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Fitness
Published Monday Mar 23, 2020 by Mindbody Team

What Happens to Your Gym Membership Now?

COVID-19
Fitness
Expert Advice

As we all continue to work through the current  coronavirus  pandemic together, many of your favorite fitness and wellness businesses have had no choice but to temporarily close their doors. Without a chance to offer their usual services or classes, many business owners are struggling with a very important question: 

How should fitness studios handle your membership?   

Memberships are critical to the health of a fitness business. It’s a revenue stream that they count on each month to keep the lights on and their teams employed. Now, with many of us unable to visit these locations, a business could decide to suspend all memberships for the time being—but is that the best option? As members, we still need to work out, and there’s plenty of opportunity for the business to help with that. Plus, in these isolating times, fitness studios can provide their members a sense of community right when they need it most. 

There are several options studios can consider when it comes to memberships, and there’s a lot that influences which is best for them.  

First option: Keep memberships as they are 

This is likely the best solution from the business’s point of view, but the question remains: how can they provide members the same value they get from their traditional memberships, but in a new way?   

Whether a member usually visits once a week or once a day, much of the value of their membership is the sense of belonging that the studio provides.  More than ever, people crave this as they cope with isolation at home, and businesses are already working hard to keep their members engaged. They might create a Facebook group for members with daily workouts or encouragement. Some may offer classes or workouts through live or recorded video, and others may be able to offer small-group workouts outside where clients can be spread out.  

Many owners are even working to ensure their members have access to the equipment they need for at-home workouts (even if that means delivering their own studio equipment for them to borrow or rent). All of these options provide value to clients. For their part, many members themselves believe in the intrinsic value that small businesses bring to the community and are open to continuing their memberships through this time. 

If you are a member somewhere, it’s likely they’ve reached out to share new services they’re offering—but if not, feel free to ask them for updates. This may help you to ultimately decide what you want to do with your membership. 

Hint: If you search “virtual” in your area using the Mindbody app, or on Mindbody.io, you'll find that studios, either those you have loved for years or ones you've wanted to try, are adding online classes every day. (Remember: you don't necessarily have to search in just your current area. "Virtual" means maybe checking out a class in NYC right now.) 

Second option: Give you the choice to suspend or let it roll 

Some businesses are voluntarily deciding to give members a choice. When Stephanie Stackhouse of SLO Yoga Center emailed her clients to let them know the studio was temporarily closing, she gave members the option of continuing. Stackhouse shared why the support was important and how the studio plans on continuing to provide class through a live stream. She gave two options members could click on: “Yes, continue my billing in support of Yoga Center” or “No thank you, please suspend my membership for now.”  

If you are a member at a studio and have decided to continue your membership, reach out to the owner to let them know why—and what their studio means to you. They could likely use a kind word these days, and your sentiment may help encourage other studio members to do the same. 

Third option: Offer you a discount 

This option offers a sort of middle road for your studio: it’s not as favorable for them as keeping memberships as they are, but it might provide their members enough relief to keep them from canceling altogether. Studios know their members may be dealing with situational and financial hardships of their own, so as a show of good faith, some may offer a discount on the next month’s membership fees. This feels like a win for clients, who want to continue to support the business but may be coping with tough times of their own. 

As you think about your own fitness membership in the era of COVID-19, you’ll have to consider how you feel about your membership—what the business means to you and your sense of community—and weigh that against your current ability to continue your support during these times. There’s no easy answer. But remember, your studio has fixed costs. Rent isn’t socially distancing itself from anyone anytime soon. These businesses play an important role in the lives of many, many people—perhaps even in yours. When things return to normal—and they will—we want these places to be there for us to return to.  

Remember, we are getting through this together, and together we will emerge stronger. To show your local studios support during this time, please visit them on Mindbody.io or in the Mindbody app and find your favorite classes or one you've always wanted to try. Also, tag them on social media, along with @Mindbody, and we will support in any way we can.

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Written by
Mindbody Team
Editors & Educators
About the author
We're here to provide you with the latest and greatest, tried and true wellness experiences and advice to help you live life to the fullest. From nourishing recipes and travel tips to finding the perfect sweat routine or wellness regimen—we cover it all. And if we haven't yet, it's definitely on the way.
surfer catching wave in ocean olympics
Fitness
Published Friday Jul 23, 2021 by Bailey Clark

Why I’m Stoked Surfing Will Debut in the Olympics

Fitness

For the first time ever, the globe will be watching surfing take center stage at the 2020 (postponed to July 2021) Olympics. People from all over the world will be appreciating the sport, many for the first time.

