Is there an industry more chock full of fads, trends, and other shiny things than in the fitness industry? Every day it seems like a new craze is taking over some metropolitan area, leaving us on the outside feeling like we are about to be light years behind the curve.
But there is an important distinction to make between a fad and a trend. A fad often fades quickly once the novelty has faded. Think of pet rocks from the 1970’s. Whereas, a trend is a fad all grown up—an evolution into a long-term change.
One need not look far to find fads in fitness. Men’s Health published a great article on the top 25 fitness fads of all time, which included one-hit-wonders like ThighMaster, Tae Bo, 8-minute abs, and everyone’s favorite, the Shake-Weight (over 2 million units sold for $40 million in sales – who’s laughing now?).
If you are a club that values cutting edge (versus bleeding edge) innovation, then you’ll want to keep a close eye on the trends. Current trends include:
Home memberships (e.g., Peloton and Fitness OnDemand)
Boutique/premium services (e.g., Barry’s Bootcamp and Wanderlust Yoga)
Wearable technology (e.g., the Apple Watch and the Fitbit)
A word of caution if you hope to leverage a trend by creating a knock-off. Private clubs have a brand to protect, and creating second hand versions of a trend (X-Fit instead of CrossFit, Orange Fury to capitalize on Orangetheory) can do more harm than good. Fitness consumers today are savvy, and that includes your members. Their fitness palates have matured, and they can spot low quality copy cats quickly—and ding your brand for it. If you are going to hop onto the trend-train, then work hard to make it your own. A private club in Denver, CO did just that with the launch of its mobile exercise app.
Mobile exercise apps first arrived on the American College of Sports Medicine’s Worldwide Trend Report in 2016. And if you visit the big fitness trade shows (e.g., IHRSA or Club Industry) then you know that the digitization of fitness is fully engaged and here to stay.
“The problem,” states Scott Poston, President of 1000 Hills Fitness, “is that all of the digital solutions on the market pull users back to the mother ship—the equipment vendor or service provider that developed the app. The mobile experience feels like an elaborate courting process.” Poston continues, “Private clubs have spent decades, and many times a century, developing their brand. To walk away from that in order to catch a trend while it’s hot is just not good brand stewardship.”
A Mobile Solution That's All About You
The app features workouts by the club’s fitness pros, challenges (e.g., the 6 Pack Challenge that provides a core exercise assignment every day of the month), a Fit Feed that promotes programs and services in the fitness department, and more (Nutrition, Pro Files, and Premium Programs).