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Australian gyms face mass exodus, coronavirus survey warns

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Australian gyms could lose almost 2 million members when their doors reopen, a new global survey has warned.

Australian gyms could lose close to two million members when their doors reopen, a new global survey on the impact of coronavirus has warned.

Almost 42 per cent of Australians with memberships had either already cancelled or were considering cancelling their gym subscriptions, according to the survey.

And although lower than a world average of 46 per cent, nearly one third of Aussie gym-goers have no intention of returning to their gyms, the survey found.

People work out at a gym wearing protective face masks and adopting social distancing measures.

The mass exodus was predicted by American-based company RunRepeat, which explored the seismic disruption coronavirus has inflicted on global gym memberships.

Four million Australians are believed to have a gym membership.

One of Australia's biggest gym chains, Fitness First, refused to comment on the survey and any drops in memberships, but announced it has temporarily slashed its rates by 50 per cent.

Virgin Active also declined to comment on how its memberships had been affected by the pandemic.

Franchisee Jessica Sullivan, from the F45 gym based at Woolloomooloo, in Sydney, said her gym had "naturally" experienced a drop off.

"We know it will be tough to build our memberships back up to where they were before lockdown restrictions," she told

Ms Sullivan said F45 members at her gym had told her they found it difficult training alone, and they were "excited" to head back to the studio.

Globally, the survey found women (52 per cent) were less likely to return to the gym compared to men (45 per cent).

"With gyms closed for such a long time, it forced people to drastically changed their exercise habits and find new ways to stay active," RunRepeat Fitness Research Director Nicholas Rizzo told

Explaining the survey results, Mr Rizzo claimed members might be cautious about the potential health-risk of returning to the gym.

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"People are also aware that they are not going to be able to enjoy all of the same luxuries that their gym may have offered them prior to the pandemic while still paying the same price," Mr Rizzo said.

"Not being able to get that same value in return is leading to some members to decide to cancel."

People training at a CrossFit gym in Wollongong, New South Wales.

He said gyms should consider continuing to offer digital home workout solutions, as many had done using Zoom and other platforms during the pandemic in an effort.

"So many [people saw] how convenient it is to be able to squeeze in great workouts from the comfort of their home, when it wouldn't be possible to make it to the gym otherwise."

There would be gym closures over the next six months if they did not adapt and grow, Mr Rizzo added.

RunRepeat surveyed 10,824 gym members from 116 countries and said the survey had a 4.8 per cent margin of error.

The Australian gym industry has been hit hard by the pandemic.

According to Fitness Australia, the sector generates more than $3 billion for the national economy and employs 35,000 people.

Gyms in New South Wales and Queensland opened on Saturday, with tight restrictions and guidelines over capacity and health and safety measures.

Victoria gyms are expected to open on June 22.

Gyms in South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia gyms have already opened for business.

Tasmanians are scheduled to return to their gyms from today.


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Source: 9News

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