Workout/Fitness Space in the US

Part
01
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Part
01

Workout/Fitness Space in the US - Trends

Seven trends in the workout/fitness space in the US are 1) connected fitness equipment, 2) gyms replacing stores, 3) on-demand exercise, 4) HITT, 5) yoga, 6) group training and 7) work and workout combination.

1. CONNECTED FITNESS EQUIPMENT

OVERVIEW
  • For years, the at-home fitness space was limited to treadmills or stationary bikes. Now, technology has been combined with classic exercise equipment to make it easier for people to work out.
  • This technology is called connected fitness equipment.
  • Connected fitness equipment used to be about fitness trackers and workout apps, but now it involves a combination of an exercise machine with a workout application, where the user can choose on-demand workouts or subscribe to classes with specific trainers.
  • These machines offer the opportunity to have high-level workout sessions from the comfort of the person's home.
FACTS
  • 54% of Americans who work out at gyms, are interested in acquiring the equipment to do it at home.
  • However, while many would like to do it, 34% of them say they don't have space at home for the connected fitness equipment, 24% said they couldn't afford them, and 11% said they prefer the gym environment.
  • Even with the increasing trend of connected fitness equipment, gym memberships in the US have increased by 10% in the last three years.
  • Peloton's retention rate was 96% in one year, and its average customer completed between nine and ten workouts each month.
  • Other brands, like FightCamp, believe that while this technology will impact the way people workout, it won't impact the sense of community, as the users of these platforms have shown a community engagement increase of 239% in the past year.
HOW COMPANIES ARE ADDRESSING IT
  • As technology continues to advance, gyms and exercise equipment manufacturers are forced to adopt digital technology to create a better experience for the users.
  • The variety of customizable technologies, interactive, and ergonomic options gives gyms and in-home users a lot of possibilities to innovate their space and build workout strategies according to their needs.
  • Some gyms are even going beyond with technologies like TRX MAPS, InBody devices, and Fit3D scanners that allow them to asses their clients with a better understanding of their needs.
  • In 2012, the company Peloton became a leader in the market by incorporating this technology and reinvented the concept of "home gym."
  • Some of Peloton's competitors are Hydrow, FightCamp, Mirror, Tonal, and Echelon.
  • Equinox has faced this threat by creating rooms of smart equipment called Precision Run. A tech-driven space dedicated to customers who want to work out with their own classes but can't afford to own this equipment.

2. GYMS ARE REPLACING STORES

OVERVIEW
  • As big-box stores, like Sears, are shutting down their mall locations, fitness providers like small budget gyms/studios and high-end gyms and health clubs are filling the space left by the retailers.
  • In the US, many retail brick-and-mortar stores of electronics, books, and apparel have been replaced by yoga, rowing, Pilates, boxing, barre, HIIT, and cycling studios.
FACTS
  • As indicated by the CoStar Group, since 2013, fitness centers and gyms have grown their square footage leased in malls by 70%.
HOW COMPANIES ARE ADDRESSING IT
  • Planet Fitness has taken advantage of this trend to help its brand grow and became the gym with more new square footage in US malls in 2017.
  • Other gym brands doing the same are Equinox’s Blink Fitness, Gold’s Gym, and Life Time.

3. ON-DEMAND EXERCISE

OVERVIEW
  • At-home or on-demand exercise is commonly known as the "Netflix of fitness."
  • This trend has become a threat for traditional gyms as more and more clients prefer to stay at home and use streaming services, tech-enabled exercise equipment, and voice-led workouts to exercise, instead of going to a gym class.
  • This trend is shifting the dynamic in the fitness space, forcing gyms to find new ways to use these technologies and attract clients.
FACTS
  • 82% of the gym's members exercise at home, explains the founder of Les Mills. Also, 63% use virtual apps and digital platforms to guide their workouts.
  • According to FitCloudConnect's CEO, Brad Weber, some advantages that fitness companies can get from joining this trend are the generation of new revenue streams, more control over customer retention, and the possibility to expand their brand.
HOW COMPANIES ARE ADDRESSING IT
  • Big fitness companies, like Gold's Gym, have taken measures to compete with this trend by developing their own on-demand platforms, where their gym members can follow the classes of their favorite instructors at any time, from their home or within the gym.
  • The New Evolution Ventures company also released their in-home on-demand workouts program named Crunch Live.
  • Also, to cover the increasing popularity of on-demand workouts, hotels and airports are integrating them as part of their offers.
  • Companies like ROAM Fitness and FlyFit Global have created workout spaces near airport securities with access to on-demand workouts for travelers.
  • Peloton is one of the leading brands in this industry, offering guests in Westin hotel the option to request their spin bike services with access to their workouts' catalog from their in-room gyms.

