As millions of Americans now sit at home, sequestering themselves to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, streaming, as well as brick-and-mortar, fitness companies are trying to keep them moving. Gyms large and small, boutique and bargain, have closed their doors, leaving millions of patrons without their usual sweat destinations at a time when fitness spending was rising.
The U.S. fitness and health club industry is estimated at around $30 billion annually, with revenue rising steadily over the past decade, according to Statista. There are more than 30,000 membership-based exercise facilities in the U.S., from large chains to single-site boutique studios.
Now several of those gyms and streaming fitness companies are offering online workouts for free. While on-demand fitness is still the smallest share of total fitness spending at 6%, streaming workouts are the fastest-growing fitness category. On-demand fitness spend has spiked 58.7% since 2018 and nearly 130% since 2017, according to Cardlytics.
"For many of you, getting your FHIX is an important part of your wellness routine, and working out has incredible immune benefits," wrote CEO Kari Saitowitz in a message to members of the boutique, high-intensity training studio The Fhitting Room in Manhattan earlier this week. "Fhitting Room will announce new ways to stay FHIT with your favorite FHITpros over the coming days. Yes, virtual live classes are in the works! In the meantime, we are offering 30 days of complimentary Fhitting Room On Demand."
Beachbody, one of the largest streaming fitness companies, is offering its multiple fitness programs free for 14 days. These include popular workouts like the P90X series, 21-Day Fix, Insanity and PiYo. You need very little space for these and not much equipment outside of hand weights or bands and a mat.
Tony Horton, famed creator of the P90X workout series, did his first live workout with his wife on Facebook, and Ted McDonald, owner of 5 Point Yoga in Malibu, CA and also of Beachbody, has been doing Instagram live yoga classes. The online workouts are particularly fun for fans of these celebrity instructors, as they get to see them at home, dealing with all the same coronavirus quarantine issues as everyone else. McDonald had to take a phone call from his wife during one yoga pose. They have two small children.
Joey Gonzalez, the CEO of Barry's Bootcamp, a global fitness brand, took to Instagram live and is posting the workout on IGTV, a longer-form video platform offered by Instagram.
"It was emotional to be back in the red room with thousands of you from all around the world," Gonzales wrote in a post on Instagram. "WORK (OUT) HARD & BE NICE TO PEOPLE (At Home)."
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Peloton, maker of fully connected, high-end stationary bicycles and treadmills, is offering 90-days free on its app. The app can be used with any bike or tread, and the offerings also include floor workouts, yoga and meditation classes. Instructors will be offering live classes from the company's new Manhattan studios, but alone, without anyone else in the room.
Forte Fit launched in 2015 in New York City, putting cameras in pricey, boutique studios and streaming the classes live. It is now offering on-demand recordings of those workouts for free for one month. This includes a wide range of offerings, from boxing to HIIT (high intensity interval training) to yoga.
The Daily Burn, which is a streaming fitness model, has a 30-day free trial period. This program is designed to make you feel like you're in a class while your home alone: Social distancing, made more social and more healthy.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.