The fitness industry evolves quickly, and it is not just operators but also trainers and all fitness professionals who need to stay ahead of trends to remain relevant to your audiences.
As the leading provider of innovative fitness and Wellness industry to all sectors – be it in clubs, leisure centres, rehabilitation centres, universities, hotels or homes – Technogym is uniquely placed to observe the fitness landscape, both across the industry as a whole but also within each and every fitness facility. These are our pick of the trends that have been gaining momentum in 2013, and which are set to transform the fitness space in 2014.
Larger functional fitness areas
Originally used in rehabilitation work, functional training has been quickly gaining popularity in the past couple of years as increasing numbers of people see the value of training to perform everyday activities well and being ‘fit for purpose’.
Its benefits include better joint mobility, flexibility, stability, and more efficient movement patterns. The versatility of functional training is also very attractive; your imagination is the limit when it comes to creating a functional workout.
Within the UK, we have observed an increasing amount of space being allocated to functional and free-movement training within gyms and fitness facilities. These are most commonly equipped with training accessories such as Technogym’s Arke – a full set of functional training apparatus such as water balls, Wellness balls and stability domes – kettlebells and mats to give users a variety of training options to suit their own preferences.
More small group training
Related to the trend of functional fitness is that of small group training. Often conducted in small clusters of 3-5 people, small group training is more affordable than personal training: by having to pay less for your trainer’s time, it makes trainers’ skills more accessible to a broader range of people. It is also more motivating than one-to-one sessions – by providing a fun, social atmosphere – and group training – by allowing for much more interaction between trainer and members.
For many people, the social aspect of small group training is what keeps them coming back for more. It also appeals strongly to the same demographics that prefer functional training; namely users, particularly women, who want to get fitter and stronger but do not like traditional gym-based cardiovascular and weight training.
Versatile and multi-use functional training frames, such as Omnia, are growing increasingly popular as settings for small group training as they offer infinite options for dynamic exercises that cater to different needs and goals – strength, stability, flexibility, coordination and speed, or simply just to have fun.
Smarter fitness machines and technology
With an estimated one billion smartphone users by 2015 and a constant influx of new lifestyle and informational apps, technology is quickly assimilating itself across all aspects of everyday life. This of course includes how they keep fit, stay healthy and track their personal progress.
The rise of the ‘quantified self’ – the widespread propensity of the public to measure themselves and all aspects of their lives in numbers – means that it is no longer viable for a trainer to simply give guidance within the gym. Increasingly, trainers are being called upon to be life, or lifestyle, coaches, giving advice not only on exercises but also on how to achieve nutritional, mental and emotional health.
This evolving role is something that technology can enable, and improve upon. Simply put, fitness technologies are making gyms "smarter” and facilitating a more intuitive member experience.
For example, Technogym’s mywellness cloud digital platform and free mobile app allow fitness professionals to track their end-users’ workout data and history seamlessly and automatically, inside and outside the gym via their gym machines, their smartphones or a PC. Advanced, interactive cardio consoles such as UNITY allow people to swipe and scroll through not only their assigned and personalized workout programme, they allow them to take part in community and individual fitness challenges, access their personal preferences and enjoy their favorite entertainment channels, all while working out.
Focus on the end-user
A greater emphasis on functional training; offering more options for exercising in small groups through functional frames; using smarter tools to personalize the member relationship – what these all have in common is ultimately a focus on what people want. Placing the everyday person at the heart of all operations will be the theme of the years ahead, and a discerning choice of technology, equipment and programming to suit end-users’ needs will allow for greater member engagement, motivation and loyalty in 2014.