Boutique Fitness and COVID-19: Where Do We Go From here?

Here is the truth: this virus loves our industry. Tight quarters. Heavy breathing. Cleary, those environments come with elevated risks of transmission. The boutique fitness industry is nervous, and rightfully so. Modifications will have to be made. That’s a given. 

But what does that mean specifically for the experience of boutique fitness? What other preventative methods other than distancing will we need to apply to get people back in our studios? 

Technologies

There are several ways we can combat spread while offering boutique fitness classes. Distancing. Masks. Shields. We’ve heard of studios constructing individual suites with clear barriers. 

The ideas beg more questions: Is it functional to have a mask on during exercise? Our thought: It can be, if executed correctly. Will everyone want to be enclosed in a cell-like clear structure while working out? Our thought: No, but that’s not a deal-breaker for us. Will many people opt for virtual instruction from home? Our thought: Sure. We suspect that the success of any one of these is in the execution of the idea. 

We do not foresee these technologies as replacements, but merely bridges to the other side. But in the process of crossing those bridges, there may perhaps be better trends and technologies developed that will enhance the experience of boutique fitness. Masks might become fashion and strengthen lung capacity. Suites might give rise to wholly new fitness concepts. Invention may yet again spring from desperation. 

Economics

How can the industry sustain under distancing controls? The original financial models for these fitness concepts takes into account the number of potential bodies within a given room, which equates to revenue. Distancing will limit that potential. Models will be thrown into turmoil. There will have to be format and pricing modifications. Hopefully, property owners will be open to renegotiating rents, at least in the interim. We hope that they see the value our culture adds to their neighborhoods. That they work with us on a long-term solution. Indeed, property loans must be serviced, so those contracts will also have to be renegotiated. It goes all the way up to the top of the food chain. However unlikely these options are, we are putting them out into the ether to inspire action. We believe that’s how goodness overcomes – ideas, then action.

Case in point, Kinisi Performance is partnering with studios in a profit-sharing affiliate program that allows businesses to monetize their email blasts by selling Kinisi products. Studios are profiting off of their data, which is crucial at this time. 

Evolution

Despite the uncertainties, we anticipate that the emotional – and physical – response to this crisis will be dramatically positive. We are feeling an absence of physical connection, and it will manifest as deeper engagement and heightened appreciation. 

Listen to us: this chaos will end. Envision our culture when it does:

More people will invest in their health. Instructors will be more thankful, and will dig a little deeper in their guidance. Each pedal stroke will have more meaning. Each stretch will be more pronounced. Each repetition more purposeful. Each drop of sweat earned a bit more. And all of that effort will equate to an exponentially richer fitness community – and world – with more love and deeper relationships. 

We call them sweat sanctuaries now. In the wake of this, they will become something more. Temples. Cathedrals. So dig in and get through this. There’s light – and sweat – at the end of the tunnel.