The Demand for Virtual Fitness Increases with a Global Shut Down of Gyms and Studios

Updated: Apr 7, 2020

As gyms and studios are temporarily closing worldwide due to Covid-19 and it's war on our health, it's interesting to see who the "early adopters" are, those club owners and operators closing their doors based on "suggestions" from the government and medical organizations, and those riding it out, waiting for mandates and sanctions in their state or country. Whether we were the first to raise our hand and lead the way for others to follow or those who waited it out to better understand the course of this pandemic, I believe we are all coming from a place of good. All of our over-arching goals, whether as a parent, business owner, or even government leader, is to protect those that rely on us for their livelihood, safety and well being. It's a daunting position to be in, scary with a lot of unknowns, but important to pivot and redirect to keep our businesses alive and dependents taken care of.

As I'm housebound with my kids, writing about this from a fitness prospective, I notice the same behavior and choices with the virtual class offer. I notice those "early adopters" in the digital fitness space are operating on all cylinders, full speed ahead, continuing to offer their anytime, anywhere workouts, trainer sessions, online nutrition workshops, live-streamed mediation guidance, e-courses and those that wouldn't have even given this remote service a second thought two weeks ago. Then I see those gym and studio operators as well as fitness instructors and trainers realizing that this is now a vital component to their business, realizing they need to onboard a digital offer ASAP to meet their member's and client's needs - AT HOME!

As I wrote in my last blog, Covid 19's Impact on the Fitness Industry, China is looking to virtual fitness companies such as Les Mills On-Demand and Nintendo Switch to get their fitness fix. Here in the US, the current players in this game like NEOU, Peloton, Echelon, Mirror, Daily Om, Obé, openfit, Plankk Studio, alo moves, OMstars, p.volve, Tone It Up, Physique 57 On Demand, pure barre on demand, Sweat Factor, Beachbody, gymondo, CorePower Yoga On Demand, Class Pass and more are starting to get noticed and gaining in popularity from BOTH new and current fans. Many are offering their services for free for the next couple of weeks in light of the situation. Check out my previous blog HERE for the full list!

As gyms and studios are seriously gearing up to get into the fitness streaming game, my recommendation would be to GO ALL IN, not just do a quick fix with a YouTube, Zoom or Instagram + Facebook LIVE broadcast, but consider the virtual play as an additional revenue stream to one's bricks and mortar business model. Gold's Gym International launched GOLD'S AMP a "Digital Personal Trainer" offering both audio and video coaching for "anytime anywhere" workouts as well as music mixes from a library of DJs. For $9.99 a month, BOTH members and non-members can have access to the app, sync to their Fitbit and interact with the brand outside of the gym. Crunch Fitness, now offers 85+ online workouts and customizable fitness plans on Crunch Live. $9.99 a month or BOTH members and non-members. Let's take a page out of their playbook.

Forte allows studios to stream live and offer on-demand classes directly to the fitness enthusiast at home or on the go. They have partnered with boutique studios worldwide such as Exhale, Aerospace, Ripped Fitness, TruBarre, Flex Studios, Banana Skirt Productions, allowing users to experience these classes on their TV, Phone, Tablet or Laptop. Forte installs BOTH the hardware and software into boutique studios allowing their classes to be streamed LIVE to Forte's platform. The subscription based model is $39 a month for the fitness consumer.

BurnAlong, an online health and wellness platform, helps bring clubs and studios online by offering video classes direct to their fanbase. They are an easy plug and play platform to get your current fitness classes uploaded and dispatched and out to your members as well as other subscribers for about $14.99 per month. They currently have over 400+ instructors on their platform worldwide.

Here is a list of VOD and Live Streaming platforms to consider to help organize, upload and deliver your fitness and wellness content virtually, whether you're a club, studio or FitPro:

As I'm ending this entry I just listened to Mayor Bill de Blasio compare this time to the Great Depression and the 1918 Spanish Influenza, the most severe pandemic in recent history. This will have intense global economic impact, it goes beyond party ideology and specific business industries. We ALL need to be "transformers" and heed the warnings and recommendations of the medical elite to help "flatten the curve". It's a wait and see, but we can be proactive by just staying home! We live in a digital world, how hard can that be?

Be Well,

Ann Marie

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