Health club and fitness professionals have long been skilled in adapting to changing market conditions. That’s never been more tested than now. Faced with the ultimate disruption of COVID-19, health clubs have shown a remarkable ability to establish new best practices and adjust their environment to keep members safe and engaged.
One strategy that’s emerged during the staggered reopening is moving group X classes and workouts outdoors. This isn’t a luxury every facility has, but for those clubs who have space that they can utilize, it’s created more opportunity to deliver group fitness instruction to members.
A big reason expanding services outdoors is a good idea is that you can accommodate more customers. With social distancing a factor in limiting capacity in health clubs (especially during peak hours), having the ability to divert the spillover to another location can solve a lot of problems.
Is it safer to exercise outdoors? Experts haven’t reached a firm consensus on the question, according to news reports, but it’s always great for clubs to have that option. In fact, being able to adjust your training floor schematics and offering outdoor and digital choices appears to be part of a successful strategy for reopening. Again, it’s all about adapting to the moment.
Even with these options available, clubs have found it difficult to incorporate performance training, especially functional training (FT) classes, into the new gym environment. Much like high-energy HIIT classes, this group X concept requires shared equipment among several people, something that doesn’t work with social distancing. But, as with all things fitness, there’s a workaround.