The fitness industry, the pandemic, and the future
In 2019 the fitness industry grew to ever greater heights. Buoyed on by global government understanding of the value of a healthier population, and an increasingly wide gap between the ultra-wealthy and the middle class, there seemed to be no stopping the march towards success. A younger population less interested in drinking and smoking and a lot more interested in looking good on camera. Fitness had become an affordable luxury and pursuit beyond simply having a summer beach body.
The pandemic can be seen through the prism of the different sections of the industry. For example, outdoor bootcamps were less immediately affected, and faster to open. Large box gyms, reliant on inactive member bases, were quick to close, slow to open and faced financial impacts that could shape the immediate future of the industry and beyond.
Then the pandemic struck and within the space of a few weeks the industry was suddenly plunged into doubt and fear – indoor training seemed like it could be one of the easiest spreading environments.
The industry response was nothing short of incredible. Within weeks it had completely pivoted and was now offering an online version of its classes and keeping members along the path to their goals – and mental health. Beyond that, fitness classes became more than just about fitness and represented often the only community contact that an attendee might have in a day during the lockdown.
We have experienced three main stages so far – the immediate backlash, the response, and the second wave of understanding. Hopefully, they will soon be joined by a fourth, but for the time being here is what we’ve learnt so far and what it means for the fitness industry.
The immediate backlash
The first thing that we saw was that the fitness industry seemed very likely to be hit, and very early. The second thing was that the industry was largely being ignored in favour of hospitality.
This seemed to fly in the face of mounting evidence that health and fitness largely dictated the potential danger of the virus, with the obese and unfit hit most hard. If anything you could say that a reasonable response to the virus would have been mandated weight loss boot camps.
Why was the industry so exposed?
With rising rents and the popularity of small box fitness, the industry has been working in smaller and smaller spaces. This was a bad sign and there were concerns over viability if class sizes were reduced by a large amount. This immediately looked to impact the most customer-focused businesses – small group and boutique classes.
This didn’t impact personal trainers in the same way, and with this an important revenue stream for most businesses, many clients switched to this format.
Indoor sanitation and cleaning
Quite simply, the perception of many fitness spaces was that of bad hygiene. The reality is of course quite different. Reputation is vital and most fitness spaces recognise that cleanliness and safety are key parts of customer happiness and retention – and even beyond that the ability to stay open in the face of regulations. You could say that the fitness industry was ahead of the game in this respect.
Different types of fitness appeal to different age groups. Once it was clear that the virus was less dangerous for younger clients, the immediate fears subsided greatly.
Level of sweat
An early South Korean study showed that low impact exercise like yoga and Pilates were actually incredibly low infectivity risks. The study was based on two infected instructors who taught both a high impact dance based class and also low impact classes on the same day. The clients who attended the high impact class were infected considerably. The low impact class? Zero infection cases.
In March 2020 most fitness businesses closed their doors with the future uncertain. In what will be looked back on as one of the most incredible stories of the pandemic, most did not stop trying to help their clients.
The response of most fitness businesses was to ask:
• How can we help customers maintain their fitness
• How can we ensure the survival of our business
• What does that look like
There were only really two options for business owners – try to stay open and relevant, or shut down for a time and try to survive.
In countries like the UK, this was greatly helped by grants that were made to the hospitality sector, including the fitness industry. However, this was also tempered by the lack of help with rent payments. So, effectively, grants were made to support private landlords. This meant that sitting still wouldn’t be enough.
In shock, and in the space of about two weeks, around 50% of small fitness businesses had switched to an online offering supported by software systems like TeamUp that pivoted to help their community of users.
The response was amazing. Customers didn’t just embrace the new classes… they loved them. Communities coming together
Stuck in lockdown, many customers felt disconnected and lonely. Online fitness classes filled a huge gap and even the before class chat became a key connection point.
Some fitness owners ran quizzes and fun sessions just to focus on that community aspect. Disposable income
Although many were struggling with loss of income there was also the flip-side with many fitness customers on furlough. This meant more disposable income and combined with the boredom of confinement a rise in impulse purchases.
Blended online and in-person
As studios started to re-open, new and exciting business models emerged. The main one being a blended model where online classes now filled an important role in the consistency of training. Now there were options for when a class had to be missed due to other commitments.
