Singapore’s lengthy circuit breaker period may have come and gone, but it has certainly left a lasting impression on locals and businesses alike.
During the government-mandated stay-home order, many took to finding new hobbies in hopes of killing time while remaining productive. And besides baking and gardening (which rose to popularity seemingly overnight), exercising at home was also a pastime that became vogue.
These home-based workout routines didn’t become popular only with the help of famed YouTube fitness channels like Blogilates or Chloe Ting’s. As local boutique gyms headed swiftly into the digital sphere due to their physical venues being shuttered, their avid patrons followed intently, eagerly purchasing virtual class packages to keep fit in the comforts of home.
One fitness studio chain which saw an overwhelming demand for its virtual spin lessons is none other than Thailand-hailing Absolute You. In its quick transition phase, the gym, which has garnered an almost cult-like following locally, successfully rented out all of their bikes within a mere two days, and found itself with a waitlist of 100 people too.
But as Singapore gradually lifted its ban on outdoor activities, locals were elated. Many of the fitness enthusiasts were itching to visit their usual gym locales once again for in-person workout sessions.
So with the overzealousness of gym junkies set against the backdrop of a raging pandemic, how is the fitness industry dealing with reopenings?
For international health club Virgin Active, it’s about cleanliness first, fitness second.
Yoga For Every Body at Virgin Active incorporates Ayurveda, for engaging, meaningful and customised practices.
Speaking to SG Magazine, Virgin Active Singapore Country Director Julien Bera shares that their members and staff have been more than thrilled to be back in the studios, with everyone being supportive of and cooperative in VA’s mission to be the safest fitness club in Singapore.
“Our top priority across all of our outlets during this time is to protect the health of our members and staff, and we have been working very closely with Sport Singapore to comply and go beyond their requirements. With the 65 percent increased capacity practice approved, we have also gone to great lengths to segment our clubs into dedicated zones for different types of workouts,” emphasises Bera.
“We’ve even gotten really positive feedback via our social media platforms from our patrons, who appreciate that our safe distancing measures are tighter, in comparison to other clubs.”
New and holistic experiences are in demand
With sanitation a given, what is the wellness priority of Singaporeans?
When asked if the public’s priority of health and fitness has changed since circuit breaker, Bera comments: “From what we know, holistic health and wellness is more of a priority than ever. Which is why since the reopening of our fitness centres in Singapore, Virgin Active has launched Yoga For Every Body, a new programme which is powered by the ancient science of Ayurveda and takes into consideration the new normal of our daily lifestyle.”
Collectively, it is evident that many folks are realising the importance of investing in their health and overall wellness. It’s no longer just about muscle pumping or calorie burning. Rather, being mindful of staying active and healthy while optimising immunity is key, Bera reveals.
This seems to be a common observation among most gyms reopening or even expanding during these tough times.
One such fitness centre is Kali Majapahit. A local academy dedicated to the practice of martial arts and self-defense, it received an overwhelming increase in new sign-ups by beginners at its sparkling new studio along Upper Serangoon, and even more so for its children programmes.
Homegrown martial arts school Kali Majapahit’s second outlet is a newly-built 750 sqft training hall at Upper Serangoon that aims to provide personalised and targeted classes for its members.
At Kali, its signature programme for adults focuses on training the entire body, incorporating hand-to-hand combat (or boxing for now), single/double sticks movement, cardio and more.
“It may be too early to expect business as usual, but with resilience, there are opportunities. Even for ourselves as a training centre, this is an opportunity to reevaluate our mission in the fitness industry and how we can share more meaningful knowledge that will impact beyond just getting a six-pack in six weeks,” says Ben Boeglin, Director of Kali Majapahit Singapore.
“People want to work on both the body and mind. Beyond being fit, they want to learn something that will help them manage stress. As corny as it sounds, people also want to live more. This is something that we have been observing even before Covid-19, but it has become more prominent these days.”
But these new and holistic gym experiences aren’t purely physical. As brands like Virgin Active continue to offer a library of online workouts with digital memberships for all to enjoy exercising at home, others like Absolute You have even debuted new services.
Foreseeing that its online packages will stay, the latter’s most recent launch is a bike ownership programme named Absolute Home Edition.
Says the label’s General Manager Theresa Shan: “Absolute Home Edition is presented in partnership with the leading international home bike manufacturer Stages. Besides giving our customers the chance to own a bike at home, our full package comes with a bike mat, tablet holder, three-way pedals and one-year subscription to our online classes.”
Led by their in-house Rhythm Cycling instructors, Absolute You’s streaming platform will offer classes directly to users from any home device and sound system, allowing everyone to create their own personalised spin experience.
Absolute Home Edition differs from its Circuit Breaker rental programme as it offers complete ownership of bikes.
“Many members are back at our studios, but there are those who aren’t. For this pool of patrons staying away from our studios, they can decide to purchase a bike from us to spin at home instead. Think of this edition as a supplement to their lives at home.” Shan adds.
With so many new and developing initiatives in place, the health and wellness industry does seem to be prevailing. So whether you’re looking to keep fit, lose weight or just enjoy a holistic lifestyle, the options have never been more focused on your overall well-being.