Gyms and fitness centres in India have shut shop in compliance with the lockdown, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in order to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus.
As a result, trainers and gym instructors have lost jobs.
However, they have come up with new ways to continue offering their services to people who are stuck in their homes.Are you wondering how?
Well, they are going online and taking the help of social media to stay connected with fitness freaks.
Currently, the go-to platforms for trainers and instructors are Instagram and TikTok. They are creating content around fitness to help people continue with their fitness regime.
Some of them are also taking LIVE classes online.
Take the example of Yogesh Bhateja, a celebrity fitness expert who trains actors like Kangana Ranaut, Tamanna Bhatia and Sonu Sood .
“The digital platform is a blessing in this crucial phase. This is the only medium left to stay connected with people. I am connected to all my clients through video calls. My clients and I are doing virtual training sessions, which, I feel, is a great medium to stay fit,” Bhateja told Moneycontrol.
He regularly takes to social media to post videos and help fitness fans stay in shape.
For people stuck at home, here's what Bhateja has suggests: “Workout is very important in this situation as everyone is stuck at home and physical activity is very less. In order to keep your digestive, respiratory, circulatory, immune system in a better state, one should do a basic workout routine for 40 minutes at least. I would recommend jumping jacks, push-ups, squats, plank, pelvic bridge.”
The changing business model
It is not just individual trainers who are changing their business model. Fitternity – a fitness discovery and booking app that has more than 12,000 gyms and fitness studios listed on the platform – is also creating online content to stay relevant amid the lockdown.
Talking to Moneycontrol, Fitternity Founder Neha Motwani said, “We are working with service providers to let people take their classes online.”
Next week, the platform, that has a user base of 10 million and 5,00,000 monthly active users, will be announcing a 'video-on-demand' format, which will give access to work-out videos by top trainers in the country for Pilates, Martial Arts, Zumba and Yoga.
Besides, the platform is enabling few instructors to take their classes LIVE online for real-time workout sessions, as well as one-on-one instructions.
“If a personal trainer cannot go to the client's house due to the lockdown, the client can get in touch with an instructor online, who will provide a virtual fitness course including a nutrition plan,” Motwani said.
While such strategies and content are the need of the hour, Fitternity has plans to continue these in the long-term as well. Motwani believes this business model can be a revenue stream for the platform in the long run too.
COVID-19 and the consequent lockdown hits the fitness industry hard
A many as 4,000 gyms and fitness centres on Fitternity were affected due to the shutdown announced by Maharashtra government on March 14.
"The gyms and fitness centres in Mumbai and Pune which are associated with us had to suspend operations. Within two days, more state governments issued orders of shut down, followed by a nation-wide lockdown on March 24. So, between March 14 to April 15, they will be incurring 100 percent losses,” Motwani said.
“If you are a standalone gym or studio, it is your members’ subscription revenue that pays for rental, equipment and staff salary. They operate on a monthly basis. Hence, there is going to be a far-reaching impact on them. Fixed cost needs to be paid," she said further.
In India, around 96 percent of the fitness industry is unorganised. However, it is the remaining organised sector that may have the might to survive the present situation.
Even though Fitternity has been massively affected due to the lockdown, the new content on the platform could be a silver lining.
Moreover, Motwani believes that when the lockdown is over, people will come back with a lot of focus because it is about their health, fitness and immunity.