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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.
Have you ever watched that oh-so-sweaty person leave their workout machine without wiping it down? Yuck. The Clorox wipes, paper towels, bottles of sanitizing spray are at your gym (and studio) for a reason— because no one wants to share bacteria. But now that our living quarters, even that tiny Upper Westside studio, have become our own personal fitness paradise, we’ve got one question: Is your at-home workout equipment *really* clean?
Research has found that bacteria can live on some gym equipment (weights, mats, you name it) for three days. That’s right, 72 full hours. And your yoga mat or those dumbbells you just got delivered from Amazon so you can slay that new virtual class you just booked on Mindbody are susceptible to the same stat. While it may seem silly to clean your own “stuff” because you’re the only one using it, think about where your hands have been before you pick up those weights. Perhaps your apartment complex’s keypad? Bacteria knows no boundaries.
From your resistance bands to your brand spanking new (and yes, most likely backordered) kettlebell, the gear you’re using at home could use a good wash, rinse, repeat—especially if you’re sharing it with someone you’re stuck at home with (like your S/O or stir-crazy housemate). Even if you’re the queen of clean (like me... just ask my co-worker, Natalie), here are six tips on how to keep your gear germ-free and looking good. Because we know all those classes you’ve been streaming are making you a fitness guru.
You not only want to clean the dirt off your workout equipment, you want to sanitize it. Clean gets the dirt, sanitizing takes care of the bad stuff (aka bacteria). Before you start getting crazy with the bleach or a DIY deodorizer, you’ll want to take into account the surface you are about to wipe down. Something like your treadmill, Peleton bike, resistance bands or bench press bench can be damaged by certain chemicals and at-home cleaners. If you’re worried about your equipment, opt for disinfectant wipes especially made for gym equipment, like all-natural Wipex. Plus, it’s never a bad idea to keep some hand sanitizer next to your workout station.
Clorox wipes have become the hottest household item of 2020—and we are guessing so has virtual yoga. If you’re not a huge fan of using chemicals you can’t pronounce and throw-away wipes on equipment like your Manduka mat, there are all-natural antibacterial cleaning options that will make Mother Earth proud. Who doesn’t want to make their cleaning routine a little more green? Companies like cleancult (we called them out in our 20/20 trends), offer effective, all-natural products delivered right to your door in recycled milk cartons —and they pair perfectly with your go-to disinfectants. Cleancult’s versatile All-Purpose Cleaner is my fave for wiping down workout gear, especially yoga mats (and almost everything in my home). The Saponified Coconut Oil acts as the “heavy lifter” without harsh chemicals. After working out, spray your surface(s), wait for a couple of seconds and wipe away with a reusable towel (or an old gym t-shirt you use as a rag).
While knowing what surface you’re cleaning is key, some of your equipment might benefit from DIY solutions. Before you roll up your sleeves and become the Harry Potter of cleaning solutions, invest in a glass spray bottle (or reuse an old plastic one). Oh, and break out the essential oils because they are about to boost your at-home fitness (and cleaning) routine. Most of the DIY cleaning “recipes” you find on Pinterest include ingredients you have at home—like vinegar, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. My must-use DIY cleaner is vinegar-based (with 10-12 drops of essential oils). It’s powerful yet natural enough that I feel more confident laying facedown in Savasana with my oh-so-sensitive skin after that yoga class in NYC I just streamed from San Diego.
Now that cleaning your at-home workout gear is part of your routine (hint, hint), letting your equipment dry is key. If you’re cleaning your more expensive exercise machine with some cleaning solutions that have a “smell” or you want it to dry faster, trying turning on a fan or crack open the window to keep the air circulating. If you’re just cleaned a more porous surface (like your yoga mat) hang it outside to dry—over a railing, a chair, bike rack... you get the gist. While fresh air is good, UV rays are not. Certain materials that make workout gear can breakdown in the sun, and you don’t want to get burned before your next workout sesh.
While cleaning your equipment might seem like a no-brainer, it can be easy to ignore the surrounding area where you work out. The title of this section tells you what you need to know—don’t forget to clean and sanitize the floor where you exercise. Just think of it this way, while you’re killing it in your virtual fitness class, your hard work is being noticed, by the floor that is, as your sweat beads go flying. And last time I checked; vacuuming doesn’t do the trick for dried sweat. After class, wipe down the area around your workout space with cleaning products that are conducive to the floor. Working out on carpet? Consider switching areas or look into sanitizing and deodorizing spray for material surfaces.
The most important part of cleaning and sanitizing your workout equipment is sticking to a schedule. If you’re forgetful (like me), keep your supplies adjacent to the area where you enjoy working out. And do it on the daily. Seeing the supplies will be a reminder to clean and sanitize before (and after) you get your sweat on—because who doesn’t love starting out their class on a cleanly note? Mother would be proud! PS: don’t forget to wash your hands!
Do you have any at-home cleaning and sanitizing tips you swear by when it comes to your workout routine? From DIY to cult-favorite products, we want to know! Tag @mindbody on Instagram to let us know! Stay clean, safe and sanitized our friends!