As pandemic recedes, health clubs fight for the comfort of their members | Economic news


Today, less than half of small gyms and fitness studios expect to survive 2021 without federal government support.

Location matters

Attendance depends a lot on location, said Ray O’Connor, CEO of Wisconsin Athletic Club, Wisconsin’s largest private health club. Urban clubs have had the hardest time attracting members, O’Connor said. Suburban gyms are doing better, while out-of-state clubs can have 80% or more members.

While Rodriguez says the industry is in desperate need of help, she also sees hope in some trends.

“I think our data shows members are missing their clubs,” she said. “We are always of an illusory optimism. We will survive, but it would be great if we had some help.

McMahon said he has seen a change as more and more people are getting vaccinated.

“The older demographic… is starting to come back,” he said. “Because they get hit. They obviously feel comfortable in the gym.

Full schedules

Rodriguez said vaccinations are a major factor in getting people back to gyms, as are routines that have been disrupted by social distancing.

“It’s hard for parents to go back to the gym,” she says. “At school, daycares and jobs are becoming less distant, even though it’s a hybrid. These are the three key elements. “

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