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The Future of Gyms and Health Clubs?
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MikaelPR

Undoubtedly this shutdown will
put a lot of small gyms that were operating on thin margins out of business. How do you see the future of gyms, health clubs and personal training facilities playing out ?
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sirloin

MikaelPR wrote:
Undoubtedly this shutdown will
put a lot of small gyms that were operating on thin margins out of business. How do you see the future of gyms, health clubs and personal training facilities playing out ?


There still not open where i am (Northern Ireland), and theres no word on when they will reopen. But theres been suggestions of 1hr time slots, staying two metres apart, having to sanitize every piece of equipment you use when they do reopen...FUCK THAT!!

I already had a home gym, but in the last month ive spent 3k on refurbished commercial grade machines, and am sure ill spend a lot more over the next year. I see it as an investment.
Personal trainers; i know a few who've taken to online coaching and theyve also some outdoor one to one client's. Its working out quite well for them.

Unfortunately yes, this may well the end of the wee independently owned back street hardcore gyms!!
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HeavyHitter32

MikaelPR wrote:
Undoubtedly this shutdown will
put a lot of small gyms that were operating on thin margins out of business. How do you see the future of gyms, health clubs and personal training facilities playing out ?


Some will go out of business, but eventually new money will flow in to start new gyms once this passes.

However, where I live, it seems Planet Fitness is really all that is around as a lot of individual gyms closed over the years. A Powerhouse gym here and there, but not many.

But, I do think there will be a segment who decides to train at home. I started doing this 2004 and never looked back. Love it - especially with what is going on now.
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Average Al

Interesting question. It will depend, somewhat, on how long people have to worry about the virus. If the pandemic fizzles out unexpectedly by the end of the summer, more will survive. If it remains a problem for another 18 month, but then we get a vaccine, the list of survivors will shrink further. If vaccines prove ineffective, or only marginally effective, there will be even greater damage and change.

As to who is most vulnerable:

One on one training studies probably have the best prospects: the facilities are uncrowded, with both the owner and the client having limited contact to random people. These businesses are able to make a profit with a relatively small, controlled client list. Their bigger risk is the pandemic recessions/depression: fewer affluent people mean fewer potential clients. Of course, the gym owner's debt load, and overhead costs will also be a factor: if you are paying for expensive space, and still have payments on a lot of expensive exercise machines, you still might not make it.

Those at greatest risk are training facilities that depend on group classes, packing a lot of customers into a relative small space (e.g., Orange Theory, Spin class studios). The need to provide well ventilated space while separating customers from each other will render many of those places unprofitable. It is kind of like the restaurant business in that regard: they can't be profitable with 25% or 50% occupancy.

Big box gyms fall in the middle. Some, like Planet Fitness, depend on selling a lot of memberships that aren't used much. If people decided gyms are not safe spaces, then they will have a lot harder time selling those memberships. Those gyms where the memberships are used, and have busy periods where the place is packed will have a difficult time retaining customers. That's because those customers are used to having a access to a wide range of equipment on their terms. They aren't going to want to deal with appointments and limited workout windows. Those places often make most of their money by upselling customers with group fitness classes, and personal training, albeit personal training that may be done in a somewhat more crowded circumstances.

Obviously, the home gym option will become more popular, for those who have the money and the space. The big issue here is that if you are used to having access to a large variety of specialized exercise equipment, training at home can feel pretty limiting. The guy who has three pieces of cardio equipment, and a full line of used Nautilus gear in his basement is a pretty rare bird.

This will also change the exercise equipment business: more opportunity for the home market, less for the commercial market.

People who can provide remote or online training, in a way that is entertaining and effective, but doesn't require a lot of equipment will have a nice niche.

On the plus side, the idea that being fit can improve your survival odds in the event of infection may encourage more people to engage in exercise.

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sirloin

One other thing...

Given many gyms over the globe will be imposing time restrictions and time slots to members, we may see a HIT resurgence.
One gym i was a member of a few years ago sent me a survey viva email, its asked "do you think 45-90 minutes is a sufficient amount of time for your workouts". Its said they where considering 2 types of memberships based on how long your training will take, 45 min time restrictions will be considered "off peak" and 90 minute time restrictions "full membership".


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HeavyHitter32

I have talked to several people trying to persuade them just to train at home.

The responses I get are usually along the lines of, "I won't train at home - I will just blow it off. Going to a gym makes me do it!".

