Tacos, Tunes, and Island Time: Sugar Coating

When we sugar coat something, we dress it up to be more palatable than it truly is, we lie.  Unfortunately, there’s no way to sugar coat the current state of the fitness industry.  It is not recovering, it is struggling to stay alive. Restrictions placed on fitness facilities over the past few years have irrevocably changed the industry.  One of the most popular gyms in Parksville closed their doors after 10 years due to the financial losses and future uncertainty brought on by the pandemic.  The only dance studio in town is abandoning all adult classes.

All professional fitness instructors incur expenses to bring you your classes, and those costs continued even when we couldn’t bring you live classes and persist now while we wait for you to come back.  Many instructors have to cover these expenses with their day jobs. 

Post pandemic many group fitness participants have shifted to online classes or dropped self-care entirely.  Many want the flexibility of pay as you go, they don’t want to commit to a session.  Instructors who accommodate drop-in participants often show up to no participants.  This is not just a local issue, it’s a global problem.  Nor is the problem limited to newer instructors, I know veteran instructors who used to pack a room and are now having difficulty paying expenses.  When participants won’t commit or show up on a regular basis as they did previously, classes are cut from the schedule. 

Dance fitness is a passion project for me, it was never my intention to pay myself or make a profit.  My goal was to make enough to cover my expenses while offering affordable classes that give participants a chance to workout at their own pace and have fun doing it.

As it stands right now, I will likely cut the Tuesday class from my schedule or offer it only on a prepaid monthly basis.  If interest picks up and as long as the studio has open slots, I will add classes back to the schedule. 

Before cancelling everything, I will consider dropping branded programs (like Zumba Gold®) and going with generic classes such as Kiwa Gold or Hula Fit.  What I learned from the branded programs will stay with me, and I will continue to learn more on offering safe, effective fitness classes for active adults and new dance fitness formats. The classes will be the same, just with a name change. Dropping the brand program license fees will reduce my fixed expenses by 50% and give me more freedom to customize my classes and playlists. 

Ultimately, as long as participants continue choose something other than traditional fitness options, overall community self care will decline.  Don’t forget that the mental aspect of wellness includes getting out in a social environment.  This is especially true for the older adult population, where isolation leads to major health issues. Staying at home, working out (unsupervised) to an online class may offer some physical benefits, but it is not doing your mental health any good.

Please support your local instructors and work with them to ensure fun, safe, group fitness options remain accessible in your community.

Published: November 14, 2022

Published by sfransila

Peer fitness for active seniors. Helping seniors stay active and independent. I am 60+ with a total knee replacement. I believe fitness should be safe and accessible to everyone. I became a certified and licensed fitness instructor in my mid 50s, after the knee replacement. It's all about turning what other people see as a weakness into a strength.

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