For generations the fitness industry has been seen by many as an exclusive club; a lifestyle reserved for those who have the spare time, the extra cash flow and are extroverted enough to not worry about what they look like jumping onto a piece of equipment they’ve never tried before. It can be a daunting task stepping into a gym for the first time, and for many, this is the case.
But, the fitness industry has changed dramatically since the world has become more health conscious. With an increased education around diabetes and heart disease, more and more people are turning to a healthier lifestyle to reduce their risk of getting these widespread illnesses. With this trend, the demand for fitness options has increased and the fitness industry has responded. What was once considered a luxury, stepping into a gym studio, is now a part of everyday life for a large number of people, no matter what stage of their fitness journey.
The fitness industry has grown to meet the needs of a new generation of enthusiasts. While the amount of people wanting to get fit and healthy has grown, the industry has helped make the lifestyle more attractive and accessible to these people. So what is it that people want these days? According to Debi Lane, CEO of Lunchbox, a salon in Boise, Idaho, “There’s been a shift in consumer attitudes. People want a better, cheaper experience in just 15 minutes. Therein lies the challenge.” Here are a few ways in which the fitness industry provides this.
Not having enough time is a big pain point, particularly for millennials. Fast and fun workouts have become the norm, and are proving exceptionally popular. With the introduction of high intensity, interval training (HIIT), people can get maximum impact over a short, 45 minute period. Exercises are quick, diverse and team based, where a workout becomes a social and community event, encouraging fitness and an enjoyable experience.
While prices can vary in the franchise industry, fitness studios today have taken the step to offer affordable memberships. An F45 class in Perth for example, is currently $35, while a class in Brisbane is $25. But by offering a middle ground below the high prices of hiring a personal trainer and low prices of large gyms who provide no support, members now have the option of paying for a gym that offers both expert guidance and the option to go it alone while not breaking the bank.
The increased use of technology by fitness franchises has helped people have full control over their exercise regime, without the hassle of organising it. With the rise in wearable technology, people want to see their results. With the use of heart rate monitors and fitness apps, people can follow an organized class, and receive the data straight to their phone or tablet to see how they’re progressing. Through these tools, people can now make educated decisions on how often they need to attend, or if they need to ramp up their regime in order to reach their goals. They are no longer going blindly into a workout.
The fitness industry seems to have matched these needs rather well, and the results speak for themselves. According to the 2018 IBISWorld report, Gyms and Fitness Centres in Australia, “The emergence of budget gym chains and premium functional fitness gyms has stimulated most of the industry's growth … The rapid growth of functional fitness-based gyms has attracted affluent and time-poor consumers, and supported industry revenue growth.” The report further predicts that the industry will grow to be worth $2.4 billion by 2022/2023.
If you’re considering investing in a fitness franchise, the industry is clearly forecast to continue its growth as the world becomes more and more focused on being health conscious. And even if the industry dips, fitness and health services will always be in demand as they require human interaction. AI coaching may be in test phase at the moment, but it certainly won’t make its way into the mainstream any time soon, and mostly has a goal of improving fitness coaching, not replacing it.
Steven Webster, CEO of Asensai -- a platform which offers data and coaching advice based on wearable apparel -- believes that “the opportunity is not to replace world-class coaches with AI, but to instead use technology to give everyone access to world-class coaching anywhere, any time, in any sport.” He believes the formula humans have used for decades to get fit and healthy; eating well, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep will not change, and that AI will only enhance the industry as it already stands. If anything, the industry will only become more accessible, as AI becomes a mainstream tool for the everyday person to use on top of their fitness regime at the gym.
While the fitness industry certainly hasn’t revolutionized itself, it has repositioned itself to align with current consumer needs and in the process made it more accessible. People are time-strapped and have tight budgets, but at the same time want to do something that is fun and that will contribute towards a healthy lifestyle. In a world where people are constantly shown things they cannot afford or do not have the time for, the fitness industry has stepped up to offer a middle ground.
While F45 is a large company with a vast number of franchises, it is firmly centred within the current trends of the fitness industry. With short, 45 minutes classes, varied and fast-paced exercises, affordable membership fees, and a range of personalized platforms and apps for both franchisees and members, it provides everything that fitness enthusiasts are looking for. Time frames are suitable, budgets stuck to and fitness results available at the tap of the button. Whether you’re a millennial or not, it’s a franchise that puts accessibility at the heart of its business.