In the new post-COVID WFH era, working out looks, well… different. For many, gone are the days when leisurely lacing up your shoes for a sweat session at your favorite studio was defined as acceptable—particularly when it included breathing heavily alongside your neighbor in a small, dimly lit room. Instead, now most are lucky if they can slip away from a Zoom meeting for a quick 30 min workout. Of those who took a recent LifeTime Survey, 70% indicated that their health was negatively impacted in 2020 due to stress, closure of gyms, or that working from home had resulted in a lower motivation for exercise.
The reality is, workouts from home have become the new norm, requiring studios to pivot and meet their communities where they are. Individuals who once loved dropping into a studio for class may not feel comfortable coming back IRL (yet). Instead, they're finding short windows of time (20-30 minutes) when they can pop over to the living room for a quick sweat session while still in their WFH attire that doubles as their activewear.
According to MindBody’s “5 Wellness Trends to Watch in 2021”, 40% of Americans are taking their sweat sessions online to the beat of a pre-recorded class and over one-third of Americans are logging in real-time for a livestream class. Despite social distancing, people are still looking for ways to exercise together, but apart, making virtual options a priority for fitness providers.
Of the studios with virtual options who’ve partnered with Peerfit, one-third of them offered a shorter “snackable” class time. Here’s how two of our partners have built success and won over their digital members with this tasty digital option:
Pivoting to providing clients with a virtual experience may seem an overwhelming task at first, but it's helpful to realize that your digital option does not require putting in extra hours for filming. Peerfit partner Studio 317 Fitness & Cycling in Indianapolis films their live in-studio classes which instantly creates a virtual option and also opens up an additional revenue stream without requiring extra resources. An added bonus? Users who may not feel comfortable joining in the studio are still able to “take” a class with their community and enjoy the energy of a room full of people.
While the office commute now consists of a two-minute trip down the hall, from the dining room to the living room, traditional work hours haven’t changed. Live-streaming short classes during the traditional “lunch hour” allows FitStyle by Shana’s members to move their bodies and boost their energy to continue through the workday. Owner Shana says, “30 minutes is a real sweet spot. Time always feels like a challenge for people. Understand you can still do fitness in these bite-sized time slots”.
No Equipment, No Problem
The new workout norm no longer involves equipment. Adapting classes to the new category of at-home users has required studios to innovate. While Studio 317 Fitness & Cycling offers classes like Barre Express on their schedule, they’ve also implemented tweaks such as using dining chairs as a studio bar, making the classes accessible for their at-home participants. Encouraging users to get creative and use what they have at home allows them to still feel included. Another great example: wine bottles make great weights (and celebrations after!).
Keeping the Connection
While many individuals have found their health negatively impacted during COVID-19, they are still actively looking for a solution. Livestream and on-demand classes have broken down barriers for beginners who may have been too intimidated to join a studio and sweat with others in tight leggings and crop tops. To help maintain the importance of the human connection, Studio 317 Fitness & Cycling has found success by encouraging users to turn their cameras on when live-streaming. Learning the names of the individuals joining in for live-stream and providing verbal adjustments has also helped keep these new attendees coming back to class.
By listening to what works for their at-home users (ahem lunchtime “snackable” workouts), getting creative, and maintaining the human connection, Fit Style by Shana and Studio 317 Fitness & Cycling have both successfully pivoted. In turn, they have won over their digital audiences during the pandemic and have found that users who partake in their digital offerings will slowly making their way back to in-studio classes as they feel comfortable.