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. In the 80s and 90s, fitness culture was predominantly focused on building muscle and strength; back then, going to the gym was a burdensome chore for many rather than an enjoyable experience. Training sessions used to be repetitive, involving the same routines, the same fitness classes, the same workouts, every day.
Today’s fitness centers are shaking up traditional workout routines by incorporating many different and, often, fun ways for members to express themselves physically while keeping track of their health and wellbeing.
Years of innovation has also driven profitable revenue growth for the industry. Statista estimates that the global fitness market generates US$80 billion annually. In 2017, the US fitness industry alone is responsible for nearly 40% of the total revenue and is expected to continue to grow by least 3 - 4% annually.
As Americans become increasingly interested in their health and quality of life, the industry is poised for further growth. It will be exciting to see how the next wave of innovative trends will help the fitness landscape will continue to expand outside its traditional boundaries.
In an annual survey conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine's (ACSM) and published in their Health & Fitness Journal, more than 4,000 fitness professionals identified the trends that will be most prevalent in 2018. They ranked the top three as follow:
- High Intensity Interval Training
- Group Training
- Wearable Technology
- Functional Training
High Intensity interval training
High intensity interval training has been a buzzword since 2014 and it seems that experts still can’t stop talking about it in 2018. Even celebrities like Britney Spears, Scarlett Johansson, and Jennifer Lopez are avid fans of these workouts. 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 45 minutes, during which participants complete intense sets of physical activities, followed by short periods of rest to achieve optimal results.
Group fitness classes have been around since dance instructor Judi Sheppard Missett’s “Jazzercise” trend took the world by storm in the 70s. But, according to the ACSM, shared workout experiences will be the new norm this year instead of working out solo. 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, participants can also rely on a group of dedicated, like-minded individuals to help propel them forward.
ACSM ranked wearable technology as the top trend for 2017 and due to the continuous popularity of devices such as Fitbit and the Apple Watch, the trend will remain at the forefront this year. More than just fancy gadgets to show off to one’s peers, wearable fitness technology provides actionable and insightful data about an individual’s overall fitness by monitoring their 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 training results for members. We've made sure wearable technology is a part of our members experience. From F45TV, our mobile apps and Lionheart, our technology not only helps our members track and measure results, but it helps build community and friendly competition.
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 maintained that everyday physical activities have the same benefits as hitting the treadmill or lifting weights at the gym. This workout routine continues to make its mark in fitness studios this year by recreating movements their 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 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 provides measurable results against their clients’ fitness goals.