Has studio and gym fitness changed forever?

Hi friends! How’s the morning going? I’m trying to get everything organized for “school” – Liv is going back purely distance-based until at least Labor Day and P is home until at least January – and plan for some upcoming workout videos. We’ll probably hit the pool later today and grill chicken, veggies and sweet potatoes for dinner.

For today’s post, I wanted to chat about gyms, studios and the future of fitness. I’m going to go ahead and put this out there, but this time last year, I was actively pursuing purchasing an indoor cycling franchise. I was in the final steps, looking for real estate, and had talked with potential investors. With the Pilot’s first-year airline schedule and the fact that I’d be solo parenting so often, we decided to put it on hold until first year was over and his schedule calmed down a bit. Also, in my heart, the thought of a recession was looming and it just didn’t feel like the right time. So, I hit pause. Here we are a year later, all of the gyms in Arizona are closed, and a lot of fitness studios are having a really difficult time. Who could have ever guessed or thought we would be where we are right now?! I often think of the fact that I’d be rolling spin bikes outside into a courtyard so we’d be able to teach and trying to navigate online classes, which so many studios are being forced to do. Studio owners are constantly pivoting and changing their current model to help their clients and provide classes and resources during such an uncertain time.

(Home workouts are fun but I often have little visitors haha.)

With that being said, I know a lot of people are working out at home right now. Peloton is huge, apps, programs, and on demand classes are rocking it (thank you so much to those of you who have purchased my Fit Guides, HIIT Bootcamp and Barre Bootcamp!), and I can’t help but wonder what will happen to the fitness industry in the future. I was chatting with some friends at the pool about it the other night, and we agreed that some people have discovered the beauty of home workouts and are never going back. At the same time, there are a lot of people who thrive in the community environment and need the camaraderie and competitive aspect to get in their workouts. Also the gym has access to equipment you may not have at home. (I haven’t been on a treadmill since February!)

For me, I’ve embraced the home workouts. I’m loving Les Mills On Demand, my Peloton (thank the lord we have one) and it’s really nice to not have to commute or put on “real” workout clothes. (Sometimes I work out barefoot in my pajamas!) Even so, there are some studio classes that I miss dearly. I miss sprinting my heart out in Orangetheory, sweating my face off in hot yoga, and taking live barre classes. (The On Demand barre classes are fun, but not the same.) I also really miss teaching my weekly bootcamp and spin classes. 🙁

I’d love to hear your thoughts and what you’ve experienced with everything going on. Have you fallen in love with home workouts? What are your favorite resources?

Are you able to take classes or go to the gym where you are? What’s it like? Sending my fellow fitness instructor friends and studio owners a virtual hug and an even bigger bottle of wine.



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  1. Cara on August 11, 2020 at 7:23 am

    I definitely do not mind homeworkouts and have gotten into a groove with them, but like you said, I thrive on the community/group atmosphere in a class. Gyms, where I live, have been open for just over a week now and it seems to be going well so far. All of the safety protocols they have in place are extensive and it feels very safe.
    Hopefully this is a good sign that things can continue in this manner with no shutdowns again. Fingers crossed.

  2. Emily on August 11, 2020 at 7:43 am

    I was fortunate enough to be able to purchase a peloton while my gym was closed, and I absolutely love their community and instructors.
    I am missing hot yoga the most, and would definitely go back to live classes for that one eventually.

  3. Ashley on August 11, 2020 at 7:43 am

    Gyms in my state have been opened since May. I’ve been going to my Burn Bootcamp several times a week since then and feel safe, they disinfect all equipment and we are spaced out 6 feet apart. I don’t mind home workouts, but at this stage in my life (3 kids, 5 and under) I need to leave the house to exercise or I just have a kid crying at my feet the whole time.

  4. Allison on August 11, 2020 at 8:21 am

    Oh this is an interesting topic! Here in NC, gyms have been closed since late March and will not open until mid sept at the earliest. I have 3 kids and have always been a faithful YMCA member because their class options are varied and their childcare is awesome. We have had our membership on hold, and during this time we have been building up our at home workout area with weights, resistance band and a spin bike. I have always done some workouts (yoga/running) at home, because sometimes sick kids and school schedules kept me away from the gym. The past 4 months have shown me that I really don’t need a gym at all to stay motivated, and prefer the flexibility of working out whenever I want, as opposed to the class schedule at the Y. We canceled our gym membership and will not be returning when restrictions are lifted. I am a little sad to miss the community at my local Y, but I have a feeling it won’t really be the same for a long time (if ever). My heart goes out to studio owners, especially the small business locally owned studios (as opposed to chain fitness centers), as many of them are struggling big time and several have closed permanently in our area.

