Ah, December. The festive season, yes, but also a month when we have the year ahead laid out for us by trend-spotters and prediction-makers from across the fitness sector.
This year, though, we need hardly make our own forecasts, because the trends highlighted by the ACSM – in arguably the sector’s most recognised annual survey, now in its 14th year – couldn’t have been more focused on Physical Company’s areas of expertise had we written them ourselves.
Fitness is coming round to our way of thinking!
Rather than reinvent the wheel, we thought we’d therefore share our perspective on the ACSM trends closest to our own hearts.
Working backwards, in the hallowed fashion of musical top 20 countdowns, we’ll start with the first trend that really leaps out at us – #14, yoga. This has been a stalwart on trend lists for years, but if anything is gathering momentum. Where before, mind-body was seen as the women’s workout, now we’re seeing everyone from professional sports people to weight training men drawn to this discipline, quoting its ability to enhance their performance and protect their bodies from injury. And that’s before we even start on its role in helping us manage the stress of our increasingly pressured lives. As a gym operator, this is an increasingly important area of your offering to get right – and we’re here to help, with a collection that includes all the accessories you’ll need for a world-class yoga offering.
Then there’s #13, outdoor activities, that great, double-whammy, mental and physical health booster. The challenge: delivering a rounded workout in this environment. The solution: either permanent bootcamp areas, or else portable strength equipment that complements the cardio of going for a run or doing some boxing pad work. All of which we can help with, creating a bespoke solution whatever your outdoor training space.
Next up we have functional training – #12 on ACSM’s list. ‘Functional’ has been a buzzword for a number of years now, and for good reason. By working the body in all the forms and planes of movement it naturally has to use on a daily basis, this fun and inclusive form of training goes beyond simply getting you fit. It gets you fit for life. That’s true whatever your age, fitness level or exercise experience. All gyms need do is create a workout playground filled with an enticing array of top-quality training tools – and this is where we come in, designing, installing and kitting out some of the best functional spaces in the sector.
Incidentally, we’re going to group trend #17, circuit training, in with functional training. Because although there are all sorts of circuits out there, our absolute favourites are the free weight- and bodyweight-based circuits that adopt a functional, inclusive, ‘modifications for all’ approach. And free weights? Well, we like to think our range is unparalleled. Meanwhile, bodyweight training – which funnily enough comes in at trend #7 for ACSM – once again chimes with our product range. We’re talking rigs for pull-ups, monkey bar swings, hanging core crunches. But we’re also talking high quality flooring and mats that provide all the comfort you need for those extended periods on your knees, back, elbows, hands. For us, the flooring solutions you use are the foundations of your whole fitness space, and as important as the equipment you install.
Personal training at #5 is absolutely central to our whole mission as a company. Our philosophy is rooted in a belief that every client is as important as the next, so we pride ourselves on giving as much care and attention to our smaller customers – the self-employed personal trainers ordering the tools they need as a one-(wo)man band – as we do to our big corporate clients. Let’s hear it for the tribe of PTs the world over who are changing people’s lives one rep at a time.
Trend #4 is training with free weights – and yes, hear hear. Strength training has well and truly hit the mainstream: twice weekly workouts that train all the major muscle groups are now the official recommendation and we’re seeing more and more people get involved, from women who see strength training as a great way to tone up and lose weight, to older people who increasingly recognise the importance of staying strong for life. Within this, it’s interesting and absolutely spot on that, for the first time this year, ACSM has split ‘training with free weights’ out from a broader ‘strength training’ trend. And that it is this – free weights, our area of unrivalled expertise – that comes flying straight in as the #4 trend for the year.
We’d wholeheartedly agree with the ranking of group training at #3 too. Whether it’s studio-based or gym floor small group training, group exercise is the ultimate loyalty-booster: research by TRP and Dr Melvyn Hillsdon shows that customers who take part in a class just once a week are 20 per cent more likely to be loyal advocates of your facility than customers who attend three times a week just to work out in the gym. This is an area of your business that’s well worth investing in, from amazing instructors and programme innovations to an eye-catching variety of high-quality kit – and it’s an area in which Physical Company has long specialised.
And then trend #2, HIIT, isn’t a new entrant to the line-up, but as the boutique fitness sector continues to explode – with many studios focusing on HIIT, from F45 and Barry’s Bootcamp to a whole proliferation of boxing studio brands, like KOBOX – its position in the rankings remains unchallenged. And once again, the Physical portfolio hits the mark, embracing everything from boxing bags to Olympic weights, myriad free weights to the non-powered cardio equipment so favoured by HIIT workouts the world over. HIIT sessions often then incorporate the #1 trend - wearable technology, such as myzone. However you want to structure your HIIT workout, we’re here to help.
To find out more about how Physical Company could help your gym, studio or fitness space be truly on-trend for 2020 and beyond, please contact email@example.com / 01494 769222