Reopening: How the Fitness Industry is Moving Forward

woman lifting weights

As we’re all aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced fitness clubs in the U.S. to limit or change operations. With the reopening of some cities and states, we wanted to check in with the fitness industry to see how they have been handling these changes. We surveyed our customers and prospects to gain a better understanding of the range of struggles clubs have faced these past 6 months.  

Who Did We Hear From?

First, thank you to all who participated in The State of the Fitness Industry survey sent between June 21 – August 17. We received almost 500 responses, with the majority from owners and managers of fitness clubs or studios that have between 1 and 5 locations. The majority of these locations are either still closed or open at 50% capacity, and 10% are fully operating. 

Major Findings 

26% of respondents are not currently offering online workouts or digital resources. As this was the way to keep businesses afloat, it was surprising to see this number as high as it is. What’s even more interesting is 20% said they will not offer virtual workouts, digital resources or streaming in the future. It’s clear to us that members will want this option moving forward. We see it as an easy add-on for a monthly membership. If not having the resources or a club management system is stopping you from making this happen, we’re here to help. 

We believe because of the shift to online workouts, those who took advantage saw an uptick in membership sales — 13% of respondents sold more than usual! Virtual training is a cost effective way to keep members engaged with your club. Air high fives to those who were able to get creative during this time. 

Do you know how your members want to stay up-to-date on what’s going on in your club? Most keep members informed via social media. Since most people spend their time scrolling, this is an easy way to hit your target. Email marketing and phone calls were the runner-ups. We suggest keeping multiple lines of communication open until you get the best sense of how your members like to communicate.

What’s Next?

There’s still some uncertainty and hesitation about reopening. We foresee fitness clubs and studios needing to change their business model and remain flexible. Keep an open dialogue with your members. Ask them what they want, and see how you can add new services into the mix. We’re rooting for you!

We’d love to hear how you’re currently fairing. Take the survey and we’ll send you an overview of The State of the Fitness Industry report.

6 Tips to Help Transition to Reopening

empty gym with equipment

We all know that the fitness industry has been rattled by COVID-19. Everyone has most likely been affected financially, personally, or mentally in our industry. As we navigate these turbulent times, it’s important that we check-in on one another, help out where we can, and keep our eyes on a brighter future. Our sister-company, GoodTherapy, has been an invaluable resource to many people whose lives have been turned upside down. We want to help your fitness business thrive, but more importantly we want YOU to thrive as well. Visit the GoodTherapy website to learn more about their resources. 

As we look ahead, states, counties, and cities are starting to reopen their businesses. It’s time to prepare your gym for the new prospect and member experience, however that may look. Whether you operate a large multi-use facility or a small studio, every business will see changes in the way their day-to-day operations run.

We put together a list of reopening tips to help jumpstart your planning for the first phase of the staged reopening.

1. Don’t take your foot off the gas when it comes to your virtual work outs. Even when you are able to slowly open your doors, many members won’t be personally ready to work out in public spaces. Give members the option to continue working out virtually so that they can still get value from your fitness business, but have the option to come in when they are ready. Now is a good time to build in virtual work outs to your membership packages for a small upgraded fee so that the option is still available once this is officially over.

2. Virtual communication is more essential now than ever before. Updating hours, cleaning procedures, and regulations that prospects or members need to follow should be communicated through email, text, and social media. Update your Google hours, keep your company Facebook and Instagram up-to-date, and text members with important news about your business. Don’t underestimate the value of informative communication.

3. In-person communication is going to look different once you start to reopen. Create signs around the gym that explain cleaning procedures, workout regulations members should abide by, and steps that your staff is taking to ensure cleanliness. Equipment should be 6 feet apart if it isn’t already, and in open workout spaces set markings every 6 feet so that members can still social distance while exercising. Every employee should be wearing a mask or comply with local guidelines when it comes to personal safety.

4. Whether it is in-person or virtual (ideally both), be very clear and concise on any updates to your membership billing process. When you start to bill members again, be sure to give them a reminder, include your updated hours, and any precautions you are following to add value. If you are extending free months to the end of their membership package to make up for the lost time, be sure to outline that or any other special billing circumstances you might have. As you may have already learned, members want to know exactly where their money is going and when so it’s important to be timely and clear. 

5. Offer products that are usually shared at your gym for personal use to provide a better member experience and drive ancillary revenue. Have branded yoga mats, small weights, towels, and more for purchase to give members the option to use their own personal equipment at the gym or to take home. 

6. Now is an essential time to set up personal training packages that fit any budget. Offering free one-on-one training sessions, outdoor small group sessions, or short-term training packages gives prospects or members the chance to get back into your gym or studio without compromising safety in big crowds. Being in an outdoor environment might give members some personal safety security, so consider offering one-on-one training outside as well if the weather permits.

If you have any other tips or care to share what your fitness business is doing during this time, leave a comment on this blog post for others to read. Remember to take care of yourself—your business has the opportunity to come back stronger than ever.

Announcement: No Late Fees or Return Items

ASF recognizes the impact that COVID-19 is having on your business and your members. We've been extensively reviewing the evolving situation, during this unprecedented pandemic.

For facilities that have decided to continue processing membership dues, beginning in April, ASF will no longer charge any Late Fees or Return Item Fees to members that are continuing to make their payments during this pandemic. We understand their commitment to your business and your community.