  5. Katie on August 11, 2020 at 9:19 am

    I’ve always loved at-home workouts! I bought a spin bike (Schwinn IC4) and have been doing GCN cycling classes on Youtube (I was doing Peloton ones on the app, but go annoyed with the instructors talking! Just not for me apparently). 🙂 I’ve been mixing it up with circuit workouts, old school Jane Fonda DVDs, P90X, yoga, walks outside, and Tone It Up. I can’t follow programs right now (don’t have the attention span or motivation) so my workouts are pretty random each week. Our gyms are open but personally I don’t feel comfortable going to them. I had a membership prior to the shut down and just continued it to give them the business and hope to go back once everything settles down. 🙂

    • MS on August 11, 2020 at 8:33 pm

      About 80% of my workouts are home. I have collected gym equipment over the years and do a lot of stuff on YouTube ( i.e. HIIT, yoga,etc.). The one thing I miss the most is a swimming pool. I’m a triathlete at heart I’m really miss my pool workouts!

  6. Traci on August 11, 2020 at 9:21 am

    I live in southern Connecticut, and things are way better here than they were in March/April/May, so most gyms and studios have reopened. I personally have kept my gym membership on hold for now because I’m leery about that environment right now, and masks are required to workout for the most part (I believe you can take off your mask in the group fitness classes since they space everyone far apart, but I’m not personally comfortable with that yet). I’m doing pure barre on demand and YouTube videos/hiit workouts and walks. I’m sure I’ll go back someday because I miss access to all of the equipment and yoga classes which my gym offers! I’m sure some people may not go back, but I feel like the majority will and that it’s a matter of time… however long that may be.

  7. Rebecca on August 11, 2020 at 10:03 am

    Gyms have been opened in South Carolina since May. I’ve been back to Orangetheory since they opened back up and it’s been great. Mask required to enter and leave only.

  8. Jessie R on August 11, 2020 at 10:47 am

    Such a good topic! I’ve been working out primarily at home for about a year now so I could workout before work and leave work at 4 (and way too many meetings to schedule workouts around). Previously I would workout at the office gym during lunch and leave after 5. I’ve been using Beachbody on Demand and love the variety of programs.

  9. Rebecca on August 11, 2020 at 10:50 am

    I am a yoga instructor and though gyms and studios have been open in my state since May, but I have not felt comfortable returning to the studio for my own practice or to teach. Teaching was a very part-time job for me (honestly I mainly taught in order to get a free membership at my studio), so I also wanted to leave room for the instructors who depend on teaching for their main source of income.
    I have been embracing at-home workouts and have been impressed at how the fitness industry has been able to pivot to give members a good experience when we couldn’t physically be in the same space! The studio I worked for had some on-demand options already, so they were able to open those up to all members (previously you had to pay an additional fee for access) and added live virtual classes. I’ve also been taking some live virtual one-on-one classes with a friend who is a very experienced teacher. I’ve been taking TONS of continuing education classes through Yoga Alliance, they have offered so many amazing workshops online!
    I also work out with a boot camp-style class, they have offered virtual classes and some outdoor locations have resumed. Honestly, I will probably do virtual classes regularly even if/when things return to “normal.” It’s been nice to just roll out of bed and join the workout in my back yard rather than having to get in my car to drive to our meet-up location.
    I also run regularly, I previously would meet up with a training group but I have not run with anyone other than my husband since March. All races have been canceled, but some race companies have been offering virtual options which is a good way to stay motivated with training.
    I really do miss my communities, though. I miss my usual Saturday morning long runs with my training group or lining up to start a race. I miss my early morning yoga students and helping them start their day off with an energizing flow. I miss high-fiving my boot camp buddies or doing partner work to get an even better workout. We’ve all been trying to communicate and check in with each other as best we can!
    Sorry, that was a novel! But I have a lot of thoughts, haha.

