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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Phoenix Rising

David Minton, founder of The Leisure Database Company, talks about the impact of the pandemic on the sector and what’s likely to come next

Published in Health Club Handbook 2021 issue 1
When fitness went digital, home workouts jumped from an estimated 
8 per cent to 53 per cent / Fusso pics/Shutterstock
When fitness went digital, home workouts jumped from an estimated 8 per cent to 53 per cent / Fusso pics/Shutterstock
The UK fitness sector has been recession proof during 1980-81, 1990-91, 2008-09 however, the pandemic has given the sector an unprecedented shock which dwarfs any recession

COVID-19 opened a vast new space for individual responsibility which moved the focus onto daily movement, exercise, health improvement and wellbeing. Exercise became one of the few defined reasons people could leave their home during the lockdowns of 2020-21.

While the traditional sector lay closed or working at reduced capacity, home workouts jumped from an estimated 8 per cent to 53 per cent when fitness went digital. Outdoor exercise classes between lockdowns jumped more than 400 per cent and will remain popular for some time.

The new category of Connected Fitness took off: bundling hardware, software and a user experience captivating a growing audience. Three Connected Fitness unicorns were created in 2020 and more than $1bn (£0.7bn, €0.8bn) was invested in this new category in just one year. Celebrities, sports people, brands, sites, instructors, keen amateurs and PTs all took to digital, some successfully monetising the new offering against a wash of free product.

An annus horribilis
Meanwhile, the traditional suppliers who once owned the industry lost a lot in their annus horribilis. The Leisure Database Company has trend data showing how the UK fitness sector has been recession proof during 1980-81, 1990-91, 2008-09 however, the pandemic has given the sector an unprecedented shock which dwarfs any recession.

No event has reduced occupancy levels to 65 per cent or less, no supplier or operator has modelled business being shuttered or hampered as in 2020.

The UK fitness industry private sector lost around £3.7bn (€4.3bn, $5bn) and the public sector £1.4 bn (€1.6bn, $2bn).

Pre-virus, London was trending as hard as New York or Los Angeles, with around 16,000 boutique classes each week, where the top brands sold 10 class packages for between £180-£250 (€207-€287, $250-$347). The private fitness clubs had 15.2 per cent penetration rate across the capital and the average monthly direct debit across the 549 clubs was £66.43 (€76, $92.)

The 271 public sector sites in the capital charged an average of £34.52 (€40, $49) and achieved a 5.6 per cent penetration rate. Figures show how the rest of the country was having a fitainment moment, I was often quoted as saying that fitness was enjoying a ‘golden period’ with growth across all sectors.

The industry is expected to shrink in the short term – to what extent will be covered in our full audit, to be published in our next State of the Fitness Industry Report.

Change is the norm
A quick poll on Instagram and Twitter suggests the micro trends are transforming gatherings into on-demand platforms, but humans are, above all else, social animals, and the energies of cities comes from the gatherings. I, for one, couldn’t wait to exercise with others and a badass instructor, and this is where the industry’s power lies.

Exercise for the masses could be the legacy of the pandemic, as we move from crisis to recovery. A year is a long time for habits to change and new ones to form. What we considered ground-breaking is ever-evolving and merging into other sectors. Change should be considered the norm and hybrid exercise and movement is one of the consequences of lockdown.

Few scientists expect to see total eradication of the virus, so our thoughts need to turn to a self-charging hybrid-body approach to one’s personal fitness. To paraphrase a supplier’s tagline, your body is your machine. The population at large discovered COVID-needs-must activities which became the mother of invention for both strength, functional and cardio.

As we move from assessing and managing the complex series’ of risks and daily monitoring of infections, reported cases, hospitalisations, deaths and the R number we need to embrace wellbeing.

Ambassadors such as Sir David Attenborough and Chris Packham are encouraging people to reconnect with nature in a ten-minute connection. All local authorities have waiting lists for allotments and developers are including communal grow gardens in new developments.

Fitness needs to look for spaces which can be repurposed to cater for green initiatives which researchers have found good for mental health and exercise.

The concept of green premiums will be promoted as the UK hosts the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November 2021. Pope Francis has said it’s time to ‘change course’ and committed the Vatican to net zero emissions. Fitness brands and suppliers need to move in the same direction.

Catering for septugenarians
The Pontiff has also set an annual day, the fourth Sunday in July, to honour older people. COVID-19 hit the oldest hardest: three quarters of those who have died in the UK have been over 75. Currently, less than 1 per cent of the population over 75 participate in sport or fitness.

