The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the fitness industry like a ton of weights, with a setback many experts believe will be hard to overcome.
A recent research study that surveyed 2,000 Americans found almost a quarter of them have no interest in returning to their gym post-coronavirus. One in three said they will be less likely to go.
Fitness entrepreneur Richard Decker is being opportunistic and plans to bring his unique Hamptons-based business to the Garden State — on wheels.
Decker is the founder and CEO of AWATfit, a full-service fitness program run entirely out of a 20-foot truck, which will soon pick up clients in Bergen and Essex counties.
Having spent 30 years in the field, Decker is familiar with the downfalls of traditional fitness. He’s invested in the notion that outdoor activities can boost a person’s mood and energy level, and his innovative business model not only avoids the health concerns of today’s gym-goers, but it forgoes the whims of difficult landlords.
“We have customized Dodge Ram pickup trucks that are twenty feet long and seven feet wide with racks that extend to four feet on each side,” Decker said. “The racks have pull-up bars, chin-up bars, heavy bag hangs and TRX hangs. We also have a dip station on the truck.”
The service is fully mobile and accommodating to your workout needs.
Whether you work out from home, at a neutral location, in a reasonably sized group or in a personal training setup, AWATfit adjusts to the customer.
“‘You call, we roll’ is one of our mottos,” Decker said. “We basically show up at your home, beaches, parks and other specific places where we host classes. The trucks can hold anything from a one-on-one session to a 20-person workout. We do fundraising events with the trucks as well.”
Decker grew up in Nassau County on Long Island and previously owned brick-and-mortar facilities. He doesn’t envision his old line of work recovering and is chomping at the bit to expand his mobile program.
His theory on brick-and-mortar gyms was developed pre-COVID-19.
“We have trucks currently going out in Texas, California, Westchester County (New York) and now we’re looking at Bergen and Essex County,” he said. “We’re also looking at Hoboken as a spot for a potential franchisee. We’re looking anywhere brick-and-mortar gyms are because they will have a lot of trouble sustaining business with the restrictions that are out along with people unwilling to get back to the gym.
“I don’t see things getting back to the way they were for them,” he added, “because their model is based on volume.”
Decker sees his method as one that can take over from here on out and can’t help but lean on science for success.
“There are benefits of working out outdoors and you can get a better workout because you’re so much more in tune with the human body,” he said. “It’s unique, it’s fun, it’s better for your body, it increases your energy and mood and decreases depression. It’s better than working out inside.”
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