(Editors’ Note: This is part one in a four-part series from SCW on trends in the fitness industry.)
Growing by at least 3 percent annually, the fitness industry is more popular now than ever. With each year, researchers and industry leaders are constantly improving, finding more efficient ways for people to get active and stay active.
Keeping up on industry trends is an important aspect of improving. SCW has put together findings of recent surveys in its SCW Trends in Fitness Series, and in this first article in a four-part series, we share the top five fitness trends based on surveys we conducted at SCW MANIA conventions of group fitness instructors, personal trainers, owners and managers at independent health clubs, recreation centers, YMCAs and boutique studios.
Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced fitness professional, the findings cited throughout this SCW Trends in Fitness Series will provide valuable insight into the hottest topics aimed to successfully train your clients and grow your business.
The top five most sought-after areas of fitness/wellness across the nation are:
- Functional Training
- Active Aging
- Strength Training
- Personal Training
Functional training is the top listed trend for 2020. It is an essential focus with fitness training and has gained so much clout because of its success preparing for life's essential movements and activities. This type of training includes strength, balance, coordination, power, range of motion and mobility and can be incorporated with a diverse range of programs reaching a diverse group of individuals. Owners, trainers and clients are all seeking the benefits of functional training that translate directly into everyday life.
Our second most valuable trend is active aging. Active aging has grown in importance, as our society is living longer. The growing number of baby boomers and longer lifespans of humans have resulted in a demand for fitness alternatives. People don’t want to just live longer but thrive longer and continue to enjoy the benefits life has to offer. Programming and training to facilitate these active agers doesn’t just apply for the 70-80-year-olds and older, but it begins when they are 30, 40 and 50 years old, since it is much easier to age well when you have mastered foundational movement. Exercise is seen as medicine, and fitness and health professionals are emphasizing prehab rather than rehab. This is a perfect outlook for the active agers which also leads to simple props being used to assist with programs. These “easier” props include chairs, softer foam rollers, more elastic and less resistant exercise tubing as well as an increase in aquatic exercise popularity.
Nutrition is our third most popular trend involved with our fitness programs. Although regular exercise is important, nutrition is vital, having the largest impact on our overall health. With research showing that 70 to 80 percent of a healthy lifestyle is related to diet, a food revolution has begun. People focus more than ever on what they are consuming and how it affects their well-being. Sub-trends and topic interests such as vegan diets, vegetarianism, low carb diets, fasting technologies and protein-rich diets are all growing. Fitness professionals are interested in how nutrition affects mood, hormones, sleep and performance. People are looking for answers and what’s right for them as instructors, trainers and athletes. Clubs have an enormous influence in this area, and it opens opportunities for them to partner with licensed and registered dietitians to provide the research-based public answers and programming for their clients.
Our fourth topic of interest is strength training. A focus since the early days of fitness, it has evolved greatly over the years. Building strength and muscle capacity is an essential aspect of every fitness and wellness program. Its popularity stems from the efficiency of the training and its benefits—increased sports performance, treatment and prevention of injuries, and of course alteration and often improved physical appearance. Programs such as high intensity interval training (HIIT) incorporate strength training by slipping it between bouts of cardio or flexibility offerings. Slow training uses machines or resistance equipment to work ever so slowly through various ranges of motion, and it is also key for older adults to maintain balance and quality of life. Even yoga has a focus on bodyweight training that improves strength. As you can see, this training can be used across the board for all types of clients.
Personal training is the fifth trend. Working out can be intimidating at times, Your clients may have goals but no idea how to achieve them. A personal trainer can help clients feel safer and more confident, fostering their perseverance to start and stick with a fitness program. Trainers also assist a client to overcome plateaus, allowing one to reach new heights on their fitness journey. A rise in personal training is a win-win for all parties involved—trainers help clients see greater results with one-on-one personalized instruction, while clubs and trainers find greater revenue sources when they incorporate it effectively. The best personal trainers will offer a plan, accountability, education and motivation. They will keep clients challenged and engaged to help see maximum results.
These are just the first five trends we found in our survey of the trainers, group exercise instructors, owners and managers who attended the SCW MANIA conventions. These fitness professionals have the deepest and most meaningful connection with the industry’s clients and members. SCW uses this valuable information to support the needs of the industry and predict future trends to be showcased at MANIA conferences, supported in our SCW certifications, featured in our SCW OnDemand video services and selected for our SCW CEC series. It is necessary for SCW to understand, appreciate and respond to the demands of trainers and instructors nationwide.
So many fitness pros work diligently to meet the needs of their clients by staying on top of the health and wellness trends. SCW Fitness Education has been here to lead the professional on their next fitness journey. So tell us: now that you know what is hot outside of your current workout, what’s next for you? And please watch for the next three installments of the SCW Trends in Fitness.
As a leader in the fitness industry, and one of the largest regional fitness convention businesses in the world, SCW Fitness Education goes above and beyond collecting detailed information from our network of fitness professionals. The results in this article are taken from almost 4,600 of our 8,500 fitness pros that attend one of our nine regionally based annual MANIA conventions. Our conferences are located throughout the United States (New York City, San Francisco, Orlando, Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Boston and Washington, DC). The breakdown of attendees is 85 percent group fitness instructors, 60 percent personal trainers and 35 percent club owners, directors and managers. As you can tell, our SCW MANIA convention attendees do more than just one job at fitness facilities.
This is the first time in the 34-year history of SCW that we have released this valuable and insightful research to the industry as a whole. By doing so, we hope to help the world become a healthier place by allowing the fitness industry to benefit from this valuable and detailed information. Give the client what they want. Give the public what they need.