Gym chains impacted by coronavirus closures adapt with outdoor classes

Gym closures could weigh negatively on commercial real estate

The elongated closure of gyms during coronavirus is becoming a concern for commercial real estate owners. FOX Business’ Kristina Partsinevelos with more.

It’s survival of the fitness.

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Foot traffic for gym goers across the fitness industry was down 49.6 percent as of the week of June 29, a slight improvement from 52.1 percent a week earlier, according to the most recent statistics from data analytics firm Placer.ai.

Retro fitness started hosting some of its classes in parking lots outside of its gyms. (Courtesy of Retro Fitness)

It's a sign of slow growth for the industry devastated by coronavirus-related shutdowns. And in areas where fitness studios and big-box gym chains are closed, some are ramping up outdoor workout classes to retain members.

New Jersey-based Retro Fitness has introduced classes like yoga and Zumba in several states, including New York and Pennsylvania. Members are required to wear masks and bring their own equipment, and costs vary depending on the market, a spokesperson for the gym said.

"Because several of our locations remain closed, and in full compliance with state mandates, our members asked, and we delivered the most prudent and sensible expansion of fitness and wellness," Andrew Alfano, CEO of Retro Fitness, told FOX Business. "At our re-opened locations, our growth in new members has been astonishing given the circumstances, and our goodwill among current members has helped us build an even more vibrant community of health-minded people."

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Cycling studio Soul Cycle debuted an outdoor spin studio in the Hamptons this month with bikes priced at $50 per ride. To compare, an indoor ride at Soul Cycle costs around $34. The charge for the socially distanced rides, led by celebrity instructors like Stacy Griffith, factor in “safety standards,” the studio says.

“The difference in pricing accounts for the shortened summer season, top-tier customer service and increased safety standards that we’ve put in place to keep our SoulOutside riders safe, health and comfortable – all of which include supplemental equipment and training for our staff,” SoulCycle said on its website.

CORONAVIRUS PUSHES GYMS TO LOOK FOR OUTDOOR REAL ESTATE 

Alfresco sweat sessions are free at some select big box gyms. New York City-based chain Crunch started offering community classes at gyms in New York and New Jersey that are not yet fully open. Gym instructors host classes like spin, strength training and dance cardio in parking lot spaces placed 6 feet apart outside the locations.

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“We’re trying to pivot and meet people where they are personalized with their individual space,” Jennifer Renfroe, vice president of group fitness at Crunch, told FOX Business.

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