It's no secret that the health and fitness world has shifted immensely in the wake of COVID-19. Many gyms and studios needed to quickly move their traditional on-site offerings online in order to stay open and stay relevant. While this might have been a necessary business decision for them, it becomes a bonus for you, a potential gym-member, when it comes to being able to choose a flexible hybrid gym or studio membership option that suits your needs.
What is a Hybrid Membership?
In order to truly grasp the benefits, you'll need to understand exactly what a hybrid gym membership entails. You probably noticed the move to virtual, streaming or in-app workouts that many businesses shifted to during the pandemic. Now, with gyms re-opening their doors in many locations across the globe, many of them are testing the waters of a hybrid system that is offering both digital and virtual offerings as well as the return to in-person exercise. The idea is that you, as the member, will be able to choose from both on-site as well as online offerings. So, what should you be looking for?
Gyms, boutiques and studios are addressing the hybrid membership in different ways. This ultimately benefits you, the consumer, as you will be able to choose something that works for your exact preferences. Here are some questions to ask yourself when choosing the right hybrid membership for you.
Choosing a Hybrid Membership - The Options
Do you like the convenience and flexibility of online workouts that can be completed at any time? If this is the case, you will want to look for a gym who has an app or online database with plenty of pre-recorded workouts available. You can choose the workout type and duration of your choice and perform it at any time, day or night. You get the intensity of an in-person class with professional coaching but without the restrictions of a set class time.
Do you prefer the camaraderie and social aspect that accompanies a live workout? Do you like being called out in class by name? You'll want to look for a studio that, in addition to still offering live, in person classes, offers workouts on zoom or another live format that allows you to workout, in real time with both your instructors and other members. This type of format reinforces the social aspect of the gym and the community experience that you might be missing from on-site workouts.
Do you enjoy workouts that offer some sort of gamification? This means a workout, in real-time, where you can compete against either yourself or the other members who are also currently completing the workout? It might be for time, a point system based on calories burned, distance completed, etc or stat sharing like maximum heart rate achieved. You'll see the stats or points shown on a leaderboard during the workout which many people find intensely motivating. It encourages the user to race and compete against one another, or themselves to get the most out of their workout.
Are you in the market for personal, 1-1 training? Many gyms are now offering this online as well. You can get the personalization and attention of a personal trainer, many times for a fraction of the cost as an in-person trainer. You’ll get personalized workouts tailored to your goals and available equipment with the option to train at home or in the gym.
Do you prefer solo-strength training workouts and so do not necessarily need virtual class options but would like to augment your membership with nutrition coaching as well? You might want to look for a health club that is offering meal plans or nutritional habit tracking on their app. Look into all of the in-app resources that are included when choosing your gym membership.
Lastly, of course you will want to take pricing into account. The more add-ons and bells and whistles a gym or studio is offering, the higher the monthly membership fee will likely be. Personal training or small group training is going to be more costly than group classes or solo workout sessions. Some gyms will be offering hybrid options as a standalone membership, as an upgrade to your in person training or even as an option for clients who have frozen their current membership and cannot return to in-person training.
COVID-19 may have been the unlikely catalyst that drove the health and fitness industry online, but now that gyms and studios are slowly being able to reopen their doors, many are testing out the waters of these hybrid memberships, allowing you to enjoy both the freedom and flexibility of virtual, streaming workouts, combined with on-site classes and strength training sessions. At the end of the day, you can make your hybrid membership something that works for you. Anything that will keep you engaged and committed to your workout routine for the long-term is a win!