A GYM company in York has hailed a 'rapid recovery' in membership numbers after reopening following enforced closures earlier this year.

The Gym Group, which operates 190 discount gyms across the UK including York, highlighted strong demand for membership after posting a £19.4 m operating loss for the half-year to June.

The Group said it was now looking forward to a “period of sustained recovery and accelerated growth” after reporting strong demand for membership after reopening new sites, including York.

Richard Darwin, chief executive, said: “Since the reopening of gyms in April, The Gym Group has performed strongly with excellent member feedback, a higher rate of visits per member and a rapid recovery in overall membership levels.

“We have identified some exciting growth opportunities to expand our estate further and raised additional funds from shareholders to capitalise upon them.

“We look forward to the second half of the year and beyond with confidence.”

Other gyms in York are also reporting a steady growth in numbers, with hopes pinned on busier months ahead as people return to offices.

Nick Sadler, director at Supersonic Fitness, a gym and cafe, in Stonebow, said: "It is slow but improves every week. The past year has obviously been awful. The challenge for Supersonic is it is a new business. If I had known a pandemic was coming I wouldn't have opened it. Coming out of the pandemic we are pretty much starting from scratch but every week is better than the last.

"On the food and beverage side we are just getting back to where we were pre-Covid. There's still a nervousness around. What's hurting us most is we are a city centre business so my neighbours are Pryers Solicitors who are still not back in the office, and 30 seconds walk away is Hiscox UK's head office who, pre-Covid, had over 400 staff there. We were doing classes for them every week.

"I am really hoping that people do come back to Pryers, Hiscox and Harrowells and the like, that we start to get business meetings again, the breakfasts, the networking events.

"We have events booked in. It's all very positive. The only negatives are if the offices don't come back or, if there's another problem going in to the winter.

"People don't realise the gravitas of January in this industry. January is when people decide 'I'm going to have a go this year and get in better condition' We haven't had a January for two years."

Dom Benford, manager at Anytime Fitness York, at Monks Cross, said memberships had been put on hold during the lockdowns after which members have been steadily returning, especially after seeing the safety measures put in place.

"We had a real membership surge after the third lockdown, particularly of returning members. Since then we have had a steady growth of new members who have been looking for something a bit different to budget gyms.

"We have a very visible team, making sure the gym is how we and members want it to be."

Dom said the gym catered for all fitness levels and ages, adding: "Some of our older members seemed the most confident about returning at the beginning and through the uncertainty. Many of them were the most supportive of the gym."

Anytime Fitness is holding an open day on Wednesday, September 22 to showcase what is on offer.