ASF will continually monitor and reevaluate this policy as this industry crisis unfolds.

We're here to support you. Please reach out to our Client Support team at 1-800-527-6898.

Announcement: Membership Collections in Reserve for 30 Days

Due to COVID-19, our industry is facing unprecedented challenges. Many clubs are temporarily—or, in some cases, permanently—closing their doors.

In doing our part to preserve your business and contribute to the sustainability and longevity of the industry we all love so dearly, we are making some changes to mitigate liability in these uncertain times. We are actively monitoring gym collections during this time and, unsurprisingly, we are seeing an increase in member chargebacks and/or refund demands.

Effective immediately, ASF will hold 10% of all membership collections in reserve until 30 days after the applicable facility has reopened and is operating under normal circumstances. Funds reserved on your account will be held and safeguarded for your benefit and, until released back to you, will only be used to pay chargebacks and/or refund demands raised from your members, or other fees that are owed to ASF from time to time. Doing this will prevent both you and ASF from being liable if or when members perform chargebacks and/or demand refunds through their credit card providers and automated clearing houses. The reserve funds will be released to you once the COVID-19 crisis is behind us.

We will continually monitor and reevaluate this policy as this industry crisis unfolds. This action is to help ensure that your business can weather the storm and be in the best possible position once clubs reopen.

We are happy to answer your questions. Please reach out to our Client Support team at 1-800-527-6898.

Schedule Online Classes & Training for FREE!

COVID-19 has forced our industry to quickly make significant changes to our business plans. Listening to feedback from our clients and understanding the shift in services, ASF has moved quickly to release this new product enhancement to our Scheduler application.

We're excited to announce that ASF clients can now schedule online streaming events using our Scheduler application.

• Login details and access information can be stored for each event
• Members can easily register for classes or training online
• Event details are emailed directly to them

This new product is free to all clients through August 1, 2020!

To get started, watch the video and call our Client Support team at 1-800-527-6898.

Not an ASF client yet? Contact our Sales team at 1-800-227-3859 to learn more.

Streaming Online Classes During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses to rethink how they can survive during these unprecedented times. 

Online training and classes have proven to be a significant resource for health clubs and martial arts studios.

However, you may be under the impression that it’s an expensive undertaking.

The reality is that you can stream classes and training with little or no money out of pocket using Facebook Groups, YouTube or Zoom.

Below is a link to an instructional video on how you can take advantage of these tools.​

These are long term tools you can continue to use for your business in the future, once this pandemic subsides.

We're excited to announce a new program update to our Scheduler application that will allow you to book online training events is on the way.

Stay tuned for more tips by the end of the week.

Great Ideas for Your Business During COVID-19

We’ve received great feedback, suggestions, ideas and business tips from our clients. We will continue to share and hope you can implement them into your business plan.

Today, we’re going to dive into some more details and break down some of the suggestions we sent previously.

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    • Start by placing a message on the homepage of your website informing members about the status of your operations. Champion Boxing & Fitness has a good example of how to do this.
    • Provide additional information. Ideally, have a link that takes the member to a page with more detailed information and updates. Champion Boxing & Fitness’ page is clean and easy to navigate.
    • Create email campaigns with ASF’s software, My Club Business, to inform members of how you’re supporting them. FitWorks does a great job by offering members a free month added to their membership, in addition to the time they are mandated to close their doors.


    • Offer members the opportunity to join virtual workouts during this pandemic. Again, Fitworks does an excellent job encouraging their members to stay healthy!


    • Post workouts on your social media pages. Urge Fitness does a fantastic job with their Facebook page.



These are just a few suggestions our great ASF Community is contributing.

Want to share? Send us your ideas, suggestions and success stories to clientsupport@asfpaymentsolutions.com

We will continue to provide more tips to help support your business and your members.

Stay Healthy!

ASF’S COVID-19 Impact & Support Guide

This is a stressful time for you and your customers. We hope that we can be helpful to you as you navigate the uncertain path of the COVID-19 virus and how it might impact your business in the coming weeks.

As we know, COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving situation and ASF has prepared a comprehensive business continuity plan to help you run and protect your business.

        1) Our Customer Operations Member Services call center will remain available to you during our normal business hours. Member Services hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. MST 

        2) Out Customer Operations Client Support call center will remain available to you during our normal business hours.  Client Support hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. MST

        3) Our Customer Operations Tech Support call center will remain available to you during our normal business hours.  Tech Support hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. MST.  Additional after-hours support will remain available through our After-Hours portal.

        4) Payment processing & Remit schedules will continue as scheduled.  Any external banking factors will be communicated with you as soon as they are received.

        5) Our Training Department will continue with all scheduled training appointments.  With possible business suspensions, this is an opportune time to upgrade to your software to the newest applications at no additional charge. Contact our Training Department @ 1-800-527-6898 or email training@asfpaymentsolutions.com

Many clients have shared tips for protecting their business and we want to share some of those with you.

• Utilize social media and post several times a day, letting people know how you are taking steps to have your facility professionally cleaned.

• Publish a policy of how often your facility is cleaned and the increase since learning more about COVID-19.

• Gather testimonials from members that endorse the cleanliness of your facility.

• Post pictures of your staff, cleaning crew, and members, wiping down equipment.

• Post daily information regarding physical exercise and nutrition keeping the immune system intact.

We hope these items help you with the success of your business and are ready to assist with any adjustments during these changing times.