As states are easing lockdown restrictions, the fitness industry is gearing up for reopenings. Fitness experts examine how their industry is adapting to the changes brought upon by the coronavirus.
JOEY GONZALEZ: No matter how difficult it may be, we will be back to the world that we once had, and fitness will be stronger and better than ever before.
CHRIS RONDEAU: I believe it was a matter of a week or two, we had all 2,000 gyms shut down.
JOEY GONZALEZ: We took a proactive stance, and we ended up shutting down our studios voluntarily.
KELLY BRABANTS: We've canceled, like, big in-person events that took months and months to plan. It's our life. Like, we put so much of our energy into B&B. I wasn't just going to let, you know, it fall through the cracks. Brought my whole team together. And I said, "We're not going to let this bring us down."
JOEY GONZALEZ: So the first thing we did was launching Instagram Live workouts on a daily basis.
CHRIS RONDEAU: We went that night, meeting on Facebook Live. And we had over 100,000 people a night tuning in to watch these people's Live workouts.
KELLY BRABANTS: I didn't have a light, nothing. I didn't even have a stand for my iPhone. Put it against a big pillow, turned it on Live, and I was like, and here we go, I guess.
CHRIS RONDEAU: When this all happened, it allowed us to quickly accelerate to, OK, we got to get people stuff at home. We made an almost 170% percent increase in app content consumption overnight.
JOEY GONZALEZ: I wasn't expecting how many thousands of people would come have their very first experience with the brand through Barry's At Home.
KELLY BRABANTS: I literally have gotten 32,000 followers since March 17, and business has been better than ever.
JOEY GONZALEZ: There have been a lot of changes. So first of all, when you check in now, we've asked all customers to use our geo check-in feature, which exists on the Barry's app. And it basically allows you within a hundred meters of your studio to check yourself in.
CHRIS RONDEAU: In the app hopefully launched here in the next few months, you'll be able to open your app, see a heat map of the your closest Planet Fitnesses and how busy are they at that given time before you even come down to the gym. We actually brought in a medical expert to help us with our protocols and procedures. We put a hundred page COVID-19 Operations Playbook together for our franchisees.
JOEY GONZALEZ: We have foot-operated door openers to limit contact with handles, and then we have graphics on the floor for people to stay away from one another and to maintain the 6 foot distance. There's also a mandatory touchless temperature check both for employees and for clients.
KELLY BRABANTS: Eventually, because the classes have been growing so much, I definitely would think about doing, like, a subscription. We would have a full-on studio, maybe have an app one day. Just have a place where I can connect it outside of social media.
JOEY GONZALEZ: There are people that are not comfortable coming back maybe until there's a vaccine. That can be best served by giving people a little bit of both.
CHRIS RONDEAU: I don't think [INAUDIBLE] will ever replace bricks and mortar. I think it's a good supplement to a real gym experience.
KELLY BRABANTS: I think in a few months, people are really going to start reaping the benefits of all of these live classes. Because the people who have stayed connected with them through quarantine, they'll always remember during quarantine I was upset when I was in a rut. This fitness instructor helped me find that light at the end of the tunnel. And I just hope that other people struggling right now can have that same breakthrough that I had, because it was, like, life changing.
JOEY GONZALEZ: I believe that eventually we'll end up where we were in terms of in-person studio fitness. There's something to be said about human connection and what it feels like to experience something alongside someone else.