GET HCM
magazine
Sign up for the FREE digital edition of HCM magazine and also get the HCM ezine and breaking news email alerts.
Not right now, thanksclose this window
We Work Well Events
We Work Well Events
We Work Well Events
Follow Health Club Management on Twitter Like Health Club Management on Facebook Join the discussion with Health Club Management on LinkedIn Follow Health Club Management on Instagram
UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

News

Fitness First pulls out of Hong Kong as COVID closures wreak havoc

Evolution Wellness has put its Fitness First Hong Kong operations into liquidation.
Members will be offered the chance to transition across to Pure Group clubs.
The government's Zero COVID policy has been blamed for impacting the industry in Hong Kong.
Up to 300 clubs in Hong Kong have closed since the start of the pandemic.

Evolution Wellness has closed all its Fitness First operations in Hong Kong. The pandemic’s impact and the government’s Zero COVID strategy proved too much for the operator, which has put its entire Hong Kong business into liquidation with Kroll.

Former Fitness First members are being offered the chance to migrate their membership across to clubs run by Pure Group.

“Fitness First, like Pure, takes its commitments to members very seriously and wanted to help them use their credit with Pure,” Gavin Black – interim CEO of Pure Group – told HCM. Black recently took over from founder and former CEO, Colin Grant, who has moved to be non-exec chair.

Another leading Hong Kong chain, Goji Studios, shut down all eight of its clubs at the end of 2021, while Pure Group itself is closing a single site in a cluster in Hong Kong – Centrium Yoga – as well as its OFC Fitness club in Singapore. Black says members will be able to transfer to other locations nearby. The adjustments to the portfolio reflect a drop in membership at Pure Hong Kong of 20 per cent since March 2020.

The fitness sector in Hong Kong has been burdened by a harsh financial climate since the first lockdown in March 2020 and for some business owners in the fitness industry, the combined effect of a diminishing client base, unrealistic rent bills and unplanned bank loans has led to insurmountable debts.

“Overall, I understand that over 300 boutiques have been lost over the course of the pandemic,” says Black.

Closures have occurred despite Hong Kong government support in the form of an Employment Support Scheme – two wage subsidies were given in 2020 with a third expected in April 2022 – and a Fitness Centre Subsidy Scheme (www.HCMmag.com/FCSS), however, some operators say the support has not been enough.

Since March 2020, personal trainer Nathan Solia has received HK$400,000 (£39,000) under the government’s fitness subsidy scheme. He runs Elite Personal Training, a boutique studio with three locations in Hong Kong.

Struggling to survive after ten combined months of closure, a 50 per cent client loss and unwanted bank loans, he says the subsidies have come up short.

“I paid HK$1,500,000 (£150,000) in rent over the 10 months, so with a HK$400,000 (£39,000) subsidy, it’s pretty easy to calculate that I’m losing money,” he told HCM. Even so, Solia says he’s been lucky because he was able to negotiate a 40 per cent discount on his rent.

“Because my facility is smaller than some of the others, I’ve been able to keep my head above water,” he said. “However, many of the business owners aren’t well equipped to communicate with landlords. Many say there’s no rent reprieve. How can landlords not give any discounts and yet the government tells us to shut down?”

Pure Group’s experience has been more positive. “Most landlords have been supportive,” says Black. “You will have seen Swire’s public announcement on waiving rent and management fees (www.hcmmag.com/Swire) – this approach has been consistent across the majority of our landlord partners,” he said. “Although there are a few who have unfortunately been unable or unwilling to support.”

Nathan Solia and Pure Group have both launched associations since the start of the pandemic to give the sector a voice in lobbying the government. Former Pure CEO, Colin Grant, formed the Hong Kong Alliance of Professional Fitness and Wellness Operators (UKAPFWO), while Solia established the Hong Kong Alliance for Fitness and Wellness, for small to medium operators, with the motto “Save HK Fitness''. A third group, the International Personal Trainers and Fitness Academy was set up by and for freelancers in the industry.

