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5 Fitness Industry Trends to Watch for in 2021

The biggest health and fitness industry trends to watch for in 2021 and beyond.

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Has “go hard or go home” finally gone home?  

Yes.  

But not in the way you think. People still love a good sweat, but how and why has changed. With the rise of at-home fitness and a focus on the health benefits of working out, evolution is the name of the game for your fitness business.  

If your business isn’t evolving, it isn’t growing. Whether you specialize in yoga, HIIT, strength training, or spin, every fitness studio owner needs to stay on top of related trends to grow their business.  

In this article, you’ll learn the top five 2021 fitness industry trends, how to meet the needs of your members, and how to combat objections that may be holding them back.

We’ll explore health and fitness trends with options for both the digital and in-person space, so whatever your business currently offers, there’s something for everyone here.  

1. Digital Platforms

As far as 2021 fitness industry trends go, this is number one for a reason.  

Online fitness surpassed USD$5 billion in 2019 and is poised to grow at a rate of 30% year-over-year between 2020 to 2026.  

Consumer behavior drives innovation and demand and as people become accustomed to a digital experience, demand increases.  

The digital space is fast-paced, so it’s no surprise that short-duration workouts continue to gain popularity (30 min abs, 20 min HIIT training, 10 min breathwork, etc.). CorePower Yoga for example, offers workouts as short as 1 minute.  

Digital platforms will also continue to expand into more at-home fitness devices. Beyond Peloton Bike and Tonal, new devices like all-in-one gym benches and advanced rowers are hitting the scene. And with Lululemon owned Mirror, at-home personal training and classes are getting more streamlined, personalized, and popular.  

Businesses will need to adapt to the digital mindset and offer options to suit that consumer.  

What is the digital mindset?  

Freedom and flexibility. Digital expansion reduces barriers to entry such as time and “gymidation.”  

How to apply this trend to your fitness studio

Counter the initial nerves and feelings of intimidation by showing potential members that they are welcome by staying connected online. You don’t have to create an app or a branded at-home fitness device. With Zenoti, our software integrates with video platforms, like Zoom, so you don’t have to worry about starting from scratch. You can also take to social media to demo key workouts, moves, or classes to your members so they can join in from home. This doesn’t need to take classes off your schedule but rather as a value-added bonus.  

2. Gamification

Gamification goes beyond the popularity of Just Dance. With the array of online fitness options available now, customers expect a customized workout when and how they want it. Add a component of gamification to your repertoire to entice these customers.  

There will be 86.3 million health or fitness app users in the United States alone if all goes as forecast.  

Over 52% of App Store fitness apps contain at least one element of gamification.  

Gamification includes:  

  • Points  
  • Leaderboard  
  • Challenges  
  • Programs    

What is the gamified mindset?  

Challenges increase engagement.  They want to win, and having the challenge motivates them. Right now, they need all the motivation they can get.  

How to apply this trend to your fitness studio

Simple, add gamification into your existing programs and classes. Consider a month-long challenge or a punch card with rewards to complete a certain number of classes or a fitness Bingo style challenge to try different styles, time slots, or instructors. You can make the challenge sharable and come to life with an in-studio board or physical challenge cards.  

3. Community Building

An analysis ran by LatentView Analytics found what most fitness business owners know to be true. Community is key when it comes to fitness industry trends.  

It has been shown that having accountability buddies increases motivation because the community is the top motivator for your members. Apps like Ope n and in-home devices like Mirror have the option to practice alone or invite friends to your workout.  

What is the community-focused mindset?

How to apply this trend to your fitness studio

Create “invite a friend” or referral benefits. If the thought of adding another bolt-on to your current software or having to upgrade to “enterprise” level to unlock referral programs makes you want to stop reading right now, know that we’ve got you covered. With Zenoti, referral programs are a part of your software, and setup is a breeze.  

Another option is to incorporate community into your social media efforts and in the studio. That can look like member or community spotlights on your social media channels and engagement on your social media posts. Ask questions, take polls, survey your community, then share your findings. You could even establish forums or social groups based on studio locations and give your students a place to post and chat about their favorite classes, workouts, and instructors.

Find out more about how to apply this health and fitness trend to your business here.  

4. Holistic Approach to Fitness

Alongside the community aspect, the demand for a holistic approach to health and wellness continues to be a top health and fitness trend. Fitness is high on the list of things that can improve our mental and overall health. As such, the demand for more intentionality and mindfulness in the fitness space continues to increase.

