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Why Online Fitness is Here to Stay

Published on: 
12 May 20
Posted in: 
10 min read

The online fitness industry has seen a significant boom since the COVID-19 outbreak, but is it here to stay? The billion-dollar fitness industry has quickly transitioned to online fitness with brick and mortar businesses having to compete against well-established digital fitness brands. Fitness chain 24 Hour Fitness is currently weighing up bankruptcy from the effects of the pandemic after closing its 448 clubs during the lockdown. 

There’s now a massive spotlight on online fitness and home workouts. Although growth in the digital fitness sector has been apparent for some time, the last two months have seen it propel to new levels. Digital fitness has a huge role to play in the future of fitness, and businesses will need to adapt and nail down their online fitness strategy to weather out the storm and come out on top. With a huge demand for great online fitness experiences, and convenience taking a priority, let’s take a look at why online fitness is here to stay. Skip ahead to:

Online Fitness: A Massive Shift in the Fitness Industry 

The fitness industry is reinventing itself. Although this transition has already begun, many businesses were not already in a position to take full advantage of digital and online fitness. The forced closure of gyms and fitness studios has turned the fitness industry on its head. Businesses have to get creative and innovate to persevere during this time. Switching focus to online fitness is giving many gyms and studios the ability to retain members and drive revenue while their doors are temporarily closed.

Consumers are investing in home fitness routines, with some spending a considerable amount of money kitting out home gyms. No doubt, there will always be people who physically want to visit the gym, but online fitness supports members differently; it’s flexible and convenient. 

How Online Fitness Has Impacted These 5 Brands 

While some fitness brands are well-established in the online fitness space, others have to work round the clock to make sure their online fitness offering is readily available for members. Live streaming and on-demand content, virtual training, and connected home solutions are all taking the spotlight.  

P.volve 

Website: https://www.pvolve.com/

Since March, P.volve has closed its in-person studios, but they have seen a massive increase in sales and online subscriptions. P.volve offers home workout bundles, including home gym equipment and a one-month streaming subscription, so you can workout from anywhere. They are entirely focused on flexibility. After the initial boom in-home workout equipment, P.volve opened up its online streaming service for free for two months.  

Tone it Up 

Website: https://www.toneitup.com/

The Tone it Up app is based on its community. Since quarantine, downloads have increased by a staggering 950% and continue to grow. With many people isolated at home, Tone it Up is leaning on their community to connect and support one another while holding each other accountable. The platform offers a variety of classes, including cardio and HIIT workouts, yoga, and total body toning. By combining home fitness and a thriving online community, Tone it Up has continued to grow.   

Alo Moves 

Website: https://www.alomoves.com/

Alo Moves from clothing brand Alo Yoga has been around since 2012. The yoga streaming platform gives you access to thousands of workout videos from fitness experts around the world. The platform includes yoga classes, HIIT, barre, pilates, and bodyweight workouts. In the last few weeks, engagement has risen more than 300% on their platform. On top of this, the Alo Moves YouTube channel has also seen an increase in views and watch time. 

Beachbody 

Website: https://www.beachbody.com

Beachbody is one of the original home workout concepts founded in 1998. Currently, new subscriber signs ups have increased more than 200% from the same time last year. The on-demand classes include cardio, strength training, and more. Thanks to its high-energy, motivating, and engaging style of content, the home workouts are a welcome addition to many people’s days. 

Tonal  

Website: https://www.tonal.com/

Tonal is a $3,000 intelligent home workout solution. The wall-mounted machine can create a resistance of up to 200 pounds using electromagnets. Tonal has seen its sales triple as more people are exercising indoors. With this kind of investment, you can see how home workout solutions could become the new normal.  

10 Reasons Online Fitness is Here to Stay 

Although the online fitness boom has gained momentum recently, the traditional fitness industry was already seeing major disruption with fitness streaming services and live classes gaining popularity. Here are ten reasons why online fitness is here to stay. 

Consumer Expectations 

Consumer expectations are changing and evolving. No matter how hectic their schedule is or what’s happening in the world, there is an expectation of convenience. This consumer need is leading to innovation and developments in the fitness industry to meet demand. 

This episode of The Fitness Founders Podcast with Brittany Welk is an excellent resource for adapting fitness businesses to thrive during COVID-19. Brittany talks about how her studio, LadyStrong Fitness, managed to move entirely online and retain 100% of its members in the process.    

