It’s always good to join in on a trend when it makes business sense, but it’s even better to have actionable tips for how to do it. And even better still to be able to foresee what’s to come.
We’ve looked at some of the Millennial fitness trends that have made the news recently to help you off to a good start in 2020. Knowing is half the battle, and there are plenty of trends you can capitalize on to expand your gym business.
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What Are the Current Millennial Fitness Trends?
The worldwide wellness and fitness industry is booming. According to the Global Wellness Institute, the industry is now over three times the size of the global pharmaceutical industry.
Americans are particularly enthusiastic as shown by the fitness and nutrition company My Protein, which conducted a study that asked 1,350 American adults about their fitness habits.
The study found that the average American spends $115 per month on fitness. That figure includes gym memberships, health supplements, clothing, sneakers, accessories, and meal plans.
But are Millennials more health-conscious? And how much do Millennials spend on fitness? Well, on average, they spend more money on fitness and wellness than they do on college education. And that speaks volumes.
But where GenX-ers and Baby Boomers stick to the treadmill, Millennials are looking for something more than just a healthy body.
They want social interaction and a sense of community.
The Los Angeles Times published a report that shows how important these aspects are to Millennials. Those aged 24-35, in particular, are moving away from the traditional monthly gym subscription model where everyone exercises on their own.
Traditional gym memberships are not a hit among this generation, but boutique fitness studios have seen a steady rise in popularity over the past few years. They doubled in number between 2013 and 2014 and now account for over 42% of the US market share.
Newer studies show that boutique gyms are the only growing sector in a gym industry that has otherwise plateaued. And the explanation for this trend is clear: boutique gyms offer the activities that Millennials prefer.
Here are some of the most popular fitness activities among Millennials:
- Barbell classes
- Bodyweight exercises
- Boot camps
- FreeStyle boxing
- Group workouts
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
- Olympic lifting
The clear trend here is group activities in open spaces. Millennials want to switch activities regularly, socialize with their friends, and prefer high-intensity workout experiences.
One of the big contributors to these trends is loneliness.
Cigna conducted a study with almost 20,000 participants that asked Millenial Americans about their social life. Almost half of the respondents reported that they felt alone and isolated for much of the day. Interestingly, these feelings correlate with the rise of social media.
So which conclusions can we draw from these trends?
Millennials are very health-conscious and are willing to invest a lot of money into fitness and nutrition. But they’re not content with traditional gyms. They would rather have access to a variety of on-demand activities.
They also want to feel part of a social group where everyone motivates each other to push themselves to the limit. And as social media doesn’t seem to decline in popularity, neither will the need for human interaction.
How Can You Capitalize on Millennial Fitness Trends?
We’ve looked at some of the Millennial fitness trends that currently dominate the industry. Now it’s time to put that knowledge into actionable advice. We’ve rounded up ten tips for how you can capitalize on them and grow your business to new heights in 2020.
1. Provide an Open Space
Running a gym is no longer a matter of cramming as many free-weights and machines into your space as possible. Millennials prefer open spaces where they can use their bodyweight during group exercises. Consider designing your gym to cater to these preferences and have the machines in a separate room.
Next step: Learn how to design different exercise zones in your gym or fitness studio.
2. Offer Small Group Sessions
Since Millennials prefer group exercises, you can appeal to this market by offering classes. For maximum effect, capitalize on trending activities such as yoga, Zumba, boot camps and HIIT. An important thing to note is that Millennials prefer small groups, which helps nurture the social aspect. Larger groups will make them feel like just another number.
Next step: Check out our guide on how to grow a fitness boot camp and attract Millennials.
3. Create a Community
The social aspect of fitness and exercise is of the utmost importance to Millennials. That’s why it’s important that you create a community around your gym or classes. Barbell Brigade, for example, has opted to post selfies of their members on the walls instead of the traditional images of world-class athletes.
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Next step: Learn how to build a fitness community both online and in the real world.
4. Be On-Demand
Everything is on-demand these days. Ordering a taxi cab or takeaway is at our finger-tips. It’s no wonder, then, that Millennials also expect their physical activities to work the same way. Rather than monthly or annual memberships, try to create some on-demand offers. But remember to build in a deposit system like Prevail Boxing so you don’t lose money from no-shows.
Next step: Get an app for your gym business to allow your members to book classes instantly.
