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Facing up to the Fitness Industry’s post lockdown challenges

Facing up to the Fitness Industry’s post lockdown challenges
April 28, 2020

Having last week assessed the challenges that the fitness industry will face in the post-Coronavirus lockdown world, Dan Henderson, Director of the Functional Training Institute and founder of Dan Henderson Coaching, explains four wasy to face the future.

Following Henderson's first article Planning for a post Coronavirus fitness industry that will not be the same, he now looks at four key areas that the operators and owners must address.

4. The Cleanliness of the Gym & Equipment needs to be a Top Priority 
COVID-19 is going to be rife for a long time and it will be front and centre in consumers’ minds. We need to double our cleaning efforts at the very least and member hygiene needs to a core prerogative. You must have hand sanitiser on arrival, wipes for all equipment and the entire gym cleaned multiple times per day. In addition, you will need it professionally cleaned multiple times per week. 

The first 90 days of reopening will be paramount and your clients and prospects needs to see your gym as a place they can trust. You need to start preparing your gym now for reopening by decluttering it, installing hand sanitiser dispensers, painting it, spacing your equipment and having rules and protocols in place. 

You should start marketing the cleanliness of your space as soon as the reopening dates are announced. Organise testimonials with clients saying how clean your space is and that you are an operator that is trustworthy. 

You need to allay the fears consumers will have about COVID-19 and these measures will go some way to doing so. 

5. Community is KING 
I coach a lot of businesses and those that heavily invested in fostering their communities are benefiting right now. Their people don’t want to leave despite the financial stress they are experiencing. 

After this extended period of isolation, people will crave community. If you can create that ‘third space’ in your fitness business then you will prosper. There will need to be considerations around spacing and numbers but it needs to be a top priority. It is more important than equipment, programming or a fancy brand. 

You should be creating your social calendars, events to compete in and open days as soon as the reopen date becomes public. Get people excited about being part of your community. 

6. The 24-Hour Gyms and Big Chains will Encounter Bigger Challenges 
The smaller operators and boutiques will have a significant advantage as they will be in a position where they don’t have to overhaul their business models to the same extent the bigger gyms do. 

Larger gyms and 24-hour access gyms will have to monitor the number of people that attend at any given time. They will also need to remove equipment or limit people’s access to it as pieces are quite often in close proximity to one another. 

Members that didn’t use their memberships frequently (otherwise known as sleepers) will not return to the gym now their membership has been on hold. This will mean the number of members lost will be greater than what will be seen in the boutiques. 

7. Speed will be Rewarded more than Ever
The new fitness industry will reward those that move with speed more than ever. Speed will the number one attribute of those that are successful post lockdown. The operators that adapt their business model the fastest, launch their reopens with the most appropriate messaging and build a business centred on trust not modalities or location will be victorious. 

There is a tremendous amount of hope for the fitness industry and I for one am very excited to see it evolve and prosper once again. 

Click here to read the first part of the article.

Image courtesy of Dan Henderson.

About the author

Daniel Henderson

Director of the Functional Training Institute and founder at Dan Henderson Coaching

Having achieved a BA in Sport and Exercise Managment, Honours in Human Movement from UTS, Dan Henderson started training in the fitness industry in 2007.

In 2008, he set up personal training studio ‘Coastal Bodies’ in Sydney. With seven trainers, the studio became one of the top performing training premises in Sydney, before he sold the business in 2017 to focus on other projects.

In 2009, he co-wrote my first accredited course, the ‘Fundamentals of Kettlebell Training’. This course has been taught to thousands of trainers worldwide and is the most popular course in Australia for personal trainers.

In the last three years Henderson and his company has produced 10 more accredited courses that are taught to trainers, becoming Australia’s leading ‘Functional Training’ education institution, employing 28 presenters in eight different countries.

Dan has presented at leading Australian and international fitness conferences and hosts his own podcast.

He can be contacted on

Read more from this author

Related Articles

23rd April 2020 - Fitness Australia says gyms can safely reopen within strict framework

23rd April 2020 - Planning for a post Coronavirus fitness industry that will not be the same

22nd April 2020 - Australasian fitness industry looks to post Coronavirus operations

9th April 2020 - Key exercise bodies produce New Zealand’s biggest online fitness directory during lockdown

7th April 2020 - Two-thirds of the world’s fitness clubs are currently closed

2nd April 2020 - Fitness Australia encourages Australians to ‘Keep on Moving’

31st March 2020 - With clubs closed fitness providers go online

23rd March 2020 - Fitness Australia flags outdoor exercise as an alternative to imminent gym closures

11th March 2020 - Fitness Australia releases advice on Coronavirus

12th March 2019 - New marketing strategies needed to drive ongoing growth of 24/7 gyms

8th April 2018 - IBISWorld shows that 24/7 budget gyms have transformed Australian fitness

21st March 2017 - 24/7 gyms need to consider security

20th April 2016 - Lower wage costs boost profitability of 24/7 gyms

2nd October 2013 - Fitness Australia releases new national guidelines for outdoor fitness training

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