2020 Trends: A Global View of What’s Hot in Fitness
There were some incredible and fast paced change across the global fitness industry in the past ten years. Boutique fitness brands, luxe experiences at mega health clubs, incredible new virtual technologies that help gym owners manage efficiently and offer diverse programming to their members. And a thousand other advances too varied to mention.
As we close the first quarter in a new decade, there are no signs of consumer interest in fitness slowing down. In fact, ACSM’s Fitness Journal recently released the findings of their annual global fitness industry survey. The actual report is a lot to digest with responses from fitness industry professionals across the world, but here’s our perspective on some of their top findings.
Number One Trend: Wearables
The integration of data into every aspect of the member and gym manager experience continues to dominate. Wearable technology has boomed to become a $95 billion industry, encompassing smart watches, fitness trackers, heart rate monitors and GPS tracking devices. Almost every major device manufacturer from Garmin to Apple is heavily invested in smart fitness tech, and we’ll continue to see the development of products that can provide real time biometric and performance feedback that will eventually be integrated into live and virtual fitness classes.
Members Give HIIT the Thumbs Up
The High-intensity interval training (HIIT) phenomenon shows no signs of running out of steam. Workouts with intensity levels of 90 percent and beyond continue to attract major participation at clubs worldwide. Instructors have expressed concerns over injury risk in class, so expect a renewed focus on proper form, out of class conditioning and other practice exercises to be integrated into instructor offerings. We’re also seeing instructors recommend digital fitness content to help club members familiarize themselves with routines and moves to develop proper form for in-studio live classes.
Exercise Merges with Medicine, Healthy Lifestyle and Wellness Coaching
There’s increased worldwide interest in how better lifestyle habits and exercise can proactively offer health benefits. Exercise is Medicine® (EIM) is a worldwide initiative from the healthcare industry that encourages doctors to build fitness assessments and referrals to exercise professionals into patient care. Similarly, a focus on lifestyle as medicine is helping people develop healthy lifestyle habits: things like quitting smoking, improving diet, increasing exercise and understanding appropriate levels of alcohol consumption for better overall health. We’re already seeing a shift toward healthy nutrition in health clubs but the next few years will add wellness coaching into the gym member experience.
Instructors and Trainers Leverage Tech
Technology is having an impact on personal training. App based monitoring, on-demand fitness content that is readily available at home and at work, as well as online and through social media platforms are all helping instructors and personal trainers connect with members beyond the club. At FitnessOnDemand we are seeing the continued integration of virtual content and digital programming into club member experiences with instructors and trainers helping members access complimentary workouts, stretches and conditioning content to augment in-class or in-session experiences. And more clubs are asking for our help in delivering mobile customized content to their members on the go. Watch this space.
Smart Training – Bodyweight, Equipment Free Workouts
There’s a gradual shift toward strength training that’s not simply about being tethered to machines. Instructors across the globe are introducing more free weights, barbells, kettlebells, dumb bells and medicine balls into training and classes. It’s part of a move to teach better form to class participants and gym members and then increase intensity from strong foundations. Similarly bodyweight training with members is on the rise, where workouts employ a combination of variable resistance through bodyweight. This makes training possible anywhere and less expensive without the reliance on stationary machines.
Functional Training and Older Adult Fitness
Aging baby boomers and even older Gen Xers are seeking fitness programs that help with balance, coordination, maintaining muscular strength and building overall endurance. As people are living longer, there’s a need to remain healthy and physically active as long as possible. Many clubs aren’t able to invest in the scale of functional training classes needed but provide access to expert support and a wide variety of functional training and guided classes through their on-demand digital programming.
Yoga: a Top Ten Return
Surveys have shown the decline of yoga over the past ten years, but in this year’s results, it climbed back into the top ten club activities. Part of Yoga’s return to form comes from its segmentation into multiple formats including Power Yoga, Yogilates, Hot Yoga and many others. Our own customer data backs this up – our FitnessOnDemand club customers are offering digital yoga content and virtual classes to help meet booming member demand and provide alternatives to busy studio classes.
Workplace Wellness + Club Partnerships
Healthier personnel means less expensive healthcare insurance for corporate America. 2019 saw a major shift toward enhanced workplace wellness and fitness programs. Employers are partnering with local clubs to offer employee programs and discounts. Corporate wellness is one of the fastest growing customer categories for our team too, and we’re actively working with business campuses to help them integrate the most appropriate digital fitness content and classes into their workdays. We expect this will only continue to grow.
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