Coronavirus Impact: As home fitness purchases skyrocket, gyms revamp workout experience

ByLeslie Brinkley KGO logo
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
COVID-19 impact: With home fitness purchases skyrocketing, gyms are unsure if people will return
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With home fitness purchases skyrocketing, gyms are unsure if people will return once novel coronavirus restrictions ease and allow them to reopen.

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- Since March, Precor Home Fitness says sales have skyrocketed 300%. VP of Sales Dusty Schlotfeldt says they joke that "dumbbells are the new toilet paper," because they are flying off the shelves and they can't keep them in stock.

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Customer Oliver Perreras picked some up at the Walnut Creek store. He is taking home a full set of weights to exercise but he says the problem is finding space in the backyard or garage for the gear.

Other customers are buying treadmills and ellipticals for their homes since their clubs or gyms are closed.

Schlotfeldt said, "I think people are going to make a major shift to work out at home and long-term I don't think that's going to change. We've been hiring staffing, buying additional delivery trucks. It's been hectic since day one."

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Some small gym owners aren't sure their clients will ever come back in person. Anya Litvinova owns Catalyst Fitness in Concord. She says since the Bay Area shelter-in-place started on March 17, she's been live streaming on Zoom, Facebook and Instagram offering 2 to 4 classes a day.

"Every time I've asked people 'what do you think of going back?' They are very fearful. I think a lot of people are going to keep doing the virtual," Litvinova says.

She said she thinks the fitness business is going through a sad transition as clients tell her they don't want to go back in a room and work out next to other people, especially if they have to wear a mask.

She decided not to extend her lease and is closing her physical location for good. She is going all virtual which she thinks is the future of fitness. She is also seeking a permit to hold classes of 10 people or less in public parks in the coming months. Just no classes indoors.

RELATED: Gym brings weights to their members despite closing their doors

Precor Fitness believes now that people are investing in home gyms and equipment they will not go back to gyms and pay the monthly dues.

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