Being committed to weight training for the last 30 years, I never quite got that mentality but it exists.
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Brian Johnston

Ontario, CAN

I have a handful of serious people who are going nuts not being able to train... who are paying me to rent my in-home facility to train. I'm not training them... I'm allowing them to use the place when I'm not.
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Nwlifter

A lot of people I see on Facebook groups have setup home gyms during all this and aren't going back to gyms, now they have what they need, spent the money, and found out how nice it is to just train when you want and not have to drive somewhere.
I imagine though over time, new people who haven't done this, will want gyms, but I bet a big lag between now and then.
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

== Scott ==
With one exception once I got the machines I wanted you couldn?t pay me to go to a gym. Now Michael Petrellas gym is another thing!!
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Rikus

I bought gym gear a decade ago when we had kids. I'm not a fan of lunchtime training, and training after work with a newborn at home was going to cause trouble. I bought and turned over stuff and settled on this. For legs I just use dumbbells. I went minimal.

samsfitness.com.au/sams-blog/cool-home-gyms/duanes-compact-ironmaster-gym

The main deal, is I love it. And I am more precise in my efforts and exercises. I get a better workout at home usually. I go to a commercial gym maybe twice a year for fun. I love this gym. Stereo on..its great.
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Rikus

Some gym class junkies I know kept going to classes until it was banned (Australia). And are now going back to restricted booked sessions for 30 minute sessions. They would sooner die from the virus then skip a gym class.

I think it could become a pain to go to a gym weight room...with limits etc. SO might drive people to get their own gear. Some don't have the space, some like the gym atmosphere, some the girls. But I followed some home gym facebook groups and those that setup their own gear, many won't go back.
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epdavis7

Bare bones home gym for me. I don't need a whole of equipment to beat myself up.
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Lioncourt

HeavyHitter32 wrote:
I have talked to several people trying to persuade them just to train at home.

The responses I get are usually along the lines of, "I won't train at home - I will just blow it off. Going to a gym makes me do it!".

Being committed to weight training for the last 30 years, I never quite got that mentality but it exists.


I've been training for nearly 15 years and I'm a bit like the type that can't train at home. Driving to the gym is part of the mental prep process to my workout. It would take me some adjustment to get into the headspace to have a good workout at home.
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Lioncourt

sirloin wrote:
One other thing...

Given many gyms over the globe will be imposing time restrictions and time slots to members, we may see a HIT resurgence.




HIT in the traditional sense of the word is never returning to any decent levels of popularity. Aside from Ellington the HIT gurus are all pushing these very minimal 1x a week Body by Science routines, you'll never get anyone in general fitness to try them out. And I would argue that they are far from optimal as well.
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Average Al

Rikus wrote:
I bought gym gear a decade ago when we had kids. I'm not a fan of lunchtime training, and training after work with a newborn at home was going to cause trouble. I bought and turned over stuff and settled on this. For legs I just use dumbbells. I went minimal.

samsfitness.com.au/sams-blog/cool-home-gyms/duanes-compact-ironmaster-gym

The main deal, is I love it. And I am more precise in my efforts and exercises. I get a better workout at home usually. I go to a commercial gym maybe twice a year for fun. I love this gym. Stereo on..its great.


Nice setup.

Just before the pandemic started, I bought a set of Ironmaster dumbbells. They have been my workout salvation during the lockdown. I really like them: very compact and durable; very unlikely to get broken even if I drop them. It takes a bit longer to change the weight vs something like Powerblocks. So they might not be the best choice if you wanted to do quick drop sets. But I tend not to do those much anyway.

Aside from the dumbbells, I have a plain bench (Rogue), a pullup bar, a cheap dipping stand, and a weighted vest. I can see where having their bench, lat pulldown, and various accessories would help with variety. But so far, I've been satisfied with the upper body workout that I can get with my current equipment.

The one thing I miss is being able to load my legs heavily with something like a squat or deadlift. I use single leg variants as a substitute, but it never quite feels the same.

A squat rack would be nice. But they take up a decent amount of space, and between the bar, the plates, and the rack, I'd likely have to spend at least another $1000. That is a lot of money to just add squats and deads to the mix. So I haven't pulled the trigger on that yet.

In any case, most suppliers still seem to be sold out, so I couldn't place an order even if I was so inclined. I believe a lot of that stuff (steel and/or less expensive fabricated equipment) comes out of China. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for the supply chain to catch up with increased demand.
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sirloin

Lioncourt wrote:
sirloin wrote:
One other thing...

Given many gyms over the globe will be imposing time restrictions and time slots to members, we may see a HIT resurgence.




HIT in the traditional sense of the word is never returning to any decent levels of popularity. Aside from Ellington the HIT gurus are all pushing these very minimal 1x a week Body by Science routines, you'll never get anyone in general fitness to try them out. And I would argue that they are far from optimal as well.


