With Covid-19 disrupting the Singapore sports and recreation landscape, gyms had to implement alternative business models to stay afloat.
The fitness and boxing studio Boom Singapore started online workouts with free sessions on Instagram Live. Haus Athletics also used Instagram as a platform to publish free 15-minute bodyweight workouts.
Both studios also offer paid virtual workouts on zoom to make things even better.
After restricting themselves to home training and runs in the neighborhood park during the breaker phase, fitness junkies in their favorite gyms had rarely broken a sweat.
Fortunately, the gyms were able to resume classes when Singapore entered the second phase of the reopening. Studios like the popular High Intensity Intermittent Training (HIIT) F45 have been reopened on social media for a lot of fanfare and excitement.
What is the new normal for gyms? Is the storm over or do you face completely new problems as you adapt to the new changes?
Disadvantages of the new normal
The first and easiest adjustments gyms have to make are to comply with the new rules and regulations of Sport Singapore.
Rules that keep the masks on, except during strenuous activities, inevitably have some disadvantages when it comes to the activities of gyms.
The feeling of community
The Garage Community Pre-Circuit Breaker / Image Credits: The garage via Facebook
Each gym has managed to build a unique community around its brand, which is vital for the return of members.
In discussions with fitness course participants, many agreed that the responsibility that comes with part of a community motivates them during training.
According to Jon Seow, a member of the Ritual Gym, group training is “a key aspect” that drives him during training, and training at home would cause him to “wear off” instead.
Interaction is certainly limited due to the rules for social distancing, which could reduce the attractiveness of attending courses in gyms.
Individuals are currently expected to be 2 meters apart. HIIT or group classes are limited to five people per session.
Gyms have also cordoned off areas where people could gather. Participants are also advised to bring a fully filled water bottle to prevent mixing with the water coolers.
F45 guidelines / Photo credit: F45 Holland Village via Facebook
These developments have made it more difficult to regain the sense of team spirit and community that was traditionally found in gyms and group classes.
Lusi Gao, a member of F45, feels that the sense of community has eased slightly during class.
"We used to have many groups of two to three people training and cheering on each other at the same station, but now everyone is limited to their own" box "and doing different workouts."
Nevertheless, fitness coaches and trainers have made additional efforts to ensure that their members are properly looked after, whether during physical education or online.
During the breaker, The Garage continued to engage its members online by keeping in touch with them. The team also provided services such as bulk order weights for home workouts so that members could continue their regimes and "not feel the disruption".
Reduced capacity and business outlook
According to the SportSG guidelines, each facility is limited to a maximum of 50 people. Even if the demand for physical classes continues, studios, especially smaller ones, are unlikely to meet demand.
According to Ruchdi Hajjar, founder of the Ring Boxing Community, the number of students attending courses on-site decreased by 30 percent, mainly due to safe distance measures.
His feeling was confirmed by The Garage's co-founder, Yen Wong: “Revenue was definitely impacted due to class size constraints. Unfortunately, our strategies cannot bring the business back to where we used to be. It can only minimize the impact. "
Is Zoom the Future of Gyms?
The online session of the garage / Image Credits: The garage via Facebook
Most studios now make videos available to members, and members can choose to attend virtual classes versus physical classes.
Wesley de Souza, vice president of Evolve MMA, said that the gym's online offerings will remain "a large part" of its programs even though physical education has resumed.
Despite online developments, Yen believes that online courses are just a "jerky response" to the Covid 19 pandemic.
The garage conducted a survey of over a hundred people. The results showed that people still preferred to go to the gym because of “community and motivation”.
"The future of fitness is about empowering people more effectively using technology, but not within the confines of the walls at home," said Yen.
Selected picture credits: The garage via Facebook