After two years of on-again, off-again gym closures and a workout-from-home boom, we asked industry executives for their thoughts on the future of fitness.
In this Q&A, we spoke with [solidcore] CEO Bryan Myers about wellness beyond fitness, what makes a standout studio experience, and why digital is not a substitute for IRL.
Shuttered during the pandemic, gyms and studios are rebounding. How do they excel going forward?
Bryan Myers: Gyms and studios are rebounding by providing access to the experiences that are very challenging to replicate outside of the four walls, mainly:
- Offering unique workouts with specialized equipment/instruction
- Providing a strong sense of in-person connection and community
- Offering more accountability that produces better and more consistent results
I anticipate that gyms and studios will continue to lean on these differentiating factors to compete moving forward.
There’s a growing belief that omnichannel or hybrid fitness will thrive. What’s your take?
BM: The pandemic allowed all of us to reassess when and how we do everything—including exercise—with flexibility and adaptability moving to the forefront.
That said, I believe that the digital/hybrid experience will be additive to pre-pandemic behavior rather than a substitute for the traditional in-person workout.
Those moments when we otherwise may have skipped a workout because we worked late, it was rainy outside, or we were traveling are now moments when the hybrid opportunity will allow us to stay committed to our goals and fitness journey.
What trends will shape the future of fitness?
BM: Coming out of the pandemic, there are two major trends that will shape our industry, influenced by broader megatrends:
- A more holistic and comprehensive view of health or “wellness”
- Increasing focus on leveraging data to provide personalized experiences and results
In addition to physical fitness, our industry will become increasingly integrated with mental healthcare, nutrition, and recovery — all things that comprise overall wellness.
Traditionally, we have taken a one-size-fits-all approach to fitness. With the proliferation of data and AI technology, I anticipate that, as fitness operators, we will be able to provide more tailored recommendations for the individual — allowing them to more consistently and efficiently achieve and sustain the results that they work so hard to achieve.