2020 has certainly been an unforgettable year, for all the wrong reasons. As we finish the year in yet another lockdown, 2020 has seen many industries, including the fitness industry, having to adapt and think on their feet quickly.
This year has accelerated some parts of the industry, with many on track to continue their growth into 2021, with the industry becoming even more fluid in how people keep fit and interact with facilities, platforms, and technology.
Check out our 7 trends to look out for below.
Online personal training
Gyms shutting and restrictions on training groups outdoors during 2020 have resulted in the rise of online personal training accelerating. Many trainers and facilities have had to pivot quickly to an online model to save their training business. Although at the start of the pandemic this often resembled makeshift Zoom classes in the front room, expect online personal training to become slicker and sharper, with better-connected platforms for trainers to use.
For example wearable fitness giant, Myzone released Myzone Remote this year, where trainers can keep track of their clients HR remotely and through their community building Myzone app.
They’re not the only ones either. Many large facility operators are creating platforms where their members can train remotely even if they are shut, such as Total Fitness who has recently created their own recording room where their PTs can record remote training sessions for members.
Now that there are so many remote training options for clients, many personal trainers may see their online community outgrow their in-person training clients. The key challenge that PTs will have to overcome in 2021 is maintaining the personal touch and individualised approach to each client, even if they’re online.
Gyms to become cleaner than ever
Members, clients and staff need to feel safe when they’re attending their facility.
This is an obvious one, but gone are the days of dirty, grimy warehouse gyms. Even the old school gyms now have cleaning stations and wipe down areas throughout.
It is clear that high touch-points like gyms can provide environments where germs can quickly and easily spread, so it is important that facilities continue to ramp up their cleaning procedures. Expect to keep seeing staff cleaning on the gym floor, and plenty of topped up cleaning stations where members can clean down their equipment after use.
The strength of community in the fitness industry
Boutique and independent gyms have often done this really well over the last few years, highlighted by how many have been able to keep members paying during the lockdown, and high retention rates even when their memberships have been transferred to online, at home workouts.
This isn’t a fluke either. These types of facilities often focus on the community aspect of their memberships. All the staff know their members, with many organising facility wide events and generally just taking a deeper interest in their members’ fitness journeys.
Larger operators have also coined onto this, with leading budget gym, Puregym announcing that their members will not for their gym membership whilst their gyms are shut during the lockdowns. This is a very smart move from Pure, and immediately builds trust and a sense that they genuinely care about their members.
No gym can take monthly direct debits for granted anymore, and building relationships with members is the key to them sticking by their facilities in future adversity.
Exercise is medicine
Everyone in the industry already knows this, but it seems the pandemic this year has hit home further the importance of staying active and healthy. Keeping fitness levels up and eating the right foods is one of the key indicators to determining someone’s ability to deal with infection and chronic illness.
We predict 2021 will certainly see a rise in people wanting to start attending a gym or getting a personal trainer for health reasons, rather than to improve the way they look.
The facilities are the front of the industry are already moving towards a holistic approach to their offering, providing wellbeing and nutrition hubs for their members. Trainers and coaches will too start to market their services to those looking to improve their health.
At home fitness
Home fitness technology is set to continue its rapid consumer rise. Kettlebells, dumbbells and any other piece of kit was dramatically sold out by the end of March in the first lockdown as everyone tried to get their hands on some at-home kit to continue their workouts. Now people have home kit, many will be continuing to work out at home rather than taking up their local gym membership again.
Another big trend within home fitness that will continue to rise in 2021 are the bigger pieces of kit such as indoor bikes, treadmills and weight stations. With Peloton’s recent purchase of Precor, the fitness brand company will continue to expand. Whilst other leading brands like TechnoGym have released new home bench stations that will have a lot of appeal to those with cash to spend on at-home kit.
Outdoor fitness may seem to be basic, like attending a bootcamp in a field or working out with friends on a local park. But 2020 has seen a revolution of outdoor fitness, including exciting functional outdoor facilities. This year has seen rural gyms, outdoor training centres and sheds where you lift, throw and pull heavy things explode.
These places have been able to flourish as people enjoy the different equipment being used, like tractor tyres and sandbags, and with them being outdoors, many feel they are safer against the virus.
Our final trend is hybrid training. With so much change in 2020 and technology rapidly developing the options for people to keep fit, we feel 2021 is going to see many people moving to a hybrid model of how they keep fit.
This may be combining different training models and ways to keep fit. Online home sessions, outdoor fitness tracked by running apps, combined with attending their gym.
As discussed previously in this article, many operators, small and large are developing ways to continue to support their members outside of their facility, with remote classes and tracking that could involve outdoor fitness and home workouts.
Some larger operators have even created new spaces to accommodate this new trend of hybrid training. David Lloyd’s popular Blaze concept is being installed in small high street spaces, where members can attend a quick 45minute Blaze class in-between their work schedule.