Solia says the strategy worked to a certain extent, as they gained more traction than other sectors, such as tennis and rugby. “The government started to understand how big the industry was when we all started showing up to these meetings, representing 1,800 different types of gym facilities,” he says.

Loans have helped keep business owners afloat and even with the fitness industry due to reopen tomorrow (21 April), there will still be challenges, due to the current lack of clarity over health and safety regulations – such as whether air purifiers will be required and if any other specific equipment will be necessary.

The three associations devised SafetFit100 alongside the government, in a bid to set standards and guidelines for air circulation within a facility. At this point, however, in-gym COVID regulations are still unconfirmed by the government.

Solia added: “Each of the purifiers is HK$6-8,000 (£6-£800), so do I go further into debt buying them? And what if they shut us down again in 12 months’ time? The government needs to show us some kind of subsidy that can help us to upgrade our facilities.

“We also need further rent relief, such as mandating landlords to freeze rent for six months, subsidies for trainers who are out of pocket, and in other areas, such as sports coaching, tennis, golf and so on, as they have also lost revenue. We also need subsidies to market our business so we can get them back on track.”

Latest News
The Leisure Database Company (TLDB) has revealed its State of the Fitness Industry Report UK ...
Latest News
The Gym Group’s (TGG) plans and profit forecasts were presented to analysts and investors during ...
Latest News
A new physical activity programme called Big Sister has been launched in the UK to ...
Latest News
Go Fit has been selected by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) as ...
Latest News
Ness, a US startup that is developing a range of wellness-driven credit cards, has launched ...
Latest News
Following a history of supporting US military and service members, F45 has announced a new ...
Latest News
Hyatt is piloting private gyms in five of its US hotels as part of its ...
Latest News
A young girl has died following an incident at the David Lloyd gym at Capability ...
HCM Magazine
Interview
Operators must be clear in their messaging so people find their way to a club they stick with. Try not to be all things to all people, and we can be successful at keeping them engaged
HCM Magazine
Q&A
Social media influencers cause harm by raising unrealistic expectations of physical perfection, as Andrea Dearden explains
HCM Magazine
HCM People
We’ve set ourselves the initial goal of developing 100 Feel Electric sites, using a cluster model
HCM Magazine
HCM People
Choose consistent over perfect. That’s the long game. It’s never too late to pivot to that mindset
HCM Magazine
Annual report
In April, Deloitte and Europe Active published the ninth edition of their yearly European Health and Fitness Market Report, as Karsten Hollasch explains
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
Yate Leisure is one of the largest sites in Circadian Trust’s portfolio, with around 4,000 members. Ben Beasley, director of commercial development, explains why they were an early adopter of Technogym Biocircuit, and how the offer has evolved
HCM Magazine
Tech
Each health club has its own unique challenges, but the right tech solution can make all the difference. In the first of a two-part series, specialists share how they’ve solved specific issues
HCM Magazine
HCM magazine
Fuel the debate about issues and opportunities across the industry. We’d love to hear from you – [email protected]
HCM magazine
HCM People