A second wave of understanding
Most gyms re-opened in the early summer of 2020. With smaller classes and continued online classes, it felt like a short term break from what was coming next.
Gyms and studios emerged as one of the safest environments
A UK study found that in 300,000 cases there were only 72 confirmed cases of the virus in gyms. That was incredibly low and testament to the safety measures that fitness business owners had put into place.
Customers desperate to get back to fitness
A study run by TeamUp with one of their Pilates customers showed that 50% of customers were desperate or willing to get back to in-person classes. This was tempered by the other half of customers wanting or being willing to continue with online classes in some form.
As the second wave gained pace, the UK, like many other countries, implemented a tiered system for determining how businesses should respond. They included gyms closing which provoked a furious backlash.
One owner in Liverpool refused to close his doors, and was fined by the police multiple times. The industry rallied behind his story and others, and the overwhelming sentiment led to the changing of the rules around gyms, meaning they only had to close in the most extreme of cases.
The evidence supported this approach and it was another great example of the industry being able to effect change.
The future holds different risks and opportunities for different sectors. The format and size of classes is a key part of any response.
What does the future look like?
For each type of fitness business, the future looks different. Class size, membership models, facility specifications and the demographics of their members are big factors.
Class size is a big factor in the success of in-person or online classes. If a business is not profitable with small classes they might be unable to run them, or if they cannot help clients in a personal way, then they will face competition from pre-recorded sessions.
Memberships that are too inflexible risk cancellation if circumstances change. The same for offerings that are dependant on a particular set of equipment that can’t be replicated at home. However, some fitness offerings like pole fitness did not struggle to replicate their programs to keep customers motivated and happy.
Entrance size and physical safety of common areas are factors. Also, the shape and overall floor space will likely dictate class size for a long time to come.
Personal training is less affected but the number of trainers on the floor and the extra time spent cleaning will impact profits.
It goes without saying that the older the customer group, certainly for the first wave, the more impacted a business will be. An outstanding example of a response to this is the Pilates industry which, despite unfavourable demographics, found that their help extended easily through screens.
What does the future look like for…?
Depending on the type of business, there is also a very different outlook and set of opportunities. Box box gyms
Without a doubt, big box gyms are the most at risk. Despite having the space for larger classes and occupancy, their financial model is not based on the members actually at the gym. With huge costs including rent, equipment and cleaning, they are under a lot of threat.
There is also the perception of less safety in a bigger environment.
With customers at home they are also not close to the big gym they use near their office.
In an industry whose profits are based on membership fees for inactive clients and who naturally have a less active community, the future is looking challenging. Of course there are outstanding businesses in this sector who will find a way to thrive.
Boutique and small studios
In-person might vary in availability but the good news for the smaller class sector is that they have shown themselves to be able to adapt quickly and customers being willing to accept change.
Coached online – small classes via platforms like TeamUp for Zoom. This is the perfect blend of online and small group coaching. The industry has adapted and the quality of classes and delivery is very high.
It’s clear that customers place their fitness relationship at the centre of their world and independent fitness businesses who do the same will survive and thrive.
However, it is the time to adapt and blend models if these businesses rely on large indoor classes, specialist equipment, or coach heavy training that cannot be replicated online. With a bit of imagination and innovation, this shouldn’t present an impassable obstacle.
Home gyms and pre-recorded online classes
Home gyms and pre-recorded online classes are likely to boom for the foreseeable future. New programs launching and equipment sales are at breaking point. The only thing stopping this sector is the availability of global shipments. Even movie stars have jumped on this wave. However, competition is high, and the problem remains that when you pay for a coach you pay for accountability and results. Online interest tapers off quickly and results can be disappointing. However, this is not true of coached online…
Whatever the immediate future holds, the fitness industry has shown itself to be capable of incredible feats of change and adaptation. Fitness customers wanting results aren’t going anywhere, and even with a more diverse offering of routes to their goals available, are never going to stop needing accountability and support. The industry is ready for whatever comes next.
About the Author: The article has been written by Tim Green. Tim is the Head of Marketing and Partnerships at TeamUp.
Navigating International Newsroom: How To Set Up And Coordinate A Remote Media Team
Countries from around the globe are connected by a network of journalists and media outlets that share developing news stories throughout the land. The public thrives on political, educational, environmental, and inspirational news that can help them in their daily lives. It’s a complicated business to run a publishing company that spans the globe; it takes patience and planning.
