Today, with the lifting of home stay orders, people are enthusiastically returning to the gym. Only now, it is not just about exercising – it is about feeling connected. Ultimately, although the orders of social distancing have eased, many companies have chosen to remain in remote work arrangements, which has left many of us more lonely than we were before the pandemic. So how did what we try to get out of the gym and our fitness — and what they offer?
Although COVID-19 infections continue to fall and flow, thanks to vaccines and boosters, many people feel more comfortable with the idea of going back to common areas — especially the gym. According The New York TimesPlanet Fitness added 1.7 million new members in 2021 and opened 132 new sites, and US participation in Crunch has increased by 34 percent from pre-Covid levels.
But classic open-air gyms are not the only ones seeing an increase in attendance. Based on data recently collected from Mindbody’s portfolio, which now includes ClassPass, bookings for boutique fitness classes are also on the rise. This March, Mindbody bookings increased by 10% compared to last March, a brand spokesman told Well + Good. February 2022 also saw the most bookings since February 2020.
“Our numbers have definitely been going up since last summer — with some ebbs and flows coinciding with the pandemic — but we’re currently operating above our pre-COVID performance,” he says. [solidcore] CEO and President Bryan Myers. “Our clients are ready to return to the studio while practicing their community.”
Noah Neiman, co-founder of Rumble Boxing in New York, reveals that all Rumble studios have also seen a steady increase in customer bookings — both by loyalists and newcomers. “[They’re] “coming back more often than ever,” he says. “You can just tell from the energy in the studios, the emails and the DMs we get, that people are excited to go back to the routines that make their social senses buzz again.”
“People are excited to return to the routine that makes their social senses buzz again.” —Noah Neiman, Rumble Boxing
And with the influx of returning customers, many companies have made the executive decision to open more studios.
Barry’s has opened six new studios across the US since January 2021, plus five new international locations, says Barry’s CEO Joey Gonzalez. “We are also opening a new studio in Austin, with Portland and Tampa on the horizon.” In the meantime, [solidcore] has opened 15 more studios since the pandemic began, including the first location on the West Coast in Los Angeles. [solidcore] in communities across the country, ”says Myers.
The group fitness draw
Gap: People everywhere are looking for opportunities to reconnect after two years of relative isolation and social alienation.
“Since the pandemic, we’ve noticed that our members value the community aspect of our studio more than ever,” said Lauren McAlister, a nutritionist and co-owner of McAlister Training in San Luis Obispo, California. The reason? With an increasingly remote workforce, many people regularly meet only their roommates or the family members they live with, so being able to go to the gym and make friends with their co-workers is huge. “As a studio, we see it as an opportunity to make an even bigger impact. “People need connection just as much as they need movement — in a gym class, you have both,” McAlister adds.
“People need connection as much as they need movement – in a gym class, you have both.” “Lauren McAllister.”
Neiman calls this trend “The Great Return”: “People return in groups to experiential products and services,” he says. “Concerts, clubs, restaurants, gyms… Anything that makes you feel something, especially as a member of a team, comes back bigger than ever. “The Great Return is ahead of us!”
He sees this renewed interest in fitness as more than just health. “We are a community-based species and during the lockdown we stripped ourselves of our primary desire to live life together,” he says. “Now that most of the regulations have been lifted and the public’s fear has subsided, itching to return.”
But going to the gym is more than just a group experience. Science shows that moving together has a unique ability to build social bonds and improve our sense of well-being – something we can all use these days. This social connection can also lead to improved exercise performance.
In addition to providing a healthy space for building and nurturing personal connections, joint exercise can also boost motivation to commit to a regular exercise routine. It turns out that we find exercise more inherently satisfying when it is more social. Competing with our peers can also be a huge draw.
According to ClassPass 2021 Fitness & Beauty Trends report:
- People are 45 percent more likely to continue with a new workout routine if they attend a class with a friend during their first month in ClassPass.
- Those who exercise regularly with friends are more likely to follow it: ClassPassers who exercise with friends are 63% more likely to keep a routine for 12 months or more.
- Two-thirds of people say that studio lessons make it easier to follow a routine.
A 2021 study published in Social Science & Medicine He also discovered that belonging to a sports or exercise group can help protect us from depression, most likely because it helps us follow an exercise program and feel less alone while doing so.
Login across the studio
Knowing that clients are returning to the studio for both fitness and social networking, many gyms are expanding their efforts to help clients make the most of their subscriptions.
“These days, we host about as many events as we did before the pandemic, about once a month,” says McAlister, who is also a senior marketing specialist for Mindbody. Whether it’s training outdoors for Easter eggs, Halloween Kickball, or having fun with members, McAlister says it all has to do with bringing people together. “Our members come from all walks of life, but they love being able to come together and bond for a common interest,” he says. “People are honestly just looking for a connection and we’re more than happy to be a place to find it.”
At Barry’s, says Gonzalez, the studio is constantly looking for ways to connect with clients both inside and outside the studio. Whether it’s classroom challenges like “Face Yourself” with an emphasis on mental well-being, or “United We Sprint” to celebrate and give back to the LGBTQIA + community in June, we always create ways for our community to present itself. “and each other,” he says.
This sense of connection creates another reason to look forward to our workouts. “Team fitness provides an unparalleled sense of community that many of us have lost over the past two years,” says Gonzalez. “It allows us to appear for ourselves, while being with others who share the same goal of becoming stronger every day, both physically and mentally.”
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