2020 has definitely been a rocky road for the fitness industry. At least two major franchises ducked under Chapter 11 protection between March and December. Many more small independent studios and gyms folded, especially in states where stringent lockdowns were imposed. But despite all the draconian measures, the general effect of the lockdowns was to push the fitness industry in an entirely new and profitable direction.
As I mentioned in my last article, the Fitness Industry came back strong in the last few months by moving online with ZOOM and other live-stream programs—helping their clients to discover that for busy mid-life folks on the go with kids and jobs and a regular hectic daily schedule, being able to do a fitness program at home was perhaps preferable to adding another travel/appointment to an already busy schedule.
Along with this move online, more big changes have come to the industry and I’m going to talk about them in this article. Instead of the old plan of “higher, faster, and further,” this next year will see more combining of health and fitness, more holistic and nutritional products combined with training, and specialization in targeted clientele such as high-risk groups. I call these changes the seven most important fitness trends for 2021.
1. Gyms have to meet high hygiene standards.
Most people stayed in shape during the lockdown by simply running, walking, doing a home exercise program on their own, or using live-streaming apps to join online classes. Attendance at classes or personal fitness training at facilities dropped significantly because most enthusiasts were concerned that going back to the gym entailed the risk of corona infection. In Germany over one million of the eleven million adherents quit their gyms because of this concern. It is therefore in the studio’s own interest to ensure the highest levels of cleanliness and hygiene if they are to win back the confidence of their clients.
2. Online apps are the new “big deal.”
In this era of closed facilities, most sports and fitness fans have turned to live-stream online offers. Gyms and studios that are using software that facilitates this by linking training calendars and client database payment methods with ZOOM and other live-stream apps are seeing a steady uptick in their bottom line. Peloton bikes that allow the enthusiast to connect with other cyclers in digital competition via the Internet have also seen a steady rise in sales.
3. The great outdoors is calling.
Outdoor fitness is gaining rapidly in importance simply because the chance of COVID infection is dramatically reduced outside. Fitness studios in the know will be finding areas around their club where they can set up equipment and activities outdoors.
4. More focus on health options and nutrition in fitness offers.
As we have seen, the people most affected by the virus are those with compromised immune systems. So many studios are adding immune-boosting supplements and activities to their list of offers. Strength and cardio routines coupled with healthy diet and the right nutrients will see facilities changing from gyms to health-oriented fitness facilities.