As we approach the second half of 2021 and North American fitness businesses begin to revive their pre-COVID normalcy, earlier predicted trends for the next six months are evolving. Although the year started out still very heavily affected by the pandemic, signs of hope and a new beginning began to flicker early on, signalling to gyms, studios, and personal trainers that live in-person classes might come sooner rather than later. Today, thanks to the rapid distribution of vaccines, new safety precautions, and loosened restrictions, traditional fitness is in the process of healing and new trends are emerging to keep up with the times, but before we jump into a completely post-COVID existence, these 3 fitness trends remain the top leaders for the remainder of the year.
Online fitness content
What started out as a solution to keeping businesses open during the pandemic resulted in the opening of a new doorway for fitness business growth, new innovation, expanding client lists, and introducing new services. From online classes via Zoom integrations and management software to on-demand fitness content hosted on Vimeo and YouTube, fitness businesses have stepped up their game in both creativity and how they deliver their content and services to their clients at home. As one of the other top global industries begins to revive, online fitness classes and on-demand content will prove to be just as beneficial and useful to fitness clients as they begin to travel and take their long-awaited vacations. Gone are the days of missing fitness classes because you’re on vacation. Gym and studio members and personal trainers can now take their classes or sessions outdoors, in their vacation rentals, or in their hotel rooms.
As people determine their level of comfort over the next six months and whether or not to return to their gym or studio in-person, online classes and on-demand content will be these facility’s most useful resources in retaining the clients they worked so hard to keep during the pandemic’s many lockdowns. Not to mention many fitness businesses have found so much success with running classes in this format that they’re sticking to it full-time even after classes resume.
“I still run Zoom classes within my gym. I give my clients the opportunity to still attend via Zoom if they do not or cannot make it to the gym. I live-stream my team training sessions in the mornings that my clients can decide if they want to join in-person or through Zoom. For my clients that are at home on Zoom, I turn on the gallery view and direct them to face my clients who are in the studio that way they can feel like they are part of the class and my clients who are in the studio can see them as well. They can all interact and I can keep the community together which is the whole point of gyms.” – Joe Lyons, owner of Fitnostics
Outdoor fitness classes
There has never been as big of an appreciation for the great outdoors as there has been this year. After so many months at home indoors, people are not only anxious to get outside to get fresh air and to restore but to get back into shape. With summer’s arrival, outdoor fitness remains a top leader in this year’s fitness trends with people taking to running, hiking, walking, and outdoor Bootcamps, yoga classes, and more. According to a report done by RunRepeat, “59.1% of active adults chose outdoor activities like running, training, hiking, and walking as the best way to stay fit in 2021; up 14.6% from the start of 2020.” Fitness enthusiasts don’t want to feel confined to space, even with improved precautions and social distancing measures.
TeamUp fitness management software, recently released a report on the future of indoor fitness, encouraging their customers to incorporate the new methods of outdoor exercise into their classes and timetable in order to motivate the return of customers who found other ways to stay fit during the pandemic. Fitness businesses are also expanding their footprint to add more outdoor space to their facilities to give clients the option of working out indoors or outdoors while remaining onsite. Whether classes predominantly go back inside, for the summertime and fall months, gyms, studios, bootcamps, and personal trainers should still highly consider keeping outdoor options on their timetable for clients who prefer this method of training and classes.
High-tech at-home fitness equipment
When the pandemic began and people raced to the stores to stock up on supplies, fitness equipment was high on the list. As dumbbells and yoga mats, bands, and medicine balls were purchased, big-name players such as Peloton, the Mirror and Apple+ were quick to swoop in and influence thousands of people to invest in their luxury at-home fitness equipment and online fitness content. When compared with costly gym memberships, especially if a member at more than one facility, many people made the decision to permanently switch to these new products to be more self-sufficient over their fitness. While this isn’t to say that they will commit to using their standing bike or only go for walks on a treadmill for the rest of their lives, they will continue to be a main source of exercise for fitness enthusiasts who have space at home to house these large pieces of equipment and disposable income to spend on expensive machines and services.
Bonus trend: the return to gyms and studios
Although people have become self-sufficient, enjoy the outdoors, and have the ability to workout on their at-home machine while watching their favorite show on Netflix, nothing can replace the camaraderie and community that comes with in-person live fitness classes. According to IHRSA’s COVID fitness report, 83% of people who have returned to their gym, feel confident to return again, with the surveyed participants stating their reasons for returning including, boosting their mental health and mood, overall health and wellness, and strength. The motivation of a live class, seeing and engaging with friends and peers after months of isolation, and having a coach, trainer or teacher committed to helping you achieve your goals right then and there is something people have longed for. Those who work in the health and fitness industry, along with customers who remain hesitant to return to onsite classes, will be paying close attention to the health and safety measures implemented as gym and studio doors finally re-open. It’s up to the facilities to prove that they have done everything necessary to build a safe and secure environment for its members and for the members who do feel confident to return immediately to encourage and motivate their peers.
To sum it up,
The long-awaited revival of indoor fitness is a game-changer and a welcomed disruptor after a year of isolation and social distancing. But while we continue to move forward over the next six months, trends including online fitness, outdoor fitness, and luxury at-home fitness equipment will remain leaders as people navigate what makes the most sense for them and their fitness journeys post-COVID.
Author: Jessica Armstrong is on the Marketing Team at TeamUp gym management software for gyms, studios, boxes, and personal trainers and their in-person, online, and on- demand services. With a passion for fitness and wellness, Jessica uses her marketing experience to help fitness businesses and professionals learn how to successfully run and grow their businesses.