I am Tetyana Fomina, Editorial Operations Manager at AmoMama. I have been working with AmoMama since its inception in January 2017. Since 2017, I have developed skills and experience in building processes within vast projects run by people in multiple time zones thousands of kilometers from one another. If you’re trying to start your own publishing company from the ground up, I have some important tips to share with you.
AmoMama is an entertainment media publishing company working under the international IT company AMO. The AmoMama cooperates with over 120 people who write and develop stories for an audience around 40 million people per month in the US and Western Europe. Content is distributed in four languages; French, German, English, and Spanish.
Cooperating Conservatively For A New Business Venture
While your business idea is still formulating, consider it to be in “test mode.” At this point, you don’t yet want to hire a large team. First, you should concentrate on hiring journalists to investigate and write new content.
As your media outlet idea becomes viable, meaning that your content is starting to drive traffic, you can expand your team of journalists and add editors and proofreaders. As your company grows, you can continue investing in your written content’s quality.
How To Properly Scale Your Team
Pay attention to the workload of everyone. When the staff is overloaded with work, it can create bottlenecks in your publishing process that could be costly and create terrible working conditions for the team.
For each new job vacancy, you open up for hire, think of the entire team as a whole. Hiring a new journalist will mean that more stories are being written that need to be edited, designed, and so on. If you focus too narrowly on one portion of the team, you run the risk of creating an unbalanced workload throughout the entire team.
How To Set Up Processes When Your Remote Newsroom Is In 11 Time Zones
If you’re going to dabble in international publishing, then you’re going to have to learn to navigate all the time zones that you cover. This is both a blessing and a curse because although it can be a difficult and delicate juggling act, you can end up with a workforce that literally works around the clock for your business.
At AmoMama, we will cooperate with people from different time zones and schedule them so that they only slightly overlap during the working day, typically by 1 or 2 hours. The rest of the time, they work autonomously, taking turns replacing each other.
Make sure that the entire functional unit is working in the same time zone or at least on the same schedule. For example, if we start working with a new journalist who has a night schedule in a specific time zone, we have to find a content analyst, editor, moderator, and designer to work with that person simultaneously. Otherwise, you create a broken system where hours are spent wasted while someone waits for approvals or tasks to be done before they can move on with their own work. Ideally, you will have one of these functional units working in each time zone that you need to cover.
You may end up with more people working day shifts in your most popular time zones. If that is the case, you can create smaller evening shift teams and distribute training documents and skill builders to teams with lower workloads.
Streamlining Operations In An International Editorial Office
We work for the audience in the United States and Europe. Different countries have different standards for what constitutes fair use, protection of personal data, and other issues that could have legal complications. You have to keep track of all the laws that regulate your business in the areas you work and the areas you publish content.
In order to have better control over an international office, we have moderators and editors roles that are responsible for content approvals. They are also responsible for doing a detailed review of all content for compliance with the laws for each area.
As little as three years ago, we had journalists approving and publishing their own content, but that model was not sustainable in the long run. Having these checks and balances in place reduces the risk to the business and makes things flow more smoothly.
If your content doesn’t comply with rules and laws, then you can be removed or banned from social media platforms or be subject to fines and other penalties. This is precisely why we implemented a multi-step verification process at AmoMama.
Managing Expectations With Remote And International Teams
As you can imagine, we don’t have team members working around the clock in different time zones within a single office building. We cooperate with people that work remotely, and there are some interesting challenges in running a remote publishing team.
Many of the people we cooperate with are used to having a flexible schedule with minimal controls. Some can adjust to a more structured work environment, while others cannot. Make sure to set the expectation from the very first interview that your publishing company is fast-paced and has strict deadlines.
Make sure new people know that professionalism is a must, and they should be able to complete agreed tasks, participate in conditioning interviews and meetings if needed.
Finally, you must be able to find a way for people from very different backgrounds to come together, by collaborating on the same project. Things like manners, and communication can vary by culture. In some cultures, people are very organized in their work process, while in others there is a more relaxed system. Usually, you can overcome these differences by setting plans from the start with agreed rules and collaboration expectations for things like project timing and task completion. It can also help to collaborate with people with great multicultural communication skills to help coordinate the process.
