How S’pore Fitness Studios Are ‘Working Out’ Their Game Plan As They Adapt To The New Normal

With Covid-19 disrupting the sport and recreation landscape in Singapore, fitness studios have had to implement alternative business models to stay afloat.
However, after being limited to home workouts and runs at the neighbourhood park during the circuit breaker period, fitness junkies were raring to break a sweat in their favourite studios instead.
Thankfully when Singapore entered its second phase of reopening, fitness studios were allowed to resume classes. Studios like the popular High Intensity Intermittent Training (HIIT) F45 reopened to much fanfare and excitement on social media.
That said, what is the new normal for fitness studios? Has the storm passed or do they face a whole new set of problems when adapting to the new changes?
The first and most straightforward adaptations that fitness studios have to make are adhering to the new rules and regulations put in place by Sport Singapore.
Rules that include keeping masks on at all times except when engaging in strenuous activities inevitably have some drawbacks on the activities of fitness studios.
Each fitness studio has managed to build a unique community around their brand, which is essential in keeping members coming back.
In conversations with fitness class goers, many agreed that the accountability that comes with part of a community is what keeps them motivated while working out.
According to Jon Seow, a member at Ritual Gym, exercising in a group is “a key aspect” that pushes him during workouts, and exercising at home would result in him “slacking off” instead.
Due to the social distancing rules, interaction is surely limited, which might reduce the appeal of attending classes at fitness studios.
Individuals are currently expected to keep a 2-metre distance from one another and in the case of HIIT or group classes, not more than five individuals are allowed in each session.
Fitness studios have also cordoned off areas where people might congregate. Participants are also advised to bring a fully-filled water bottle to prevent inter-mingling at water coolers.
These developments have rendered it tougher to regain the sense of team spirit and community that was traditionally present in fitness studios and group classes.
Lusi Gao, a member of F45, feels that the sense of community has waned slightly during classes.
“A lot of what we used to have was groups of two to three people working out at the same station and cheering each other on, but now everyone is confined to their own ‘box’ and doing different workouts.”
That being said, fitness instructors and trainers have put in the extra effort to ensure that their members are adequately attended to, be it during physical lessons or online.
As per the guidelines by SportSG, each facility is capped at a maximum of 50 people. Thus, even if the demand for physical classes persist, studios, especially smaller ones, are unlikely to accommodate the demand.
His sentiment was echoed by co-founder of The Garage, Yen Wong: “Sales has definitely been affected due to the class size limit.
Unfortunately, our strategies are not able to push business back to where we used to be. It can only minimise the impact.”
Most studios now provide members with videos, and members may choose to attend virtual classes as compared to physical ones.
Evolve MMA’s vice president Wesley de Souza said that even though physical classes have resumed, the gym’s online offerings “will remain a big part” of its programmes.
Despite the online developments, Yen feels that online classes are just “a knee-jerk reaction” to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Garage conducted a survey with over a hundred individuals, and results showed that people still preferred going to the gym due to “the community and motivation”
“The future of fitness is about empowering people more effectively with the help of technology, but not within the constrains of the walls at home,” said Yen.
Featured Image Credits: The Garage via Facebook
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