Stay ahead of the game with our guide to the key fitness trends you need to be on top of in 2019 as a boutique studio owner.
In 2018 we saw the rise of many key fitness trends that changed the game in the industry. Some of these have continued through to 2019 while other new trends have emerged that will be very important in the new year.
While there are differing opinions on what are the essential new fitness trends, there is one study that is released at the beginning of each year that is seen as an authoritative source by the fitness industry. The American College of Sports Medicines (ACSM) Health and Fitness Journal has released its Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends every year for the past 13 years, and its 2019 edition goes over the top 20 trends for the upcoming year. The study surveys thousands of certified fitness professionals from around the world to determine what fitness trends will be important in 2019.
The ACSM survey is seen as an extensive overview of the whole fitness industry. It lists top fitness trends like wearable technology, personal training, and “exercise is medicine” in the top 20. However, we want to focus on the trends that will be most relevant to you as a fitness business owner in the boutique and group fitness space. We’ll include things like moving towards shorter training times, a focus on more functional based training and the emergence of more health and fitness based initiatives in the workplace.
And so why is this important?
Well, the answer is straightforward: To be successful in this industry (and in any industry for that matter) you need to know what trends are emerging so you can adapt your business and stay ahead of the competition because they will be on top of these trends also.
So if you want to keep up with the fitness Joneses, get reading below!
HIIT Goes Hybrid
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a fitness program that focuses on quick bursts of high-intensity workouts followed by a short period of rest and focuses on strength building and weight-loss. This fitness trend took the top spot in 2014 and 2018. For 2019 it is ranked at third place which still means it will be a significant trend for the coming year.
What is interesting about HIIT is the fusion with other types of workouts to create HIIT hybrids. One of the most popular forms of exercise that are being paired with HIIT currently is yoga. Notable examples include Core Power Yoga, which “roots an intense physical workout in the mindfulness of Yoga”.
And despite warnings from some fitness professionals about increasing injury rates from HIIT workouts, it remains a hugely popular form of exercise in gyms around the world. It has especially become popular in the boutique fitness industry, with the most notable example being Glofox client F45, the hugely popular Australian fitness phenomenon that is rapidly taking over the fitness world.
Depending on the type of studio you are running, you should look to incorporate some form of HIIT classes. Better still, (especially if you run yoga or pilates classes) look to fuse HIIT with another form of exercise to create a unique hybrid that your competition doesn’t offer.
Keeping It Short and Sweet
In line with the rise of HIIT, we will see classes becoming shorter as people have less and less time from their busy schedules to give over to fitness. Nowadays the average working person can’t spend one to two hours working out and needs shorter workouts to hit their fitness target.
Over the last number of years, there have been numerous studies on the benefits of exercising over a shorter period. Time is such a precious commodity in our lives, and it is only going to become more scarce in 2019.
The balance between our professional lives and our working lives has become more and more askew and it, therefore, has become more challenging to manage. Fitness studios must think of ways to help members get more value out of shorter periods. For example, a lot of professionals may only have their lunch hour to exercise and therefore need to to be able to squeeze the session and their shower in under an hour.
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Expect fitness classes to drop from an hour to 45 or 30 minutes, especially in an area where there is a large contingent of offices. Experiment with offering shorter classes at times of the day professionals are looking to work out and see if you start getting your numbers up at these times.
Finally, one of the critical advantages of shorter classes can be seen in your timetable where you can fit on more classes with shorter duration times.
Working Out In Work
The days of working hard and playing hard seem to be well and truly in the past with employers advocating a more “work hard, work out” ethos within the company culture. In a similar vein to the “Exercise is Medicine” trend, fitness is now seen as a crucial part of both physical and mental well-being, and employers are investing in the health and wellness of their employees to increase their general well being and further than that, their productivity.
There is a rise in the popularity of people spending their leisure time on wellness and fitness rather than hitting the pubs and clubs. Companies have responded to this by either partnering up with a local studio that will run classes exclusively for their employees or building fitness studios within their office space. By doing this, they can foster a spirit of collaboration (and some healthy competition!) amongst their staff.
More recently we have seen the example of workspaces with fitness built into how they operate. Life Time is a chain of fitness studios in the US that offer working spaces and hot desks for smaller companies and startups. They did this after noticing their members working on their laptops before and after classes. In response to this, they began adding workspaces and conference rooms to their facilities. The bigger fitness chains are also getting in on the act with upscale gym chain Equinox seeing the potential in the changing shifts of work/life balance. They have begun adding co-working spaces to their more upscale gyms recently.
So, if you are at the stage of your business where you feel you are able to take on corporate classes you should be actively on the lookout for these types of corporate opportunities in 2019, as companies look to incorporate fitness based programs. Not only will you have an extra revenue stream during typically slack times of the day, but you also have a potential opportunity to convert these attendees into full-time members outside these corporate classes.
Get Fit for Life
Functional fitness training is a workout which is all about using strength training, bodyweight training or any other similar activities to prepare them for physical activities someone might do in their daily life. It focuses on improving strength, coordination, power, and range of mobility. According to the Mayo Clinic, functional fitness training “trains your muscles to work together and prepares them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work or in sports.”
In ACSM’s survey, functional fitness is at #9 this year, and it has been consistently in the top ten fitness trends over the last number of years, and it looks like functional fitness will continue to rise and grow in 2019. As our lives become increasingly more hectic, boutique fitness studios are focusing on the kind of physical activity that prepares your body for real-life movements and actions. The fitness professionals that ASCMs talked to also said that they would usually use functional training to help train older adults, who need to build more endurance for everyday activities.
One of the significant advantages of incorporating these type of workout classes into your fitness studio is that you can appeal to a broader range of clients regarding both age and ability. Use functional fitness training to appeal to those who may be hesitant about attending a gym and may not see the benefits of working out in their everyday lives.
Build a Community with Group Training
#2 in this years survey, Group training is defined as an instructor-led class of more than 5 people. Its rise in popularity coincides with the evolution of the boutique fitness industry over the last number of years. The likes of Equinox, F45 and Orange Theory have become significant players in a sector that is thriving within the recently stagnant fitness industry as a whole.
Group training is designed to cater for all fitness types and be motivational and effective. Some examples of the types of group training that boutique studios typically run include HIIT classes, circuit weight training, boxing/boxercise, strength and condition, and dance workouts.
The popularity of group training, especially within the boutique space, is a sign people are moving away from individually working out in bigger corporate gyms. Group training is useful for motivating those with different types of fitness levels. It also is a more welcoming and community-based environment in which members can feel more comfortable attending.
Other Key Trends of Note
2019 seems to be the year for wearable technology. It comes in at #1 in ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal survey. Devices like smartwatches, fitness trackers, GPS tracking devices and heart monitors are all examples of this type of tech. It allows people to track the activities they are doing to inform their fitness development better and is maybe something you should think of incorporating into your fitness studio.
Other trends you might find of interest for 2019 include yoga (#7), bodyweight training (#5), and small group personal training (#19) which you could incorporate in one form or another into your fitness business.