Yoga, Pilates, and alike are expected to become a $66 billion industry by 2027.  

What is the holistic mindset?  

Recovery, mind-body connection, focused energy. They understand the importance of targeting workouts that are more than just going through the movements and instead are focused on slowing down, form, and breathing.  

How to apply this trend to your fitness studio.

Consider adding more modalities, i.e., yoga, Pilates, and breathwork, for a holistic approach. This doesn’t have to mean a complete overhaul of your existing offerings. It can be as simple as adding meditation and extended stretching to your circuit class for a new, restorative twist.  

Train and engage your instructors on a deeper focus on form with more intentional exercise and muscle activation. Even the subtle change of adding more muscle activation understanding and language queues in class impacts your member’s overall experience.  

Consider a trauma-informed training session or series of sessions for your instructors and staff for a deeper understanding of the somatic experience.  

If your business sells products, consider adding recovery aids such as foam rollers and massage tools.  

5. Tech in the Palm of Your Hand

Technology has advanced so much, tech accessories are everywhere, and new solutions are launching rapidly. Good news for your members - tech can contribute to a better workout!  

At first, we tracked personal health and fitness trends and results with smartwatches and heart rate monitors. The next step in this evolution is using that data and help level up your workout with the power of AI.  

Apple Fitness+ plans to serve up workout recommendations based on the intensity of your last session.  

Predications show that by 2022 over 900 million people will be wearing wrist-worn fitness devices.  

Beyond your wrist, high-tech sneakers with carbon-fiber plating are soon to be more readily available. Expect to see top-performing treadmill workouts and PRs in your cardio or strength training classes.  

What is the tech mindset?  

Smartphone everything. Their phone is their life. If they can’t load it on their phone screen or get it in a text, iMessage, email, or app, they don’t want it.  

How to apply this trend to your fitness studio.  

Your guests rely on these devices to provide detailed information about their health. How can you incorporate tech metrics into your class language? Think PRs, BMP, and more.  

Consider incorporating wearable tech into your gamification challenges.  

Meet your members where they’re tracking their data with Zenoti Customer Mobile App. Send them text/SMS messages about your upcoming class, monthly challenge, referral program, and more. Empower them to book, track, and pay for your classes at the touch of a button on their mobile device. Stay connected, build community and meet the needs of your tech-minded customer. 

Bonus Trend

In-app shopping is here to stay, and it’s getting more advanced. Gone are the days of HSN (Home Shopping Network). Now we’re shopping online and in-app.  

TikTok is piloting an in-app shopping feature, similar to Instagram, where creators can add a virtual storefront to their posts and profile.  And with Mirror owned by Lululemon, in-home workout device shopping can’t be far behind.  

What is the online shopper mindset?  

Similar to your tech-minded guest, online and in-app is where they are. They want the most convenience possible. If they see a shirt worn by their favorite Instagram influencer, they don’t want to reverse Google image search to find it. They want to tap on the photo, add their size to the cart, and check out.  

How to apply this trend to your fitness studio

Consider selling branded swag on your webstore. You can also add shopping to your studio’s Instagram account and tag products in posts for in-app shopping.  

 

Key Takeaways  

Fitness isn’t a trend, it’s a way of life, and virtual fitness shows no signs of stopping. But regardless of if you’re online or not, you can apply trends to your physical fitness studio as well.  

Think outside the box and use these health and fitness industry trends to tailor your offerings to elevate community, incorporate more tech, and offer a holistic approach to fitness. Making your brand a one-stop shop for all your members’ needs.  

Just like how Zenoti is your one-stop shop for all your fitness center management software needs.  

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Emily Martin
Zenoti Copywriter
A self-confessed bookworm with a passion for languages and weaving together words. Happiest when immersed in nature, either on horseback or skis, or curled up with a good thriller. Emily's writing focuses on sharing trends and insights impacting the beauty and wellness industry.
Cullie Poseria
Senior Product Marketing Manager, Fitness
Coming from a healthcare family, growing up as a competitive athlete, and being trained as a filmmaker, and MBA, Cullie brings diverse experience to her storytelling and digital business-to-business product marketing. Her writing focuses on sharing trends and insights from her experience in software, entertainment, wellness, and fitness.
Emily Martin
Zenoti Copywriter
A self-confessed bookworm with a passion for languages and weaving together words. Happiest when immersed in nature, either on horseback or skis, or curled up with a good thriller. Emily's writing focuses on sharing trends and insights impacting the beauty and wellness industry.

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