With more than 11.6 million club members in Germany and almost 65 million people exercising in Europe, the fitness market was on top form and registering new records year after year. But then came Covid-19 and everything changed.

FIBO, the word’s biggest trade show for fitness, wellness and health, with branded events in China, the USA, Mexico, Singapore and South Africa, was postponed, and all fitness studios in Europe, the USA and Asia were closed until further notice.

The lockdown hit many owner-managed clubs particularly hard: “It became clear to us relatively quickly that FIBO, which is more than just a trade show for the industry, had to act because FIBO is an institution,” says Silke Frank, Director of the flagship Cologne event which attracted over 145,000 attendees and 1,105 exhibitors in 2019.

One key way in which FIBO has been able to bring its influence to bear is by partnering on a new campaign launched by the German fitness industry. Called “Stay Strong – Stay Together“ the initiative calls for the continued payment of membership fees to support small and medium-sized clubs in particular, even if no training is currently possible.

The idea quickly took off, supported by associations, media, exhibitors, studio operators, trainers, universities ‒ and, of course, FIBO itself, which is sharing the campaign with its global community across both digital and traditional media channels. A video was produced which quickly went viral with more than four million views to date. In addition to the voluntary commitment to continue paying contributions, donations of more than 70,000 euros have also been received.

FIBO Digital Experience

FIBO’s support for its industry goes beyond “Stay Strong – Stay Together”. To help businesses continue to generate new opportunities and stay connected during lockdown, the FIBO team has developed and launched the FIBO Digital Experience, a new digital platform which delivers One2One matchmaking and virtual meetings, as well as free webinars offering expert insights, practical support and updates on the lastest trends and developments.

And as they eagerly wait for fitness studios to reopen, the team have launched their own #stayfitwithfibo 4-week-challenge on Instagram, with daily fitness tasks to engage and inspire each other, and their community. You can check out their efforts here!

“If there is anything positive in the current situation, it is that it brings the industry even closer together, creating a community where everyone supports each other wherever possible. The fact that we as FIBO are right in the middle of it is a great feeling and connects us all worldwide,” says Silke. 

Meanwhile, all eyes are on October 1, when the big global fitness reunion is set to take place in Cologne at the rescheduled FIBO 2020.