Louis Rennocks

Co-founder, Grndhouse
We want Grndhouse to be everywhere: in gyms, hotels, on holidays, at home – it’s boutique fitness in your hand
HCM magazine
Having a portfolio of more than 1,000 health club locations is the aim of ambitious operators, with this elite category growing fast, creating new dynamics in the market
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: ACTIV partners with Fisikal to deliver custom branded member experience
ACTIV, a gym chain in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which operates separate gyms for men and women, has partnered with digital management solution expert Fisikal to create a custom branded experience for its members.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: UK health clubs hit by rising cost of energy
Health clubs across the UK are facing huge rises in business energy bills which are forcing difficult decisions.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active to launch new exercise classes to reduce gender gap
As part of their work to break down the barriers that deter women and girls from participating in sport and physical activity, Everyone Active has teamed up with EMD UK to launch new exercise classes linked to the This Girl Can campaign.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Serco Leisure wins 10-year Mansfield contract
Following a competitive tendering process, Serco Leisure and its partner More Leisure Community Trust Limited (MLCT) have been awarded a 10-year contract by Mansfield District Council to operate three centres in the town, starting 1 May 2022.
Video Gallery
Mindbody, Inc
Total Vibration Solutions / Floors 4 Gyms / TVS Sports Surfaces
Mindbody, Inc
Company profiles
Company profile: We Work Well Inc
We Work Well is a global premier hosted buyer event company, connecting high-level executives from ...
Company profiles
Company profile: UPTIVO S.r.l.
Uptivo makes workouts competitive and engaging while building a collaborative environment providing powerful tools to ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Pulse Fitness: trusted partner
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Fitness equipment
A Panatta Sport Srl: Fitness equipment
trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: trade associations
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
On demand
Fitness On Demand: On demand
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Runcorn
Halton Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
30-30 Jun 2022
The ICC, Birmingham, Birmingham , United Kingdom
Diary dates
12-13 Sep 2022
Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs® Resort, Lake Buena Vista, United States
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Ibiza, Ibiza, Spain
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
17-18 Mar 2023
Tobacco Dock, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates

News

Fitness First pulls out of Hong Kong as COVID closures wreak havoc

Evolution Wellness has put its Fitness First Hong Kong operations into liquidation.
Members will be offered the chance to transition across to Pure Group clubs.
The government's Zero COVID policy has been blamed for impacting the industry in Hong Kong.
Up to 300 clubs in Hong Kong have closed since the start of the pandemic.

Evolution Wellness has closed all its Fitness First operations in Hong Kong. The pandemic’s impact and the government’s Zero COVID strategy proved too much for the operator, which has put its entire Hong Kong business into liquidation with Kroll.

Former Fitness First members are being offered the chance to migrate their membership across to clubs run by Pure Group.

“Fitness First, like Pure, takes its commitments to members very seriously and wanted to help them use their credit with Pure,” Gavin Black – interim CEO of Pure Group – told HCM. Black recently took over from founder and former CEO, Colin Grant, who has moved to be non-exec chair.

Another leading Hong Kong chain, Goji Studios, shut down all eight of its clubs at the end of 2021, while Pure Group itself is closing a single site in a cluster in Hong Kong – Centrium Yoga – as well as its OFC Fitness club in Singapore. Black says members will be able to transfer to other locations nearby. The adjustments to the portfolio reflect a drop in membership at Pure Hong Kong of 20 per cent since March 2020.

The fitness sector in Hong Kong has been burdened by a harsh financial climate since the first lockdown in March 2020 and for some business owners in the fitness industry, the combined effect of a diminishing client base, unrealistic rent bills and unplanned bank loans has led to insurmountable debts.

“Overall, I understand that over 300 boutiques have been lost over the course of the pandemic,” says Black.

Closures have occurred despite Hong Kong government support in the form of an Employment Support Scheme – two wage subsidies were given in 2020 with a third expected in April 2022 – and a Fitness Centre Subsidy Scheme (www.HCMmag.com/FCSS), however, some operators say the support has not been enough.

Since March 2020, personal trainer Nathan Solia has received HK$400,000 (£39,000) under the government’s fitness subsidy scheme. He runs Elite Personal Training, a boutique studio with three locations in Hong Kong.

Struggling to survive after ten combined months of closure, a 50 per cent client loss and unwanted bank loans, he says the subsidies have come up short.

“I paid HK$1,500,000 (£150,000) in rent over the 10 months, so with a HK$400,000 (£39,000) subsidy, it’s pretty easy to calculate that I’m losing money,” he told HCM. Even so, Solia says he’s been lucky because he was able to negotiate a 40 per cent discount on his rent.

“Because my facility is smaller than some of the others, I’ve been able to keep my head above water,” he said. “However, many of the business owners aren’t well equipped to communicate with landlords. Many say there’s no rent reprieve. How can landlords not give any discounts and yet the government tells us to shut down?”

