Gym intimidation is a reality for many people starting their fitness journey. Entering a huge open room with a bunch of new faces, and rows of unfamiliar equipment can be a daunting experience. Even for regular gym goers, working out is not something they always look forward to. Doing the same workout routine for two hours every day often makes it feel like a chore.It’s not hard to see why so many people who aim to get in shape ultimately give up on their fitness goals.
A new generation of gyms is about to change all of this. They’re beginning to look and function less like traditional gyms and more like lifestyle centers with a strong sense of community among members and trainers. As people become more interested in fitness and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, working out is turning into a social activity and gyms are becoming the place to be.
The advent of boutique fitness studios
Today’s gym owners understand there’s much more to gyms than building muscle. Gyms have to be engaging and interactive places, not just passive places where people get access to equipment. By dedicating space that isn’t about pumping iron, gym owners can create a social-powered fitness brand that attracts an audience beyond bodybuilders. And chances are, this new audience will want to spend some time there.
This revolution began with the name itself, ‘boutique fitness studios’ instead of gyms. They’re smaller than traditional gyms but have a higher-quality environment and aesthetic. In addition to standard gym equipment, they offer a range of team-based and personalized classes with the guidance of an instructor and live DJs.
The statistics prove that fitness studios are gaining a massive following worldwide. According to research by the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), studios once experienced membership growth of 21% in just one year, jumping from 21% in 2013 to 42% in 2014. And fitness studios have expanded their footprint globally at a rate of 450% per year since 2010, according to the fitness-focused investment firm, Piper Jaffray.
Part of the popularity of fitness studios is that they can help people overcome the fear of working out alone, while giving friends the opportunity to meet up and hang out while they exercise. Group fitness is currently the most important trend that defines fitness studios. In groups, a combination of high intensity interval, circuit and functional training exercises take center stage on the floor. HIIT puts participants through short bursts of intense exercise (for example, rowing, boxing, squatting, sprinting, stretching and weightlifting) followed by low-intensity recovery periods, while functional exercises simulate common movements you might do at home.
The benefit of these team-based exercises is that they are more effective in toning and strengthening muscles than longer workouts. Classes are 45 minutes, based around different styles, and offered every day. Much like including different food groups in a balanced diet, these exercises enable members to inject a healthy dose of variety into their fitness regimen to keep it fresh and stimulating.
Fitness studios are also placing emphasis on personalizing the gym experience, by providing members with workouts that are enjoyable and relevant to their fitness goals. One of the benefits of a smaller exercise class is that the instructor and the rest of the staff can get to know members better. This personal connection can help them to better understand and manage members’ expectations, and the small classes create a friendlier, more community-like atmosphere where participants receive support and encouragement from positive, health conscious networks of people.
As Cedric Bryant, Chief Science Officer for The American Council on Exercise, explains: “Individuals are more inclined to come to the sessions because of social interaction, but also to put forth better effort because of the group dynamic that occurs with others. A positive competition in a sense.”
Training in a group environment is not only a lot more fun; studies have shown that people who participated in team exercise classes had lower levels of stress and better physical, emotional and mental health benefits than those who worked out on their own, proving that a social atmosphere can enhance the various rewards of physical activity.
Social media, tech and fitness
Members inevitably have high expectations for workout results. Given the abundance of tech options available for today’s digitally-savvy participants, delivering a results-driven, personalized experience has never been easier. From fitness apps and heart rate monitors to smartwatches that track the number of calories burned and smart sneakers that analyze steps, technology is a game changer in the gym environment. For those members who want to be recognized for their efforts, wearable technology enables them to live and share their fitness journey on social media with a network of people out there with like-minded goals, who can provide workout motivation.
The “new normal” world of fitness is challenging gym owners to embrace innovation and appeal to the trending lifestyle needs of a new health conscious generation. The most successful fitness brands across the globe are the ones that take a more social-led approach to their service, where they’re not just focused on the result but on the experience as well.
F45 Training understands the importance of this connection between the members and the trainers. With the F45TV screens guiding workouts, trainers can focus on building report, connecting with members and setting a tone within the studio. This social-led approach is one of the main reasons why F45 Training is the fastest growing fitness franchise in the world.