Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen a greater shake-up in the fitness business industry than in the last two decades. With gyms being forced to close and people being confined to their homes, the industry has been forced to adapt or die.
It has chosen to adapt.
The result has been that a slew of new and exciting fitness trends are now flooding the market. In this article, I’ll lift the lid on 10 of the biggest fitness trends of 2022.
#1: Hybrid Gym Memberships (Online and Physical)
During the lockdown, gyms were forced to move their workouts online. Many of them had never done it before and had to learn fast. Through trial and error, most of them developed a solid following.
80% of adults do not get enough exercise at the best of times. So these changes to daily life meant gyms had to adapt.
When gyms began to reopen, many members were reluctant to return. Why should they when they’d been getting great workouts in the comfort of their living rooms for the past 18 months?
Gyms have responded by offering hybrid memberships. You can attend the gym 3-4 times per week and join online classes the other days for a discounted price.
For the member, hybrid membership provides convenience and cost savings. For the gym, it frees up valuable floor space while maintaining cash flow. That’s a win-win for both parties.
#2: Low Impact Workouts At Gyms
The pandemic has forced many previously sedentary people to start taking their health seriously. That has led to a spurt in gym membership by newbie exercisers. To cater to the needs of these people, gyms are offering more low-impact workout options.
Newcomers are often intimidated by high-impact, high-energy workouts. Gyms have responded by offering very beginner-friendly group classes. These may involve recumbent bikes instead of spin bikes and resistance bands in place of dumbbells and kettlebells.
Gyms that cater to the needs of newbie members will be able to rebuild their post-pandemic membership faster.
#3: Outdoor Workouts Are More Popular
After having been confined to their homes during the lockdown, many people are now relishing the outdoors. The idea of working out in a building has lost a lot of appeal. As a result, outdoor workouts have become way more popular.
Outdoor fitness boot camps are trending right now. Groups of 8-10 are the most popular. Bootcamps that involve obstacle courses and military-style training are also filling up fast.
An extension of the desire for outdoor exercise is gyms that add an outdoor extension area. This can include a circuit that includes functional training gear such as weight sleds, battle ropes, and spin cycles.
#4: Gamification During Workouts
For more than a decade, there have been promising signs regarding the integration of gaming and fitness. But it’s only been in the last 12 months that real strides have been made.
People can now buy cardio equipment that fully immerses them in the gaming experience. Exercise becomes part of the game and, as a result, fitness becomes fun.
Leading the cardio equipment gamification field is Aviron. They produce a rowing machine that offers at least 12 fully animated interactive games, including ‘Balls of Madness’ and ‘Unleash the Kraken’.
Boring workouts are a thing of the past. Interactive cardio machines that offer short, intense workouts while immersing you in hi-tech gaming are set to explode over the next year.
#5: Reverse Running Is Becoming Normal
Twelve months ago, if you saw someone running backward, you may have had serious doubts about them.
But no longer – reverse running is quickly becoming mainstream.
The benefits of reverse running have been championed by many fitness influencers. Among them is Ben Patrick, the ‘Knees Over Toes Guy’. Ben claims that running backward improves muscular balance, burns more calories, increases leg speed, and allows you to train through an injury.
Monthly online search volumes for reverse running have gone up by more than 50% month over month this year.
#6: Home Gym’s Are Increasing and Improving
During the lockdowns, people were forced to find alternatives to the gym to stay in shape. As a result, the sales of home fitness equipment skyrocketed.
A lot of people, though, bought cheap, basic gear that would get them through until the gyms reopened. Many of them have now come to a different mindset. They have realized that they can get just as great a workout at home as they could be paying to go to a commercial gym.
What we’re seeing now is a trend toward setting up really good permanent home gyms. People are willing to invest more money to buy the best gear. They are also equipping their home gyms with a range of strength and cardio equipment to cover all of their fitness needs.
The biggest home gym sellers of 2022 are all-in-one home gyms and rowing machines.
Rowing machine workouts are trending as among the most popular for overall fitness. People are discovering that rowing offers the full-body training benefits that you don’t get with such lower body-centric equipment as the treadmill or elliptical.
Gyms are beginning to capitalize on the increased interest in rowing by providing rowing group classes that are similar to spin classes. Many gyms are also adding more rowing machines to the cardio area of the facility.
#7: Golf is Becoming Popular among the Youth
The fairways have been pretty quiet while we all combatted the pandemic. But, now, with the freedom to go where we please, golf is trending as a number one sporting choice.
Golf is becoming particularly popular among the younger demographic. Clubs are reporting significant increases in membership in the 20-35 age group.
A spin-off from the interest in golf as a hobby is that people are wanting golf-specific workouts. Gyms that cater to this need with resistance programs designed to improve a player’s swing and hitting power will do well.
#8: Personal Trainer’s Have Become Celebrities
Online fitness classes became huge in 2020 and 2021. As mentioned earlier, many gyms stumbled to find their feet in this space. But once they ironed out the kinks, they were able to build massive followings and huge loyalty.
Many trainers have become mini-celebrities in their gym community as a result of the energy and results they bring to their online classes. This has drawn new online members who come specifically to work with that trainer.
Gyms are picking up on this trend by marketing their online classes around their superstar trainers. Some are even getting into merchandising with coffee mugs and t-shirts featuring the trainer’s likeness.
#9: In-Home Personal Training
More and more people are opting for personalized in-home training than ever.
The convenience factor of working out at home was emphasized during the lockdowns.
During that time, there was a big spike in people requesting personal training. Of course, back then it could only be delivered through live online sessions.
Now, many people who used online personal training as a stop-gap during the pandemic are choosing to continue with a personal trainer rather than returning to the gym. And many of them prefer the trainer to come to them.
Just as with those going back to the gyms, a lot of personal training clients are following a hybrid model. They may have one session a week in person and a couple more online.
More experienced exercisers are often content to see their trainer once per month. The trainer checks their form and progress and provides them with needed updates and suggestions. The rest of the time they train at home by themselves.
A lot of people who have a personal trainer come to their home are building quite sophisticated home gyms. As a result, trainers are not having to bring as much equipment with them.
You can also rent fitness equipment to help with this.
#10: Greater Focus on Rest & Recovery
As people have become more educated about working out there has been a greater emphasis on fitness recovery. People are realizing that there are things they can do between their workouts to promote recovery, ease sore muscles, and prepare for the next workout.
Gyms are responding to this trend by offering active recovery zones. Members can use such recovery tools as foam rollers and massage guns to provide relief for their muscles.
Gyms are also providing more education to their members about the benefits of active recovery. This is seeing more people engaging in light recovery work on their gym off days. This may include walking, playing their favorite sport, or going for a leisurely bike ride.
The rise in the supplements industry is another factor in focusing on nutrition for recovery.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the gym industry to innovate, grow and improvise over the last 18 months. This has led directly to every one of the fitness trends that we’ve highlighted in this article. As a result, the fitness place is now more dynamic, inclusive, and accessible than it has ever been.
Is there a fitness trend that we’ve missed? Fill us in the comments below and let us know how you’re adapting to the new fitness environment.
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