid-19 pandemic, and many of the changes businesses have had to make just to survive will likely become a part of their everyday process. New technology, new approaches, and new ideas will dominate the new world, as much for restaurants as for gyms and the fitness industry.
What does this mean specifically? Likely a growing demand for hybrid models, that combines in-home fitness with physical gym memberships and classes. This also implies a growing need for a shift in how we do business in the fitness industry, focusing less on one fitness offering over another, and more on empowering shoppers to purchase packages, and whole-person wellness options. In other words, instead of gym membership alone, industry leaders will need to also consider how to include offerings of at-home fitness too.
And the changes don't just stop at the types of health and fitness that's being offered, but also the specifics. More and more, those seeking health and fitness are considering their whole-self and not just their physical appearance or physical health. The pandemic has taught us all that we must consider the mind, the body, and the spirit to strike a healthy whole-person balance if we truly want to obtain a healthy life.
This means that those offering fitness classes, gym memberships, and more, must now also consider the details of what they're offering and how to combine their approaches. Their audiences are now expecting it, and the demand is quickly rising.
We at GymWisely believe this is a powerful opportunity to join the conversation on what the future of the health and fitness industry looks like, and to actively shape that future by working toward more cooperative models of business. If you're a health and fitness provider, but you don't know how you can possibly add more packages for your audience, why not look to a brand new approach, and provide your unique offerings on a platform that allows audiences to build that collection from multiple providers instead?
Why consider this? Because you have something unique that just might fit perfectly with the collection fitness shoppers are putting together, which means more opportunities for your business and more opportunities for the fitness shopper. It's a win-win, and that's why we've built the platform we have and advocate it so strongly.
We believe the future of the health and fitness industry is going to be created by those in the industry who are able and excited to make the needed changes in offerings, approaches, and business models. We believe that the future will require new hybrid-approaches, and whole-person approaches to health and fitness, with packages and options being the new standard. And, we believe the future will be built on cooperation and a bold new vision.
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