The end of the year is drawing closer, and people are beginning to think about what the new year will mean for them. For many, that means thinking about starting, maintaining or switching their fitness regime. Since a lot of people buy their gym memberships or fitness packages at the dawn of a New Year, you need to be on top of the fitness trends that it appears will dominate 2020.
There are two facets to the developments and changes to fitness in 2020. On the one hand, new trends in fitness approach will mean that people will be looking for a provider that fits their needs. On the other side, legislative and demand developments will mean changes to the way that fitness businesses operate.
Which fitness trends will people get into in 2020?
#1 Yoga – More than stretching
2020 is shaping up to be the “Year of Yoga”, but we’re not just talking about the single class that you’re local gym has been running “just in case”. Yoga fusion isn’t a new fitness trend, yogalates has been with us for years. Still, the eastern practice is getting a hybridisation with other fitness techniques for enhanced effects. Some examples of yoga fusion fitness trends are:
- Yoga-HIIT: Yoga+HIIT, where hi-intensity interval training is interspersed with yoga stretching and muscle-lengthening exercises.
- Acroyoga: Acrobatics+Yoga, a combination of aerial exercises performed with a partner while incorporating yoga poses while balancing on/with your friend. A lot of balance required here, which is fantastic for core stability.
- Surfoga – You guessed it, combining yoga and surfing
And we can’t forget that people are beginning to embrace the older tenets of yogic practice, with the 8 Limb Method.
#2 Mindful workouts – before, during and after the exercise
While yoga is getting a facelift and a return to its roots, other exercises are getting the mindfulness treatment too. With more focus on the overall wellness of the individual, a more holistic fitness trend is mindful workouts. With the deepening understanding of mental and spiritual health, working out while giving substantial thought to what we are doing with it, is becoming more mainstream.
Mindful running has been on the table for some time, but now your fitness clients might want to approach their entire fitness regime with mindfulness at the forefront.
#3 – Naked vs Wearable fitness – a divide or a cycle?
There seems to be a distinct divide in the approach to these fitness trends. One camp of sports and fitness commentators claim that we will see an increase in wearable fitness tracking technology. Whereas, the other field believes we will see a reduction in wearable tracking tech. It could be a distinct divide in the fitness approach across demographics and psychographics that are showing these trends, or it could be that people have reached different peaks and troughs according to their tech adoption lifecycle. While early adopters of the funky wearable tech have got over the novelty, or it could be that obsessing over numbers hasn’t done them any discernible good, newcomers love the tracking ability.
One reason for the breakaway from wearables is that we are trying to reduce reliance on and addiction to tech screens.
Either way, you will want to cater to your clients need to track every step or go tech-free. Both are valid, and you can expect that clients will fall into both camps in the New Year.
#4 – Social Group Training – Cocktails vs Endorphins?
The gyms are becoming the new social hub for the fitness conscious. Instead of hitting happy hour after work, friends and co-workers are hitting the gym; often working with a trainer who offers group sessions.
The group training session has benefits to the trainer and the clients. Overall the trainer earns more from a group session, but the clients invariably pay less. However, they still get the gain of working with a personal trainer.
Group training is becoming far more popular, and with the dual benefits to clients and providers, it’s easy to see why.
#5 – Home Workouts – Not everyone can get to the gym
There are entire sections of the population who can’t get to the gym. Whether their reasons are due to proximity, time constraints, or more prosaic, like “I have no one to watch my child”.
While 24-hr gyms have become prevalent, the availability of classes or personal trainers at odd hours is not yet a thing.
Working out at home has significant benefits to a large number of people who can’t go to the gym. Whatever their reasons.
You only need to check out the vast number of successful online exercise platforms to see that people want the ability to work out in their own homes. If you have premises or support your clients in person, why not support MORE clients in their homes?
#6 Working with a trainer – Motivate me!
More people are starting to use a trainer or coach, whether they want to find an independent trainer or they work with one in their local sports centre. This trend is set to increase because the internet is saturated with TOO MUCH information. When you can find a dozen different answers to your fitness question by typing your query into Google, you want a definitive answer from someone you can trust. A trainer can see you, evaluate your progress (or lack) and adjust your regime as necessary.
While sometimes working with a trainer can be cost-prohibitive, trainers offering to work with small groups can increase their revenue, without charging the individuals through the roof. Cycling back to social group training, it’s a 2-4-1 approach.
#7 – Variety – No single approach can cover all areas
“Man cannot live by bread alone.”
And one does not merely get a healthy, fit, and toned body by resistance machines alone. As our understanding of health and fitness improves, we have begun to realise that toned muscles don’t say anything about your endurance levels, and being able to run a long way doesn’t say anything about strength; not to mention flexible joints and overall health.l
Variety in training is one the significant benefits to large health clubs, but it’s not beyond the reach of the smaller fitness provider to mix up the training styles they can offer.
Trends set to change the way you do business
While the trends above reflect the demands of your customers in the upcoming year, there are some alternate trends that might affect how you choose to operate your business.
Niche markets will see an upsurge in representation and business growth. Despite the need for versatility and variety in training methods, people are more likely to go directly to a specialist in the field they want to develop, rather than a generalist. Specialising isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Catering to a niche market with little representation gives you a small but captive audience, especially if you are exploiting new and developing trends.
Location, location, location
It’s not just a slogan for the real estate industry. Location is going to become extremely important as fitness trends lean toward customer-centric models. Where you base your business is important, but you might also want to think about where you can provide your services, who your clients will be, and how you can accommodate them from your business address.
Train them well, so they might teach others
Since there is an increasing trend of people going to personal trainers for their expertise, you are going to need to ensure that you are up to date with your methods, developments, and knowledge. If you don’t know it all share the load and spread the expertise around with your staff. Knowledge is power, and the more knowledge you have, the more powerful it will be for your marketing channels. High-quality staff and trainers are already becoming essential.
Incentivising fitness doesn’t seem far away at all. Even countries with socialised medicine are investigating ways of subsidising access to fitness centres and equipment. In countries where medical attention is expensive and insured, those same companies are incentivising health and preventative fitness with their policies. You could find yourself in partnership with a local health authority or insurance company.
Make it fun!
A common complaint among the less active is that exercise is a drag. It’s not fun, and it’s hard work. Entertaining your clients is a step towards keeping them coming back. Most gyms have had iPod docks and tv screens for years, but does that really cut it in the entertainment stakes? Can you imagine a virtual reality experience while you work out? Running through the quaint streets of provincial France or rowing in the boat race? It’s not as far-fetched as you might believe. Interactive fitness and gaming are drawing new customers earlier. You can’t complain about anything that gets kids moving again.
You can’t do it all, and when there’s a split in the middle you might have to choose a side. However, you don’t have to do it all to ensure that you keep next years clients and gain some more.
Open your mind and your business to new developments. There’s still time before the new year’s resolutionists start hunting out their preferred method of fitness training, and if you get it right you can strike the balance between your loyal clientele, newcomers, and the new clients that your old clients referred.
Don’t just take my word for it, do a little research of your own. That should definitely include talking to your existing clients. Ask if there’s an emerging trend they would like to explore. If you can offer classes or equipment before membership renewal comes around, even better.