Rainer Schaller, founder of budget gym megabrand McFIT, has been speaking exclusively to HCM
He said that the global fitness industry will have to prepare for permanent life with COVID-19 – but that the future will also present plenty of opportunities
Earlier this year, Schaller's RSG Group acquired iconic franchised chain Gold's Gym
Schaller predicts that "fitness" will take on a new significance after the pandemic
Rainer Schaller, founder of budget gym megabrand McFIT, says that the global fitness industry will have to prepare for permanent life with COVID-19 – but that the future will also present plenty of opportunities for the sector.
Earlier this year, Schaller's RSG Group (Rainer Schaller Global Group) added iconic franchised chain Gold's Gym to its portfolio of fitness businesses in a deal worth around US$100m.
As well as McFit and Gold's Gym, the RSG Group portfolio includes a number of fitness brands – such as John Reed, John & Jane's, Cyberobics, Loox and High5 – as well as a number of other lifestyle brands.
Speaking exclusively to HCM
, Schaller said: "After the rain comes the sunshine.
"According to experts, we have to prepare for a permanent life with the virus and the pandemic will certainly challenge some competitors in the fitness market – and speed up the consolidation of the industry – but in every crisis, there is also opportunity.
"The challenge for the entire industry will be that fitness studios will take on a new significance after the second and third waves of the pandemic. They will always exist, but they will no longer have the same unrestricted status as before.
"In my opinion, there’s a parallel with dining out where, in most cases, it’s not just about eating. It’s about an experience and being around people. It will be similar with gyms, where the focus will increasingly be on the experience.
"That’s exactly why we launched the John Reed brand five years ago – a brand that’s fundamentally different from the norm in terms of its design, its live DJs and so on."
In the wide-ranging interview, Schaller also reveals the motivation behind the Gold's Gym deal and outlines his plans for all of the brands he now controls – which includes launching the John Reed brand in the US and UK.
• To read the full interview, click here