2021 Predictions on How the Pandemic Will Reshape the Fitness Industry

The impact of 2020 has reshaped how we live, play, and work; the imposed restrictions, put in place due to the pandemic, have created a new reality that we have had to, and will continue to, adapt to. Some of these new behaviours will stick beyond Covid 19, while others will fade.  Although we know that restrictions will extend deep into 2021 in some form, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Change exposes us to different perspectives, new opportunities, and time to reflect on what we need and what we truly value.

A few of my thoughts on how I believe fitness has, and will continue to evolve post pandemic.

#1 A larger portion of the population will make activity a higher priority. 

Although Covid will eventually fade, the vulnerability felt by those who had underlying conditions, and to those whose health was affected directly or indirectly, will last. The messaging about how being active can help with and prevent chronic conditions, improve immunity and aid in mental health are hitting home during this pandemic.  The realization that activity, even in small amounts, can provide major benefits is here to stay.

  • Movement is Medicine Less focus on abs and buns and more focus on heart and lungs. All health professionals agree that physical activity is essential to one’s well being. No longer is fitness viewed primarily as a body transformation activity (washboard abs, weight loss). Instead the aesthetic results achieved through fitness is now secondary. Wellbeing (current and future health status) and Improved Performance (productivity, energy, mood) are equally as valued from those who participate or intend to participate.  This shift in perspective will be a key message in attracting the right clientele to your facility.
  • More people moving Walking is a great starting point for the inactive population (no prep, no learning curve or special equipment) and during the lockdown we wanted/needed to get out of the house so many people began walking. Beyond walking the pandemic has also broken down physical activity barriers for many with a plethora of online fitness options. People can participate in the comfort and anonymity of their home without feeling self conscious. The opportunities to explore and try a variety of activities online without buying a membership or specific equipment has been extensive. With more inactive people being introduced to activities, building confidence and realizing the benefits moving more provides it translates to an expanded market. This emerging untapped demographic will be purchasing professional  fitness services/memberships both online and in-person in 2021contributing to the rebound for many facilities.

#2 Social Connection is Vital

We have an innate need to belong, to be part of a community that provides a sense of acceptance, inclusivity and sharing common interests/goals. The Social Connection has long been a key component for many fitness participants because it provides another reason to attend,(it’s fun, it’s motivating and it feels good to sweat and accomplish with others). 

  • The social aspect is the key to virtual success. The emergence of Virtual Fitness skyrocketed in 2020. The need for people to feel connected to a familiar instructor or workout group was evident as people flocked to Zoom and recorded workouts. For many facilities this began as a band-aid solution until the return of in-person fitness could resume but there is no doubt that Virtual Fitness will remain as a permanent and popular option even after all restrictions have been lifted. Although Zoom fatigue and excess  of screen time is a challenge, facilities and professionals who continue to embrace the social aspect of online workouts, and refine ways to connect with people online, will separate themselves from the crowded field of virtual fitness  options. 
  • Working out (together) in-person will return and thrive. The impact of social distancing and lockdowns became and remains a heavy burden for many people. The lack of connection and social interaction due to working from home is a major dilemma. The need for a hub, for people to come together, will heighten and fitness facilities will become a popular option. During the lockdown those who valued and relied on this in-person element and did not make the switch to stay connected online struggled with consistency.  Whether it is working out and bumping into fellow members, planning a workout with a friend or attending a scheduled group workout, the positive reinforcement, shared challenge and accomplishment in a place that you are comfortable and feel you belong, is a much more powerful element then the actual workout itself. 

 #3 In-Person Facility Experience gets a reboot: It has been a devastating year for the Fitness Facility Industry, the lockdowns and safety protocols have made it extremely difficult for Studios and clubs to stay afloat. During the shutdown phases, fitness facility owners and operators quickly pivoted showing ingenuity by renting equipment, offering existing and new services remotely, and staying connected to their members.

  • Flexible Memberships– No one is looking for long term commitments. Month to month options will become the new norm. It will not be uncommon for members to have memberships at multiple facilities simultaneously or throughout the year.  Assessing the convenience of a facility, when working at home and/or when at the office, along with considering the interest in different activities and needs throughout the year, will shift consumers purchasing decisions. 
  • “Working out at home isn’t the same!!” is a phrase I keep hearing. The value of having a dedicated time and place to workout has proven to be critical for many. Working out alone at home with distractions is hard to adhere to. The structure, atmosphere and social aspect will be a major factor in the return of members to facilities.
  • Access to equipment– Although we have been exposed to creative and effective bodyweight and minimal equipment workouts, the love of using equipment to get more from a workout will remain. Some have purchased equipment for home but notice the quality of their Treadmill/Elliptical doesn’t compare to commercial equipment. It is hard to stay motivated doing activities that don’t feel good, or the same way you remember them. To progress towards our goals we need to be challenged in different ways, however, purchasing high quality equipment, and a variety of weights for home may not  be reasonable (space considerations) or affordable, making the existing fitness centres the most viable option.
  • Professional Instruction–  There are an abundance of fitness ‘coaches’ online however, a fit Instagrammer, athlete, celebrity or someone who has had a successful body transformation, does not qualify them to competently coach others. Reports from participants doing generic online workouts that are either “too easy”, “too hard” or “unsafe” are unfortunate but not surprising. Certified Fitness Pros in clubs and studios have extensive training and several have many years experience.  The realization is now more apparent than ever that trained professionals offer an abundance of value including being able to identify appropriate intensity, provide necessary adjustments to technique, modify for injuries, identify weakness/imbalances, provide timely motivation boosts, and create personalized workout design & instruction.  All of these offerings will lead to improved results, reduce risk of injury and provide a better experience overall.

