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The fitness industry has continuously expanded and developed, making it essential for gym owners to keep up or risk being left behind in the dust. Gym owners are essentially living by the phrase "evolve or die."

In the 80s and 90s, fitness culture was predominantly focused on building muscle and strength, and going to the gym was viewed as a burdensome chore rather than an enjoyable experience. Training sessions used to be repetitive, involving the same routines, the same fitness classes, the same workouts—every day. That has since evolved into what we know as the fitness industry today. 

Today’s fitness centers are shaking up traditional workout routines by incorporating many different and fun ways for members to express themselves physically while keeping track of their health and wellbeing.

Years of innovation have also driven profitable revenue growth for the industry. Business Insider estimates that the global fitness market generates US $100 billion annually. "According to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, boutique fitness is the fastest growing brick-and-mortar exercise category—between 2013 and 2017, membership at boutique studios grew by a whopping 121%. The IHRSA also found that 40% of health and fitness club members belong to a boutique fitness studio."

As people become increasingly interested in their health and how they can improve their overall quality of life, they're more likely to invest time and money into doing so. In turn, the fitness industry is poised for further growth. It will be exciting to see how the next wave of innovative trends will help the fitness landscape continue to expand outside its traditional boundaries.

In an annual survey conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and published in their Health & Fitness Journal, more than 4,000 fitness professionals identified the trends that will be most prevalent in the future. They ranked the top three as follows:

  • High-Intensity Interval Training
  • Group Training 
  • Wearable Technology
  • Functional Training

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, has been a buzzword since 2014 and it seems that experts still can’t stop talking about it. It has proven to be just as effective in burning fat and toning the body as spending two hours battling different sets of gym equipment. A HIIT session can be as short as 30-45 minutes, during which participants complete intense sets of physical activities followed by short periods of rest to achieve optimal results.

Group Training

Group fitness classes have been around since the 70s, when dance instructor Judi Sheppard Missett’s “Jazzercise” trend took the world by storm. But, according to the ACSM, shared workout experiences are more appealing to people than working out solo. Whether it's virtual training via Zoom or physical training in a studio, training with others is just more empowering and fun! When going to the gym nowadays, many members seek a workout routine customized to their own fitness goals, without having to pay too much for the personal attention of a private trainer. Group training, which is helmed by a fitness expert, is offered in a variety of workout styles, meaning participants don’t have to do the same tedious exercises over and over. Not only do they get the motivation they need from a personal trainer, but participants can also rely on a group of dedicated, like-minded individuals to help propel them forward.

Wearable Technology

ACSM ranked wearable technology as one of the top trends! Due to the continuous popularity of devices such as Fitbit and the Apple Watch, the trend will likely remain at the forefront well into the future. It's more than just a fancy gadget to show off to one’s peers, though. Wearable fitness technology provides actionable and insightful data about an individual’s overall fitness by monitoring his or her movement, heart rate, calories burned, and sleep patterns. There are different forms of this technology, from wrist-based trackers to smartwatches to mobile apps.

It's not just consumers using the technology to enhance their personal workout experience. Health clubs are also investing their resources into creating a wearable tech environment to monitor members' training results. F45 Training has made sure that wearable technology is a part of our members' experience. Whether it's F45tv, Lionheart, or our mobile apps, our technology not only helps our members track and measure results, but it helps build community and friendly competition.

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Functional Training

Functional training has been appearing in ACSM’s survey for a couple of years now, and it doesn’t look like it’s going away soon. It’s easy to understand this trend’s staying power—science has always shown that everyday physical activities have the same benefits as hitting the treadmill or lifting weights at the gym. This workout routine, as evidenced by F45 Training, continues to make its mark in fitness studios by recreating movements clients perform in daily life, such as climbing stairs or carrying shopping bags.

There’s no doubt that the next decade will bring new technologies and workout concepts that will have a huge impact on how people exercise. In the coming years, we at F45 Training will be keeping a finger on the industry opportunities we believe have the most potential of enduring success, so that our investors, owners, and trainers will be able to deliver an immersive workout experience that is fun, fast and effective.

How F45 Stays on Top of the Latest Fitness Trends