Why your business needs mental health first aiders
Mental health has been a topic of increasing concern in recent years. More and more people are suffering from stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. It’s not just individuals who are affected, however. Mental health problems can also impact businesses, causing absenteeism, decreased productivity, and increased healthcare costs. That’s why it’s essential for companies to take mental health seriously and provide resources for employees who are struggling. One of the most effective resources is having mental health first aiders in the workplace.
Mental health first aiders are employees who are trained to recognise the signs of mental health problems and provide initial support and guidance to those who are struggling. They can act as a bridge between the employee and mental health professionals, helping to ensure that those who need help are able to get it quickly and easily. Here are just a few reasons why your business needs mental health first aiders:
- Reduce Stigma and Increase Awareness
Mental health problems are still stigmatised in many workplaces, which can make it difficult for employees to seek help. Having mental health first aiders in the workplace can help to reduce this stigma by showing that mental health problems are taken seriously and that there is support available. It can also help to increase awareness of mental health issues and encourage employees to take care of their own mental health.
- Improve Employee Well-being
When employees are struggling with mental health problems, it can impact their overall well-being and their ability to do their job effectively. Having mental health first aiders in the workplace can help to improve employee well-being by providing support and resources to those who need it. This can help to reduce absenteeism, improve productivity, and increase employee satisfaction.
- Enhance the Company’s Reputation
Companies that prioritise mental health are often viewed more positively by both employees and customers. By having mental health first aiders in the workplace, companies can demonstrate their commitment to the well-being of their employees and their willingness to address important social issues. This can enhance the company’s reputation and make it a more attractive place to work.
- Reduce Healthcare Costs
Mental health problems can be expensive to treat, both for the individual and for the company. By providing early intervention and support through mental health first aiders, companies can help to reduce the overall healthcare costs associated with mental health issues. This can include reducing the need for more costly interventions such as hospitalisation or long-term therapy.
- Comply with Legal Obligations
Companies have a legal obligation to protect the health and safety of their employees. This includes protecting their mental health. By providing mental health first aiders in the workplace, companies can demonstrate that they are taking this obligation seriously and are willing to take steps to ensure the well-being of their employees.
In conclusion, mental health first aiders are an essential resource for any business that wants to prioritise the well-being of their employees and reduce the impact of mental health problems on the workplace. By reducing stigma, increasing awareness, improving employee well-being, enhancing the company’s reputation, reducing healthcare costs, and complying with legal obligations, mental health first aiders can make a significant difference in the workplace. Investing in mental health first aid training for employees is an investment in the future of the company, its employees, and the wider community.
The Complete Guide to Designing a Secure Data Center
Designing a secure data center takes significant forethought, especially with physical and online-based risks becoming progressively more likely. Here are some actionable considerations that can reduce risks and make facilities safe and future-proof.
Select an Appropriate Location
Designing a data center with security in mind begins with choosing the right location. The area’s crime rates could be a good starting point. How likely will vandals, burglars or other criminals target the newly built facility? Crime rate averages for a given region don’t tell the whole story, but they can highlight particular places to avoid or prioritize.
Once data center designers find a suitable location, they should strongly consider utilizing a concept called crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED).
It’s a well-known option for residential areas and schools but less common in the data center industry. CPTED centers on communicating that a facility is well-maintained, making it less appealing for criminals to target. Designers can get inspiration from CPTED concepts often deployed in communities.
Those could include:
- Installing fencing to designate clear boundaries
- Ensuring data center properties remain well lit
- Posting prominent signage to direct visitors to the main entrance
Many CPTED objectives also center on having a strong presence in the neighborhood. That way, community members feel compelled to voluntarily play a part in keeping the data center secure. That could involve having a local monitoring program where people use a dedicated phone number to report suspicious activity.
However, the emphasis on community involvement makes it necessary for designers and other involved professionals to engage with anyone feeling upset about a data center coming to a particular location. Ignoring strong resistance from residents, political officials and other community members could make the data center less secure because people are more willing to target it.
Use Hardening Principles to Design a Secure Data Center
Hardening encompasses efforts to make data centers more resilient against physical attacks. That could mean working with engineers to ensure the facility remains intact after structural failures. That approach helps people inside stay safer from events like building collapses. Teams that need to design a secure data center must consider the most likely adverse outcomes and how to prevent them.
