Boutique studios are gearing up for New York City's first-ever NYC Fitness Week, a chance for residents to try new classes while revitalizing the fitness industry during the COVID pandemic recovery.
New Yorkers can choose from dozens of participating gyms across all five boroughs with hundreds of classes to purchase buy-one-get-one-free deals running the week of June 5. Once the class is bought over NYC Fitness Week, one can attend anytime during the month.
The newfound initiative was created by Debra Strougo, partner of Fitizens Holdings and founder of Row House, and Brian Chappon, the founder and CEO of CENTRED Wellness. Beginning in New York City, the plan is to expand to other major areas, such as Los Angeles, Miami and Toronto, within the Global Fitness Week series.
"Fitness Week is about turning lemons into lemonade. It was a hard, hard time for us [fitness businesses], and now, coming out of it, we have banned together so many fitness studios, owners, operators, clients," Strougo told NBC New York. "Pulling everybody back together because we need the fitness industry to thrive in New York City."
Having previously worked within the tourism industry at NYC & Company, Strougo had participated in the launch of Broadway Week and continuing Restaurant Week.
While the idea was always there to include a week dedicated to lifting the fitness industry, it was not until December of last year that the ball first got rolling. The event series is controlled by CENTRED Wellness, a wellness-focused technology platform.
Since March 2020, 25% of all health and fitness facilities shut down and 30% of studios closed, according to a study by The Global Health & Fitness Association, which also stated over 1.5 million industry jobs were lost.
Solidcore is a class-based, full-body workout studio inspired by pilates with ten locations scattered throughout the boroughs. It is just one of the numerous fitness companies still recovering from pandemic setbacks.
"We went from having one of the best months of our entire company history to shutting down all of our locations across 23 states and the District of Columbia overnight and our revenue going to zero -- having to lay off 98% of the people who work for the company," said Bryan Myers, president & chief executive officer for Solidcore.
To Myers, the kickoff to NYC Fitness Week takes on another meaning not only bringing in old guests but welcoming newcomers who wish to jump into the workout game. For Solidcore, Myers says clients are "moving with their feet" and prefer the classic brick-and-mortar experience.
While the fitness industry has moved toward hybrid and digital-only class offerings, both Strougo and Myers note the need for in-person connections and a sense of greater community.
"We know that fitness centers, studios, and gyms have been a place where people feel that community. Where they get out of their apartments or living situations, see other people, and have a release from stress or isolation," said Strougo, who hopes that mental health benefits come to the forefront when talking about the fitness community.