Finally, we are approaching the end of this tumultuous year and can begin looking towards what 2021 has in store for the fitness industry. Companies still standing have made enormous shifts both in their business models as well onto the concept of fitness as a whole.
Even though COVID-19 shuttered gyms and studios globally for months on end, we saw an increase in the adoption of digital wellness and fitness solutions.
6 Digital Fitness Trends That Will Last After COVID-19
From at-home fitness to streaming workouts, the health and fitness industry had to make big changes during 2020 in a relatively short amount of time.
With potential lockdowns looming once again, it is time to look at where the industry is headed to prepare and adapt your fitness business to the new normal.
Here we will discuss some of the new fitness trends for 2021 and beyond.
1. Remote Fitness Coaching
Remote and online fitness coaching has been a long time in the making, and COVID-19 has definitely spurred this burgeoning trend.
Gyms and trainers alike have been expanding their offerings to include online training not only to allow people to workout remotely but also to be able to reach an even greater audience.
Take, for example, Virtuagym’s remote coaching platform for personal trainers: a bespoke piece of software for professional personal trainers.
This powerful system is workable from any mobile phone or laptop and allows for less tedious administrative tasks, better coaching, automatization, and as a result, more sessions with better coaching.
It’s all the perks of personal training with the option to go remote when needed. We see this trend set to increase rapidly as we approach the inevitable boom in fitness interest as the new year’s resolutions come flooding in again.
Clients still receive motivation and support directly from their personal trainers, with customized workouts tailored to their goals and available equipment. They have the option to train at home or in the gym, and the trainer can see progress and coach clients in real-time.
Remote coaching will definitely continue after COVID-19 as clients can work with a coach from anywhere in the world. This enables most people to squeeze health and fitness conveniently into their lifestyle – and even add on other aspects of wellness into their programs (see holistic health, below).
2. On-Demand/Streaming Technologies
Remote fitness coaching certainly isn’t the only thing going online these days, as digital workout and training programs have made their mark as well.
People across the globe made the move to digital exercise to keep up with their health and fitness when gyms closed. And this most definitely looks to be a trend that won’t be going anywhere soon.
On-demand and streaming workouts provide professional coaching with the intensity of an in-person class. Clients have the benefit of a flexible alternative to scheduled on-site classes and the added convenience of performing it at home.
Many fitness applications have facilitated easy hybridization through integration with streaming services.
Notable platforms, such as Peloton and Mirror, have created an enormous awareness, brand recognition, and loyal followings by adapting to these digital fitness trends. Our very own PRO+ is a tool that does exactly this.
This first-of-its-kind turnkey online coaching and engagement solution is custom-made for gyms, clubs, or studio members to combine in-facility training with a complete digital workout service – and it’s all managed by Virtuagym.
Many fitness applications and streaming services also offer a sense of connectedness with people training alongside you from all over the world.
While this feeling certainly won’t replace the human interaction that the gym environment provides, it does its best to replicate that motivation and contact.
We foresee that the main trend going forward in 2021 will be to offer online classes and workouts for members to supplement their on-site club experience.
3. Holistic Health
The definition of fitness has been evolving for a long time now, and this year we will see more of the focus shift to full, overall mind-body health.
Holistic Health is a major trend currently growing in the fitness industry, and 2021 will see this trend expand even further.
As we continue to discover just how much fitness and well-being are interconnected, it is important to take a holistic approach to fitness – meaning physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
Clients will want programs that look at all of the main facets of health including fitness as well as nutrition, sleep hygiene, stress-relief, mindfulness, etc.
We created our own holistic wellness program, MINDVIBE , which focuses on total-body health, including the immune system, heart health, cardiovascular health, and more.
Why? Because consumers will come to expect that gyms and clubs also offer meditation, yoga and/or pilates, stretching, and nutrition counseling.
4. Enhanced Gamification
With the onslaught of fitness apps, streaming workouts, and even wearable tech (see below), these new technologies are engaging users not only through their intense workouts but also due to their added elements of live gamification.
Be it a point system, stat sharing (calories burned, maximum heart rate, etc), or some other type of gaming element, users can share these metrics and see them on a leaderboard, thus adding a characteristic of competition to a traditionally non-game task.
This aspect further engages the user to race and compete in challenges with each other - or themselves - to get the most out of their workout and also stoke a sense of confidence and completion.
Members can track their results in real-time as well as see improvements made over time. Expect this digital fitness trend to continue while streaming and on-demand workouts expand as well.
5. Outdoor Fitness
This one should be an unsurprising addition to our list as one of the direct results of COVID-19 lockdowns. Clients who needed to forego the gym but didn’t want to lose their fitness gains found a slew of fitness boot camps available to pick up the slack.
Workouts in local parks or beaches, running, cycling, and tackling hiking trails – the outdoor fitness trend has exploded. Even though the popularity of outdoor fitness in 2020 may have been borne out of necessity, outdoor workouts are here to stay .
This trend will continue even with gyms reopening as it poses not only a lower COVID-19 risk, but it is an exciting and effective way to stay fit, soak up some vitamin D, get out in the fresh air and stoke the novelty of a fitness routine.
6. Wearable Tech
Rounding out our list is a trend that’s at the top for years now: wearable fitness technology. The various fitness technology devices on the market today go far beyond the traditional smartwatches, pedometers, and calorie trackers.
They have now extended to vital sign monitors which can measure things like weight, blood pressure, blood glucose, heart rate, temperature, and even hydration levels.
Wearables can evaluate sleep, track stress levels, and evaluate data to make online workout classes more personal. You can see how in the COVID-19 era, this sort of tracking is more helpful than ever.
With the rise in digital fitness trends becoming the norm, we predict that wearable fitness technology will continue to grow in 2021. And wearable tech isn’t just about data for the client either, as technology adds value to your club as well.
The Year of Mixing, Matching, and Recovering
2021 will be about combining your online and offline (and outdoor!) resources to position your business for the future. Livestream classes and online workout videos are the perfect tools to engage with your fitness community.
And, if your physical location is closed, we encourage you to take this opportunity to build up your brand and promote your business on social media so that members will continue to feel connected.
The good news is that with your Virtuagym platform, you can adapt easily to these new trends to keep your members active and engaged.
Whether you need to close your gym doors once again or want to be able to offer a hybrid option to supplement in-person classes and workouts, Virtuagym software can help your business grow into online coaching and digital engagement to stay on top of and grow with these emerging trends.