3 Industry Trends That Should Make Every Fitness Club Sit Up and Take Notice
1. The Importance of Community
Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last five years, you’ve probably already noticed that community has taken center stage in today’s clubs and studios. Leaders in this area, like SoulCycle and Orangetheory, will be the first to tout the benefits of a community in building both a brand and a business, citing it as a key reason members join them and why they stay so long.
The fitness experience is no longer defined as that anonymous visit to the gym — today it’s about going somewhere where everybody (including the staff and instructors) knows your name. It’s where your fellow members will sweat it out beside you, push you to that personal best, and then smile and say, “See you next time! Same time, same place.”
To help build community, clubs should resolve to define and strengthen their niche offerings, look for opportunities to bring their members together (like through group training and classes), and open up lines of communication that members can use to connect with each other and the club even when they’re not physically there (mobile club apps are a great way to do this).
2. The Rise of 360-Degrees Fitness Experiences
Like community, the shift in the fitness industry toward a more comprehensive and holistic experience is one that has been around for a while, but it’s only now shifted from a “nice to have” to a “must-have” for clubs.
Today’s members want to do so much more than just workout. They want to take control of their nutrition, lower their blood pressure, find their “center,” alleviate stress, and ultimately live their happiest and healthiest lives. That takes more than just a shiny new rack of dumbbells or an extra yoga class on the schedule.
Clubs need to look for ways to introduce comprehensive services into their business model that broaden the fitness experience, and give clients a new and wider lease on their health and wellness. Online training that includes fitness, nutrition, habit and lifestyle coaching is a great place to start, and one that is both easy for clubs to implement and convenient to club members.
3. The New Healthcare Connection
Finally, building on that shift toward comprehensive and lifestyle-focused experiences, the fitness industry is starting to grow stronger ties with the world of healthcare.
While the two have always worked in parallel — with fitness clubs helping members manage health concerns, and healthcare practitioners adamantly praising the benefits of an active lifestyle — they have existed as 100% separate entities. But in the last few years, the lines between the two arenas have blurred and a deeper connection has been forged.
Today, we’re starting to see new partnerships emerge between healthcare organizations, technology companies and fitness professionals — all collaborating to optimize the services available to club members and help address the health challenges and concerns at the forefront of our modern society.
As research continues to support the positive links between exercise and nutrition and the treatment of a plethora of diseases and ailments, it’s near certain that these partnerships will only grow stronger and give rise to new, more medically-minded members. Clubs will see an opportunity to cater to and support these members by collaborating with healthcare professionals and developing more niche offerings.
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