Ah good grief...perhaps HIT resurgence was the wrong term. I mean gym goers not fucking about as much, spending less time on their phones between sets, more work in a given unit of time etc.
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hit4me

Florida, USA

HIT will not have a resurgence in private gyms imo, most people do not believe it's enough training even for just general fitness..some private gyms charge anywhere from 100 to 400 bucks a month which is totally assinine....la fitness that I go to has eliminated the basketball court by putting cardio equipment, the aerobics room also has cardio equipment...there are spray bottles of disinfectant everywhere that very use, arrows on the floor for direction that nobody follows,thing have changed and things have not changed....i will keep going until I no longer can go......the good thing is that less people are going, so I don't have to wait when I want to move quickly from one exercise to the next
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

==Scott==
A lot of people want to see other people working out and want the socialization that goes on in a gym. These days I want to see and be around other people like I want another hole in my head
and that?s not because of this virus. At work it?s nothing but people coming and going. I hear the phrase I?m a people person all the time. I am definitely not a people person . I love my solitary time working out. The next best thing about a home gym is I can do it when ever I want to and there?s no waiting for some stooge to get off the machine you want to use. I also know how to push myself without someone standing there egging me on. Do another rep, I have no problem pushing myself .
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BorisV

Maryland, USA

entsminger wrote:
==Scott==
A lot of people want to see other people working out and want the socialization that goes on in a gym. These days I want to see and be around other people like I want another hole in my head
and that?s not because of this virus. At work it?s nothing but people coming and going. I hear the phrase I?m a people person all the time. I am definitely not a people person . I love my solitary time working out. The next best thing about a home gym is I can do it when ever I want to and there?s no waiting for some stooge to get off the machine you want to use. I also know how to push myself without someone standing there egging me on. Do another rep, I have no problem pushing myself .


I echo every single word. Thanks, Scott!
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MikaelPR

Average Al wrote:
Interesting question. It will depend, somewhat, on how long people have to worry about the virus. If the pandemic fizzles out unexpectedly by the end of the summer, more will survive. If it remains a problem for another 18 month, but then we get a vaccine, the list of survivors will shrink further. If vaccines prove ineffective, or only marginally effective, there will be even greater damage and change.

As to who is most vulnerable:

One on one training studies probably have the best prospects: the facilities are uncrowded, with both the owner and the client having limited contact to random people. These businesses are able to make a profit with a relatively small, controlled client list. Their bigger risk is the pandemic recessions/depression: fewer affluent people mean fewer potential clients. Of course, the gym owner's debt load, and overhead costs will also be a factor: if you are paying for expensive space, and still have payments on a lot of expensive exercise machines, you still might not make it.

Those at greatest risk are training facilities that depend on group classes, packing a lot of customers into a relative small space (e.g., Orange Theory, Spin class studios). The need to provide well ventilated space while separating customers from each other will render many of those places unprofitable. It is kind of like the restaurant business in that regard: they can't be profitable with 25% or 50% occupancy.

Big box gyms fall in the middle. Some, like Planet Fitness, depend on selling a lot of memberships that aren't used much. If people decided gyms are not safe spaces, then they will have a lot harder time selling those memberships. Those gyms where the memberships are used, and have busy periods where the place is packed will have a difficult time retaining customers. That's because those customers are used to having a access to a wide range of equipment on their terms. They aren't going to want to deal with appointments and limited workout windows. Those places often make most of their money by upselling customers with group fitness classes, and personal training, albeit personal training that may be done in a somewhat more crowded circumstances.

Obviously, the home gym option will become more popular, for those who have the money and the space. The big issue here is that if you are used to having access to a large variety of specialized exercise equipment, training at home can feel pretty limiting. The guy who has three pieces of cardio equipment, and a full line of used Nautilus gear in his basement is a pretty rare bird.

This will also change the exercise equipment business: more opportunity for the home market, less for the commercial market.

People who can provide remote or online training, in a way that is entertaining and effective, but doesn't require a lot of equipment will have a nice niche.

On the plus side, the idea that being fit can improve your survival odds in the event of infection may encourage more people to engage in exercise.



I agree re: Planet Fitness, but talk about a genius business model. Several of the young guys who work for me have memberships to 2 different gyms, the second for each being Planet Fitness. Who is going to cancel a gym membership
@ $10 a month ?!
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Lioncourt

MikaelPR wrote:
I agree re: Planet Fitness, but talk about a genius business model. Several of the young guys who work for me have memberships to 2 different gyms, the second for each being Planet Fitness. Who is going to cancel a gym membership
@ $10 a month ?!


I've had a second gym membership to Planet Fitness along with my regular before. I used it for cardio during contest prep because they had tv's with each treadmill which my dungeon gym I lifted at did not.
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HeavyHitter32

MikaelPR wrote:

I agree re: Planet Fitness, but talk about a genius business model. Several of the young guys who work for me have memberships to 2 different gyms, the second for each being Planet Fitness. Who is going to cancel a gym membership
@ $10 a month ?!


Yep. Planet Fitness understands psychology. Many other gyms never did not and went out of business.
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