Derbyshire gym boss praises community for keeping his business afloat
Fitness fans and instructors are pumped up and raring to get back into training in a gym.
Lockdown is lifting on individual workouts inside gyms on April 12 and facilities across Derbyshire have reported a surge in bookings.
Paul Holmes, co-owner of Full Power Fitness gym in Heanor, said: "The phone has been non-stop since we launched our online timetable. We've had a lot of new members and we've had a lot of people who have had to cancel their membership during lockdown then reactivated it.
"It's been a very tough year from a business point of view and from a community point of view but what it has reinforced is that we've got some brilliant people behind us in terms of our members. We've had people continuing to pay memberships when they haven't been able to get in the gym. If it wasn't for those guys we would certainly have had to close the doors. The grants we've had haven't been enough to keep us afloat from an expenditure point of view - the top-up we've had from our members has kept the business going.”
During the last lockdown the four owners of Full Power invested more than £10,000 in new machines and refurbishing the interior of the gym. Paul said: "We wanted to make sure that when people did return things were bigger and better than before."
This year they have spruced up the outside area and built a new shakes bar for customers to enjoy protein drinks between workouts.
The gym's outdoor training area is already operational and is hosting 44 socially-distanced classes numbering nearly half the permitted amount in a deliberate move by the owners.
Paul said: "We're sticking to all the rules. It's not just about containing the spread, it's about getting the confidence back in our local people that they can come back knowing it's safe to do so.
"We're that highly pumped that we've designated the car park as a separate training area. I think we could put a class on the roof at the moment, people are that desperate to get back training!"
Indoor classes are dependent on getting an official go-ahead but are expected to resume late May or early June. Paul said: "Class members account for a good 50 percent of our trade – the class industry has not been able to operate for 12 months."
Building membership up to the level that it was at the beginning of last year is a priority for the owners. Paul said: "We were around 1,000 members before the first lockdown, we’re not even a third of that now. In this industry a big percentage of your members are sleeping partners – they are the guys that sign up for 12 months or six months and for one reason or another they pay you but don’t come. With all the gyms closed, that's given all these people the option to cancel and that's cost the industry billions of pounds."
Throughout lockdown Full Power Fitness’s instructors have continued coaching members in online sessions. Paul said: "Zoom has served its purpose massively to keep people ticking over but you can't beat that face to face training and the social interaction."