Gymming in a post-pandemic India, what does the future hold?

As the first wave of gyms begins functioning, how secure is it so that you can get again on the treadmill? We discover out

It was 6 am and Amirtha waited eagerly at the entrance desk of Slim & Shape fitness center in Chrompet, Chennai. After a full shutdown for 5 months, the fitness center reopened its doorways on August 10.

In about 10 minutes, a member arrived — the first of 45 who would flip up on the first day. She recognised him as a pupil from a school close by. “We checked his weight; he had gained almost seven kilograms during lockdown. He seemed quite happy to be back,” says Amirtha.

Pre-COVID19, the fitness center acquired about 100 guests a day, however Jothi Jayaprasad, who’s incharge of HR is upbeat: “This is a good sign of things to come.” In reality, they needed to flip away a few folks whose ages couldn’t be verified.

A State Government order, issued beneath Unlock tips, permitting gyms and yoga centres to reopen following social distancing norms, does not permit these beneath 15 and over 50 to enter a fitness center. “We will ask people to bring their Aadhaar cards for better identification,” Jothi says.

That shall be simply one among many modifications her fitness center might want to make for the post-COVID-19 world. Under different restrictions like these, in Chennai, standalone gyms have been allowed to operate. But what will they seem like, over the subsequent yr?

Social surveillance

Bengaluru’s members-only BLVD Club opened its doorways on August 7. “Gyms and yoga studios in the State were allowed to open on August 5, but we delayed it by two days, because we wanted to use the time to educate our members about the new safety protocols,” says Emanda Vaz, who heads the establishment. The membership hosted two-day on-line periods to introduce its members to the new guidelines at its luxurious premises.

“No one can enter the club without a mask [Government guidelines say people have to wear masks or visors while working out in a gym]. Staff and members will have to go through temperature and oxygen saturation checks at the entrance. At any given point only two users will be allowed in the gym and yoga studio. For this, members will have to book a slot 24 hours in advance. After every slot we will have a 30-minute break to sanitise the area,” says Emanda.

Gymming in a post-pandemic India, what does the future hold?

The membership is advising members to hold their very own yoga mats, towels, and sanitisers to minimise the contact between members and workers, and at the finish of the day there’s deep cleansing of the fitness center and studio.

An identical protocol has been put in place at 10 Gold Gym centres throughout India, from Bengaluru and Hyderabad to Sirsa and Guwahati. “We do not allow walk-ins. They will first have to book their slots via our app,” says Shraddha Sheth, vice-president, Gold’s Gym India. Even in gyms akin to Slim & Shape, which rely upon walk-ins, each consumer has to signal themselves in and out for higher monitoring, on the off likelihood of transmission of the virus.

Gymming in a post-pandemic India, what does the future hold?

As per the guidelines, moist areas akin to saunas and steam showers can’t be used. “We have not made any structural changes to the interior design of the gym, other than aligning the equipment to social distancing norms. In case we cannot move the equipment, we make sure that members only use alternate machines.” The solely addition to the fitness center interiors has been 4 sanitisation stations, with housekeeping workers in PPE.

In Chennai’s SLAM Fitness nevertheless, clear plastic dividers have been positioned between most gear together with treadmills. “The number of people working out in the one-hour slots has been restricted but we also want to give our clients a comfort zone,” says Anirudh Ram, vice- president at SLAM.

Smarter operation

Sanitisation has been an extra expenditure for gyms already struggling to satisfy their upkeep bills. “We have to spend over ₹25,000 for the first batch of sanitisers, masks, and face shields that we purchased. Only after a few weeks, will we have a clearer picture of how much it will cost,” says Emanda.

Sailesh Bolisetti, who runs Anytime Fitness in Visakhapatnam, says for the 15 members who now come (beforehand there could be about 230), the upkeep value stays the identical. “In addition to it, we will be spending over ₹20,000 a month on sanitisation,” he says.

With such financial pressures, homeowners are rethinking their enterprise fashions. Gympik Health Solutions, a software program firm that connects health buffs to centres throughout the nation, just lately got here out with an book, Gym Owner’s Playbook To Survive The COVID-19 Challenge.


  • Gympik’s survey of gym-goers says:
  • 60% would like a combination of on-line
  • plus on-site exercises
  • 25% would like purely on-line
  • 15% would go for purely onsite exercises

“We have spoken to over 200 trainers and gym owners, about how centres should change. Before COVID-19, they focussed more on membership offers, but they need to move towards personal training. People are willing to pay more for that, so even with a smaller number of clients, they will be able to generate the same revenue,” says Amaresh Ojha, founder, Gympik. He bats for hybridisation of the coaching mannequin, including a digital arm. In such a mannequin, folks might exercise at the fitness center for 2 days a week, lowering the load on the centres, and for the remainder of the week rely upon on-line Lives.

Gyms going digital

  • Gold’s Gym launched a free app about two months after lockdown. It has 1,50,000-2,00,000 dwell members throughout 150 golf equipment, with 35,000 energetic customers on the app, of which 15,000 are non-members and new customers.
  • Sarva Yoga launched on-line improvements (like yoga for immunity) throughout lockdown and stay online-first. Their centres have a most capability of 200 every, and are operating at 60% occupancy. They now have 3,00,000 folks from 100 nations who participate in on-line courses.

However, of the 15,000 gyms registered with Gympik, “Less than 10% were able to branch into the online space during the lockdown.” Slim & Shape tried it, however their trainers, who had gone again to their villages and cities, didn’t have dependable Internet connections.

Gymming in a post-pandemic India, what does the future hold?

Online periods are a problem for the humble gyms that dot the nation’s city panorama and are haunts for bodybuilders. For lots of them, the fitness center is extra than simply a place to work out. “I see it like a temple,” says body-builder Y Annamalai. He works out for a price of ₹200 monthly, and trains others at Winners Gym, a small area at Royapuram, Chennai. For him, spending three hours right here has been an on a regular basis ritual for the previous 30 years. Now he’s coaching his son, Vignesh.

“This is the first time in all these years that I have not been able to work out in a gym,” says the 50-year-old who received gold in 1997 in the 70 kilograms class in Mr India. “I felt like I would go mad.”

With inputs from Aishwarya Upadhye and Akila Kannadasan

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