KC gyms struggle to bring in new members

Gyms continue to struggle
Posted at 7:16 AM, Jan 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-03 08:16:12-05

MISSION, Kan. — Gym memberships traditionally soar during the New Year with people determined to make their New Year’s Resolutions happen, but some KC gyms say they’ve been in bad shape for nearly two years because of the pandemic.

“We have seen in the industry gym after gym give up the fight one way or the other and it’s a shame,” said Adam Turk, owner of 9Round Kickboxing Fitness in Mission.

Turk said new member sales at his two 9ROUND locations have taken a 33% dip and traditional new year membership traffic isn’t there anymore.

“This is when our industry really propels itself through the next 12 months, and we haven’t seen much,” Turk said.

Last month, Bar Method was forced to close its 159th Street and Antioch Road location because of pandemic setbacks.

“Over the last two years we’ve lost a third of the people that used to come,” said Amy Bryant, manager at Bar Method.

It comes at a time when at-home workouts continue to gain popularity while new health concerns arise.

“People came back once they were vaccinated, which was amazing, felt really great, and then come in this weird time now with another variant,” Bryant said.

The Global Health and Fitness Association estimates the fitness industry lost $29.2 billion during the first year of the pandemic.

Last year, a bill called the Gyms Act was introduced to Congress requiring the Small Business Administration to establish a grant program for fitness facilities, but the bill has yet to pass.

"There is nothing specifically earmarked for gyms,” Turk said. “I don’t want to think of ourselves as something special. There are people out there that are grinding just the same that are suffering in a similar way.”

Gym owners hope changes come with the New Year, but they are unsure how long they have until they’re forced to close.

“I fear every single day one extra bill that we didn’t see coming to break us at any time,” Turk said.