Fitness industry on the brink of extinction, say gym owners

As new COVID restrictions are imposed, more than a lakh of fitness industry workers see an uncertain future. Gym owners say that in previous closings, up to 25% of gyms have not reopened, and the current restrictions could have dire consequences for the industry as a whole.

“During the last confinement, we had to pay the fixed charges for electricity. Many employees found themselves unemployed. We had to spend huge amounts of money on maintenance and we continued to pay taxes. Additionally, over 90 percent of gyms operate in rented accommodation, but there are no guidelines for rent discounts, ”said Mahender Agarwal, Managing Director of Energy Fitness to India Today.

There is a global change in the industry. A November study by ClubIntel of 2,000 members of US gyms found that 54% of those surveyed have frozen or canceled their subscriptions. In September, when more than 87% of fitness clubs in the United States had reopened, 60% of members were still not returning to gyms while 20% had stopped exercising altogether, as Reuters reported. .

The effect of this was felt last year as the traditional spike in gym memberships in January turned into an increase in online classes given the importance of maintaining mental and physical health during COVID-19. Going online can permanently change the $ 32 billion industry, experts say.

The fitness lobby group International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) estimated that as of September 30, 15% of gyms had closed permanently in the United States. It also reported losing more than $ 15 billion in revenue and cutting 4,80,000 jobs, according to Reuters.

“The government needs to understand that gym goers are the ones who care about their health; therefore, they will never take the risk of being exposed to COViD. If restaurants can operate at 50% occupancy, why are gyms? can’t they, “said Mahender Agarwal, managing director, Energie Fitness.

Industry executives say the government must call a meeting of the fitness industry to discuss the situation before imposing the lockdown.

“Like any other commercial enterprise, we can also operate on an odd-even or 50 percent occupancy basis. What will we do now. How will we pay our employees. Where will we go for a living. The government must act reasonably and consult with us before taking such steps, ”said Dinesh Sharma, CEO of Iron Pumpers Gym.

(With contributions from Abhishek Anand)

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