Gyms Must Offer More Than Just Workout Spaces To Remain Competitive, Says Fitness Expert

Convenience, schedule flexibility, and one-on-one attention have become crucial.

Health and fitness clubs in South Africa generated more than R12.5-billion in revenue in 2016 — according to The Economist, the highest in the world:

Despite this growth, the health and fitness scene is a highly competitive field, and industry players are constantly seeking ways to reinvent themselves to keep pace with consumer demands, such as fitness spaces that will accommodate South Africans crying for a lack of time, and the inability to fit in a workout each day.

For those eager to grab a share of the market, their fitness offering has to be unique and tailored to the needs of the time-tight and health-conscious South African. One of the ways to do this has been for fitness spaces to offer high intensity interval training (HIIT) — a fitness trend expected to continue to dominate in 2018.

But offering HITT classes is not enough, said Tim Albone — the man who introduced the award-winning Ritual Gym concept to Johannesburg.

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He believes a HIIT-based model of fitness that does not address the issue of time, schedule and convenience can easily fall through the cracks.

Ritual Gym's workouts, for example, take less than 30 minutes, workout clothing, towels for the session and your shower are provided, and members can fit their workout into their day whenever it suits them.

"We combine cardio and strength training into a 20-minute workout that trains the whole body, and all our sessions are carefully put together by experts to ensure you get the best out of your workout" said Albone.

He stressed that these workouts are highly effective, and studies supporting this have proven that one does not need to necessarily spend a long time at the gym to achieve similar results.

Albone also pointed out that the advantage that boutique fitness centres have is that they are individual-oriented and can be less intimidating.

"Gym spaces can be very intimidating, very crowded and you can get lost, but one of our unique offerings is that classes are a maximum of 10 people, with a coach guiding you throughout the workout so you're safe and confident of what you're doing. We also provide one-on-one initial assessments before you sign up," he said.

Marc Train, a fitness expert who brought global fitness phenomenon F45 to the country, agrees.

"Unless something's easy and fits in with our schedules, it won't be sustainable," he said, adding that the trick is for fitness entities to make it easy and as rewarding as possible to exercise.


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