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Dhara Tanna, Senior Vice President, Fitternity
A few trends that will become the way of the fitness and wellness industry post the lockdown period:
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Evolution of the fitness industry post the lockdown period

A few trends that will become the way of the fitness and wellness industry post the lockdown period:
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  • Dhara Tanna, Senior Vice President, Fitternity writes the fitness industry hit a major roadblock due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
  • She lists down a few present trends that will become the way of the fitness and wellness industry post the lockdown period.
When we look back on the journey of the fitness and wellness industry in India, it can be observed largely as a scattered, fragmented sector which was probably waiting to be organized. Advent of technological innovation and digitization is evolving the industry into a systematic marketplace built on consumer centricity. This positive up-growth is observed both globally as well as in India.

However, due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year, the fitness industry hit a major roadblock. With the government's mandatory directive of nationwide lockdown and people practicing social distancing, the fitness industry that was largely dependent on the on-ground gyms and fitness studios saw a shift to digital platforms. Various players in the fitness industry adapted their services onto digital platforms in order to provide seamless customer experience. Live streaming of fitness sessions, virtual personal training, consultations by nutritionists, mental health experts through online social and communication platforms have seen a rise like never before. Hence, making the virtual way of accessing fitness the new normal and a subsidiary to the on-ground fitness services.

The present trends indicate certain unique features that will become the way of the fitness and wellness industry post the lockdown period:

  1. Hybrid Business Models and Cross Pollination Of Services:
While the virtual fitness services would still exist, the re-opening of gyms/fitness studios will leave multiple avenues for fitness enthusiasts to have access to. The consumer mindset has also accepted the virtual way of working out, strongly pointing to the emergence of a hybrid business model - where the fitness industry witnesses more consumption, both virtually and offline.

Existing fitness and wellness businesses are also expected to get creative and venture across multiple mediums for better outreach and retention of consumers. For the gyms/fitness studios that resume on-ground operations, they will continue services both online and offline. The virtual offerings are also expected to evolve with services being more personalized for the consumers (personal training, consultation with nutritionists, online therapy etc.) and hence providing overall wellness at their fingertips.

2. Shift Ba ck To Physical:

For a gym/fitness studio to reopen timely efforts for the sanitization of gyms/studios, installing proper hand sanitiser dispensers, spacing the equipment, having safety rules and protocols in place would be a must. Workout sessions would have to be performed in small/intimate groups. Fitness platforms will also be utilizing tools where they would monitor the capacity of gym/fitness centres. Pre-booking of workout slots along with ensuring an safety SOP (Standard Operating Protocol) is being implemented, would also play a huge role in building trust amongst the consumers.

3. Holistic Wellness Will Be A Priority:

Not just physical fitness, but nutrition, mental wellness and spiritual training has already become a prime focus for individuals and will continue to do so, post lockdown. In an attempt to achieve overall health and overcome the stress incurred due to our tense surroundings, consumers and service providers have found the need to focus on holistic health and are redefining fitness to become more wellness oriented.

4. Business Avenue for Budding Entrepreneurs:
The fitness industry has also presented a business avenue to many young & budding entrepreneurs and trainers. With consumers focusing on better health and lifestyle, the demand for quality fitness service offerings is as high and will continue to be so. Thus, presenting a chance for businesses in this segment to flourish.

In the times to come, the change in the industry’s functioning and progression, not just locally but also globally would be interesting to witness and be a part of. The stalwarts of the fitness industry are also coming together to work towards identifying problem areas and bring about improvements that would benefit the industry. These positive developments are hoped to forever change the customer- service provider equation in the industry and stand as a precedent to quality consumer centric service.