The industry needs to rethink what it means to be old, when adults in this age bracket value their health and have accrued more wealth than any other age bracket. Seventy-five is the new 65, or for some, 50 plus. By 2031 more than 27 per cent of the population will be aged 70 plus, the industry can no longer ignore this huge percentage of the population.

There are around 11,900 local councils in the UK including town, parish, community, neighbourhood and village where we will see public health and wellness prioritised. Facilities embedded in these communities will lead the charge in empowering individuals to put their sedentary lifestyle behind them. I propose a new E-rating where E equals the overall exercise and indicator of the health of each neighbourhood. To administer the vaccine so successfully we needed a centralised organisation, in levelling up the health of the nation, we need the exact opposite.

COVID-19 is showing the NHS to be all-powerful in thought and deed. The population applauding on Thursday evenings was emotional and unifying during the darker moments. Going forward exercise, movement and wellness needs to be linked to health and education and considered from cradle to grave.

It’s time for a new megatrend of health and wellness. The convergence between fitness and health is here to stay and data will drive constant innovation in biodata.

The question is, when staying fit is the most important thing people can possibly do, how does the industry get the message across to the bulk of the population?

The industry needs to rethink what is old: 75 is now the new 65 or 50 plus for some / SHUTTERSTOCK/Mladen Zivkovic
The industry needs to rethink what is old: 75 is now the new 65 or 50 plus for some / SHUTTERSTOCK/Mladen Zivkovic
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/615247_866137.jpg
The Leisure Database Company’s David Minton says change should be considered the new norm in his industry analysis. Going forward, operators should be broadening their offerings to incorporate nature and targeting older people
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With their dark vibe, pumping music and kit that needs adjusting, indoor cycling classes can be intimidating to the uninitiated. Steph Eaves asks suppliers for their tips on how to encourage beginners into the cycling studio – and keep them coming back
HCM magazine
HCM People

Alan Leach

Chair of IHRSA and CEO, West Wood Clubs
IHRSA is now on a mission to bring the global industry together
HCM magazine
Climate change, like COVID-19, presents challenges that won’t go away and demands both our immediate attention and collective efforts. Kath Hudson reports
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
Life Fitness is introducing a new range of Hammer Strength anaerobic equipment to complement its legendary strength training range
HCM Magazine
Editor's letter
This has always been a creative, driven sector, but the pressures of the pandemic have inspired a new outpouring of creativity, leading to the emergence of new models, partnerships and concepts
HCM Magazine
Interview
The CEO of Total Fitness has been in-post for just over three years – a true tale of two halves, with dramatic growth in the first half of her tenure, followed by a second half dominated by the pandemic and a CVA. She talks to Kate Cracknell
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
Technogym’s Biocircuit offers a range of time-controlled and time-free circuits using the Biostrength line, with its Biodrive AI technology, delivering customised workouts
HCM Magazine
Research
NICE has done a U-turn on its controversial guidelines for treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, saying that physical activity or therapy should not now be routinely prescribed for patients
HCM Magazine
Promotion
A new app called Trakk, from Pulse Fitness, promises triple benefits to operators, says Chris Johnson
HCM Magazine
Debate
Can partnerships and affiliations with less obvious companies, such as fast food brands, help the industry tap into a new demographic, or is the potential for them to compromise our reputation too big a risk to take? asks Abi Harris
HCM Magazine
Latest News
The Women in Fitness Association (WIFA), is partnering with Sport Alliance to undertake a survey ...
Latest News
Location and cost are the top considerations for consumers when it comes to choosing a ...
Latest News
Increases in COVID-19 cases across Europe are forcing governments to introduce restrictions, which is having ...
Latest News
Exercise has been found to increase levels of endocannabinoids – cannabis-like substances produced by the ...
Latest News
People suffering from mild depression should be offered exercise, mindfulness, therapy or meditation before medication, ...
Latest News
Total Fitness plans to launch a new-style health club model, with plans already in the ...
Latest News
Fitness operator Crunch Fitness says it's continued its recovery from lockdowns, with membership levels across ...
Latest News
The City of Madrid could become one of the healthiest in the world if plans ...
Opinion
promotion
FitnessOnDemand’s divisional vice president Uday Anumalachetty discusses what live fitness really means for clubs and their members today
Opinion: Why we need to reimagine what live fitness really means
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Feet on the ground, fitness in the clouds
Life Fitness has launched a new mobile app named Life Fitness Connect to provide the ultimate workout experience.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Greenvale Leisure Centre reveals brand new gym equipped with Core Health & Fitness products
Greenvale Leisure Centre in Northern Ireland last month revealed its brand new 800sq m gym completely transformed with Core Health & Fitness products.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Sporting heroes to officially open £22 million redevelopment at Everyone Active centre
A £22 million redevelopment project will be unveiled at Grange Paddocks Leisure Centre, as part of the official launch of the state-of-the-art centre.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active generates £342m in social value
Award-winning leisure operator Everyone Active generated £342million in social value at its sites across the country in 2019/20.
Company profiles
Company profile: Myzone
Myzone is an innovative heart rate monitor and community engagement tool to track physical activity ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Les Mills UK
For over 50 years Les Mills has been leading the way in fitness to inspire ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Exercise equipment
Power Plate: Exercise equipment
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
Fitness equipment
Octane Fitness: Fitness equipment
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates

features

Phoenix Rising

David Minton, founder of The Leisure Database Company, talks about the impact of the pandemic on the sector and what’s likely to come next

Published in Health Club Handbook 2021 issue 1
When fitness went digital, home workouts jumped from an estimated 
8 per cent to 53 per cent / Fusso pics/Shutterstock
When fitness went digital, home workouts jumped from an estimated 8 per cent to 53 per cent / Fusso pics/Shutterstock
The UK fitness sector has been recession proof during 1980-81, 1990-91, 2008-09 however, the pandemic has given the sector an unprecedented shock which dwarfs any recession

COVID-19 opened a vast new space for individual responsibility which moved the focus onto daily movement, exercise, health improvement and wellbeing. Exercise became one of the few defined reasons people could leave their home during the lockdowns of 2020-21.

While the traditional sector lay closed or working at reduced capacity, home workouts jumped from an estimated 8 per cent to 53 per cent when fitness went digital. Outdoor exercise classes between lockdowns jumped more than 400 per cent and will remain popular for some time.

The new category of Connected Fitness took off: bundling hardware, software and a user experience captivating a growing audience. Three Connected Fitness unicorns were created in 2020 and more than $1bn (£0.7bn, €0.8bn) was invested in this new category in just one year. Celebrities, sports people, brands, sites, instructors, keen amateurs and PTs all took to digital, some successfully monetising the new offering against a wash of free product.

An annus horribilis
Meanwhile, the traditional suppliers who once owned the industry lost a lot in their annus horribilis. The Leisure Database Company has trend data showing how the UK fitness sector has been recession proof during 1980-81, 1990-91, 2008-09 however, the pandemic has given the sector an unprecedented shock which dwarfs any recession.

No event has reduced occupancy levels to 65 per cent or less, no supplier or operator has modelled business being shuttered or hampered as in 2020.

The UK fitness industry private sector lost around £3.7bn (€4.3bn, $5bn) and the public sector £1.4 bn (€1.6bn, $2bn).

Pre-virus, London was trending as hard as New York or Los Angeles, with around 16,000 boutique classes each week, where the top brands sold 10 class packages for between £180-£250 (€207-€287, $250-$347). The private fitness clubs had 15.2 per cent penetration rate across the capital and the average monthly direct debit across the 549 clubs was £66.43 (€76, $92.)

The 271 public sector sites in the capital charged an average of £34.52 (€40, $49) and achieved a 5.6 per cent penetration rate. Figures show how the rest of the country was having a fitainment moment, I was often quoted as saying that fitness was enjoying a ‘golden period’ with growth across all sectors.

The industry is expected to shrink in the short term – to what extent will be covered in our full audit, to be published in our next State of the Fitness Industry Report.

Change is the norm
A quick poll on Instagram and Twitter suggests the micro trends are transforming gatherings into on-demand platforms, but humans are, above all else, social animals, and the energies of cities comes from the gatherings. I, for one, couldn’t wait to exercise with others and a badass instructor, and this is where the industry’s power lies.

Exercise for the masses could be the legacy of the pandemic, as we move from crisis to recovery. A year is a long time for habits to change and new ones to form. What we considered ground-breaking is ever-evolving and merging into other sectors. Change should be considered the norm and hybrid exercise and movement is one of the consequences of lockdown.

Few scientists expect to see total eradication of the virus, so our thoughts need to turn to a self-charging hybrid-body approach to one’s personal fitness. To paraphrase a supplier’s tagline, your body is your machine. The population at large discovered COVID-needs-must activities which became the mother of invention for both strength, functional and cardio.

As we move from assessing and managing the complex series’ of risks and daily monitoring of infections, reported cases, hospitalisations, deaths and the R number we need to embrace wellbeing.

Ambassadors such as Sir David Attenborough and Chris Packham are encouraging people to reconnect with nature in a ten-minute connection. All local authorities have waiting lists for allotments and developers are including communal grow gardens in new developments.

