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Fitness memberships, workout classes, wellness services, beauty appointments and more.
As we all continue to work through the current coronavirus pandemic together, many of your favorite fitness and wellness businesses have had no choice but to temporarily close their doors. Without a chance to offer their usual services or classes, many business owners are struggling with a very important question:
Memberships are critical to the health of a fitness business. It’s a revenue stream that they count on each month to keep the lights on and their teams employed. Now, with many of us unable to visit these locations, a business could decide to suspend all memberships for the time being—but is that the best option? As members, we still need to work out, and there’s plenty of opportunity for the business to help with that. Plus, in these isolating times, fitness studios can provide their members a sense of community right when they need it most.
There are several options studios can consider when it comes to memberships, and there’s a lot that influences which is best for them.
This is likely the best solution from the business’s point of view, but the question remains: how can they provide members the same value they get from their traditional memberships, but in a new way?
Whether a member usually visits once a week or once a day, much of the value of their membership is the sense of belonging that the studio provides. More than ever, people crave this as they cope with isolation at home, and businesses are already working hard to keep their members engaged. They might create a Facebook group for members with daily workouts or encouragement. Some may offer classes or workouts through live or recorded video, and others may be able to offer small-group workouts outside where clients can be spread out.
Many owners are even working to ensure their members have access to the equipment they need for at-home workouts (even if that means delivering their own studio equipment for them to borrow or rent). All of these options provide value to clients. For their part, many members themselves believe in the intrinsic value that small businesses bring to the community and are open to continuing their memberships through this time.
If you are a member somewhere, it’s likely they’ve reached out to share new services they’re offering—but if not, feel free to ask them for updates. This may help you to ultimately decide what you want to do with your membership.
Hint: If you search “virtual” in your area using the Mindbody app, or on Mindbody.io, you'll find that studios, either those you have loved for years or ones you've wanted to try, are adding online classes every day. (Remember: you don't necessarily have to search in just your current area. "Virtual" means maybe checking out a class in NYC right now.)
Some businesses are voluntarily deciding to give members a choice. When Stephanie Stackhouse of SLO Yoga Center emailed her clients to let them know the studio was temporarily closing, she gave members the option of continuing. Stackhouse shared why the support was important and how the studio plans on continuing to provide class through a live stream. She gave two options members could click on: “Yes, continue my billing in support of Yoga Center” or “No thank you, please suspend my membership for now.”
If you are a member at a studio and have decided to continue your membership, reach out to the owner to let them know why—and what their studio means to you. They could likely use a kind word these days, and your sentiment may help encourage other studio members to do the same.
This option offers a sort of middle road for your studio: it’s not as favorable for them as keeping memberships as they are, but it might provide their members enough relief to keep them from canceling altogether. Studios know their members may be dealing with situational and financial hardships of their own, so as a show of good faith, some may offer a discount on the next month’s membership fees. This feels like a win for clients, who want to continue to support the business but may be coping with tough times of their own.
As you think about your own fitness membership in the era of COVID-19, you’ll have to consider how you feel about your membership—what the business means to you and your sense of community—and weigh that against your current ability to continue your support during these times. There’s no easy answer. But remember, your studio has fixed costs. Rent isn’t socially distancing itself from anyone anytime soon. These businesses play an important role in the lives of many, many people—perhaps even in yours. When things return to normal—and they will—we want these places to be there for us to return to.
Remember, we are getting through this together, and together we will emerge stronger. To show your local studios support during this time, please visit them on Mindbody.io or in the Mindbody app and find your favorite classes or one you've always wanted to try. Also, tag them on social media, along with @Mindbody, and we will support in any way we can.
That’s something I never expected to hear. Think about it: we join gyms and studios because of their equipment, instructors, space, community (and AC, of course). But who’s to say we can’t get all that—or at least most of it—with virtual and online classes, too? In this new wave of wellness, we’re all switching up our fitness routines as we switch up our everyday schedules and habits. It’s not just in-studio or at-home anymore. It’s in-studio, at-home, at the park, beach, parking lot, rooftop...virtual, hybrid, Instagram Live, online, on-demand, and so much more. As we’re adapting, adjusting, finding our groove, etc., online gym memberships enter the fray. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
There are tons of benefits to an online gym membership, especially right now.
Let’s break this down:
1. Scheduling convenience
A virtual/online gym fitness membership is a monthly subscription that gives you access to tons of live stream fitness classes you can take anywhere, from studios across the globe. These fitness studios offer tons of at-home workouts, group exercise, and one-on-one training sessions to choose from, no matter your exercise program or fitness level. With so many options, it’s easy to find one that fits your schedule. Whether you want to fit in a morning flow before work, combat that afternoon slump with some cardio, squeeze in some strength training before dinner, or wind down with an evening barre class, you can pick and choose classes to fit your fitness routine.
2. Minimizing exposure to COVID-19
And because they’re online, you can take these classes from the comfort of your home (or wherever you are), thus minimizing your exposure to COVID-19 and eliminating your commute to the gym or studio. By now, many of us have our designated “workout spot,” whether it’s an actual weight room, a quick scooch of the coffee table, or a grassy area in the backyard. Maybe you’re comfortable here... maybe you’ve even learned to love it.
With an online gym membership, you can stay in your safe space/comfy workout spot. Or, you can go somewhere new (local park, beach spot, a different area of the house, you know). You can access these virtual, live stream fitness classes from any device, so you can prop up your phone, laptop, or tablet wherever you want to go, or roll out your mat in front of the big screen TV in your living room.
We all have our favorite, go-to workouts. But sometimes, it feels good to switch it up (especially right now). Working from home all day, many of us are craving some variety and excitement, and an online gym membership can definitely help with that. According to our recent poll about COVID’s effect on our fitness routines, 64% of you have tried new online workouts since the start of the pandemic—I know I have. Maybe it’s because trying new things is easier in the comfort of our homes, maybe we’re finally able to try some classes we normally can’t find locally, or maybe we’re all just bored out of our minds...I don’t know. But I’m excited about it.
With an online gym membership, you can get that spice you’re looking for easily. Start out your Monday by hitting some HIIT, ease your sore muscles with some Restorative Yoga, and end the week with some dance cardio to pretend you’re at the club. The world is yours.
4. Working out without a commute
My favorite part? No commute. There are literally no more excuses when it comes to skipping workouts. No traffic, no schedule conflicts, no fear of returning to the studio. You don’t even have to worry about packing a gym bag with a change of clothes and shower supplies or prepping a snack or protein shake to bring to work. Just shut your computer, throw on some leggings, and get to work.
Community—the element of online fitness memberships we don’t often think of. When we go into studios, we understand the beauty of a fitness community. We’re greeted by our instructors, we chat with others in the class, and we all sweat together and encourage each other throughout. But working out at home is different... or is it?
We can do workouts on our own at home all we want, but we’re definitely going to miss out on the community aspect we all know and love. But, with live stream classes, we can create a different kind of community. The beauty of it? It’s not just your neighbors anymore. Anyone with an online fitness membership can join these classes, regardless of where they’re located in relation to the studio, so you can be working out alongside people from all over the world—now that’s something I can get behind.