There’s a growing body of scientific evidence that shows how exercise benefits people of all ages and abilities. Unfortunately, today’s gym scene is still a one-size-fits-all answer to fitness, dominated by an athletic, younger crowd, which can be intimidating to people 60 years and above who want to take charge of their health.
In a survey conducted in the UK by the Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO), 70% of people over 65 years of age said that they want to lead a more active lifestyle. However, they face certain challenges. Out of all the respondents who expressed interest in doing more exercise, 22% stated the reason they don’t use nearby facilities is because they feel intimidated by the younger crowd, while a further 22% said the facilities don’t accommodate the needs of older people.
On the contrary, traditional gyms aren’t very accommodating toward the adolescent audience either, though children ages 6 to 17 are becoming a fast-growing demographic of health club members. The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), reports that the number of boutique gym members under 18 increased from 2.1 million to 3.7 million from 2013 to 2016.
While excessive junk food consumption, inactive lifestyles, and too much screen time all contribute to the growing rate of childhood obesity, parents are looking for innovative and fun ways to get their kids moving. Even children who are already physically active at school may not be getting all the physical activity they require, and as such, will need to engage in additional activities that strengthen muscles and bones.
As fitness lovers look to get their parents and children involved in exercise, the fitness world is facing an increasing demand for services that cater specifically to the older and younger generations. This presented F45 with the opportunity to not only promote an active, healthy lifestyle among these two age groups, but to allow existing studio owners to expand their customer base and increase revenue.
F45 is expanding their services with a brand-new franchise system called F45X, which offers a range of cardio and strength exercises to members we don’t usually see in our studios. It consists of "Prodigy" - a team training system aimed at 11-18 year olds, and “Masters,” geared toward the over 60 year olds.
The F45X training systems aren’t just easier exercises for people at the opposite ends of the age spectrum, but instead are focusing on the unique fitness requirements and limitations of each demographic. The workouts are designed to accommodate common problems experienced in old age (such as reduced muscle mass, balance, joint flexibility and cardiovascular function), which is why the Masters classes emphasize aerobic activity, strengthening exercises, and flexibility training. Similarly, the Prodigy classes focus on exercises critical for childhood and adolescent development; activities to strengthen muscles and promote strong bones.
Motivation is also an important aspect of the F45X offering. We understand that it’s easy for the elderly to lose enthusiasm when reduced flexibility, balance, strength and endurance are put to the test, or they face the risk of injury. Children too can lose interest in exercise if they feel that it is less fun than an afternoon spent on the internet or if they develop other non-physical interests.
With the F45X model, we want to make exercise less of a chore but something our members can look forward to. Master classes not only give seniors the prospect of positive health outcomes, but present them with an opportunity to stay social and eliminate the loneliness that is so often experienced during their golden years. Exercising with people their own age can build confidence and provide the encouragement to maintain their fitness routine.
Prodigy classes also take place in F45 studios, and create a stimulating fitness environment. The benefits of these teen exercises are comparable to the outcomes of group-based activities, such as sports and team-building. This can help develop their social skills, boost their self-confidence, and give them a sense of connection or belonging.
F45X is an exciting new avenue for existing franchisees to offer more value and expand their client base without increasing their costs. In the current F45 model, normal classes are offered early morning and after work, which makes the daytime slots perfect for teens and seniors who are mostly available during those hours.
Current F45 studio owners have first option to sign up for F45X. They can incorporate the model into their existing fitness center, with the possibility of branching out as a separate operation in the area.
Product diversification and breaking into new markets can be a bold strategy, however, F45 studio owners can do so from a position of strength as the F45X model taps into the already successful technology and brand name of F45. This means that the new model will build faster customer awareness and interest in trying the training spin-offs.