As daylight grows longer, temperatures rise and beach season approaches a renewed round of personal resolutions abound, most directed toward improving our personal fitness and resolve to live a healthier lifestyle. Each year at this time Americans declare renewed aspirations to live healthier, drink and eat more sensibly and exorcize more frequently. The saying goes that, old habits die hard, but the reality is that most Americans are just as committed as ever to getting better fit and more healthy than ever before. For the health and fitness industry all the good intentions offer lucrative opportunities for all who provide product and services geared to facilitating good intentions into reality.
Fitness trends come and go each year, but one trend that is revolutionizing the fitness industry is wearable technology. The newest industry segment, connected fitness, is a vast array of electronic wearables which incorporate all those computer resident apps that help record, measure and track our fitness progress. The segment which continues to evolve is now a $14 billion dollar industry that has grown 63 percent in the past year, 87 percent faster than any other app category.
Whether a wrist band or an entire full body suit, wearable technology is fast becoming the must have apparel for any workout and is transforming how consumers “work out”. While some devises work in conjunction with our smart phone the newest technology will be worn around the wrist, be plugged in the ear or embedded in our clothing; silently tracking, monitoring and measuring our progress, giving advice and encouragement when needed. A study conducted by ABI Research projects a market of about 285 million wearables by 2017, with many analysts suggesting that by 2020 there will be 50 billion connected smart devises worn on the body or carried separately.
Apple has recently opened a period for preorders of its long awaited “Apple Watch”, the first new Apple product introduction in five years. Initial response from consumers is leading company officials and industry market watchers to predict initial sales to be 15 to 20 million units. With the popularity of wearables secured well into the future, the traditional, “no pain, no Gain” fitness and healthy diet segment of the industry is well advised to incorporate and adopt wearable technology into their regimes and marketing strategy.
After two decades of running health clubs in South Florida, Rick Berks realized that most of his clients visited his club to just work out and modified his marketing approach to capture those consumers who were focused on making progress to a healthier life-style. Berks has parlayed his no-frills, “No Lunk’s”, low cost concept into 900 Planet Fitness Centers nationally. Through their association with NBC’s Biggest Loser Program, Planet Fitness is establishing its brand as the leader in low cost fitness and health. They offer their clients a variety of benefits including a hassle-free environment called the Judgement Free Zone®, brand name cardio and strength equipment, fully equipped locker rooms, flat screen televisions and unlimited small group fitness instruction by certified trainers. To promote their innovative approach, they became the official sponsor of the Times Square’s New Year’s Eve celebration. The brand was also featured on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2015.”
Gold’s Gym continues to be recognized as one of the most experienced authorities on fitness. In 1965 Joe Gold drew on his California “Muscle Beach” knowledge and expertise and opened up the first Gold’s Gym. Today Gold’s Gym is among the most recognized name in fitness and serves more than 3 million members in 38 states and 22 countries around the world in 700 facilities. This year the company is celebrating its 50th anniversary with its “A Legacy of Strength” promotion and its mission statement “We’re here to help you Know Your Own Strength®.
A recent study conducted by researchers at John Hopkins University has revealed that over $2.5 billion a year is spent on weight loss programs each year and recently reported, in an issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, that Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig are the best options if one is considering a diet and weight loss program. While other weight loss programs may be effective as well, Kimberly Gudzune, an assistant professor of medicine and a weight-loss specialist at the School of Medicine in John Hopkins, says “Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig are the two programs that have the evidence to support that they help people lose weight and keep it off.” Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers pursue and aggressive campaign to leverage their reputations by featuring the success of celebrities and former sports stars. Post-holiday and pre-beach season times are prime time for promoting the vanities of personal appearance.
CrossFit is quickly becoming a trend in serious fitness and physical training. Recognized as a non-traditional approach, the Program is featured at independent fitness and exorcize clubs where the focus is on high-intensity exercises and varied programs of “Workouts of the Day “(WOD) to produce personal results. It is competition-based program and creates a unique and different experience than that offered by the traditional gyms and fitness centers. Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai, CrossFit founders, promote a philosophy of physical work outs and competitive fitness sports which incorporates elements from high-intensity interval training, Olympic weightlifting, plyometrics, powerlifting, gymnastics, girevoy sport, calisthenics, strongman, and other exercises. Currently affiliated with over 10,000 fitness centers and gyms internationally, it is the principal strength and conditioning program for many police academies and tactical operations teams, military special operations units, champion martial artists, and hundreds of other elite and professional athletes worldwide.
Regardless of the wellness path, consumers are overwhelming interested in leading healthier and more fit life-styles. The vast majority of consumers say they take personal responsibility for their health and nutrition. But there is often a disconnect between our annual resolutions and the ultimate progress towards delivering on their promise. Only one in eight people who make New Year’s resolutions actually end up following through on their resolutions for the full year. The CEO of Retro Fitness says, “It’s something new that you want to achieve. Then as time goes on, life happens – schedules become busy and resolutions are completely forgotten”. Few yearly revilers follow through on their promises past the month of March.
According to the annual surveys conducted by the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), there has been a significant increase in the number of health clubs, gyms, and other fitness centers with memberships increasing to 50.2 million and the number of personal trainers rising 44 percent over the past few years, leading many to predict a healthy and fit future for the health and fitness industry. Clearly when it comes to making good on a promise, if you don’t first prevail, try and try again.
Where are you in delivering on the promise of your fit and fitter resolution?