Pure Group’s experience has been more positive. “Most landlords have been supportive,” says Black. “You will have seen Swire’s public announcement on waiving rent and management fees (www.hcmmag.com/Swire) – this approach has been consistent across the majority of our landlord partners,” he said. “Although there are a few who have unfortunately been unable or unwilling to support.”

Nathan Solia and Pure Group have both launched associations since the start of the pandemic to give the sector a voice in lobbying the government. Former Pure CEO, Colin Grant, formed the Hong Kong Alliance of Professional Fitness and Wellness Operators (UKAPFWO), while Solia established the Hong Kong Alliance for Fitness and Wellness, for small to medium operators, with the motto “Save HK Fitness''. A third group, the International Personal Trainers and Fitness Academy was set up by and for freelancers in the industry.

Solia says the strategy worked to a certain extent, as they gained more traction than other sectors, such as tennis and rugby. “The government started to understand how big the industry was when we all started showing up to these meetings, representing 1,800 different types of gym facilities,” he says.

Loans have helped keep business owners afloat and even with the fitness industry due to reopen tomorrow (21 April), there will still be challenges, due to the current lack of clarity over health and safety regulations – such as whether air purifiers will be required and if any other specific equipment will be necessary.

The three associations devised SafetFit100 alongside the government, in a bid to set standards and guidelines for air circulation within a facility. At this point, however, in-gym COVID regulations are still unconfirmed by the government.

Solia added: “Each of the purifiers is HK$6-8,000 (£6-£800), so do I go further into debt buying them? And what if they shut us down again in 12 months’ time? The government needs to show us some kind of subsidy that can help us to upgrade our facilities.

“We also need further rent relief, such as mandating landlords to freeze rent for six months, subsidies for trainers who are out of pocket, and in other areas, such as sports coaching, tennis, golf and so on, as they have also lost revenue. We also need subsidies to market our business so we can get them back on track.”

News

The Leisure Database Company (TLDB) has revealed its State of the Fitness Industry Report UK
The Gym Group’s (TGG) plans and profit forecasts were presented to analysts and investors during
A new physical activity programme called Big Sister has been launched in the UK to
Go Fit has been selected by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) as
Ness, a US startup that is developing a range of wellness-driven credit cards, has launched
Following a history of supporting US military and service members, F45 has announced a new
Elevate
Elevate
Questex’s iconic event Sibec Europe-UK – known as Europe’s leading hosted buyer event for the
Hyatt is piloting private gyms in five of its US hotels as part of its
A young girl has died following an incident at the David Lloyd gym at Capability
New fitness franchise, Circuit Society, has signed its first London location in Bayswater. The 3,000sq
Active Nottingham, part of Nottingham City Council, has released a children’s book called Can We
The new £42m Moorways Sports Village will open its doors to the public on Saturday
Fitness industry veteran Harm Tegelaars has returned to the fitness industry by joining the board
Fitness On Demand
Fitness On Demand
The health and fitness industry is eagerly awaiting the return of Elevate, which will take
Planet Fitness saw its Q1 2022 revenue increase by 66.9 per cent (to US$186.7m) on
Sport England and UK Active have signed a five-year partnership agreement which will see the
Planet Fitness is offering high-school students free access to any of its 2,200 locations in
How can organisations, including health club and leisure businesses, decarbonise, generate clean energy and harness
Being physically active can counter the damage of diabetes by enabling the activation of a
Altis, an artificial intelligence-based personal trainer solution, has secured more than US$3m worth of financing,
Innovatise UK Ltd
Innovatise UK Ltd
According to our poll, the first thing 80 per cent of operators and gym owners
Members of the United States Congress and Washington DC staff are competing against each other
1Rebel has acquired two Core Collective clubs as part of a pre-pack administration deal, along
ukactive
ukactive
1 - 20 of 12,212
HCM Magazine
Interview
Operators must be clear in their messaging so people find their way to a club they stick with. Try not to be all things to all people, and we can be successful at keeping them engaged
HCM Magazine
Q&A
Social media influencers cause harm by raising unrealistic expectations of physical perfection, as Andrea Dearden explains
HCM Magazine
HCM People
We’ve set ourselves the initial goal of developing 100 Feel Electric sites, using a cluster model
HCM Magazine
HCM People
Choose consistent over perfect. That’s the long game. It’s never too late to pivot to that mindset
HCM Magazine
Annual report
In April, Deloitte and Europe Active published the ninth edition of their yearly European Health and Fitness Market Report, as Karsten Hollasch explains
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
Yate Leisure is one of the largest sites in Circadian Trust’s portfolio, with around 4,000 members. Ben Beasley, director of commercial development, explains why they were an early adopter of Technogym Biocircuit, and how the offer has evolved
HCM Magazine
Tech
Each health club has its own unique challenges, but the right tech solution can make all the difference. In the first of a two-part series, specialists share how they’ve solved specific issues
HCM Magazine
HCM magazine
Fuel the debate about issues and opportunities across the industry. We’d love to hear from you – [email protected]
HCM magazine
HCM People

