What’s all the rage? Last month, IHRSA, the American Council on Exercise, and ClubIntel released a report exploring the answers to that question as it relates to the offerings of fitness professionals and gym operators around the world. Aiming to shed light on the equipment, programs, services, and technology the fitness industry adopts, the report (actually titled What’s All the Rage?) also looks at how adoption rates of various trends change over time. In particular, the report examines trends in three categories: programs, services, and training protocols; equipment and facilities; and technology.
Why should you pay attention? The groups that published the report gathered behavioral data from more than 11,000 health and fitness businesses around the world. The sheer number of industry players providing input makes it worth checking out. Moreover, understanding which trends are emerging, niche, growing, maturing, or declining can help you make key business decisions.
Okay, so then, what is all the rage? Here are some highlights from the report, as summarized by Club Industry:
• Of any program or service in the fitness industry, personal training has the highest adoption rate.
• The hottest equipment and accessories? Given the popularity of CrossFit and other functional fitness methods, it may not be surprising to hear that traditional equipment and accessories top the list. We’re talking medicine balls, BOSU, stability balls, and the like. Flexibility/mobility equipment is equally hot. Think foam rollers, stretch trainers, and myofascial release devices.
• It’s been a few years now that we’ve been hearing about HIIT group exercise classes, boot-camp programs, functional resistance training, and small-group training. There’s a reason why. These approaches have all achieved a high level of adoption and continue to show above average growth.
• It’s also been a few years — or more than a few — that we’ve been hearing about technology as the fitness industry’s Next Big Thing. But, surprisingly, social media is the only well-adopted technology trend. Technology-driven innovations such as online pricing transparency, online registration and reservations for programs, selling memberships online, virtual training and club mobile applications have been minimally grasped by the industry. Over the course of the next decade, we’ll probably see greater adoption of such opportunities.
• Among the top ten most frequently adopted industry trends? Senior fitness programs. Keep adding programming for the silver-haired set. They’re only growing as a demographic and as a powerful, enthusiastic, and commited group of exercisers.
• Despite the production of a host of newfangled machines, two old standbys — treadmills and elliptical trainers — have experienced resurgence in growth in the past two years.
Take a look at the report and ponder the trends your facility has adopted. Are you in line with the majority? Is there a trend you’ve overlooked? Perhaps you should consider adding more senior programming or getting behind a technological innovation you haven’t tried yet. Or maybe you’re using technology that the industry really isn’t ready for. Whatever the case, it’s good to have a sense of the larger playing field, and to know where you stand on it.