On the latest Thought Leaders panel, industry experts discussed the rise of strength and functional fitness.
In the past three years the industry has broken down barriers and opened its arms to working together. This collaboration was on full display in the latest Thought Leaders panel.
Aaron Moore, the director of operations at VIDA Fitness & Aura Spa; JoAnna Masloski, the COO of Wellbridge; Joe Cirulli, the founder of Gainesville Health & Fitness; Karen M. Raisch-Siegel, the executive director of LifeWorks of Southwest General; and Scott Gillespie, the owner of Saco Sport & Fitness, sat down to answer the most pressing questions in the industry.
From coworking space in clubs to AI and the importance of staff to the most important technology for fitness businesses, the group covered a lot of ground. However, one topic stuck out — the rise of strength and functional fitness.
Masloski said they’re trying to make functional fitness a lower barrier in getting started at the clubs.
“Functional fitness is the way we move our bodies in general. If we can get more people into that then they will pursue healthier activities,” said Masloski. “I don’t think functional fitness is a craze. I definitely think it’s here to stay and I’m excited about it for all those aspects.”
Moore agreed that the offering isn’t going away. “People are more independent than they’ve ever been,” he said. “They want to do what they want to do when they do it whether it’s run a marathon or just the ability to pick up a grandchild. So as operators of these facilities, we need to understand our demographics and how functional fitness is going to play into it. It’s a scientific fact as long as we’re moving it’s not going anywhere.”
As far as demographics go, Gillespie said he has noticed the younger generation gravitating toward strength and functional fitness.
“We are overwhelmed with teenagers and 20-somethings, tripods and selfies,” said Gillespie. “They are all about bodybuilding and strength training. I’m encouraged by it because I do think it speaks well for the future of health of that population. I think this is a generation who is embracing strength training and fitness much more so than previous generations, or at least at an earlier age.”
While your facilities may be seeing an influx of people on your fitness floor, Cirulli warned not to make large renovations to accommodate.
“I hear more groups say, ‘We’re getting rid of our cardio to make room for strength.,’” said Cirulli. “Rudy Fabiano and I are the only two that have been saying, ‘I think you guys may be moving too fast.’ We have a lot of strength equipment, but we have a lot of cardio equipment also. Just like so many things because I’ve been doing this so long, I’ve seen all kinds of things occur over time, things change but not really — they change and come back again.”
If your facility is experiencing more people hitting the weights, Masloski offered sitting back and watching before acting.
“Stand in a corner of your club,” said Masloski. “Watch how members are moving, watch what they’re looking at and what considerations they have before they get on equipment. Just observe, and then survey them about their wants and needs.”
Watch the whole discussion, here.
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