How COVID-19 Has Changed the Fitness Industry Forever (And Why That’s a Good Thing)

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted so many aspects of our lives, from how we interact and socialize with one another, to the way we work and travel. It has completely decimated some industries, and launched others into the stratosphere. But one of the most striking changes has occurred in the fitness industry. The effects of COVID-19 have been both destructive in some areas, and incredibly favorable in others. 

And like any great market shift, these changes are not necessarily problematic, but more neutral — they can bring both beneficial and adverse impacts to our lives. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at how the pandemic has changed the fitness industry as a whole. 

Holistic Health Is Here

For decades the fitness industry has been fueled by the public’s unquenchable desire for physical perfection. Superficial beauty took center stage, while for health and wellness stayed hidden in the shadows. But as the pandemic kept so many at home, leading to less distractions and higher anxiety, the need for holistic wellness has erupted. Instead of thinking about beach season and fashion week, many fitness consumers have turned to fitness classes that promote their physical health, along with those that improve their mindfulness and spiritual growth. 

Focus on Obesity

As the CDC and other public health initiatives began reporting COVID statistics, one trend became crystal clear: the virus did not affect everyone the same. The truth is, three groups in particular faced much more dire outcomes than others: the elderly, those with pre-existing medical conditions, and the obese — with only the latter being the most preventable. Now, for years doctors have been warning about the dangers of excess weight. But now, the public has a firsthand understanding of just how dangerous being obese actually is. This knowledge has led many to take an interest in their fitness, strictly from a health standpoint. The focus is finally becoming less about how we look and more about how we feel, and what people want to feel is in good shape – and shape meaning in good condition, not skinny. 

Customers Demand, onDemand

When most places in the country entered into lockdowns, large gyms and fitness studios were the first on the chopping block. Unlike many restaurants, which could quickly adopt a take-out business model, gyms required live participation to exist and stay in business, and sadly, many didn’t survive the pandemic. But those that had already offered online fitness classes pre-pandemic, like Studio SWEAT onDemand, and those that were able to quickly pivot to offer virtual on-demand exercise solutions quickly saw members take advantage of this new form of fitness. Instead of having to pack up gym clothes, drive to a gym, work out, shower, etc., fitness classes could now be taken from the comfort of home, instantly. In fact, according to fitness research firm ClubIntel, 72% of brick-and-mortar fitness centers now offer virtual and live-streaming classes, up from 25% in 2019. 

As we’re seeing people start to venture back out, physical gyms are seeing a resurgence of members. So many missed the motivation that you can only feel when you’re side by side with other like-minded individuals. There are even waitlists starting to form for group fitness classes again, particularly at smaller, boutique studios. That said, even as many return to their gyms, they’re still taking advantage of the at-home, on-demand online gyms they’ve now also become a part of. We in the fitness industry call that “hybrid training”, and it’s an amazing option that’s definitely here for good. The fact is that these recent changes prove that not only is the fitness industry not in danger, it’s actually thriving. Customers are looking for virtual health and wellness programs now more than ever. 

If you own or operate a commercial fitness center and want to be known for providing cutting-edge health and wellness solutions for your customers, consider us as your virtual fitness provider, so you can focus on what you’re best at — the on-site experience. With Sweat Pro, powered by Studio SWEAT onDemand, you can deliver the best virtual fitness classes to your members on big screens (TVs or projectors) to supplement your live class schedule, or even offer your customers everything they need to get an amazing workout from the comfort of home or on the road for when they can’t make it in. To learn more about the Sweat Pro program or schedule a demo, visit 

We can’t wait to show you how we can help you and your business!