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Gyms stay void in Bengaluru while support costs surge

Sunil S. Shetty, 24, has been a gym regular for as far back as 10 years. Working out is a basic aspect of his life, “like brushing my teeth”, he says. He missed setting off to the gym for five months during the COVID-19 lockdown. Home exercises – ailing in equipment and coach advice – was certifiably not an adequate substitute.

Three weeks after August 5, when gyms in the city were permitted to re-open, Sunil continued training at a fitness studio in Nagavara. Be that as it may, it’s not a similar encounter.

“With the pandemic still on, working out at gyms isn’t the same as it used to be. We need to adjust,” he says.

Sunil, be that as it may, is by all accounts a special case. Fitness trainers and gym proprietors state most clients haven’t returned. Their relief after the post-lockdown resumption was momentary.

“Business is almost as bad as it was during the lockdown,” says Dinesh Kumar, fitness manager of Plej Fitness in Panathur. The day by day footfall in his gym has plummeted from 300 preceding the pandemic to 20 at present. Simultaneously, the expense of ordinary support has flooded.

According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare rules, gyms need to rearrange their space with the goal that individuals can keep up a distance of six feet from one another. They likewise need to load up on disinfectants, sanitisers, and face shields, in addition to other things.

“I hired two people just to clean and disinfect the gym,” says Vikram Rao, owner of Muscle Kraft Fitness Studio. Up to 12 people can work out simultaneously at his 2,400 sq.ft. gym as per the guidelines. But less than 25 people turn up every day.

Quadz Fitness trainer Pradeep A. says, “Footfall is down from 300 to 30. There are no new subscriptions. Even renewals have stopped. We used to have a target of about ₹5 lakh a month. Now, doing business of ₹30,000 seems challenging. Most trainers, who left for their hometowns during the lockdown, haven’t returned as they can’t sustain themselves in Bengaluru with what they will earn now.”

Gyms are sharing photographs and videos of the cleaning and physical distancing to diminish anxiety among customers.

“But some people don’t come due to family pressure. They either have an elder or a child at home,” said Vikram.

Plej Fitness split their subscription rates to attract clients, however without much of any result. “Many of our customers were IT professionals who live in nearby in PG accommodation. Most of them work from their hometowns now,” says Dinesh, “We keep calling and messaging those who live in the city. But they don’t come due to safety concerns. We can’t persuade them after a point. More than the actual safety, it’s a mental block.”

Vikash Gupta, who used to turn out to be four times each week at his gym in Yelahanka, refers to the day by day ascend in cases and the loss of life. “On one hand, you see pictures and videos of people cleaning your gym, which are reassuring. But on the other hand, you see the number of COVID-19 cases increasing every day. Maybe, it will take a month or two before I can have the confidence to go to the gym again.”

Vikram, alongside the other gym proprietors and coaches, trusts that the new year will get a change fortune. “That’s the best time for us. People take up new resolutions and a lot of people sign up. We are expecting a lot of people to join and re-join gyms.”

Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Bengaluru Bytes journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.