5. Sell Your Own Merchandise
The rise of boutique fitness trends has also brought a lot of extra income opportunities with it. Why sell merchandise and accessories made by all the major brands when you can sell your own? It will help establish your gym as a lifestyle more than just an activity. Check out the Dominate Humbly line from the Barbell Brigade for inspiration.
Next step: Design your own merchandise and start promoting it to your followers online.
6. Focus on Motivation
Motivation is a big deal to Millennials. You don’t need to look any further than to Cycle House for proof. Their CRO (“Chief Ride Officer”) Nichelle Hines has become a small celebrity in her own right due to her motivational leadership during classes. Whether you can provide that level of motivation yourself or outsource it to a charismatic coach if up to you. Just don’t neglect the motivational aspect of your business.
Next step: Focus on motivating your gym members or class attendees to increase retention.
7. Partner with Other Gyms
One of the biggest fitness hits among Millennials has been ClassPass. It’s a startup that has partnered with over 8,000 other businesses around the world to offer their members unlimited access to gym classes. It’s a subscription service that doesn’t tie members to a single gym but offers them a broad range of options. Partner up with other gym businesses to expand your own portfolio of exercise classes.
Next step: Read this guide on how to form strategic partnerships with other gym businesses.
8. Leverage Influencers
Although social media may have led to a rise in loneliness, it has also led to the rise of social media influencers. Prevail Boxing partnered up with model and Instagram influencer Kyra Santoro to promote their boxing classes. After trying the exercises, Santoro promoted them to his followers. That helped Prevail Boxing grow from two to twenty employees due to the influx of Millennial customers.
Next step: Check out our list of fitness influencers to see who you can partner up with.
9. Offer Healthy Meal Plans
Millennials also care a lot about food and nutrition. Just look at the rise of veganism among this generation. You can expand your gym business by offering healthy meal plans to your members. Include convenient, customizable, high-protein, low-calorie, and sustainable foods for maximum impact.
Next step: Look at these examples of bodybuilding meal plans for inspiration to make your own.
10. Live Stream Sessions
Sometimes your members won’t be able to make a class. Maybe they have busy or unpredictable schedules or maybe they’re on holiday. Offer them to stream it while they do their workout at home or the hotel so they don’t miss out on the group spirit. Peloton has been a game-changer for the at-home fitness industry because of this gap in the market.
Next step: Research different live streaming platform and find the best one for you.
11. Create Unique Experiences
Nothing is more Instagrammable than a unique environment or theme. Capitalize on Millennials’ penchant for social media by offering an experience they can’t find anywhere else. Throwback Fitness offers calles with nostalgic themes. Brooklyn Zoo creates obstacle courses based on American Ninja Warrior. Sproing Fitness have invented their own exercise machines. The options are many, and only your creativity sets the limits for what you can offer your clients.
Next step: Look at these examples of unique gym offers to find more inspiration.
12. Offer Functional Training
One of the reasons CrossFit took off is the social aspect of the sessions. Another reason is its focus on functional strength training. Millennial like to be able to apply what they do in the gym to their real life activities. Offer classes that place an emphasis on functional training to capitalize on this trend.
Next step: Check out this list of function training exercises to see what you can offer.
13. Schedule Short Sessions
Ever heard of micro-HIIT? It’s like regular HIIT but much shorter. Specifically designed for Millennials with busy schedules, micro-HIIT offers a session of high-intensity exercise that only takes a few minutes. Although your taught classes are probably the recommended length of 20 minutes, you can offer micro-HIIT lessons to your clients as an added bonus.
Next step: Discover the world of micro-HIIT sessions here and apply it to your gym business.
14. Use Fitness Wearables
FitBit hit the market some years ago, and since then fitness trackers have become a staple among gym-goers. TwelveThree, for example, is a wearable that tracks the intensity and velocity of punches thrown during boxing classes. Why not offer your clients Smart Boxing classes that take advantage of the latest technology?
Next step: Read up on how smart boxing sessions work and how you can teach them.
15. Incorporate Mindfulness
Finally, with anxiety and depression on the rise among Millennials, there is also a high demand for sessions that combine physical and mental training. Manor Gyms, for example, offer classes that promise to “exorcise your mind” while you work out. ROWBOTS and Beeja Meditation has partnered up to offer rowing classes with a mindfulness session at the end.
Next step: Find out how you can incorporate mindfulness into your gym classes.