The coronavirus pandemic has affected a number of industries all over the globe, and that also includes the fitness world. Fitness industry experts spoke to Longevity Live on The Nielsen Network.  In this series called The Business of Health, they discussed what is happening in this industry, how their businesses are pivoting during COVID-19, addressing the shift to a more digital fitness model, as well as addressing safety requirements in preparation for centers re-opening.

The panel included Nikki Cockroft, the Global Chief Marketing and Technology Officer for Virgin Active Global, Boris Leyck, the Founder and Managing Director of Bodytec South Africa, Emma Heap, the Director of UK-based Sudor.fit and Jenni Rivett, an international fitness and wellness consultant.

The Fitness Industry and COVID-19

The fitness industry has been placed under heavy pressure given the strictness of the lockdown rules. South Africa has had a particularly difficult lockdown and many fitness centers are facing massive challenges with their models. While there are rules to stop the spread of the virus, we know how critical exercise is to build and strengthen one’s immune system. This is especially important if one wants to avoid any complications should they catch the virus (1). Additionally, exercising can also help to alleviate the feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety that come with living through a pandemic and having to stay indoors for long periods of time.

fitness industry | Longevity LIVE

AP Photo/Gregory Bull

The experts speak

Boris Leyck

Boris Leyck is the Founder and Managing Director of Bodytec South Africa, South Africa’s leading EMS fitness studio chain. EMS strength training uses electro-muscle stimulation technology.

So, does their unique mode of fitness translate well to the digital space? Unfortunately, Leyck shares that they cannot offer EMS training online. That said, they still do their best to encourage their customers to stay fit by sharing conventional exercise routines.

Nikki Cockroft

Yes, she does run the largest fitness and wellness centers globally. And while Virgin Active South Africa was the last branch to close down its venues, and they have an incredible digital platform, Cockroft reveals that digital will never replace the physical experience.

Emma Heap

Sudor is a fitness app that features a selection of UK and South Africa’s best fitness trainers. With gyms closed, it should come as no surprise that Sudor.fit has seen a growth in numbers.

With a growing interest in digital fitness, Heap has revealed that they’ve partnered with various fitness houses that are looking to broaden their digital identity. It’s clear that the recent pandemic has pushed businesses to adopt a more digital-driven mindset.

Jenni Rivett

Jenni Rivett has had an illustrious career when it comes to the fitness industry. How many of us can say that we once trained the late Princess Diana? The fitness consultant shares that there are consumers out there who held reservations about visiting the gym before the pandemic. Therefore, Rivett was able to work with these individuals and help them maintain a healthy fitness lifestyle. She adapted her business over the past few years which has helped her during the pandemic. Rivett offered advice to other fitness practitioners looking to ensure their income is protected and grown.

The video interview with the fitness experts contains the full dialogue of this interview, and you can watch it below.

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba is a beauty and wellness writer who has a passion for poetry, equality, natural hair, and skin-care. With a journalism degree from Pearson's Institute of Higher Education, and identifiable by either her large afro or colorful locks, Pie aspires to continuously provide the latest information, be it beauty or wellness, on how one can adopt a healthy lifestyle on a day-to-day basis.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.