  10. Lora on August 11, 2020 at 10:55 am

    Our CrossFit box here in Phoenix has managed to stay open almost the entire time thanks to limiting members to 10 per class, tons of ventilation to the outdoors, marking out 20+ square foot spaces on the rig for each member, masks to enter and exit, etc. They also have loaned out equipment and provided virtual/live instruction for all the members who don’t feel comfortable working out in person. Thank goodness as I would not be motivated to work out solo at home.

  11. LIz on August 11, 2020 at 11:28 am

    I think some may prefer home workouts, but for me- someone who works out 6 days a week, sometimes twice a day…I cannot wait until I can go to the gym again. Our studios are open, but masks required indoors. I am doing some outdoor classes for the motivation and social aspect. I am also an instructor and have taught with masks on, but as my love is barbell/hiit workouts, I am not sure if with a mask on I could get the same amount I want out of them. I have been doing some home workouts and have enjoyed many of them, but I do NOT have the equipment I need to really meet my needs. Basically a 5//8lb dumbbells, and a 20 pound. ( I would give pretty much anything at this point for a set of 12/15s or maybe a bodypump barbell). Even if I had more equipment, I live in a major city in 800 square feet. There really just isn’t room. But I do definitely enjoy rolling out of bed and working out and not having to pack a bag with all my stuff to go to work and forgetting deodorant or a brush or something. But I SO MISS teaching giant packed classes. There is nothing like the energy. I also miss hands on instruction, especially for yoga. And hot yoga. I just miss hot yoga a lot.

  12. Lauren Cunningham on August 11, 2020 at 12:57 pm

    I’m in NYC and gyms are closed with no projected timeline for reopening. I’m 33 and have been regularly going to the gym and taking group classes since i was about 14! Surprisingly, I have not minded the at home workouts (tried a few apps’ trials in the beginning and stuck with Peloton, but don’t have a bike) – they are just so convenient and I don’t have to factor travel time to and from the gym. I moved this past spring, and the gym and any studios i would go to are not nearly as convenient, so i’m not sure what i’ll do when they re-open!

  13. Juliana on August 11, 2020 at 12:59 pm

    I was never big on working out from home, but like a lot of people being forced to stay home and having no other options, Ive learned to appreciate it. I work from home full time in public health (and have a new puppy!), and honestly if I didn’t have a peloton I probably wouldn’t be working out at all except for puppy walks right now. It’s really nice to be able to hop on on my lunch break and be able to shower before going back to my home office. Also, I realize now how self-conscious I could be in a class, where I’m not when it’s just me at home. I do miss some classes (my 50-lb puppy thinks yoga = cuddle time), but with how crazy my workload is right now, getting myself to a class probably wouldn’t happen.

  14. Caitlin on August 11, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    I miss the gym, but not sure if I feel good about going back yet… sadly. I go back and forth about every week.


  15. Erin on August 11, 2020 at 3:48 pm

    I have been wondering about this, too! The gyms in my area (Southern New Jersey) are still totally closed except for outdoor workouts. I miss teaching my classes. I miss the competition. I don’t do as many or as low or as fast reps at home. And jump squats? Haven’t done one since March! I push myself to work harder in the gym. I think that since NJ schools are going back (as of now) in person. That we will be opening at limited capacity soon. The gym was my escape and since I compartmentalize everything…I just haven’t been myself working out at home. Also, since quarantine, so many things have sold out everywhere…hello any weight over 15 pounds. And indoor cycling bikes don’t fit my budget right now. I really hope we go back because I just miss it. I’m fortunate that the gym isn’t my main source of income, but it’s hard to still be out my extra spending money.

  16. Jessie on August 11, 2020 at 4:12 pm

    My gym’s location closed permanently, 24 hr fitness. One location has opened near me but much fatter than my old one. They’ve closed down the kids club, so I wouldn’t be able to go anyway. I do really miss the gym especially in the summer, here in Texas. My kids really enjoyed the indoor play scape that they had there and I got to have 45 min of interruption free workout time and the social aspect being around others since I’m a stay at home mom. I will probably join a diff gym hopefully when all this goes a way. I was used to working out from home partly because of when kids get sick and time restraints, so I’ve been doing ok with that but of course miss some of the machines and higher weights. I have an exercise bike that I do for cardio. I wonder what the future will hold for the fitness industry and for teaching as well. I am planning to return to the teaching field after my youngest is school aged.