4. HIIT

OVERVIEW
  • HIIT is one of the favorite workout trends for its capacity to burn fat faster, lose weight, build strength, increase heart rate, and burn calories.
  • The most popular HIIT formula is based on short intervals of high-intensity exercise with shorter rest periods between them. It is especially popular in boutique fitness.
  • HIIT can also be combined with other workouts, like yoga and Pilates, and although it is a workout with high injury rates, is one of the most popular around the world.
FACTS
HOW COMPANIES ARE ADDRESSING IT
  • Gym and fitness studio owners, specially from yoga and Pilates studios, are incorporating some kind of HIIT hybrid class so their clients can have an option that is unique and that their competitors don't offer.
  • In the US, there are gyms dedicated to HIIT, like the Epic Interval Training Gym and HIIT 30.

5. YOGA

OVERVIEW
  • In the last decades, yoga has become increasingly popular in the world, incorporating variations for every preference, from traditional and spiritual practices to more physically demanding like hot yoga, power yoga, and restorative yoga.
FACTS
  • Yoga enthusiasts are willing to spend between $4 and $100 in a yoga experience.
  • The average US yoga fan spends around $28,800 in yoga classes, equipment, clothes, and workshops in a lifetime.
  • 47% of the people who practice yoga are more committed to maintaining their workout routine when they are part of a class or have a teacher motivating them.
  • In the US, 24% of the people who practice yoga follow videos or apps to practice, 67% practice at home, 43% on a gym, 38% on a yoga studio, 32% practice outdoors, 20% on yoga festivals, and 20% on special yoga events.
HOW COMPANIES ARE ADDRESSING IT
  • Some of the biggest gym corporations in the country have incorporated yoga classes to their catalogs, like Equinox and Xponential Fitness.
  • Gold's Gym has also jumped on the trend incorporating yoga classes at their locations and even providing yoga tips in their blog.

6. GROUP TRAINING

OVERVIEW
  • Group training involves a group of five or more people exercising together following a trainer.
  • It's become more become popular with the evolution of boutique fitness since it gives the trainee additional motivation, a sense of camaraderie, fun, a united challenge, and accountability.
  • Group training is a big trend in the industry, not only in the US but around the world, with gyms designing their workout spaces with rows of matching equipment positioned around or facing a single machine, where the instructor will lead the class.
  • Having a dedicated group training space is not only engaging, but gives the gym a branding opportunity through the use of exclusive, immersive atmosphere, and specialized equipment that would make it harder to replicate the experience elsewhere.
  • These classes give the consumers the feeling of being a part of something special and unique.
  • Group training can be adapted to all types of fitness needs to make it more effective.
  • Some examples of group training in boutique studios include HIIT classes, dance workouts, circuit weight training, strength and condition, and boxing/boxercise.
  • Group training allows trainers to welcome people from different fitness levels and create a community environment that motivates gym members to continue attending.
FACTS
  • Group fitness helps mental well-being by reducing stress and improving the emotional quality of life more than solo training.
  • However, not all group classes are performed using exercise equipment. Gyms have less equipment now than they did in the past, as consumers are focusing on creating a sense of community.
  • The popularity of group training is indicative that the market is moving away from solo training.
  • Additionally, thanks to the increase in HIIT workouts, other fitness classes are becoming shorter and dropping from one hour to 30-45 minutes sessions.
HOW COMPANIES ARE ADDRESSING IT
  • Some big brands using the row class model are Barry’s Bootcamp and SoulCycle.
  • As time becomes an intrinsic need, fitness companies have adapted to shorter class schedules, especially those located near offices. This change allows them to help their gym members balance their work and personal life while increasing the number of attendees.
  • Equinox, Orange Theory, and F45 are some fitness companies that have become leaders in group training.

