It is unfortunately not all good news: there have been, and will be more, COVID casualties – the businesses that sadly fell at one of 2020’s many hurdles, breaking apart communities and livelihoods in the process.
Yet for the survivors, the metamorphosis of our sector may just be what it takes to future-proof gyms and studios for years to come.
So often berated for being slow to act, in the face of current challenges our sector has adapted and pressed fast-forward on its innovation, showing itself to be far more nimble, resourceful and resilient than is generally perceived.
Almost overnight, we channelled our expertise into digital platforms, becoming at-home fitness providers. Barry’s is a shining example, the strength of its brand and community allowing it to forge a determined path into the realm of online fitness.
Suppliers have stepped up to the plate too: our BODY BIKE On Demand platform, for example – virtual classes offered in partnership with Wexer – met the demand for ‘any time, anywhere’ exercise and drove bike sales to both home users and corporate gyms.
But at-home will not replace the in-club experience. Already we’re seeing green shoots of recovery for cycling in gyms and studios, as operators find socially distanced ways to deliver workouts – spacing bikes or even running outdoor classes – and members, locked away at home for far too long and seeking human interaction, begin to return to their clubs.
The challenges are far from over. Yet with clubs now re-opened in the majority of countries, we’re hopeful our sector can build towards an even stronger future – one in which people’s
new-found prioritisation of health will reinforce our value to an even broader audience. Finally, I wanted to say a very genuine ‘thank you’. Thank you for all the support you have shown to BODY BIKE – which has retained every member of staff on full pay throughout this crisis – and to this magazine, with subscriber numbers up 10 per cent during lockdown. We hope you find inspiration to move your business forward in the pages that follow.
Uffe A. Olesen
CEO, BODY BIKE International