Louis Rennocks

Co-founder, Grndhouse
We want Grndhouse to be everywhere: in gyms, hotels, on holidays, at home – it’s boutique fitness in your hand
HCM magazine
Having a portfolio of more than 1,000 health club locations is the aim of ambitious operators, with this elite category growing fast, creating new dynamics in the market
HCM magazine
The Global Wellness Summit brought together public health and wellness experts in Boston recently. Jane Kitchen was there for HCM to see first-hand what this ‘New new era in health and wellness’ will look like for the sector
HCM magazine
Being physically active can heal damage caused by diabetes, enabling the activation of a natural system that grows new blood vessels, according to research in the US
HCM magazine
Bryce Hastings, head of research at Les Mills, explains the latest research into exercise motivation, giving tips on how to engage hard-to-reach members
HCM magazine
In the wake of the pandemic, is the time ripe to change the language around the role of exercise professionals, and gain greater trust from the healthcare sector?
HCM magazine
The pandemic brought about our sector’s biggest ever collaboration on COVID safety data. Lizzie Broughton tells the story
HCM magazine
As HCM passed its 300th edition milestone, readers shared their thoughts and feelings on HCM’s contribution to the industry in a very special postbag
HCM magazine
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: ACTIV partners with Fisikal to deliver custom branded member experience
ACTIV, a gym chain in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which operates separate gyms for men and women, has partnered with digital management solution expert Fisikal to create a custom branded experience for its members.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: UK health clubs hit by rising cost of energy
Health clubs across the UK are facing huge rises in business energy bills which are forcing difficult decisions.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active to launch new exercise classes to reduce gender gap
As part of their work to break down the barriers that deter women and girls from participating in sport and physical activity, Everyone Active has teamed up with EMD UK to launch new exercise classes linked to the This Girl Can campaign.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Serco Leisure wins 10-year Mansfield contract
Following a competitive tendering process, Serco Leisure and its partner More Leisure Community Trust Limited (MLCT) have been awarded a 10-year contract by Mansfield District Council to operate three centres in the town, starting 1 May 2022.
Video Gallery
Mindbody, Inc
Total Vibration Solutions / Floors 4 Gyms / TVS Sports Surfaces
Mindbody, Inc
Company profiles
Company profile: We Work Well Inc
We Work Well is a global premier hosted buyer event company, connecting high-level executives from ...
Company profiles
Company profile: UPTIVO S.r.l.
Uptivo makes workouts competitive and engaging while building a collaborative environment providing powerful tools to ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Pulse Fitness: trusted partner
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Fitness equipment
A Panatta Sport Srl: Fitness equipment
trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: trade associations
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
On demand
Fitness On Demand: On demand
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Runcorn
Halton Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
30-30 Jun 2022
The ICC, Birmingham, Birmingham , United Kingdom
Diary dates
12-13 Sep 2022
Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs® Resort, Lake Buena Vista, United States
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Ibiza, Ibiza, Spain
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
17-18 Mar 2023
Tobacco Dock, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
Search news, features & products:
Find a supplier:
We Work Well Events
We Work Well Events
Partner sites