Quarantine’s began nationwide around March 13th and at this point should come to no surprise that it’s impacting everything. What seems to be affected the most is how life we used to live has been turned upside down, there is a huge shift in what “normal” was and will look like as we continue to move forward. Business as usual however, will likely not be the same for most as our nation regains some normalcy as they begin to reopen their doors.
Over the last 10 weeks, businesses that have identified as “essential” (a term that many have grown to despise) have been able to remain open with certain precautions in place. Other businesses that have been categorized as “essential” have been ordered to close (a step that many believe not be constitutional and are not in support of regardless of the potential health impact it has on others). However, the silver lining here are that businesses that once reported not being able to do their work from home or remote locations, are not doing just that. At it seems to be widely accepted with one caveat, schools are closed, as well as most childcare locations. So many are working from home while trying to balance their home and work life.
We are beginning to see business conducted differently with a mixed bag of fortune and misfortune. Many local distilleries and breweries switch from their normal operations, to making sanitizing products. Larger manufacturing companies have adjusted to making face masks and other personal protective equipment. This has helped keep people employed, but not enough to keep everyone employed with unemployment rates being as high as 14.7 percent and in some states as high as 22 percent.
There are many businesses that may not return to “normal” operations any time soon, like hair salons, barbers, spas, and fitness centers to name a few. This is because of the inherent nature of proximity between people. While these businesses may not be able to adjust they way they do business, one profession has been able to make a quick pivot to allow them to stay afloat. The personal trainer, coach, fitness professional, or anyone that works with someone to help them improve their health and fitness.
While this profession was once known to operate within gyms and fitness centers, many have begun to separate themselves and move online. This movement has been happening for years now. But with the quarantine being so long and all encompassing, some had no choice but to make the move sooner. As it turns out, this has been a great opportunity for some as they have seen success with little hesitation from clients to sign up. Online meetings have become common place for most businesses now. This shouldn’t be all that surprising either as you may have seen them advertising on various social media platforms.
For those that haven’t been able to make the change as, well, to say it’s been an emotional roller coaster would be an understatement. I’ve known some gyms to operate with one or two months worth or reserve. That's not good because it means by now, if those gyms have not received support, they more than likely have closed for good. This is evident with reports of Gold’s Gym filing for bankruptcy protection and 24-Hour Fitness reviewing options before considering filing for bankruptcy.
What’s even more interesting is the amount of money that the fitness industry generates a year.
Want to guess how much that is?
If you guessed somewhere in the millions, you’d be wrong.
In the United States alone, the fitness industry generates about 30 BILLION dollars. Let that sink in for a moment because it’s important to note that this is a huge industry that is dominated by gyms and health clubs. Now that they are closed, where will this money be spent?
Here is my guess about how COVID-19 will impact fitness professionals.
Gyms will reopen, but they won’t reopen in the same way they had in the past. There won’t be as many people paying huge membership fees as they had in the past. At this point, many have found other ways to get their exercise in while gyms are closed. Some may have even bought exercise equipment for their home after remodeling unused rooms or garages. Others may have adopted other methods of keeping themselves fit and healthy by simply increasing the amount of daily activity they complete. The cool thing about health and fitness, there is never one way to accomplish improving your health and increasing your fitness.
For those looking for guidance, well, those people will now have a plethora of choices from personal trainers and coaches of all walks of life. Because of the forced normalization of online meetings and video conferences, people will be less cynical about hiring an online fitness professional. You will also, more than likely, see an uptick in online resources as these same professionals try to get in front of you.
This will likely mean you will continue to see more fitness professionals online. As a consequence, gyms will also be affected by this.
Here are a few more predictions for the fitness industry moving forward.
Moving forward, there is no doubt in my mind that this pandemic, regardless what you think or believe about it, has changed the landscape of the fitness industry. Whether it will be for the good or the bad, it’s still too early to say. I’m willing to bet that more fitness professionals are going to be able to make a better living from their profession after the pandemic.