A scarcity of gyms, however digital health will stay

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With gyms being closed due to the restrictions imposed by MCOs, this is forcing operators to relocate their operations online

by LYDIA NATHAN / Pic Source: celebrityfitness.com.my

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, when people were forced to stay home, an important aspect of people’s lifestyle that had to rotate was exercise and exercise.

When gyms and sports facilities closed under the Movement Control Order (MCO), people started exercising outdoors while maintaining social distance like jogging and cycling.

However, when restrictions were tightened under the Enhanced MCO, even brisk walks around the neighborhood were banned.

Movement Dynamics founder Kevin Khandoor said that with gyms closing, including Movement Dynamics x Be’s own, people have no choice but to work out at home to stay healthy, which is an opportunity for the entire industry figured simultaneously adopting an online approach to fitness.

“Since March 2020 we have only been allowed to open our doors for about two months, then we are mostly closed with the various MCOs and the lockdown,” he recently told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

Kevin said that back then, most gyms started doing online group classes, personal training, or video-on-demand videos in order to survive.

“Although gyms have switched to online training, the revenues have not been the same as physical training in gyms and studios, as online classes are reasonably priced, costing an average of 8-20 RM per class, which is pretty low compared to 35 up to RM 55 per class when training in the gym, ”said Kevin.

While internet connection is a huge setback during their virtual class, both Kevin and Ng cannot deny its benefits as it helps them unlock the potential to join new students from other countries (Image source: popsugar.co.uk)

Movement Dynamics x Be had just started offering group classes when it was thrown into yet another lockdown and had to move online.

“As we’re fairly new to some of the other gyms that offer group classes and only focused on personal training until March, switching to online classes was definitely a challenge as we didn’t have a huge fan base yet.

“However, our group courses gradually started due to the amazing performance of the entire team,” he said.

Regarding the differences between online courses and in-person tuition, Kevin said that the environment and atmosphere are the most glaring.

“Studios have special music, lighting, and equipment setups to provide the best experience when people are attending the classes. It’s difficult to recreate the same atmosphere during virtual training.

“Also, there can be a lot of connectivity issues with online courses that really break the flow of training as the teacher has to stop everything in order to address it.

“Another aspect is for studios with specialty courses such as spin (indoor cycling). It can especially tough because not everyone owns a bike and equipment rental can be quite expensive, ”he said.

A bonus, however, is the ability to reach people far and wide through the power of technology.

“We have started to attract international clients from Canada, Singapore and the UK and we are constantly looking to expand in terms of service and the quality of the content we produce,” he said.

Kevin said that once the pandemic subsides and the gyms are allowed to reopen, people will definitely prefer gym training, similar to what is happening in the UK and US right now.

“For the fitness community, the gym isn’t just for exercising, it’s also a place to meet and hang out with new people Make friends and create a healthy environment together, ”remarked Kevin.

In the meantime, yoga teacher Andrea Ng Yi Wei said that, unlike the normal workouts in the gym, switching to online courses has changed the structure tremendously.

Ng had just enrolled in teacher training in 2019 when the pandemic struck and the structure of yoga classes changed dramatically.

She said that although she had some experience of online hatha yoga and vinyasa yoga classes prior to the pandemic, most of her students have always preferred the physical ones.

“In online courses, I had to give more pointers and more verbal instructions instead of just demonstrating with my body because we saw each other on small screens.

“Because I couldn’t see all of them, I had to be more careful about injuries and ailments that students have and that they are working on and provide more guidance on how to change posture to avoid injury,” she told TMR.

She added that internet connections did not always work optimally and the lack of human interaction had also dampened her mood initially.

“The connection and relationship with the students was hardest hit, with the motivation to lead classes in large groups also being severely affected.

“It was a lot more exhausting for the instructors as we have to keep the energy high all the time,” she said.

Ng repeated Kevin with the pros about online courses, namely the potential for accessibility.

“It opened up the potential for new students from all over the world, which is amazing. I also saw a renewed need for people to stay healthy and active, both mentally and physically.

“There was also a greater awareness in Meditation classes and exploring different types of exercises, ”she said.

Ng thought that virtual fitness is not a new contender in the market, but a growing model and will continue to exist after the pandemic.

“I believe that Covid-19 has accelerated the adaptation to a hybrid model of online and face-to-face teaching, and I also think it’s a great step to give customers more options and try new places and workouts with no time or location restrictions . ”, While it also enables fitness studios to expand their customer reach.

“However, I believe that 70% to 75% of the fitness community will resume pre-Covid routines, face-to-face classes, and fitness training once the gyms reopen.

“To sum it up, a hybrid of virtual and personal training courses will be the direction of the fitness industry,” she noted.