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PureGym has become the latest fitness operator to deploy a digital offering in a bid to increase visibility and engage with non-members during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The budget chain has made its virtual workout platform free to everyone via its PureGym app.

Previously only available to members, the platform offers more than 120 virtual workouts which have been designed – and are regularly updated – by PureGym’s team of trainers.

The current crisis has seen a number of operators engaging in a degree of subtle land-grabbing in a bid to establish new relationships with non-members. Among these are Nuffield, GLL and David Lloyd.

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A major study into consumer attitudes towards the fitness industry, released this week, suggests that having a digital offering could be an important factor in ensuring customers return to gyms and leisure centres.

The National Post-Lockdown Recovery Survey, by Leisure-net Solutions, showed that a vast majority of consumers would either “maybe” (49.3 per cent) or “definitely” (18.9 per cent) be more likely to go back to using their leisure centre or gym if it offered online classes as part of its membership offer.

According to PureGym’s chief marketing officer, Stephen Rowe, the decision to make the app free for everyone comes at a time when the chain is slowly beginning to prepare to reopen its doors.

“We’re currently working hard to make our gyms a safe place for our colleagues to work in, and for our members to work out,” Rowe said. “We won’t open our gyms until we know it is safe to do so.

“While the pandemic means we can’t welcome members to our gyms, we want to do everything we can to offer health and fitness support to everyone in the UK.

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“With millions of people across the country still largely confined to their homes, we hope that this programme will motivate and inspire people to stay healthy and achieve their fitness goals safely”.

PureGym has made this move just weeks after revealing that it is trialling a franchise offering to grow the brand globally.

Speaking at the Fit Summit in Singapore earlier this month, chief strategy officer, Francine Davis, said the company is looking for master franchise partners in countries such as China, India, and Japan. She said Pure was testing the model and the first couple of deals had already been agreed.

By Tom Walker

Source: Leisure Opportunities

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