Chicago-Area Gyms Hopeful for Boost in Business With Start of New Year

The pandemic has changed how and where many people exercise. 

So will the start of 2021 and peoples’ New Year’s resolutions create a boost of business for Chicago-area fitness centers already operating at limited capacity?

Mike Tenerelli, owner of CrossFit Alpha Dog in Lombard, said his gym practices social distancing, taking temperatures and disinfecting equipment.

"I’m seeing a little bit of interest with New Year’s resolutions," Tenerelli said. "I think the next couple of days will be real telling, especially once the work week starts back up on Monday."

Tenerelli also said while he is hesitant because the nation is still dealing with the virus, he thinks a lot of gyms will survive and new ones will open.

“It’s going to be a little bit, but I think slowly, but surely with the vaccine and people understanding the virus more, I think optimism is on the climb and I hope 2021 is kind of the start of that,” Tenerelli said.

Fitness experts, however, said it’s not just about getting people back inside gyms.  They said it’s about peoples’ overall health and conditioning.

This goes for people who now work from home and may be missing out on the exercise and walking they did at work before the pandemic.

“We want people to be active whether it’s at home or whether it’s here at the club, and that’s what’s kind of pushed us to expand our revenue options,” said Josh Bruning, manager of Signature Fitness in Naperville.

Bruning said gyms are offering online exercise classes, and there is a need to redefine what qualifies as a workout.

“I would encourage people to stay physically active because it’s going to help boost the immune system,” Bruning said.

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