With the lifting of indoor mask restrictions for fully vaccinated people last week gyms are staging a comeback.
“We are having to turn people away,” says Felicia Lee Sexton, the founder and owner of the all-woman Women’s Health and Fitness Center. “Our membership is growing. A lot of people are wanting not just gym membership: they are wanting trainers.”
Gyms were among the first businesses to be closed by local mandates, and have been among the businesses that have struggled to return to pre-pandemic levels as things have opened up. Their competition has been the burgeoning home-fitness market that took off like hotcakes when everything shut down. Sales of health and fitness equipment doubled last year.
“The ones in my gym that bought those are hanging clothes on them right now. Seriously,” says Sexton. “We have a lot of equipment now that is going on Ebay, Facebook Marketplace and things like that because people want to be around people.”
It’s expected to be a reset for gyms as things get cranked again, customers rethinking options and gym owners rethinking offerings. Trainers have learned how to lead exercises virtually, but it’s that face to face focus and discipline that most people are looking for as they try to shed the Covid 15 pounds gained during lockdowns last year.
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