Anytime Fitness

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Lifestyle Brands

Examples of brands that transitioned from a focus on one specific area of fitness or wellness to one that positions itself as a lifestyle brand are Equinox and Taco Bell.


  • Equinox was founded in 1991 and used to focus on exclusively gyms.
  • They were one of the best-known gym chains in the US before the company transitioned into becoming more than just a gym and became a lifestyle brand.
  • The company first signaled its intent to move from just a gym/fitness brand to a lifestyle brand in an ad tagged "It's not fitness. It's life" that debuted in 2004. But it wasn't until 2012 that the company began aggressively pushing through its new image as a lifestyle brand.
  • Christopher Norton, CEO of Equinox Hotels, stated that one of the reasons the brand moved from being just a gym to a fitness brand is because people's attitude evolved from "going to the gym because they had to" to going to "the gym because they want to."
  • The company notes that they decided to transition because they started noticing "a convergence of fitness, wellness, and beauty."
  • Equinox now offers yoga, spa, beauty, outdoor pools, travel, and hotels.
  • The move has been widely successful and has turned Equinox into a well-known global brand. The opening of the first-ever Equinox hotel is a testament to the success of the transition to a lifestyle brand.
  • Since it started transitioning in 2004, the number of people participating in its running event grew by an average of 9% annually between 2005 and 2015.

Taco Bell

  • Taco Bell was founded in 1962 as a fast-food brand and grew to become one of the biggest restaurant chains in the US. Despite being a fast-food chain, the company emphasized wellness and had a health program as early as 1991.
  • Between 2013 and 2016, Taco Bell pursued an aggressive rebrand that turned it from just a popular fast food brand into a lifestyle brand.
  • According to the Deborah Brand, Taco Bell's Vice President of Development and Design, what prompted the change was a realization that "people want to relate to your brand in a more authentic and holistic way versus just 'you sell tacos.' They want to move from a transactional relationship to actually engaging in a relationship with you."
  • In line with his new lifestyle brand positioning, the company made irreverence "the core of Taco Bell's identity and the thing that separates it from other quick-service restaurants."
  • Since its push into becoming a lifestyle brand, Taco Bell has launched a boutique hotel, and now also offers beauty products such as Taco Bell-inspired hairstyle and nail art. They also now offer merchandise and wedding services
  • Taco Bell's transition to a lifestyle brand helped transformed a company that was struggling after a lawsuit tarnished its image in 2011 to a company that now has a cult following.
  • When the company launched its mobile ordering platform, it became a top 20 paid app on the first day of launch, thanks to its cult following.
  • Taco Bell was a $10 billion enterprise in 2018, thanks to its transformation and the company said that it expects to be a $15 billion enterprise with up to 9,000 restaurants in the coming years.

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Gym / Personal Fitness Industry Trends

Trends in the gym or personal fitness space include wearable technology, group training, and high-intensity interval training(HIIT).

Wearable Technology and Fitness Apps

  • Wearable technology is one of the biggest trends in the personal fitness industry in recent years and the trend is expected to keep growing.
  • A study on trends in the fitness space noted that wearable technology is the number one trend in 2020 and has been the number one trend since 2016 (except in 2018 when it was number three).
  • A key factor driving the trend is that "tech advances have made it easier than ever for users to collect important health metrics and work with fitness professionals and health care providers to improve exercise efficiency, develop healthy lifestyles, manage chronic diseases and, ultimately, increase quality of life."
  • Companies driving the wearable technology trend include Fitbit, Apple (watch and app), and Samsung (gear, watch and fitness apps). Wearable technologies also include other tech products that consumers can wear to monitor or record fitness activities. These devices can usually track calories, walking time, heart rate, blood pressure, BMI, among others.
  • According to Forbes, "the technology driving fitness now breaks down into three categories: performance improvement, experiencing the gym in new ways, and marketplaces. "

Group/Community Training

High-Intensity Interval Training

  • High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is another popular trend in the fitness industry.
  • High-Intensity Interval Training involves several bouts of intense exercise followed by a short rest.
  • The American College of Sports Medicine's annual survey of global fitness trends ranked it as the second-biggest trend in 2020.
  • A key factor driving the trend according to Science Focus is that "HIIT is highly adaptable for varying fitness levels and goals, which partly explains its popularity among everybody from elite athletes to cardiac rehab patients."
  • In addition, a US study published in Plos One found that "92% of participants found HIIT more enjoyable than moderate-intensity continuous exercise (MICT)."
  • Companies such as Precor, Fit House, and Club Fitness are at the forefront of the trend.

Research Strategy

Our research team relied on objective studies from credible organizations or those published in peer-review journals to select some top trends in the industry.
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Personal Fitness Journey Motivators

Some of the biggest motivators for people to start their personal fitness journey include improving their health, gaining positive feelings/enjoyment, socializing with friends, improving appearance, and building up strength and endurance.

Better Health

  • A 2018 study of American students revealed that the top motivator for people to start their personal fitness is to remain healthy (3.42).
  • This is in line with earlier studies that ranked positive health as the number one motivator for Americans to exercise.

Positive Feelings

  • The 2018 study of American students revealed that the second most important motivating factor for those who exercise is "to gain the positive feeling that comes from exercise (3.22)."
  • Previous studies of American subjects ranked enjoyment as the 9th most important factor for personal exercise and the second most important when participating in a sport.

Socializing with Friends

  • The 2018 study revealed that the third most important factor for people to start their fitness journey is to "join with friends who exercised (2.99)."
  • Similar factors such as social recognition and affiliation were ranked 12th and 13th most important factors respectively in a previous study of American subjects in 2005.

Improving Appearance

  • A study of Americans in 2015 identified the need to improve appearance as a key exercise motivating factor for Americans.
  • An older study of Americans motivating factors published in 2005 also found that appearance was the third most important motivating factor for both male and female Americans.

Strength and Endurance

Research Strategy

Our research team focused on selecting motivators that were based on studies of subjects in the US. In each case we prioritized the most recent study available and corroborated the information with older studies were available. We only used studies that were published in peer-reviewed journals to ensure that the data and analysis were credible and reliable.

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Life Coaches / Personal Trainers

The role of a life coach or personal trainer in the typical person’s personal health journey includes creating a personalized health and fitness plan, accountability and motivation to help the person achieve his/her fitness goal, and minimizing the intimidation a person feels about going to the gym.

Role of A Life Coach or Personal Trainer

Creating Personalized Healthy Habit and Fitness Plan

Achieve Fitness Goal Through Accountability

  • About 69% of Americans surveyed stated that the only thing that would help them get in shape is a personal trainer but the price is an issue. This is likely because a personal trainer would make them more accountable and motivated to be consistent with their fitness plan.
  • Seventy-six percent of respondents said that they wished the personal trainers were more affordable as it would help them achieve their fitness goal.

Managing Intimidation


From Part 01