Some professionals recommend data centers have at least seven layers of physical security. They are surveillance cameras, intruder detection systems, vehicle traps, auditable access controls, full authentication measures, physical barriers and 24/7 security guards. A data center uses hardening principles well if it features multiple preventive measures to stop unauthorized access.
Risk assessments of planned data centers may also indicate the need to protect the facility from bombs or other terrorist acts. Such cases usually require reinforcing the data center with steel in concrete. Designers may even choose to put the data centers underground. Those facilities are generally more secure than above-ground ones, but they still require stringent precautions against intrusion.
One week in 2021 had more than a dozen bomb threats against data centers in the United States and Canada. None involved explosives, but those instances illustrate the need for preparedness. Criminals increasingly realize how important these facilities are to modern society, increasing the chances they’ll set their sights on them.
Collaborate With Cybersecurity Teams
Anyone asked to design a secure data center should work closely with cybersecurity experts to understand how decisions may help or hurt cybersecurity. The things internet security teams do to keep data centers safe have evolved over the years, particularly as technological options improve. For example, it’s increasingly common to use artificial intelligence (AI) to thwart cyberattacks before they happen or make successful ones less damaging.
Some cyberattacks happen through physical means. As recently as 2022, attackers were mailing infected USB drives to targets. They hoped to entice people to use them on their computers and install malware. However, criminals could also try to launch a cyberattack through physical means, such as by posing as service providers or others typically given temporary access.
Consider the Layered Method to Design a Secure Data Center
One best practice is using a five-layered approach to secure data center systems. It breaks measures down into categories and involves covering the following aspects of the facility:
- Physical: This layer intends to stop in-person intrusion attempts and uses means such as security cameras and multifactor authentication-based access controls.
- Logical: This layer represents everything to do with the operating system. It involves preventive measures such as patching or removing older networks and using good password management practices.
- Network: This layer represents the gateway attackers can use to launch their attacks if not properly secured. It includes elements such as firewalls, routers and switches. Options for preventing attacks include removing unused network interfaces and using microsegmentation to limit the spread of any successful attacks.
- Application: This layer is solely about securing applications and database-related systems. One best practice is to have separate environments for development, production and testing. Another is to use logs to capture changes made to applications and databases. It’s then easier to spot potential anomalies.
- Information security: This layer ensures people perform the correct checks on the previous four layers. That means reviewing internet security policies, verifying that appropriate defense mechanisms remain in place, and looking over strategies surrounding using and handling of sensitive data.
The all-encompassing nature of the layered approach typically makes it inappropriate and infeasible for the design team to solely oversee all these factors. However, they can provide ongoing input relevant to their expertise when engaging in collaborative discussions across groups or with those working on the data center project externally.
Be Prepared to Learn and Apply Lessons
People must apply careful thought and best practices to design a secure data center. The individuals involved in such projects will undoubtedly learn many lessons along the way. However, the good news is that they can and should keep track of associated successes and failures. Such circumstances will contain valuable lessons that people can use to inform future data centers they design or ensure their current projects have the best possible outcomes.
Also, people new to this undertaking should strongly consider learning how to design a secure data center from experts who have done it many times before. That may mean working with consultants or people with specialized knowledge. They can help design team members avoid pitfalls and overcome obstacles in the most efficient and practical ways.
Emily Newton is the Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized, an online magazine celebrating innovations in the industrial sector. She has over 5 years of experience showing how technology is changing the construction and manufacturing industries.
No-Code decision platform Bureau Reveals Escalation of Digital Fraud in India Drives Businesses to invest US$7.6B to Stop Financially-motivated Fraudsters
Bitget Launches 'India Learns Crypto' Roadshow To Increase Crypto Awareness
BlueAlly Acquires Corporate Armor Strengthening Online Presence & Expanding Vendor Alliances
How to6 years ago
How to register a Startup in USA
Interview4 years ago
An Interview with Joel Arun Sursas, Head of Clinical Affairs at Biorithm, Singapore
More3 years ago
6 Promising Up and Coming Fashion Companies
More5 years ago
Factors to Consider When Planning Your Office Design and Layout
Interview3 years ago
An Interview with Russell Jack, Southland-based Yogapreneur and Mindfulness Teacher
Other Internet Tech5 years ago
How to become an IPTV reseller? A beginner’s guide
More5 years ago
IPTV business for beginners
Business Ideas5 years ago
50 Small Business ideas with low investment