This symbolizes the surfing community breaking through centuries of negative stereotypes. Though conditions play a big part in the sport, the biggest hurdle the athletes will have to overcome to see success is mental. The winner will be the one who chooses their waves wisely with their understanding of the conditions and ability to intimidate and therefore overcome components. Meanwhile, they will be challenging themselves to emerge from crashing barrels, fly into the air, and land on the shifting surface gracefully. No big deal. 

You’ve probably heard the invention of a wave pool, which creates the perfect man-made wave. In 2007, Kelly Slater founded his wave company with a passion to build the perfectly rideable wave at his surf ranch. It was debated whether the Olympics should be held in the ocean or on a manufactured wave, with many differing opinions on what would be right. The decision was made, and the event will take place in the sea, at Tsurigasaki Beach in Japan, about 40 miles east of Tokyo, where the rest of the 2021 games will be hosted.

As you watch, take a moment to reflect on the century of effort for this to happen. This initiative can be traced all the way back to the 1912 summer games that took place in Stockholm. Duke Kahanamoku, known as the father of modern surfing, won three gold medals in swimming, and while accepting his medal, he expressed that it was his dream to see surfing be added. To add fuel to the fire, International Surfing Association, recognized as the surfing world's governing authority by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), began lobbying for the inclusion of surfing in the Olympics in 1955.

The magic of surfing

Surfing is a multidimensional sport unlike any other. Nothing compares to paddling out to the serene silence that awaits beyond the breaking waves. Once you get out there, you immediately escape the many annoyances ingrained in everyday life—the constant notifications on your phone and laptop, your back-to-back schedule, answering to other people. You’re no longer on the time that your watch reads, you’re on mother nature’s time. You’re also no longer in control of your surroundings. Now, all you can do is surrender and wait for the next set to come, while trying to position yourself for when it does.

The high from catching the perfect wave is so addicting that surfers would fail on one hundred in a row just to catch that one. After you catch that perfect one, you replay it in your mind for the rest of the day.

A successful session is reliant on so many factors of mother nature—a force way bigger than us. For ideal conditions to exist, a good-sized swell must approach from the right direction, the wind must be flowing offshore, and you have to time your session right with the ebb and flow of the tide.

The sport is always teaching you life lessons. It is humbling, even if you’ve been practicing it for many years. One reason why it takes so long to master is that the conditions are going to be different every time you get out there. You might have caught a million yesterday, but today makes you feel like a kook because you can’t land one decent wave.

The community of people that you become a part of when you surf is special. A shared obsession with the ocean that brings you to dive into the water at dawn to get a session in bonds you quick. When you’re out there, you’ll find yourself interacting with people of all ages and backgrounds. People enjoy sharing the stoke of the sport. When you see someone out there teaching somebody new, you’ll encounter them cheering at the top of their lungs when they catch a good wave, and as you look around, you’ll see smiles all across the lineup. The other day, I caught a long wave in to be met with a cheering crowd of locals who frequent the spot that I do. When I got to shore, a local showed me their secret stash of hot packs to access in case I, or someone else, gets stung by a stingray when they aren’t around.

Being out in the ocean and abiding by her rules gives surfers a deep love and connection to nature. It’s common to see sea animals out there, like dolphins, stingrays, and fish. When you have an encounter, it’s a reminder that we are invading their territory. It sucks when you see trash floating in the water, or on the sand in its route to the water. It’s a sad reminder of the negative impact that humans can have on natural environments. It inspires you to pick up trash and advocate for sustainability so that we, as a collective, can take care of the beauty that we are lucky to have access to.

Tune in to see surfing break into the biggest international sporting event in the world beginning on Saturday, July 24th. 

Check out these surf classes on the Mindbody App

Do you live by the ocean? Paddle out with an instructor.

Don't live by the water, but still want to train for your next surf trip? Consider these classes.

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About the author
Bailey Clark is a serial optimist whose passion for marketing lies within creating authentic connections to make the world happier and healthier. As a San Diego native, her favorite pastimes are surfing, F45, practicing yoga, meditation, and really any opportunity to soak up the sun.