Fitness Trends: Trend Report for 2011

ECA World Fitness has conducted it’s own market research and trend report for this coming year.

There will be an increase of national chains and local small studios:

Large chain fitness clubs are multiplying and small studios are also on the rise demonstrating strong success in key markets throughout the United States. Small studio success is in response to an educated consumer looking for a more personal, specialized experience. The club and its participant has a stronger sense of community and the instructor is superior in his/her skill set for that particular studio’s specialty. New York City and some nationally based studios: Soul Cycle, Physique 57, Exhale, Yoga Works, Cross Fit, YAS, Summer Kicks are just a few success stories.

Nurturing classes that work on your body and soul are gathering steam:

IntenSati is currently leading the way to remind its class participants that there is more to us than just a perfect body. Healing your mind and making you feel powerful with positive affirmations, chants and meditations are all part of the workout. BodyART™ Training is another example within the trend. BodyART™ expands the idea to include classes featuring strength, stretch, and deep work, all incorporating physical therapy techniques along with modifications of yoga, pilates and dance. Right now, BodyART™ Training can be seen at Crunch in New York City. Look for more classes in the future to incorporate this type of workout.

The trend of creating classes based on the Ballet Barre is continuing and expanding.

One program titled Barre3, created by Sadie Lincoln, combines yoga, Pilates and barre work. Tanya Becker and Jennifer Vaughn Maanavi are the talented and über successful team that brought another program, Physique 57, to national prominence. Other programs include the Nilani Method and the BARRE Method.  Many of these programs can trace their roots back to Fred DeVito and Elisabeth Halfpapp of Exhale Spa.  They were teacher trainers back in the Lotte Berk days, where these trends originated.

Pay rates remain flat:

While fitness clubs and studios are holding their own, group fitness instructors and personal trainers have not seen pay increases or jumps in their client business. Personal training has flat lined with fewer new clients, and regular clients are opting out due to financial hardships. Only the best and the brightest are seeing increases.

Increase in small group trainings:

In response to a downturn in one-on-one training, small group training has picked up. This is an overt effort to generate business, and small group training helps members struggling economically to maintain their fitness regime while keeping costs down.

Group fitness instructors aging:

The majority of group fitness instructors are aging and with the exception of Spinning® and Zumba®, there are fewer instructors entering the fitness industry. Gone are the days when group fitness instructors taught a variety of modalities. Instructors now master one modality and do not teach any others.

Top FIVE popular classes:

1.  Body conditioning is still king! There is no prerequisite skill set or difficult choreography with body conditioning. There are also an infinite variety of programs within conditioning that makes it very appealing to its’ audience. New equipment and new twists on familiar programs is keeping this old favorite fresh. Included are; suspension training, ropes, ViPR, TRX, BOSU, balls.  There are new twists on familiar programs like Barre classes, BodyART™ training, fusion classes that mix modalities and contribute to keeping body conditioning first.

2.  Indoor cycling: Just like conditioning, “almost” everyone knows how to ride a bike! This is an excellent cardiovascular workout that provides an endorphin rush. Indoor cycling can accommodate a variety of fitness levels in a single class allowing participants to work at their own pace while still being part of the group.

3.  Yoga is still gaining followers: Yoga can be found in most large fitness clubs, the YMCA, independent small studios and adult continuing education programs. Yoga has great general appeal because there are many yoga styles available; including restorative, bikram, vinyasa, kundalini, chanting, mystical and spiritual or not; there is a form to fit each individual preference. Like spinning, yoga allows everyone in the class a chance to work at their own pace while still remaining within the group.

4.   Zumba! – need I say more?! Although it looks like an overnight success, Zumba has been around for over 10 years. It has reached mass appeal and is experiencing an unprecedented growth period. Zumba is a non-threatening all-inclusive joyful experience that anyone can do, at any skill set and whether you can dance or not. And who can resist that! Hopefully, it will lead to other forms of dance and the industry can take heed and bring those new dance forms into their fold.

5. Pilates: Again, everyone can do it and teacher training is extensive enough to produce very competent instructors who can offer modifications, regressions and progressions so everyone can feel successful.

All five of the workouts provide an opportunity for a variety of populations to work out together, and perhaps that is the biggest advantage of all.

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