Traditionally, January is the busiest month for U.S. fitness centers and gyms, as scores of Americans attempt to live up to their New Year’s resolution to slim down. However, the Omicron variant has changed things this year.
Fitness center owners all over the country are complaining they haven’t seen their annual spikes in memberships. “There’s more concern again about being in a room where people are sweating,” says Ken Leon, director of equity research at research firm CFRA.
Liz Clark, president and CEO of The Global Health & Fitness Association, says the Omicron variant couldn’t have emerged at a worse time for the fitness industry. “It’s such a critical month, when people tend to rejoin gyms,” she says. “And the industry was already struggling before Omicron.” In fact, a study conducted by ClubIntel found that 57 percent of the people who worked out regularly before the pandemic still haven’t resumed their exercise schedules. In the week of December 27th, 2021, gyms and fitness centers saw a 12 percent drop from the same week in 2020.
According to locally owned Goodlife Fitness, co-owner Steve Auxier, “Memberships compared from last year to this year are showing a steady increase of new and past members from 2021 into 2022!”