A New Way To Manage Your Health & Aquatic Facilities

As the landscape changes, we change with it making it easier for our customers and their members to operate. In 2020 the reopening of your buildings recreation facility is all about limiting access, maintaining physical distancing protocols and proper cleaning and sanitising.

As the industry leader in facility management, LIV North has adapted our proprietary LIV X app and created the LIV X scheduler. This scheduling app provides an easy online tool that can be accessed by all your residents through a free download onto any mobile device.

LIV Xperience is our unmatched Condo Management tool providing fully digital online programming. Within the LIV X app that comes with our management program is an online scheduler that we use throughout our managed facilities across Canada for amenities scheduling including squash courts, meeting rooms, classes, socials, leagues, and more.

To help prevent overcrowding, we have created a modified version of our app that can be used in condominiums or apartments this summer.  (see attached flyer)

LIV-X Scheduler can provide your condominium with a tool for all residents to remotely book pool times, gym times, BBQ times, Theatre rooms, and any other amenity in your building. If your pools (outdoor and indoor) or fitness rooms are being serviced by LIV North, this modified scheduling service will be provided at no cost until September to get everyone through the summer. If you are interested in our full line of service and facility management programs please contact: sales@livnorth.com

LIV X app allows spaces to be booked online, without human contact. If the time slot is not available the system immediately puts the user onto a waiting list and notifies them if there is a cancellation.

It’s simple and easy to use for members and operators alike: 

STEP 1: Free download of LIV X app (instructions below)

STEP 2: Register your name to your building using building code

STEP 3: Review the schedule operating hours

STEP 4: Book a time slot and enjoy your swim or workout.

To make your opening easier, LIV North can provide:

  • Pre-opening pool & spa inspections
  • Fitness Centre Equipment inspection and maintenance
  • COVID safety signage programs, 
  • Fitness room equipment review, and new social distancing layouts. 
  • Full line of soft goods to replace old and worn equipment
  • Full line of sanitizing products.

LIV North has been actively engaged with a variety of organizing bodies working on viable solutions and procedures for aquatic and fitness facilities. The LIVNORTH.com home page is constantly being updated with new information covering the aquatics, fitness, and facility fields for reopening and cleaning.

As Condominiums and Apartments look to re-opening their recreation facilities, LIV North is at the forefront of facility readiness with the answers to your questions. 

LIV North is Canada’s largest corporate facility management company and the largest commercial fitness dealer/ distributor.

Packages are available for all indoor recreation amenities as a package or included in a maintenance or staffing program. Call us now, if you need to have your facility opened with confidence!!

For more information, please contact:

Brian Townsend

National Sales Manager, LIV North Inc.

btownsend@livnorth.com

Direct: 416-665-9280

Livnorth.com


LIV X Scheduler

Scheduling is an effective way to assist in the safe re-opening of multi unit residential facilities.

LIV X Scheduler Provides:

  • Pre-set opening and closing times
  • Pre-set number of users allowed at any given time slot
  • Automatic waiting list created for a time slot if it is full
  • Pre set advance booking.
  • Ability to set maximum number of bookings by an individual
  • Individual building login registration
  • Default setting for outdoor pools is 10 users at a time.

Powerful Features:

In 2020 the reopening your buildings recreation facility is all about limiting access, maintaining physical distancing protocols and proper cleaning/ sanitising.

As the industry leader in facility management, LIV North has adapted our proprietary LIV X app and created the LIV X Scheduler. This scheduling app provides and easy online tool that can be accessed by all your residents through a free download onto a mobile device.

LIV X Scheduler will be used to assist our outdoor pool accounts schedule the maximum number of bathers allowed in the pool areas and/or fitness rooms.

This effective scheduling tool prevents unwelcome overcrowding of key amenities in your building.

Why Choose Us?

LIV X Scheduler will be available as a complimentary service for all LIV North Outdoor Maintenance or Lifeguarded Pool contracts from July through to the September Long weekend.

Packages are available for all indoor recreation amenities as a package or included in a maintenance or staffing program.

LIV X is a complete facility management and programming tool that is part of LIV Xperience.


Preparing To Reopen Our Industry

Apple Fitness Stores and LIV North Inc. are working with all facilities in Canada to ensure proper steps are taken to prepare for reopening this summer.

Below are some excellent resources from LIFE FITNESS providing reopening support tools.

If you require any more assistance with fitness equipment feel free to call anyone of our commercial team for assistance.

A full range of support tools from a variety of sources is available on our updated home screen at livnorth.com

Reopening Support Portal 

  • The portal includes equipment and service guidelines, approved cleaners, and sample in-facility assets to welcome back exercisers 

Reopening eBook

  • Like a guide or brochure, this eBook adds more detail and colour to the assets in the above portal (leans more heavily toward Club customers)

sales@applefitness.com

Alberta & Saskatchewan: 888-255-2298

British Columbia: 604-817-3024

Manitoba & Ontario: 877-348-4111

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