Fitness needs to look for spaces which can be repurposed to cater for green initiatives which researchers have found good for mental health and exercise.

The concept of green premiums will be promoted as the UK hosts the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November 2021. Pope Francis has said it’s time to ‘change course’ and committed the Vatican to net zero emissions. Fitness brands and suppliers need to move in the same direction.

Catering for septugenarians
The Pontiff has also set an annual day, the fourth Sunday in July, to honour older people. COVID-19 hit the oldest hardest: three quarters of those who have died in the UK have been over 75. Currently, less than 1 per cent of the population over 75 participate in sport or fitness.

The industry needs to rethink what it means to be old, when adults in this age bracket value their health and have accrued more wealth than any other age bracket. Seventy-five is the new 65, or for some, 50 plus. By 2031 more than 27 per cent of the population will be aged 70 plus, the industry can no longer ignore this huge percentage of the population.

There are around 11,900 local councils in the UK including town, parish, community, neighbourhood and village where we will see public health and wellness prioritised. Facilities embedded in these communities will lead the charge in empowering individuals to put their sedentary lifestyle behind them. I propose a new E-rating where E equals the overall exercise and indicator of the health of each neighbourhood. To administer the vaccine so successfully we needed a centralised organisation, in levelling up the health of the nation, we need the exact opposite.

COVID-19 is showing the NHS to be all-powerful in thought and deed. The population applauding on Thursday evenings was emotional and unifying during the darker moments. Going forward exercise, movement and wellness needs to be linked to health and education and considered from cradle to grave.

It’s time for a new megatrend of health and wellness. The convergence between fitness and health is here to stay and data will drive constant innovation in biodata.

The question is, when staying fit is the most important thing people can possibly do, how does the industry get the message across to the bulk of the population?

The industry needs to rethink what is old: 75 is now the new 65 or 50 plus for some / SHUTTERSTOCK/Mladen Zivkovic
The industry needs to rethink what is old: 75 is now the new 65 or 50 plus for some / SHUTTERSTOCK/Mladen Zivkovic
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/615247_866137.jpg
The Leisure Database Company’s David Minton says change should be considered the new norm in his industry analysis. Going forward, operators should be broadening their offerings to incorporate nature and targeting older people
Latest News
The Women in Fitness Association (WIFA), is partnering with Sport Alliance to undertake a survey ...
Latest News
Location and cost are the top considerations for consumers when it comes to choosing a ...
Latest News
Increases in COVID-19 cases across Europe are forcing governments to introduce restrictions, which is having ...
Latest News
Exercise has been found to increase levels of endocannabinoids – cannabis-like substances produced by the ...
Latest News
People suffering from mild depression should be offered exercise, mindfulness, therapy or meditation before medication, ...
Latest News
Total Fitness plans to launch a new-style health club model, with plans already in the ...
Latest News
Fitness operator Crunch Fitness says it's continued its recovery from lockdowns, with membership levels across ...
Latest News
The City of Madrid could become one of the healthiest in the world if plans ...
Latest News
Luxury health club operator, Third Space, has opened the doors to its latest club in ...
Latest News
A total of 22.7 million Brits – more than a third of the total population ...
Latest News
Nuffield Health has reopened the historic Barbican health club in London, as part of ambitious ...
Opinion
promotion
FitnessOnDemand’s divisional vice president Uday Anumalachetty discusses what live fitness really means for clubs and their members today
Opinion: Why we need to reimagine what live fitness really means
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Feet on the ground, fitness in the clouds
Life Fitness has launched a new mobile app named Life Fitness Connect to provide the ultimate workout experience.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Greenvale Leisure Centre reveals brand new gym equipped with Core Health & Fitness products
Greenvale Leisure Centre in Northern Ireland last month revealed its brand new 800sq m gym completely transformed with Core Health & Fitness products.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Sporting heroes to officially open £22 million redevelopment at Everyone Active centre
A £22 million redevelopment project will be unveiled at Grange Paddocks Leisure Centre, as part of the official launch of the state-of-the-art centre.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active generates £342m in social value
Award-winning leisure operator Everyone Active generated £342million in social value at its sites across the country in 2019/20.
Company profiles
Company profile: Myzone
Myzone is an innovative heart rate monitor and community engagement tool to track physical activity ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Les Mills UK
For over 50 years Les Mills has been leading the way in fitness to inspire ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Exercise equipment
Power Plate: Exercise equipment
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
Fitness equipment
Octane Fitness: Fitness equipment
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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