Gyms have been closed since Saturday 21stMarch under Covid-19 lockdown rules in the UK.
As rules ease around socialising, shopping, and seeing other people, it’s time to ask: what will the “post-lockdown” gym set up look like? Will we ever go back to packed gyms, shared equipment, and large classes?
The Gravity Academy calisthenics, bodyweight, and functional training centre thinks things will look a little different…
“We don’t really know when gyms – including our own – will reopen,” said Mr Hawkins, founder of The Gravity Academy in Coventry. “But it’s pretty clear that returning customers will want gyms to do things differently. We are already in a great position to offer people a socially-distanced training experience. We have always kept classes small, so numbers are limited. People don’t need to share kit, and they have plenty of space. I think other gyms and leisure centres will need to do the same if they hope to attract customers back and make them feel safe enough to stay.”
Looking after customers
“It’s clear that consumer needs have changed during this pandemic. Health has moved up people’s priority list, and more people are seeing the value of gyms for long-term health rather than appearance. But people are wary about being around people (especially strangers). Gyms need to reassure customers that they really understand their concerns. The Gravity Academy is already set up to address all this with our large space, small class sizes, and clear policies around hygiene.”
“Gyms will need to show customers what they are doing to prepare for reopening. People won’t want to come back if there is any doubt about cleanliness or class sizes. The Gravity Academy has been in touch with existing customers throughout lockdown anyway, and we’ve been putting lots of content out on social media to show how keen we are to have people back – with the proper measures in place.”
Commitment to cleanliness
“This one is pretty obvious. I don’t think any gym will survive unless they have a serious – and clearly communicated – approach to hygiene and cleanliness across all parts of the facility. People need to see it happening for themselves. Hand sanitiser and anti-bac spray might have to be a permanent fixture in the gym – but that’s no bad thing!”
“The days of turn up and train might never return. Our model (of limited membership and small class sizes) means we can easily control how many people are in our gym space, how many people use the kit, and how much time we have to clean between classes. I wonder how big box gyms will manage that? I don’t see how they can return to an open-door policy, with unlimited numbers of people passing through the gym and using the same equipment. The industry may need to start using booking systems for classes, small group training, and even equipment.”
Smaller class sizes
“We have always had small class sizes, because it enables us to give people a better experience and more personalised coaching. I think all gyms – regardless of the size of their membership – will have to head down this route. Will people be happy to turn up to a class with 30+ people booked in? Smaller class sizes may be the future. But I think this is a positive thing for customers on so many levels.”
The Gravity Academy is a Calisthenics, Bodyweight and Function training centre in Coventry. Our mission is giving people an outstanding training experience with “unconventional” approaches you won’t get in a regular gym: bodyweight training, calisthenics, mobility, yoga, and street workout style training.
We’ve always had limited membership and small class sizes to ensure everyone gets personalised programming and close attention from our coaching staff. As we get ready to reopen after lockdown, we will stay true to our values of transparency, communication, and a safe and fun training experience.