Auckland fitness industry geared up to reopen after months of lockdown struggles

It's been almost four months, but finally on Friday Auckland's fitness industry can open its doors under the new COVID-19 traffic light framework. 

And while there's a groundswell of excitement, the lockdown has left considerable damage in its wake.

The light may be red, but for the Auckland's fitness heavyweights - red means go.

"We are so excited," Les Mills head of operations Brett Sutton tells Newshub.

"We cannot wait to throw open our doors, bring it on."

The rules are clear, the machines are clean and Les Mills is welcoming the traffic light system.

"The power of the vaccination and us being a vaccinated environment, coupled with these strong protocols, it actually means we've got slightly less restrictions than we did in the past," Sutton adds.

Unless you're outside of Auckland, in which case Friday's changes are a little perplexing.

"Most of the confusion isn't in the Auckland space, because they're going from closed to open," Exercise New Zealand boss Richard Peddie tells Newshub.

"Where the confusion is, is they're going from Level 2 to orange. So before I couldn't have a sauna on, but now I can - but I have to use compulsory vaccination certificates, but I don't have to use masks."

But for some there'll be no grand reopening. Peddie says more than a dozen clubs in Auckland have closed for good, and worse is yet to come.

"We think the real impact's going to take place once they reopen, and for some they'll realise their revenue doesn't meet their costs anymore," he adds. "They've burnt up all their reserves through the lockdown."

You only have to scan Auckland's parks to notice the gym junkies have adapted to their environment. But with summer and Christman approaching, will the members return?

"This is not our first rodeo," adds Sutton.

"We've done this five times coming out of a lockdown - particularly in Auckland. Every time we've come back, we've seen a higher and a faster rate of return than the previous time."

Because the benefits are immeasurable. 

Exercise is one of the best forms of defence against the virus, so whether you're doing it outside or in the gym, the message is clear: Just keep doing it.