SYRACUSE, NY (WRVO) – Gyms typically experience a drop in traffic every February as people abandon their New Year fitness goals. However, visits have been declining year-round due to the coronavirus.
Chrissy Mason, one of the owners of Take Charge Strength Studio in Mexico, said the past year has been tough. They saw a 20% decrease from 2019 after the state closed gyms for several months. Even after allowing these fitness facilities to reopen, Mason said things have not returned to normal.
“We have some customers who are very skeptical about being with other people,” said Mason. “We used to have 10-17 people in one class and now we’re still struggling to get 6-8 people in each class.”
Polls show this is a nationwide trend. Some people are waiting for safer conditions while others have completely quit their gym membership and decide to keep their fitness routine at home. As a result, sporting goods companies like the Syracuse Fitness Store saw an increase in orders over the past year. Owner Andy Venditti said its sales had doubled from 2019.
“We had both ends of it – I had people who only had hip or knee replacements where they had to do something when everything was shut down, and then we had your traditional gym rats who went to the gym seven days a week which they didn’t was the case. I didn’t have that option so they were pretty insane and bought whatever they could get their hands on, ”Venditti said.
Demand was so high last year that manufacturers are still making the equipment the Syracuse Fitness Store and other companies ordered last fall. And Venditti says sales haven’t decreased in 2021. His clients say they are not ready to hit the gym again, or they have already tried and found it difficult to exercise with a mask.
But Mason said gym owners can survive this shift to home training by getting creative.
“With anyone who has gone out and bought their home fitness equipment, now that they want to stay home and exercise, they have all of these things, but they may not necessarily have the knowledge to do so,” Mason said. “This is where we come in where fitness facilities, personal training studios and gyms really need to grow over time and start virtual training.”