Showing: 1 - 2 of 2 RESULTS

Online fitness stars bank on virtual gyms being more than just a phase

Melas’ move into the world of hybrid in-person and digital fitness is an example of a broader trend, which sees Australians now saying will continue virtual workouts having tried them throughout the pandemic.

New research from fitness class scheduling and booking app Mindbody has found that, while most prefer in-person fitness classes over opening their laptops to get the endorphins flowing, over half (51 per cent) anticipate continuing virtual workouts once a week, and 37 per cent expect to keep working out virtually two to three times weekly.

New features

Earlier this year, Mindbody itself added on-demand and livestream features for use by the 5000 Australian gyms, yoga and dance studios, and other fitness operators that use its software.

Its study found that yoga (32 per cent) was the most popular class to do from home, while pilates (28 per cent) and strength training (26 per cent) had been the classes most Australians had returned to in-person during the July period when restrictions eased in most of Australia.

Mindbody’s 2020 New Normal survey was taken by 702 people across Australia about their pre-COVID-19 and current fitness habits. It was conducted between August 11 and August 20, with respondents aged from 18 to 65.

Mindbody Asia-Pacific vice president and managing director Hema Prakash says more Australians will now expect both the studio and virtual fitness experience to be available post-COVID.

“We’re saying to everyone this hybrid model is not a new normal, it’s going to be your absolute normal,” she says.

Mindbody’s customers – gym owners and fitness operators – are on average reporting revenues down around 25 per cent on the previous year due to COVID-19.

Prakash says the businesses faring best were doing so because of extensive customer surveys and having already built up a strong sense of community.

Sydney-based Pilates instructor Bianca Melas has attracted a loyal base of clients to her online platform. 

“If you are a business person that accidentally came into this world of wellness, and you’ve relied on luck, you may not survive this next six months. If you didn’t build the community aspect of your brand and business, it’s going to be super hard to start from scratch again right now,” Ms Prakash said.

In April, around 800 of Mindbody’s then 3000-strong global workforce were laid off or furloughed. The company has since re-hired some as pre-COVID fitness spending levels have rebounded.

In fact, the Mindbody New Normal survey found that the majority of respondents planned to spend the same amount or more on fitness compared to pre-COVID.

In NSW, 87 per cent of respondents felt this way, in Victoria, that figure was 75 per cent, in Queensland, that figure was 89 per cent, and in Western Australian, that figure was 80 per cent.

Melas says her shift to hosting virtual classes had required her to pay attention to details, like virtual room aesthetics and compiling accompanying Spotify music playlists. She says the snappy 30-minute classes have resonated well with clients.

She launched

How the Agent Behind Some of the Biggest Sports Stars Stays in Shape

From Men’s Health

Casey Wasserman keeps a three-year-old photo on his iPhone. In it, he’s standing next to NBA star Russell Westbrook.

Westbrook boasts the jacked arms and chiseled body. Wasserman? He’s 200 pounds of out-of-shape PR maven. “I saw that picture,” he says, remembering the moment, “and I’m like, ‘I’m done. I need to make a change.’”

The photo is Wasserman’s inspiration, and it’s driving him right now, as he takes off for a 20-yard sprint up his driveway hill on this sunny morning in Beverly Hills. It’s the final run in a 45-minute hill session. Yet Wasserman, 46, is just starting his workout.

Five days a week, he wakes before sunrise, then pushes through workouts with trainer Christine Khuri that may last three hours. “As difficult as it is sometimes to get started, I just know how much better [I’ll feel] and how much more energy and focus I’ll have when I’m done working out,” Wasserman says.

Photo credit: Men's Health
Photo credit: Men’s Health

He needs that focus because he spends the workday pulling double duty, as chairman and CEO of Wasserman—a company that brokers endorsement deals for people like Westbrook and Giancarlo Stanton—and as chair of LA 2028, the committee tasked with prepping the city for the 34th Olympiad. That means overseeing deals that land NFL safety Malcolm Jenkins two clothing lines one moment and studying Olympic venue plans the next. And no, the Olympic prep isn’t all fun, especially when Wasserman gets a brief on rush-hour traffic flow.

Photo credit: Collin Erie
Photo credit: Collin Erie

Training clears his head. On this day, he goes from hill to home gym—a1,150-square-foot sweat zone that looks like a mini Equinox—and knocks out five sets of wide-grip pullups. TRX rows, dumbbell rows, and biceps curls follow, leaving him massaging his arms.

Until three years ago, Wasserman wasn’t training like this. He’d played tennis when he was young and had always been active. But he kept an intense travel schedule, frequently flying to Europe, Asia, and South America. “I used to wear this badge of honor that I traveled a lot and worked hard,” he says.

Then, just before the Westbrook wake-up call, his doctor told him he wasn’t in great shape. Wasserman knew he had to make some adjustments. He hasn’t missed a training session since and has dropped to 165 pounds, a weight he’s maintained for 18 months. “I don’t want to find out what happens when you take your foot off the gas,” he says.

Photo credit: Collin Erie
Photo credit: Collin Erie

Wasserman constantly finds new ways to drive his body. Some days he pushes the bounds of his breathing and flexibility with yoga. Or he does more hill sprints. Soon after social distancing was ordered in L.A., Wasserman mapped out and ran his own half-marathon course through Beverly Hills. Anything, he says, to prevent reverting to his pre-Westbrook days. “In anything, that anxiety and that fear means you care,” he says. “I care about my health.”

Workout of the Century

Photo credit: Collin Erie
Photo credit: Collin Erie