A Global Crisis?

The cost of living crisis is never far from the headlines these days. So, how is our sector faring in different parts of the world? We report on the challenges being faced and the strategies being deployed.

Around the world, news headlines spotlight a spiralling cost of living crisis, with inflation rampant, the cost of energy and food rocketing, businesses closing in the face of unmanageable bills and consumer disposable income heavily squeezed.

With the war in Ukraine on its doorstep and a traditionally heavy reliance on Russian gas, Europe feels especially embattled; in the fitness sector, trade associations are firing warning signals about existential threats to business.

The challenges aren’t limited to Europe, however, although not every country is feeling the same pinch: we spoke to a health club operator in Saudi Arabia who told us the cost of living crisis was “not something they were experiencing”.

So, how is our sector faring in different parts of the globe? We speak to operators across Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Americas to understand the region-by-region challenges facing our sector at the moment, and the strategies that might be deployed to navigate them.

Steven Ward

Strategy & innovation director, GO fit – Spain & Portugal
A forward-looking green agenda means GO fit now faces the crisis in a very strong position, says Steven Ward

Michal Homola

Founder, Terra Hale – UK
At Terra Hale, energy use is about 80 per cent lower than the typical gym, says founder Michal Homola

Andreas Paulsen

CEO, EuropeActive
We must use the current situation to inform long-term sustainability, says EuropeActive CEO Andreas Paulsen

Jordy Kool

Chair, Urban Gym Group – Netherlands
We expect to make acquisitions. How can smaller operators survive in this climate? asks Urban Gym Group’s Jordy Kool

Jeb Balise

Founder & CEO, Drop Fitness – USA
Energy costs are not yet prohibitive in the US, but even if they rise, Drop Fitness aims not to hike prices, says Jeb Balise

Simi Williams

Founder, Beyond Fitness – Nigeria
Beyond Fitness is mitigating the rising cost of diesel by harvesting solar power, says founder Simi Williams

Antonio Iozzo

Founder & CEO, Body Action Gym – South Africa
Designing a green building was not the cheap option, but it will pay back, says Body Action Gym’s Antonio Iozzo

Simon Flint

CEO, Evolution Wellness – South-East Asia
A pilot project at Evolution Wellness has highlighted potential savings of US$34,000 per club, says CEO Simon Flint

Kenny Choong

Co-founder, FLYPROJECT – Malaysia
The challenge in Malaysia is not energy costs, says FLYPROJECT co-founder Kenny Choong. It’s hybrid working.

Timothy Felix

CEO, Active Fitness – Singapore
Over-supply in indoor cycling is forcing down prices just as inflation is hitting, says Active Fitness CEO Timothy Felix

Ben Lucas

Founder & CEO, Flow Athletic – Australia
We survived lockdown. Rising electricity costs aren’t going to break our business, says Flow Athletic’s Ben Lucas

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