Corona-hit fitness industry goes online for survival

With almost all fitness centres shut, several gyms and yoga centres have gone digital in a bid to adapt to this new reality of life.


I f there’s anything that’s breaking the Internet these days other than Dalgona Coffee, then it is people’s DIY fitness routine. Staying fit and healthy at a time when we are all locked-down in our houses, is literally the name of the game this season. From Pilates to yoga at home, our social media timelines are full of uploads from fitness enthusiasts, friends and family who are busy flaunting their indoor fitness mantra. With almost all fitness centres shut across the country, many gyms and yoga centres have gone digital in a bid to adapt to this new reality of life, which has helped many of them reach hundreds of people, something which would’ve never been possible in a conventional gym “This lockdown has made people realise to work on themselves and their health. I was only teaching friends and family and then suddenly after the lockdown, overnight I had some 200 people telling me how they are eager and want to learn yoga. That came like a blessing in disguise that I had to take forward which I did,” says Astha Gupta, a yoga trainer.

While going digital may have helped fitness trainers and organisations reach a large number of people, their shrinking revenue stream in the backdrop of closed-down fitness centres remains a huge concern for most fitness experts. Most of the players in the field are already preparing strategies to woo their customers back as lockdown lifts eventually. “We have started looking for solutions. Now, our members can access the workout sessions from home. The exercises we put up on the app do not need any kind of weight or equipment. Meanwhile, what would the expectations of the members be when the gyms open is a challenge we are working on. After all, it won’t be the same the way it used to be in the past. Our members will now look for social distancing and proper sanitisation in the gym. To take that into account, we have made a survey and sent it to our members for them to fill so that we can know what needs to be done,” says Ranjan Ghosh, sales and operation manager of the Golds Gym.

Though trainers, coaches and fitness experts are uploading excise and fitness routines, many experts believe it is the people who need to keep themselves motivated as everyone’s schedule has gone for a toss during this time. “During this lockdown I exercise daily at home and I tell my clients to do the same. I advise them to find the motivation to work on themselves. One thing what everyone must do is to be disciplined and have a routine. Once you establish that, it gets better, it gets easier. There are a lot of things you can also incorporate, like house chores,” says Mitushi Ajmera, a well-known wellness coach. Many fitness experts reveal that they had to convince some of their clients to take online classes and not fall in the trap of laziness. “I had to personally message everyone. It was a tough task but I managed to do it. After the lockdown a lot of people have started working out as they all have so much free time. People who never worked out before are now working on themselves and giving exercise some time. A lot of people are not comfortable to go to the gym, but with this they are more confident. I keep changing their workouts every two weeks, so that it’s interesting for them as well,” states Uday Raj Chimney, a personal trainer. 

Fitness instructors are now adopting new ways to keep their clients engaged, considering not everyone has access to weights or gym equipment at home. “Where there is will, there is a way. You can do body-work training on the mat. There are several videos online. If you don’t have weights, do it with a bottle filled with water. The idea is not to stop and not let your mind stop as well. It is a time to be creative as well,” reminds Aaporva Jayarajan, Pilates and yoga trainer.  End of the day, working out isn’t just about keeping oneself physically fit but also maintaining overall wellness of the body and the mind. “I combine the elements of mindful fitness. The issue is not only about how we keep our physically fit but it is also about being mentally fit. So, I think most of our clients know how we even at the studio did not only focus on the physical part of the body; importance was given to mental fitness and wellness as well,” says Veshna Jacob, owner and founder of Veshna Fitness Studio.