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Fitness Entrepreneurs Looking to Post-Pandemic Exercise Trends as COVID-19 Slams Gym Revenuess

  • After COVID-19 pandemic causes major disruptions to gyms, entrepreneurs bet on the future of the fitness industry
  • Digital fitness offerings have many advantages, but demand could drastically decline when normal routines return
  • Lower startup costs incentivize some entrepreneurs to bank on in-person exercise venues returning in force

COVID-19 has been an ongoing anchor on certain types of businesses throughout the pandemic, as changing consumer habits, social distancing requirements, or other factors cut deeply into their revenues. In the fitness industry, the pandemic has driven more people to get their exercise through digital means or outdoor activities and put gyms in a major financial crunch.

Even as gyms reopened after an initial shutdown at the beginning of the pandemic, membership has declined as people balk at new safety rules or fear the risk of contracting the virus. One recent study found that gyms pose a higher COVID-19 risk, along with venues such as restaurants and hotels. Several gym chains have filed for bankruptcy protection.

Some entrepreneurs have capitalized on the current situation by launching startups that offer live streaming or pre-recorded exercise sessions for subscribers to do at home. This is a low-cost model, involving fairly minimal expenses at the outset such as purchasing equipment and marketing costs, and consumers can enjoy several routines at a lower price than a gym membership or per-class admission. Digital fitness options can also appeal to people because they can be done at the subscriber’s convenience, and some people may feel more comfortable working out alone rather than alongside others.

Others believe that gyms and in-person classes will surge in popularity once a COVID-19 vaccine is widely available and fears of the virus ease. In the current environment, they have the ability to start a gym with a more affordable lease and purchase exercise equipment from suppliers who are eager to offload it at a lower price. Those who expect gyms to return in popularity also feel that people will want the more social experience of working out with a trainer or group of people.

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