“59% of Americans don’t plan to renew their gym memberships after Covid-19 pandemic” – CNBC
Without question, everyone's life has been thrown into disarray during the global pandemic, and fitness routines have been no exception. Gyms being shuttered to stop the proliferation of COVID-19 and the subsequent “ease” of COVID-canceling memberships was just the beginning of the story that may spell doom for US gyms. Even pre-pandemic, as early as January gym forecasts were already projecting a 10% decline in 2020 revenue.
The Perfect Storm
COVID-19 went from a news story that was “affecting other people elsewhere” in February to the sobering reality that it was for real and would immediately alter every one of our lives in multiple ways – and quickly. While we're focusing on gym usage, early March is a rather common time for the remaining “New Year's Resolution” folks to ditch the gym, and when coupled with a global pandemic from a virus with unknown transmission methods in a hot & sweaty gym the stage was set for a mass exodus. When gyms temporarily closed their doors as the outbreak ballooned all over the country, athletes had already quickly moved on to their own “new normal” at home.
“There’s also an element of uncertainty. Americans are likely questioning how gyms would work in the post-pandemic world. Will it be safe, will it be feasible to go?” Molly Passantino
Even as “traditional” gyms were racing to figure out guidelines to reopen safely, CrossFit founder, Greg Glassman, incited intense backlash for his comments resulting in hundreds of gyms dropping their CrossFit franchises and thousands of athletes walking away from the brand along with their biggest sponsor, Reebok. Editor: Glassman's DFC shirt in the photo below may be indicative of his attitude.
Another reason for the success of home workouts becoming a viable alternative could be the explosion of Peloton, enabling anyone to participate in up to 48 “live” spin class and connect virtually with riders around the globe at the same time. Currently, with over 2 million subscribers, Peloton has sold over 400,000 bicycles and is currently valued at $4 billion. Needless to say, that's a big bite of the fitness market. Their most recent earnings call revealed massive recent growth.
“More than 56% of those surveyed say that the pandemic helped them find “more affordable” ways to get exercise and live a healthier lifestyle.” – CNBC article
Shelter At Home -> Work From Home -> Home Schooling -> Workout At Home?
The old saying “Home is where you hang your hat” can be easily amended for 2020: ” Home is where you hang out. Period.”
It's not just the high-dollar Peloton stationary bikes that are selling out, reports from around the country highlight bike shortages at stores like Target and Walmart: ‘They’re buying bikes like toilet paper’ — pandemic leads to a bicycle boom, shortage
Not into the bike? Well, running has experienced its own boom as of late as well:
Running is among the very best sports for social distancing. It is inherently solitary, and perhaps one of the easiest sports for a novice to jump into.
“It’s low maintenance,” said Ian Nurse, a sports chiropractor and owner of Wellness in Motion Boston, “You put on some shoes, you put on some shorts, and you go for a run.”
Swimming has always been a great fitness tool, and as we move toward the middle of summer I've seen several of my Facebook friends embracing swimming laps as a big part of their fitness regimen. When I was training for Ironman triathlons, three days a week I'd log a mile or more worth of laps in the community pool and I can attest to long-distance swimming as a great way to get a full-body workout that's impact-free. If you have the availability of a swim lane, why not put it to good use?
Staying Home, Staying Fit
Whether you're running trails, pounding the pavement, grinding gears, pushing iron, or swimming laps, the key to staying sane during these crazy times may be in staying active and fit. While we're waiting for events to re-start, let's all try to motivate each other to stay mentally and physically healthy.