What a difference a year makes, on 3rd December 2019 we held the very first conference dedicated to Independent Gyms and Studios, hosting 55 gym owners, 5 speakers and 7 leading suppliers as part of an awesome day of support, networking and discussions and raising over £1400 for charity.
Fast forward 12 months and the industry has taken more than its fair share of blows, spending much of the year in lockdown, working via Zoom, being open, closed, open, closed, open…. The lead up to last year’s conference caused possibly the most stress, nerves and worry I’ve ever experienced, topped off with the need to stand in front of you all and open the conference, for someone with a fear of public speaking this was not easy! However, it also gave me a HUGE appetite to build on the success of that day and really start work on growing the level support provided to Independent Fitness facilities.
I’ll be announcing more throughout December but for now the next conference is booked for Thursday 13th May 2021! This time last year we sat at 732 members, we now sit at 1700 members and by the time May comes round I think we’ll be passed 2000 members, assuming we’ll be out of the grip of Covid come May, we’re making plans for 150 gym owners to come together for another fantastic day!
November 2020 felt odd to me, the work our industry put in throughout lockdown 1.0 to prove our value to society and the NHS, along with our ability to remain Covid secure seemed to be simply brushed aside as part of lockdown 2.0. At first glance this seemed accepted until the number of ‘essential’ shops allowed to remain open became apparent. I won’t lie, I’ve hit up B&Q 4 times in the last 2 weeks but none of those trips were truly essential, yet in the same two weeks I’ve only trained once at home and now feel slow and lethargic as a result. The double standards around sectors that can open seem to have driven a wedge into the fitness industry and the dilemma about whether to accept the closure or fight back and remain open faced us all. Whatever you chose to do as an owner, I hope we can start to reunite as an industry and continue to prove our worth once again!
As you read this newsletter, gyms in England have reopened, gyms in parts of Scotland are closed, gyms in Northern Ireland are closed for a few more days and gym in Wales are going strong! With a Covid vaccine now officially approved, I don’t know about you but I’m starting to feel cautiously optimistic about what 2021 will bring!