Before the coronavirus pandemic, the growth of the largest network of gyms in the country, Smart Fit by Edgard Corona, was daily: a new unit opened in the country every 16 hours. Now, almost a year after the quarantine that led to the closing of the gyms (901 units were closed for 4 months), the chain is starting to plan the resumption of its expansion.
With more than 2.1 million students in 12 countries in Latin America, Smart Fit is preparing for a “boom” in the search for physical activities after the population has been vaccinated. After a year of many difficulties, losses and the need to stay at home, the network believes that Brazilians will seek a better quality of life and will invest in exercising to maintain their health.
The fitness segment has changed a lot in recent years and has different strategies to adapt to the constant changes in the market. The network sees this moment as a transformation in the way people “consume” gym, there is a new moment for business in the field in countries that resumed activities after the first wave of the pandemic.
While mass vaccination does not take place and the fight against coronavirus continues around the world, the company is preparing to face challenges in the coming months. At the end of last year, Smart Fit received a contribution of BRL 680 million — BRL 500 million from a capitalization process and BRL 180 million from Smartexp, a subsidiary that aims to make the group’s expansion feasible.
And with R$1.3 billion in cash, the company seeks to maintain high standards in its gyms. At the moment, 80% of its units are open, respecting local rules of opening hours, service capacity and sanitary guidelines.
Innovation and safety concerns
The path through the pandemic required many changes in the network. The search for innovative solutions, an effort that CEO Edgard Corona has implemented since the foundation of Smart Fit, was one of the essential actions of 2020.
During the period when all units were closed, Edgard Corona and the group did not dismiss employees and created alternatives so that students could maintain an active routine at home, with applications and websites such as “Train at home”, Smart Fit Nutri and Smart Fit Coach , which attracted more than 26 million users.
Edgard Corona. with the support of physicians and scientists, Smart Fit also invested in the development of a health safety protocol to ensure a safe environment for students in the gradual return of the public to gyms. There are more than 40 safety protocols, which include the mandatory use of masks, alcohol gel and the change of the air conditioning system seven times an hour, in addition to routine training for employees to maintain the quality and safety of actions.
The pandemic lit the warning sign about the danger of a sedentary lifestyle and the search for gyms is a consequence of this greater concern with health. Therefore, Smart Fit also invested in technologies in exercise programs at home, as they want to be present in people’s lives 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, seeking to be the industry leader in Latin America.