How the Pandemic Changed the Fitness Industry

The pandemic interrupted the way we live our lives in ways that nobody could have predicted. From the way we interact with others to the ways we keep ourselves healthy, nearly everything has changed. 

Fitness is no exception. Before the pandemic, working out virtually was a completely foreign concept. But now that the traditional gym is on the decline, the fitness industry is adapting to a post-pandemic world. And it’s completely transforming the way we work out. 

In fact, it's opening up new opportunities for online fitness creators and mentors to do what they love most — and get paid doing it. fitolio provides fitness trainers and their clients with an all-in-one app for all of their exercise needs. Mentors air live training sessions, share motivational statements and stories, and lay out nutrition guidance to their subscribers. fitolio makes the process easy by handling all the administrative and logistical work.

Let’s explore the ways that COVID-19 has changed the industry and how fitolio bridges the gaps. 

The Decline of the Fitness Industry

The stats are clear: the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the fitness industry. After the virus's first arrival in 2020, many gyms limited capacity while others were forced to shut down entirely. 

By the end of 2020:

  • 17% of gyms permanently shut down
  • Revenue fell by 58% 
  • 44% of people in the fitness industry lost their jobs

That doesn’t mean that people aren’t interested in fitness anymore. In fact, it’s the opposite — 2021 saw a massive spike in gym memberships. Even though in-person gyms have taken a hit, the fitness industry is projected to grow in other ways:

  • The fitness equipment market is expected to grow to $14.7 billion by 2028
  • The fitness apps market is projected to grow by $1.68 billion over the next two years
  • The digital fitness market is set to reach $26.55 billion in 2026

Some of that comes down to a shift in attitude. Being pushed indoors means people have started thinking differently about health. Instead of “bikini body” goals, we’ve started taking a more holistic approach to our health. We've finally begun to recognize that working out and staying fit has as many mental benefits as it does physical.

And with that, we're seeing a predictable shift towards a more accessible form of exercise: home workouts.

The Resurgence of Home Fitness

While home workouts aren’t exactly new — the workout video has been popular since the '80s — they made a comeback during COVID. 

With gyms temporarily closed or permanently shut down, fitness enthusiasts and newcomers alike turned to digital ways to get their exercise fix. Between April and June 2020 alone, people in the US spent an average of $95 on fitness equipment, from yoga mats to dumbbells to exercise bikes. 

As people shifted towards the at-home workout, it opened up new opportunities for the industry to adapt. For those still looking for that group experience, they turned to Zoom fitness classes — both live and pre-recorded. The stats showed a jump in virtual fitness content since the beginning of the pandemic. 73% of consumers used pre-recorded videos, while 85% used livestream classes.

All these new opportunities have actually led to consumers working out more than before the pandemic. 56% of people started exercising at least five times a week. Whether it’s squeezing a workout in between responsibilities or cutting down on the commute, virtual workouts made it easier than ever to stay fit in the comfort of your own home. For those who might feel judged or embarrassed in a traditional gym, video workouts gave them access to professional guidance while allowing them to stay in their comfort zone.

However, Zoom is simply a meeting software that isn’t tailored to fitness. It doesn’t allow creators to build followers, nor does it keep a library of past classes. Most importantly, group classes can lack the intimacy of a one-on-one connection. It’s much easier to give up on your goals without the motivation or encouragement that a more personal relationship can offer.

And these days, people are craving more personal and intimate connections in everything they do, including workouts. That’s where digital fitness creators have the advantage. New digital platforms are offering opportunities for motivated creators to harness the power of social media to motivate — and monetize — their audiences.

Digital Creators: The New Face of the Fitness Industry

With billions of people facing long periods of isolation, social media offered a remedy. Fitness influencers, creators, and instructors found innovative ways to keep the world moving. From exercise videos to fitness motivation, online creators used their content to engage their audiences and keep them active throughout the pandemic.

The rise of digital fitness creators may have reached new heights in 2020, but it’s showing no sign of slowing down. Fitness personalities have never been in such high demand.

If you’re one of these fitness creators, you already know how challenging it can be to build a brand online. It isn’t easy to keep up a consistent presence across all the social media platforms out there: Instagram, TikTok, Youtube, and more. Social media algorithms demand a constant stream of content, alongside consistent engagement with your audience.

Monetizing your content can be even more complicated. Most platforms don’t offer a means of direct monetization. The one exception is Youtube, but ad money on Youtube is notoriously low, unless you’re a massive creator raking in millions of views each video. The alternatives — sponsorships, product advertisements, or building your own fitness app — are even harder to turn into a consistent career.

Instead of struggling to grow across various social media accounts, why not pull it all together in one single platform? And instead of worrying about the logistics of ad campaigns or self-made courses, why not look for a platform that allows for direct monetization through a monthly subscription? That’s where fitolio comes in.

Using fitolio to Grow Your Fitness Business

In the face of constantly changing social media algorithms and low ad rates, fitolio offers a new solution for dedicated fitness creators to build a brand.

For fans, fitolio helps people connect with their favorite fitness creators. They can learn directly from their mentors, enjoying live training sessions, motivational updates, nutrition support, and other guidance from the people who inspire them the most. Users of the app can follow one mentor at a time, with the option of taking “drop-in” classes from other creators. It offers all the benefits of at-home fitness training, with the personal connection of a one-on-one mentorship.

For creators, the app offers an opportunity to collect all of your followers and train them from a central location. fitolio’s team takes care of the subscriptions, logistics, and admin so you can fully focus on your clients and their experience.

Ready to stay connected with your fans and start mentoring them to a happier, healthier life? We can give you the platform you need. Sign up today to train your followers on fitolio!