Baton Rouge gyms see slowdown in workouts, increased membership

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After being shuttered in the spring, Baton Rouge-area gyms are seeing steady, albeit slower, business than before the COVID-19-related closures. 

Johnny Blount, owner of Geaux CrossFit, says while business is starting to pick up at his Harrells Ferry Road gym, a lot of his customers haven’t returned either because they lost their job or because they’re still trying to social distance at home. He estimates he has regained roughly half his pre-pandemic business, due in part to an increase in new members. 

“For us, we’re just trying to get back to a normal flow; it’s just weird right now,” Blount says. “I know hundreds of people and I don’t even know anyone who’s gotten sick.”

LA Fitness, in Perkins Rowe, has also seen a spike in new members, according to a manager. Despite the increase in membership, the gym has seen activity slow down, she says, noting that only half of the gym’s members come in with masks—usually the older members. 

Bucking local and national trends, Fletcher’s House of Power on Pecue Road hasn’t lost a single member since the pandemic started, says owner Paul Fletcher, citing the gym’s unique business model. Founded in 2005, Fletcher’s House of Power has a limited membership of only 35 members. 

“The members requested that we stay real small,” he says. “We don’t even have employees.”

The gym has enacted some social distancing guidelines though—no more than eight people can train at a time and no guests are allowed. 

“Small membership with a small setting; we were perfect for this pandemic,” Fletcher says. “Bigger is not always better.”

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