The new year is always an excellent opportunity to turn a page, add new services or even pivot in your fitness business. This article attempts to look at what some industry statistics predict might be a big hit this coming year.
The American College of Sports Medicine's (ACSM's) Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends was published recently. In it, 20 authors surveyed people worldwide to identify global and location-specific trends that will likely determine the direction of the fitness industry in 2022.
We'll list the 10 most popular global trends below and see how they match against industry experience.
#1. Home GymHaving a gym at home isn't a novel idea. Still, before 2020, the average Joes and Janes wouldn't think of setting up a gym at home. Then came COVID and changed it all out of necessity.
People who wanted to keep up their workouts during the series of lockdowns and gym closures had no choice. If they wanted to work out and keep their gains, they had to create a home gym.
After gyms were available again, people realised how much flexibility working out at home gave them. Their home gym would always be an alternative, and they seem to be keen to keep using it long-term.
This segment will be a great target market for fitness tech giants like Peloton. They would also be great candidates for online and hybrid fitness coaching and mobile personal training services.
#2. Exercise is Medicine"Exercise is medicine" is a concept that has been around for a while but has only gotten mainstream attention recently. The National Health Service in the UK has realised that reactive medicine isn't efficient enough, and it's time to focus on prevention. GPs can now prescribe exercise to manage and prevent certain lifestyle diseases, and to improve mental health conditions.
This is great for all professionals working in fitness because it raises awareness, and more people will look for solutions to stay active and exercise.
#3. Personal Training in High DemandDue to lockdowns, gym closures, social distancing and other measures that made people more aware of spending extended time among a larger group of people, those who could afford it had turned towards personal training. The benefit of working out with only their trainer present is appealing in many aspects.
It feels much safer from a disease point, and if someone doesn't want to leave their home, they can have their trainer travel to them, attend LIVE personal training sessions via video call or enrol into
online personal training services. Not to mention its advantage on results and exercise safety compared to group sessions or a gym membership.
Personal trainers who create compelling service offers and deliver to a high standard, both in-person and online, will find clients.
#4. Further Shift Towards Online SolutionsOnline fitness solutions have been around for quite some time. We predicted that over time it would become mainstream. Nobody expected that explosion within the short space of the last two years. Again, personal trainers, gym chains, and fitness companies had to adapt their businesses to stay afloat out of necessity. The only space they could do that during lockdowns was online.
Millennials are an excellent target for health and fitness apps, according to Statista statistics.
Focusing on them with your online services could be a good idea but the entire online training market is set to continue growing. As a personal trainer, you might also want to create a niche service for your online coaching business to attract the right audience.
#5. Outdoor FitnessOutdoor training has been pretty popular for some time but became the only option to work out with a trainer during the first lockdowns. Even the trainers who would usually prefer their gym setting had to venture into holding personal training sessions outside and adapting their fitness services to the outdoors at least temporarily.
As a result, a newly found love of the outdoors was born for many people who have never considered it before, and now they're looking for opportunities to stay out often. Whether that's a bike ride, a hike in the woods or a session with their favourite trainer, there are plenty of opportunities for fitness professionals to offer outdoor services or create workout programs that will prepare clients for their adventures.
#6. Demand for Short Workouts'Home office' has become a phrase that comes up during everyday conversations these days. While it has tremendous benefits for employers and employees, it also has drawbacks.
One is that many people find it hard to separate private and work life and are prone to spend a lot more time in front of their computer than they would in the office. Some may even feel the pressure to work more hours to prove they are still working even when their boss can't see them.
All those real or perceived expectations and more time spent seated resulted in a higher occurrence of back pain and other mobility issues, which can be quickly addressed by shorter bursts of activities more often throughout the day. Stay-at-home mums are also excellent targets for mini workouts because they won't have the chance to take a whole hour to work out at home or even more to go to the gym. The concept is an incredible idea for online personal trainers.
#7. Community Building and Fitness SocialisingAfter almost 2 years in and out of lockdowns, wearing or not wearing masks, having to practice social distancing, people are getting tired and are craving social connections more than ever.
Long-term success for fitness businesses always relied on a community. That's only ever going to be more of a demand as people want to use their fitness journey to get to know like-minded people, feel connected and enjoy their workouts.
A few concepts have become widely popular recently, one of which is women-only gyms and studios. Many women have felt self-conscious and intimidated in standard gym settings, and now that ladies only facilities and classes are coming back, more women are looking for them. Inclusivity is also in high demand.
Building an engaging community will never go out of fashion. Encouraging your members to get to know each other via team activities is a great way to accommodate building bonds. That applies to both offline and online socialising in 2022 too.
#8. Holistic ApproachThe holistic approach among fitness professionals has become somewhat a cliché, but the world is catching up now. The fitness industry is transforming. COVID has made many people realise that life and fitness aren't purely about looks. While weight loss and a lean physique might still be great goals, you'll see emerging demands for a better quality of life, improved physical and mental health and having a stronger immune system.
Being healthy doesn't only mean being physically fit, though. Clients will also need help with nutrition, managing stress, focusing on recovery and finding balance. Partnering with nutritionists, mental health and wellness experts, or adding such skills to your resume might be a good idea. 2022 can be your time to shine if you specialise in holistic fitness and health services.
#9. Hybrid Fitness Model RisingAs we mentioned earlier, people are fed up and want to go back to normality. Many of them will want to go back to a gym or meet their trainer in person. But they also realise that some things have changed and will never be the same. They may have grown to enjoy working out at home and would like to keep offline and online fitness solutions for convenience and added benefit as a hybrid service.
Hybrid memberships that offer members online access to streamed group classes might be a good plan for gyms, small group training, yoga or Pilates studios. Personal trainers may want to consider launching hybrid or fully online coaching services and use software like PT Distinction to do the heavy lifting for them.
#10. Boutique Fitness Studios in DemandAs much as people want to socialise more, they recognise the risks of spending time with a larger group of people. Because of that, not everybody will feel comfortable going back to a big box gym and instead will happily engage with a boutique studio or a facility that offers small group sessions.
Personal trainers and specific group class instructors take note. Even if you work at a chain gym, you might be able to make a deal with management to run classes with reduced numbers at a space that nobody else can access during your session to provide that added sense of security. You might want to re-think your floor plan to allow smaller group sessions if you own or manage a gym.
In general, all fitness businesses need to be aware of COVID-safety. Thus hygiene and regular cleaning practices and clear membership rules are essential.
ConclusionAs you can see, there's no need to panic for personal trainers. While indoor large group classes might still not become too popular or possible in the coming year, 1-2-1 and semi-private personal training, online personal training and hybrid fitness coaching options are great ways to reach your ideal clients.
The bottom line is that with slight tweaks to your offers or a shift in your niche and some resilience, you can make 2022 a very successful year in your fitness business. The PT Distinction team is always here to help you serve your clients' online training needs.