The fitness industry has been flourishing in some ways and holding on by a thread in others. After an overall $20.4 billion loss in 2021, 17% of America’s gyms have permanently closed their doors, according to data from Placer.ai. But home workouts continue to be a viable alternative, with consumers purchasing their own equipment.
LA Fitness and Planet Fitness suffered a 35-54% loss in foot traffic over the past year. The most significant failure was 24 Hour Fitness, whose foot traffic decreased by a whopping 82% since the pandemic’s beginning. And in 2020, the company filed for bankruptcy.
In order to stay above water, fitness businesses have had to re-examine what their customer base is looking for and leave behind previously conceived notions about what makes a gym lucrative. For instance, to complement home workouts while avoiding group fitness classes, some consumers are looking to gyms for enhanced one-on-one training sessions.
Opportunities for socialization and customer service are key draws, Trophy Fitness Chief Executive Officer Kelley Gray told D Magazine. Consumers enjoy meeting new, friendly faces in a clean environment and training with professionals who can make their workouts better. But between layoffs and pay raises, many gyms aren’t prepared to provide the kind of pre-pandemic service that consumers want. Without those perks, they’ve got to readjust to a new normal and invest in the future by offering innovations such as the private personal training experience.
“With the pandemic, and people realizing how important health is, they’ve invested more with that,” said Gray.
He has made sure that Trophy Fitness is riding these trends into the future. The number of trainers at Trophy Fitness grew 20% over the past year to meet his clients’ needs, and as a result, his business is doing better than ever.