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The Rise of Recovery in a Post-COVID World


The importance of wellness and recovery has continued to gain popularity over the years. As such, many clubs have realized just offering foam rollers is no longer enough. 

At City Fitness — with six locations throughout Philadelphia — steam, saunas and juice bars have been a part of its clubs for many years. City Fitness also invested in HydroMassage lounges about three years ago and has found much success in this investment. Recently, knowing that recovery was becoming even more popular, Ken Davies, the founder and CEO of City Fitness, decided to do something a little different and offer more recovery services to all members.  

“As I was researching and developing the business model, I was talking with Therabody about including their percussive reset therapy as one of our recovery offerings,” explained Davies. “Through my conversations, they discussed their new retail business model they were looking to roll out. After many conversations and getting to know the group at Therabody, I was sold on their business model and knew it would be an incredible recovery option to offer to our members. I’m excited they’ve recently opened their first Reset by Therabody space in Fishtown, Pennsylvania, next to one of our clubs.”

There are so many recovery trends in the industry, and it is easy for clubs to spend a lot of time and money researching the latest and greatest modalities. 

A modality Forma Gym utilizes at one of its two locations in California is cryotherapy. 

“Forma Gym is located in Walnut Creek, California, a popular Bay Area city home to many professional athletes from local teams, including the Golden State Warriors, Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants,” said Ralph Rajs, the COO of Forma Gyms. “After getting numerous suggestions and inquiries from players who were interested in a local cryotherapy office — and after doing a fair amount of research into it ourselves — we decided to make the investment. In addition to local athletes, it turned out there was good general awareness among our gym membership at large.”

Cryotherapy is a natural, non-invasive therapeutic treatment that uses very low temperatures to reduce pain and inflammation. It’s an excellent recovery option for anyone who works out, not just pro athletes.

According to Rajs, the benefits are largely anecdotal, but many people report great results in reducing general body inflammation, faster recovery times and in reducing the pain of arthritis. People at Forma Gym have reported a general feeling of well-being after a three-minute session in the tank. “There are other small studies showing cryotherapy may also help with skin aging, supporting fat loss and helping with migraines,” he said. “Certainly, more research is welcomed in this area.”


The member response to Forma Gym’s cryotherapy was strong pre-COVID for the people who were familiar with the concept. Rajs explained the biggest issue is getting people to try it because it can be a little intimidating. However, typically once people have experienced the post session feeling, the conversion rate to a package has been strong.

Forma Gym has also had success with one-on-one Theragun and Hyperice sessions conducted by personal trainers and massage therapists. “This has given our associates another way to demonstrate their expertise to the membership, create interaction and generate a new revenue stream,” said Rajs. “We have a few trainers who are certified to do guided stretch sessions with members. We also have all the essentials available, including stretching tables, foam rollers, etc.”

Regardless of what recovery option your facility has, the coronavirus pandemic revealed the importance of having at least one modality. 

“I believe holistic wellness will be very important as we come out of the pandemic,” said Davies. “I believe this past year has made everyone look at their overall health and wellness in an even more critical way. Recovery is one major pillar to reaching better overall health and wellness. With exercise, one of the biggest benefits to better health and wellness is to get your muscles to repair. The quicker and better you can do that before the next time you introduce stress to those muscles, the better you will respond, allowing you to increase strength and prevent injury.”

Davies said there are other benefits of recovery from the many stressors we deal with in life other than physiological that can wreak havoc on our bodies. Recovery techniques focus on trying to return the body to homeostasis — a healthy state.

“Over time, these stressors can compromise homeostasis and immune function which can lead to an increased chance of injury or illness,” explained Davies. “So even if you are not someone who regularly works out, recovery techniques can still be highly impactful on your overall health.”

Davies has always been a big proponent of the health and recovery benefits of the HydroMassage lounges they have at their clubs, but he’s long considered other offerings to provide to their members — i.e. cryotherapy, light therapy and percussive therapy. In addition to Therabody Reset, they now have some amazing other recovery options they can offer their members, such as pulsed electromagnetic field therapy, sound therapy, lymphatic massage and more.

While there is a plethora of recovery options your club can offer, what will resonate best with your members varies facility to facility. Additionally, as recovery continues to gain popularity more options will continue to evolve and grow.  

“The intriguing thing is where recovery will go in the future and can it be monetized,” said Rajs. “Is it part of a tiered membership, or is it included in the base dues rate? The answer is probably yes based on the type of club, the dues level and the membership. But these are the questions that are worth exploring. I think it will be interesting to see where this topic goes as new information and products related to recovery become available.” 

Taylor Brown

Taylor Brown is the assistant editor for Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at taylor@peakemedia.com

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