Inclusive Fitness 

Fitness has become much more inclusive for people of all shapes, ages, and sizes to join in. Online fitness tends is an inclusive, non-judgemental space for anyone to take part in. People new to the gym can often find it intimidating, and online fitness removes this barrier. By diversifying your fitness program and creating an inclusive online community, online fitness can be a safe-haven for those who don’t always feel comfortable going to a gym. 

Technological Advancements and Innovation 

Wearable technology, connected home equipment, smart clothing, and fitness apps have led to innovation in the fitness industry. Right now, online fitness is the only option that people have. But in the future, it will be an option that compliments an already active lifestyle, and something people can do as well as going to the gym. 

Tech advancements have influenced consumer preferences, creating an audience that wants to work out when and how they want to: even when they’re outside of the gym, they want to track their progress and invest further in their overall health. Technology will continue to advance, and the fitness industry will continue to evolve alongside it. 

Niche Online Fitness Communities 

Social media has created a space for niche online fitness communities, and during the lockdown, these communities have become about more than fitness alone. Members can share updates and goals, but more importantly, they’re able to support one another and socialize with like-minded people virtually.

For your fitness business, online communities are a great place to motivate, engage, and hold members accountable. Even in your everyday life, you can’t have a trainer or a workout buddy with you all the time. Glancing at your online fitness community or seeing some positive feedback could give members the motivation they need to work out that day. 

Industry Disruption

From virtual training to boutique fitness, the fitness industry is going through an identity shift. Fitness industry disruptors like digital fitness brands understand the importance of time and customer experience. By leveraging technology to improve your overall offering, you can enhance your member experience – your service becomes more convenient and accessible, and provides even more value.

Things like gamification and technology-enabled personalization are making way for tailored programming. With new business models, subscription services, and digital delivery, many people prioritize time, flexibility, and convenience. 

Changing Definition of Fitness 

As consumer habits change, they impact the fitness industry. Fitness is now about so much more than just going to the gym. There’s a broader definition of fitness that combines elements of overall health and wellness. This whole ‘mind and body’ view of fitness means members aren’t just working out to look good, and there’s a greater focus on things like meditation, nutrition, and stretching. 

Mental health is a part of the fuller fitness picture, and many of these elements are merging. Online fitness is now delivering home workouts, healthy recipes, nutrition advice, and meditation.

On-Demand and Subscription Fitness Models 

Consumers are increasingly using on-demand and subscription-based services, with examples including Netflix and Spotify. As a result, monthly subscriptions and per class business models have generally replaced the annual gym membership. Members can now take part in multiple types of fitness as it suits them.

On-demand online fitness platforms are hugely popular amongst the home workout crowd as well as those looking to squeeze in a convenient workout. Studios understand that a digital offering and online fitness can support and enhance the studio experience but not replace it entirely. To help you put together more on-demand content, we’ve created several resources on live streaming workouts and video editing tips

Increase in Home Workouts 

While home workouts aren’t revolutionary, they have been gaining in popularity. With some seriously technologically-advanced home equipment and a time-constrained generation, home workouts are only set to rise in popularity. 

On-demand fitness streaming offers inclusivity, flexibility, and complete convenience. Digital fitness brands are seeing incredible growth with tech-forward brands like Peloton and NordicTracks’ connected treadmills helping people workout effectively from the comfort of their own home.  

Convenience and Flexibility 

One of the major attractions of online fitness is that it can be built around any schedule. Instead of having to get to the gym when it closes or rush through traffic to make it to a fitness class, online fitness provides a level of convenience consumers crave. 

Time is a precious currency. By leveraging technology to reduce the time needed to workout, online fitness brands are creating ways for people to workout without the daily commute to the gym. 

Adds Value to a Gym Membership

In fitness, digital services are an excellent opportunity to provide members with more value. They can come into the studio or workout at home – as and when it suits them best. This gives you the option to reach a new target audience. There will always be a potential member whose main sticking point is cost, but providing both online and in-person service adds more value to the cost of their membership.

At the same time, you can explore different pricing models. You may look for a hybrid approach that combines your physical and digital membership or offer the two separately. Online fitness can enhance your business and customer experience. One company using online fitness well is gym wear brand Gymshark. The fitness gear empire is now offering free workouts on its Gymshark Conditioning app. Many of the exercises need minimal equipment and use items you can find around the house.  

In Summary 

The coronavirus has left many businesses in an economic downtown with the fitness industry turned upside down almost overnight. Fitness brands have to adapt and innovate by taking many of their services online. While online fitness is experiencing a massive uptick in popularity, online fitness had already established itself in the fitness world. With a need for flexibility and convenience, consumers expect more from fitness brands with online fitness looking set to stay after the smoke clears. 

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