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Column Group X Programming

Experiences: The Top Programming Trend of 2020

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fitness trend

Saying “goodbye” to another decade and “hello” to another year has everyone asking the million-dollar question: What are the top group fitness trends for 2020?

We can easily access many different versions of the same answer to this question with a quick content search on any social platform. But seriously, what are the up-and-coming trends for 2020, what is on its way out, and what is here to stay?

There’s a bit of irony attached to those of us in the industry looking for the answer to this million-dollar question, as one can easily argue, it is we, who are setting the pace for these trends. Either way, there are some obvious similarities. It’s as simple as this: People want the convenience of easy accessibility to a fitness community that provides a top-quality experience aligned with their values, where they feel like they belong, where they can have fun doing something they like or love, having confidence and faith in the program and trainer that they will see results and meet their personal goals.

Simple, right? Sort of. Technology has forever required that we level up our game. Add boutiques to that equation, and it’s on. Anyone out there doing it right is providing what I mention above.

What sets us all apart is the level of the experience we provide. This, in and of itself, is the trend. People are seeking a certain level of experience and the options available to them make it that much more important we are providing the best experience of all.

Make no mistake, wearables are here to stay. People want real-time access to personalized data, whether it’s to track and improve performance, plan recovery, stay connected to a community or even compete with friends. Not only are wearables becoming more and more accessible to them, soon they will be a standard expectation for all things fitness.

As for what exact programs are hot? I would argue, if it’s still relevant today, it’s here to stay. If anything, a continued trend would be HIIT and mixed modality programming, simple enough for everyone, with enough variety to meet the basic needs of the masses. But I wouldn’t go as far as to say that something else is out. It truly depends on the demographic and what they love to do.

I don’t foresee we will have any more time in 2020, meaning less truly might be more. Blended workouts that are shorter and results driven will continue to thrive, whereas the “all you can eat” buffet-style class schedule may actually intimidate your population and attribute to lower attendance overall.

At the same time, if your club’s trends are cycle, dance and strength, there’s your answer. Give them what they want, and ensure it is the best experience possible.

Results are a deal breaker. They need to trust that the program or class will result in a successful outcome. On a granular level, that requires the program to be rock solid and the instructor or coach is the best of the best and can get them where they want to be. With accessibility through technology to some of the best instructors and coaches in the world, this means live programming has to exceed expectations with every experience. Otherwise, why even take their class? For that matter, why even leave the house?

Speaking of that, in-club virtual workouts will continue to gain traction in our clubs. Whether it’s tapping into our Wi-Fi and using our studios in off-peak times or leveraging Les Mills On Demand or Wexer to increase class accessibility, virtual classes will continue to take a seat at the table.

However, community and inclusivity will continue to thrive. People want to feel like they are a part of something. This has always been the root of what we do in group fitness. Now, more than ever it is critical we are continuing to build communities through group fitness and sustain the ones we have.

As operators, we have to do our part to not only recruit the best instructors, provide the best programming and ideal space for the experience, but we have to ensure we are cultivating the community from the ground up and all around them.

These are the deal breakers. Do our members feel like they have the convenience of easy accessibility to a fitness community that provides a top-quality experience aligned with their values, where they feel like they belong, where they can have fun doing something they like or love, having confidence and faith in the program and trainer that they will see results and meet their personal goals?

If any one part of that is missing, we put ourselves at risk to not be able to compete in the marketplace. The quality of the experience and the experience in and of itself — this is the trend of 2020.

Happy New Year everyone!

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Tara Gally

Tara Gally is a twin mom, regional Group X director for 24 Hour Fitness, and Les Mills national trainer and presenter. She can be reached at tgally@24hourfit.com.

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