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State of the Fitness Industry Report: Predictions for Q2 2022

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state of the fitness industry report

Club Solutions Magazine recently surveyed its advisory board on the industry’s top trends, biggest challenges and opportunities for clubs as we near the second quarter of 2022. The following is a state of the fitness industry report based on their insights.  

Top Trends

  • Recovery Offerings — Cryotherapy, IV, etc.
  • Medical Fitness Integration and Preventative Care
  • Wearable Integration/Data Tracking 
  • Outdoor Fitness
  • Mental and Holistic Health
  • Artificial Intelligence and Marketing Automation
  • Profit Centers Beyond Fitness
  • Functional Fitness
  • HR Trends
  • Nutrition Counseling
  • Facility Design

More and more clubs are taking a hard look at their recovery offerings, identifying if and how to add recovery offerings like cryotherapy, IV therapy and more, and how to create intentional recovery spaces. In fact, this was the No. 1 top trend in the survey. 

Regarding facility design, operators also indicated the importance of paying attention to your club’s look and feel to ensure an optimal and attractive customer experience. “Clubs should be thinking about more open space, a calming atmosphere, and places to gather and build community,” said Sue Boreskie, the CEO of Reh-Fit Centre.

However, whether it’s recovery, nutritional counseling or any of the other trends listed, operators expressed the importance of keeping a pulse on consumer sentiment and needs in your community.

“Coming out of the depths of the pandemic, it’s important to understand evolving consumer sentiment toward the fitness industry going forward,” said Scott Gillespie, the owner of Saco Sport & Fitness.

Ralph Rajs, the COO of Black Box VR, echoed this sentiment. “I think the big issue is how brick and mortar stay relevant in the consumers’ mind and from that, how clubs differentiate themselves across price categories,” he said. “Clubs have to give consumers a clear and compelling reason to join — i.e. it solves their problem, it’s where their people are, etc. Being general won’t get it done.”

Biggest Challenges

  • Staffing/Wages
  • Continued Industry Recovery
  • Disruption from Outside the Industry — Apps, etc.

Regarding the biggest challenges for the fitness industry, by and far the most frequent topic indicated in the survey was that surrounding staffing challenges and being able to pay for top-tier talent.

“Finding good staff and paying them while keeping a profit margin during recovery is a challenge,” said Mark Miller, the COO of Merritt Clubs.

In addition, operators highlighted the continued risk of disruption from outside the industry from companies such as Apple.

“Disruption from outside the industry is a challenge, including from fitness apps like Apple and Nike, and all the new personal training online apps popping up,” said Rajs. “These things will continue to chip away at membership if clubs don’t respond.”

Biggest Opportunities

  • Industry Positioning/Branding
  • Recovery Offerings
  • Disease Prevention/Lifestyle Management
  • Recapturing Members

Taking a sunny view, operators reported a number of opportunities for the fitness industry, including capitalizing on the recovery trend — cryotherapy, etc. — and marketing the disease prevention and lifestyle management aspects clubs provide to consumers.

According to Sheldon McBee, the executive director of Universal Athletic Club, they are seeing a surge in popularity in recovery/renewal services. “Our members and prospects want to age better, feel better and proactively look after their health more holistically,” he said.

However, re-framing the gym experience is the biggest opportunity for gyms, said Sheldon. “Reposition gyms as not a place to sweat and work, but a place to improve the member’s overall version of themselves,” he said. “Behavior change, lifestyle coaching and motivation theory now moving up into the operational, sales and marketing world will hopefully tap deeper into a wider consumer base.”

Maria Gonzalez, the CEO of Club Fitness Greensboro, agreed. “Helping our members find a motivation to get back into exercise and feel comfortable restarting again is an opportunity,” she said. “I hear from members who have not returned how out of shape they’ve got since the pandemic began, and how bad they feel mentally and physically. They need us and we need them.”

What did you think of this state of the fitness industry report? Do you agree with the predictions for the second quarter of 2022? Email your thoughts to rachel@peakemedia.com.

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Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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