    • Jessie on August 11, 2020 at 4:15 pm


  17. Melissa on August 11, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    I miss OTF so much! Not just the workouts, but the community too! Our studio is open but because I have leukemia, and my twins were born at 26 weeks, I decided to cancel my membership. Our studio is very small and it just isn’t worth the risk. I have been doing at-home workouts, but it’s really not the same.

  18. Sasha on August 11, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    We have to wear masks AT ALL TIMES at Orangetheory in Oregon! It’s been rough learning how to control my breathing wearing a mask while sprinting on the treadmill! But I’m adjusting (figuring out masks that work better than others) and looking forward to how fast I’ll be and how easy the workouts will be when we don’t have masks on the whole time! 😉 I weighed the option of pausing my membership until restrictions are lifted, but decided that it was worth it to me to adjust to the new normal in order to have access to the instruction and equipment.

  19. Kristi on August 11, 2020 at 10:54 pm

    My husband and I have been purchasing gym quality equipment over the years. We have a great treadmill, a brand new set of dumbbells and a power rack. I cancelled my gym membership about 5 years ago and have been working out at home since! Occasionally I used to buy a groupon for some hot yoga classes or attend a spin class now and again but I LOVE working out at home. We also live near some great trails and do a lot of hiking, trail running and mountain biking. I’ve been eyeing the peloton for years but I can’t seem to stomach the monthly membership fee.

  20. Kayla on August 12, 2020 at 12:44 am

    I still 100% prefer teaching and taking fitness IRL, but am grateful for the Zoom classes the barre studio I teach at has offered during this time. Otherwise I think I’d really struggle to stay motivated both to show up and to not bail 20 minutes into a class

  21. Kathy on August 12, 2020 at 6:10 pm

    Interesting topic… I’m here in CO and gyms have opened back up, however, we have to wear masks while working out. If you need a breather you can take it off if you are in your space, but it’s encouraged to keep them on. With that, not all gyms have returned to in person classes yet. As for me, I haven’t gone back to a gym since Feb/March. I’m not sure when I’ll be back especially having to wear a mask while working out. I’ve been running more and have used the nike training apps for strength training workouts, I already had some equipment, but nothing compared to a gym. I also don’t have a/c so while it’s not crazy hot in our house, it is definitely harder to find the motivation to workout at nap time. I also have a 2 yr old, so working out from home with her awake is difficult. I enjoy going to the gym as I usually push myself harder bc of the people around me and they have equipment that I don’t have at home. Ironically I bought a class package for a new gym at the beginning of March and now I’m not sure when I’ll be ready to use them. I definitely feel for the gym owners!

  22. Carolyn on August 16, 2020 at 7:48 am

    I miss the gym and group exercise so much! I’m in Indiana and our gyms have been open for a bit, but I don’t feel safe going yet and I don’t know that I’d make it working it in a mask. I’ve been getting by with home work outs and even tried some 6am outdoor bootcamp classes even though I am so not a morning person. When I feel like it’s safe, I’ll definitely be returning to the gym, especially for the community and childcare!

  23. Heather on August 16, 2020 at 11:56 am

    Home workouts are fine and have their place but nothing is like working out in a group in real life! Whether it’s outside or in a studio, I missed it so much.

    I’m also a group fitness instructor (who’s business has suffered greatly since March) and I miss the energy of a group. You can’t capture that online.

    Now, I do a mix of in person and at home workouts but I love the in person more! And I get to support my favourite local fitness businesses).

    Before covid, I would rarely work out at home but I do enjoy the convenience sometimes, especially with my 5 year old at home.

    I’m in the early stages of possibly buying an OTF franchise and I can’t decide if it’s a good time to invest (maybe we’ll be back to normal in a year?) or if the studio will ever go back to full capacity again. It makes me sad for current studio owners.

  24. Cassie T on February 27, 2021 at 3:47 pm

    24 Hour Fitness re-opened in Colorado in July, and we have such a loyal following for our limited class schedule right now. For some members, it’s the only sense of community they have right now, and even when everything else opens back up, I don’t think that camaraderie of working out together can be replaced by online options – though I definitely think it will be supplemented by it more. I think we’ll see in-person gyms offering more on demand options bundled with membership, and I think the online offerings will get more social and feature driven like Peloton.

    PS – if you’re ever in Boulder again, come to a BODYPUMP class at 24! Tell them Cassie sent you and they’ll let you in 😉

    • Fitnessista on March 1, 2021 at 2:02 pm

      i totally agree. and yes, i would love to take a class next time i’m in boulder!

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