The health and fitness landscape is changing. Places to ‘get fit’ are no longer bland, uninspiring spaces full of free weights and treadmills. Fitness has become fun and immersive and gyms are now considered as spaces for people to relax and socialise in.
Our Marketing Assistant Patrick, who is a middle distance track athlete and has competed internationally for Scotland, sheds light on the fitness trends to look out for this year.
Boutique vs. budget
Growth within the fitness industry is currently undergoing a process of polarisation. Budget gyms like PureGym offering a basic, no-frills approach centred on functionality have seen a dramatic rise in their popularity over the last five years. This sector has become ferociously competitive and has fed the growth of new operators looking to carve out niche segments for themselves. The growing popularity of unique boutique fitness classes like Blaze by David Lloyd or F45 are examples of this trend. Consequently, gyms operating in that mid-market have found it increasingly difficult to compete.
A quick fitness HIIT
In 2020 High Intensity Interval Training is still considered one of the most efficient and effective ways of satisfying your fitness needs. These are short, sharp classes focussed on keeping your heart rate high, with moments of rest and recovery. The benefits range from improved cardiovascular health to building a stronger and leaner physique. Above all else though, the fast, furious and diverse nature of a HIIT class keeps exercise fun and entertaining compared to slower workouts, and allows participants to get the same benefits from 30 minutes of work as they previously would have in double that. The average amount of weekly work hours is set to rise slightly in 2020, placing an even greater emphasis on shorter, streamlined classes.
Check your tech
Wearable technology is set to soar in popularity this year, as people demand more information and stats than ever before. Many gyms already cater to this trend; our client Absolutely Fitness Slough is one of the few UK gyms to have BioCircuit™ technology installed (tech that personalises your gym workout), and the Big Cat team got to experience the on-screen heart rate technology at Blaze that was used to guide and individualise the participants’ workout intensity. This thirst for personalised data has mirrored the rise in popularity of devices such as the FitBit, Apple Watch, and Garmins, which gives people daily data on aspects like calories burned, steps completed and hours slept. Subsequently, these gym goers demand more information and stats when it comes to their workouts.
2020 is a big year for sporting events, and these events often influence participation in sport across the UK. 2018 saw an increase in sport participation directly as a result of 2018’s FIFA World Cup, and with the UEFA European Championships and Summer Olympics and Paralympics on the horizon, this trend could be set to repeat itself. Off the back of this, sports that are making their debuts at the Tokyo Olympics, such as climbing, could see a surge in popularity and slot their way nicely into the growing niche fitness segment.
I get by with a little help from my friends
Group training isn’t a new concept, but the formats in which group training are presented are constantly changing and evolving. CrossFit has been popular for a number of years, but the rise of boutique fitness centres has mirrored and responded to consumers’ increased focus on making gyms a more social environment. The social spaces we interact in are forever evolving and modernising, especially as younger people are tending to drink less these days, and non-traditional spots like the gym are gradually becoming more popular communal hang-outs as friends work out together in groups.