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To mark

The industry may never return to its old ways after the pandemic, but can the virtual world replace the sense of community that a fitness center offers?

The friendly hello from the receptionist. In the free weight area, your fist hits familiar faces. The collective gasp when an instructor yells for another round of punches in the body combat class. Even for those of us with an attitude towards getting out, the gym offered more social interaction than we actually thought. The system was massively shaken when we were suddenly forced to train alone in the living room.

Digital on the advance

Because Covid-19 precautions forced gyms to be closed for a short period of time, Fitness First launched an online platform called FF on Air. Jason Tubbs, Group Head of Operations, Fitness First, said, “It doesn’t replace the actual experience because to be motivated people have to have the coach in front of them. This mix of on-demand and IRL is crucial. In fact, we have increased the number of courses by 30 percent than ever before because the demand is so great. “

You cannot replace a fantastic teacher who will call your name and make you do your best. You can’t catch up on a nice workout at the gym with your friends and have a coffee. Most people missed that during the pandemic.

– Jason Tubbs, Group Head of Operations, Fitness First

Fitness First is now building larger gyms to meet pandemic-era demand. “You cannot replace a fantastic teacher who will call your name and urge you to do your best. You can’t catch up on a nice workout at the gym with your friends and have a coffee. That’s what most people missed during the pandemic, “Tubbs said.

Gym2

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In the case of GymNation, the sheer size of their facilities enabled them to house equipment with social distancing in mind. Loren Holland, founder of GymNation, said: “We have seen minimal disruption and continue to invest in additional cleaning staff, disinfectant wipes and spray stations in our gyms. We have also set up additional group gym classes to compensate for the reduced capacity. We receive and continue to pass regular regulatory inspections. “

We have seen minimal disruption and continue to invest in additional cleaning staff as well as disinfectant wipes and spray stations in our fitness studios. We have also set up additional group gym classes to compensate for the reduced capacity. We receive and continue to pass regular regulatory inspections.

– Loren Holland, founder, GymNation

Holland pointed out that it is estimated that only 7 percent of the UAE’s population is physically active in some form, giving fitness companies an opportunity to increase that number to 20 percent, as in some European countries.

“Thirty percent of our members have never been to a gym before joining GymNation, and we work hard to continue to ensure GymNation is a non-intimidating and welcoming environment that is suitable for everyone from professional athletes to first graders. Time gym members, ”said Holland.

Streaming services

Platform Studios adapted to the changes in the pandemic by quickly ensuring that all members were remotely connected to their coaches. “We had trainers teaching from their homes on various streaming services. We also made sure members had access to equipment like bikes and free weights, ”said Stewart Miller, Founder and CEO of The Platform Dubai.

“We started with Zoom and quickly invested to launch Studiostv.com, a platform where we offered live and film courses on mobile devices, laptops or on TV. We made sure that we offer the same in-studio classes as cycle, HIIT, Pilates and yoga. “

We started with Zoom and quickly invested in launching Studiostv.com, a platform where we offered live and film courses on mobile devices, laptops or TVs. We made sure we offer the same in-studio classes such as cycle, HIIT, pilates, and yoga.

– Stewart Miller, Founder and CEO of The Platform Dubai

On the way forward, Miller said, “We don’t believe in replacing the overall experience of our community both offline and online, we believe in improving it. We understand the importance of social media and use what we have from a digital perspective. “

Metrofitt believes it is only a matter of time before all fitness brands adopt a combination of online and offline courses. “Our biggest challenge was that many members just weren’t ready to go back to training,” said Nitesh Seebran, CEO and co-founder of Metrofitt. “Our strict cleansing and social distancing protocols put many members at ease and got them back into their workouts. Our second challenge was that many members were professionally affected by this pandemic, either a pay cut or their jobs. Our goal was to make sure we didn’t make her difficult situation worse. We have allowed members to cancel or renew their membership for free. In this way we have found that many are now coming back to join as they had an easy exit and appreciated it. “

Equipment rental

The pandemic spurred Vogue Fitness to revamp its business model and offer a full course schedule at all locations, as well as personal training services for at home, online coaching and equipment deliveries.

“When the gyms closed last year, we immediately rented our equipment to our members and supplemented the rental with daily free online fitness classes of very high production quality,” said Billy Graham, co-founder of Vogue Fitness. “We then spent the closure building our equipment delivery arm, which is now one of the largest functional fitness equipment warehouses in the UAE and offers fast delivery. We have also restructured our organization and further developed our management structures to ensure that we can reopen even stronger than before the pandemic. “

When the fitness studios were closed last year, we immediately rented our equipment to our members and supplemented the rental with daily free online fitness courses with very high production quality.

– Billy Graham, co-founder of Vogue Fitness

For all the misery the pandemic has spread, it has also forced people to focus on health and fitness. The biggest change for gyms is going online and offering digital products. Businesses are starting to offer meaningful corporate programs that go beyond the outdated traditional approach of just compiling a list of discounted employee memberships.

The digital trend will be an emerging niche market. However, it will grow in line with the industry in general and will not be mutually exclusive with the growth of stationary health and fitness companies in the UAE. The industry will continue to mature and the variety of niche and micro-gyms will thrive over the next three to five years.