FitBizWeekly reaches out to fitness industry professionals for guidance on common issues and opportunities.
FBW: From a public perception/reputational standpoint, is it sufficient for the fitness industry to maintain status quo or does more need to be done in the COVID-19 era?
Nick Corneil, Founder/CEO TRAINER + responds:
“I think the fitness industry not only maintaining but actually establishing a new reputation in the public eye as safe places, very conscious of the health and safety of members and staff is paramount in these times. This is not only a key part of ensuring public trust that fitness facilities are safe for people to return to, but that they are putting health and safety ahead of other concerns right now.
There are mixed opinions from the public about the way the industry works, but not about the value of fitness as both an important part of preventative healthcare, but also treatment in many cases. While some customers have experienced instances where sales and bottom lines have seemed more important than individual results, it can be a difficult balance for fitness companies who have to have a profitable business model, while providing the best experience for their customers. Customers want to have a fitness option that keeps them engaged and helps them achieve goals, but at the end of the day, have to be empowered to take control of their health and fitness.
What I see right now is a great opportunity for the fitness industry to change the reputation and narrative about fitness as an important part of healthcare. Now, more than ever, people have been made aware of how vital being active is to their health, and being deprived of their regular outlets for fitness, have realized the role that it played. By keeping a focus on health and safety as the first key value, the fitness industry can evolve from a commercial service into a key pillar in the healthcare system.
This will not necessarily be an easy change, as business models will have to be rethought to be more in line with the values of healthcare: evidence-based, patient-centred and long term (behaviour change) focused. With that said, fitness businesses are adapting to this changing landscape in a variety of ways and those that will thrive in this new paradigm focused more on service and online options, in conjunction with physical access, will be better aligned with these healthcare values. Not only will this help build public trust, but also help build trust from the healthcare and insurance industries and open up new markets for fitness. I believe the fitness industry is up for this challenge and excited to see this evolution.”