As a fitness facility owner, you don't need to be told that the days of a gym being a building that houses free weights and a few treadmills are well and truly over. The coming fitness trends of 2021 will see your brand left behind if you're not offering remote services, incorporating mental wellness or getting the most out of the surge in FitTech.
As your members' expectations change with the 'new normal' and your business's offerings adapt, it's essential to have membership management software to keep up with all these changes.
In this article, we'll take a look at the fitness trends of 2021 that'll undoubtedly impact and shape your business' future.
All roads lead to FitTech
If you're no stranger to annual fitness trend lists like this one, it won't surprise you to see that 'FitTech' is yet again on yet another list.
And with over 67 million wrist wearables alone being shipped in 2020, it's easy to see why it's such a commonly addressed trend.
So if your facility hasn't already started to use fitness technology in the form of wearables and hardware, AI, business intelligence, curated content or personalized digital marketing, it should - and you're about to see how.
But take the FitTech fitness trend of 2021 with a train of two of salt.
What's all but certain is that nearly every other point on this list can encapsulate FitTech in some way, shape or form, whether it's mentioned or not. As a footnote, consider how modern fitness technology can be a part of all the following fitness trends of 2021.
Outdoor workouts, but consider the law
Sun, fresh air, and a little bit of nature - what better location to have a workout. In the chaos that was 2020, local open spaces with a bit of greenery quickly became the best place to do your workout, mostly due to facilities being closed due to social distancing rules.
Whether it be a simple Yoga class, HIIT session or strength and conditioning circuit, outdoor workouts are here to stay. They should become part of your facility's range of services.
Be sure to consult with local authorities before holding regular workouts at the local reserve. With some cities having several levels of governing bodies over open spaces, the potential to be fined (and upsetting the locals) is best avoided.
Redefine ‘digital content’
In 2021, digital content will continue to be live streams, blogs and Insta-stories. It will also grow to encompass custom-built fitness apps, integration with facilities, FitTech, and bespoke YouTube content. Don't be surprised to hear fitness entrepreneurs working with software houses more than clothing manufacturers in 2021.
With the uptake in at-home workouts, savvy gym owners can spread their name more by creating content, or even a dedicated mobile app. The at-home workout bonus is that your fitness brand's name is no longer constrained by geographic location and individuals who can walk through the doors.
The increased usage of FitTech over the last half-decade isn't going to slow any time soon. Gym owners who want to keep their customers' workout data in one place should find ways to integrate with FitTech hardware and use it to tailor content to their needs.
Mind and body training emerge as fitness trends
Facilities can offer a more comprehensive service by looking beyond the realm of being active as a stand-alone way to foster physical health. Yoga and pilates are common ways to bring the mind and body into the same 'workout' and consider how mindful meditation can complement an individual's physical health.
This 'fitness as a medicine' is a 2021 fitness trend that you'll see more often. It will explore the relationship between physical fitness and sleep, mental health, meditation, mindfulness and more.
Consider how concepts like thought journals, sleep trackers and wellness retreats can benefit your brand.
Remote personal training
We've all started to use the internet a little more over the last year, and fitness coaches, trainers and specialists are no different. RunRepeat found that only 15.18% of current gym members think a stand-alone gym membership without support is the best way to achieve their fitness goals.
Offering remote personal training or consultations with specialists in either a one-on-one or group setting helps your brand counteract this sentiment by being more than just a place to sweat.
Gyms can now offer members group classes for the extra motivation that we all need, or tailored meetings with trainers to fine-tune an at-home workout regime. The right gym management software can help you seamlessly automate these bookings, while the 'remote' aspect also means that you can cooperate with other specialists and bring their services into your offering.
"Instead of having to go to different places for your fitness, health, and wellness needs, you'll be seeing more trainers, dietitians, physical therapists, and doctors working together under the same roof," says Eric Rakofsky, director of fitness at The Well NYC.
Partner up with local sports rehab clinics, podiatrists or even general practitioners to expand your digital offerings to your clientele.
Unsurprisingly, home fitness is one of the biggest fitness trends of 2021.
The fitness industry's ongoing transformation has seen influencers launching clothing lines and small-scale apps and digital programs. This not only enabled more at-home workouts but created the consumer/influencer connection.
At the other end of the scale, startups like Tonal and MIRROR combine digital content with physical equipment and present it as a stand-alone product to further erode a consumer's need for a physical gym.
So it's clear to see that the at-home workout is here to stay.
While sceptical gym owners may dismiss the at-home workout's longevity, it does present an opportunity for physical venues. A simple at-home workout app or regular live stream with your business's branding can incentivize your members to stay active in uncertain times, while simultaneously creating a new marketing channel to engage and create bonds with the customer.
Protip: Consider the physical limitations of a home workout, like being unable to jump, no access to weights or having to be quiet, and tailor your technology (and workouts) accordingly.
For those gyms that are reopened and operating at a somewhat normal capacity, tech-laden fitness equipment is a fitness trend of 2021 that we're bound to see more. Tech-based fitness equipment will become a potent way to show your members that you're dedicated to giving them the best possible equipment, and that there's no better place for them to work out.
With the rise of wearables, gym-goers now expect to track their heart rate accurately, calories burned and gate while using the equipment. What's more, they want to be able to sync it to their personal device. Gym owners can benefit by collecting this data to measure club and client performance over a variety of interactions.
An opportunity presents itself here to gather that data with a member's card, key fob or other wearables, and monitor their overall progress toward their goals. The overall benefit here is being able to cater to a member's individual needs and ultimately increase member retention.
Extra hygiene standards
72% of surveyed gym patrons say that the presence of hand sanitizer dispensers and wipes would make them feel more comfortable going back to the gym. Another 57% said temperature checks could also help them feel safe.
It seems that restrictions differ almost from street to street. While some facilities are operating with capped numbers, it's business as usual for others. What can't be argued though is that the hygiene standards that patrons expect from gyms, regardless of restrictions, has increased.
We’re now all aware of how simple the common cold can spread from one unsuspecting individual to another. Gyms that offer communal equipment, shared bathrooms, and close-quarter activities now have to cater to everyone being an aforementioned 'clean freak'. A simple wipe down of the bench press with a sweaty towel doesn't suffice.
Solve this problem by having hand sanitiser in high-traffic areas of your gym, and changerooms. Signage can help remind gym goers to wash their hands, and clean any equipment they’ve used.
A strict and regular cleaning schedule ensures that equipment is cleaned regularly, rather than when an employee sees it used last.
Remember that hygiene goes beyond the most trafficked areas, too. Your staff are also at risk. Front desks, check in counters, staff rooms and turnstiles all need to be cleaned regularly.
Over to you
2020 took a path that no one could have predicted at the start of the year, and your business undoubtedly took a hit as a result.
Use FitTech, a comprehensive range of services and the other aforementioned fitness trends of 2021 to ensure that 2021 isn't just about recovery for your gym, but also one of growth, entrepreneurship and prosperity.