7. WORK AND WORKOUT COMBINATION

OVERVIEW
  • As fitness becomes a crucial part of Americans' lives, and people spend more time focusing on their mental and physical health, employers are being forced to invest in the wellness and health of their workers.
  • One of the top trends this year is the combination of wellness programs with workspaces, either providing corporate fitness classes or locating the offices in co-working spaces inside a gym.
FACTS
  • People are increasingly spending more time on wellness activities than on clubs and bars.
  • Creating fitness programs for employees, not only increases the revenue stream of the gym but also benefits its conversion-rate as these attendees become members of the gym outside of their corporate classes.
  • In 2018, there was also an increase of 28% in the creation of US startup companies, and 43% of US employees worked remotely. 44% of US employees said they felt burned out for lack of a proper work/life balance.
  • Only 69% of employers offer wellness programs. Since not all startup companies can afford the cost of health and wellness benefits for their employees, they can take advantage of these co-working spaces inside the gym to offer this possibility.
  • This trend brings the potential of increasing the gym's revenue during hours when people are working, and the attendance is slacking.
  • There are more than 1.7 million people using co-working spaces in the world.
HOW COMPANIES ARE ADDRESSING IT
  • Some fitness companies have addressed this trend by partnering with businesses to offer their gym services at work, creating classes for the employees, or by building fitness studios near their offices.
  • Life Time and Equinox have combined both industries by creating co-working spaces, conference rooms, and small offices within their studios that smaller companies and startups can rent to give their employees a better work/life balance.
  • Flow Yoga Center has also taken advantage of this trend, opening its studio as a co-working space during the day.
  • Brooklyn Boulders and Soma Vida have also incorporated co-working spaces to their gym locations.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

To determine the trends in the workout/fitness space in the US, we began by searching official lists and reports through industry-specific sources like Health Magazine, Women's Health, Men's Health Magazine, Elle, and on reports created by known gym brands like Les Mills, Gold's Gym, and Equinox, among others. While we focused on US trends by searching through lists specific to the country, and in US magazines and websites, we noticed that most of them are applicable worldwide. Finally, we identified seven trends based on their repetition across different lists.
Part
02
of four
Part
02

Workout/Fitness Space in the US - Sticking to Fitness

Factors that lead to exercise adherence: enjoyment, self-efficacy, group workouts, executive function, accountability, mental makeup, and intrinsic motivation. Factors that lead to people quitting an exercise regime: hard workouts, inconvenient schedules, boring workouts, injury or pain, inability to find a balanced routine, exercising because of external motivations, inability to see short-term benefits of exercise, and lack of confidence in one's exercise ability.

WHY PEOPLE STICK TO A FITNESS ROUTINE

ENJOYMENT
  • A study found that obese individuals who enjoyed high-intensity functional training were more likely to stick to it and continue doing it after the study was over. The type of exercise an individual does is not as important as the regularity with which one does it. Simply crafting a better playlist or switching the exercise routine between the gym and outdoor are ways to make exercise more enjoyable.
SELF-EFFICACY
  • A study found that 50% of individuals who take up an exercise program quit within six months. Self-efficacy or "situation-specific self-confidence" is a differentiating factor between those who quit and those who stick to their fitness regime. "Intimidation and lack of knowledge about what to do in a gym" are common barriers to exercise.
GROUP WORKOUTS
  • Group workout programs where individuals support each other and where they get to witness the success someone has had with a program were found to be "keys to developing self-efficacy". If an individual has had success with a workout program previously, they are more likely to stick to the fitness routine.
  • Group exercise or working out in a pack improves "internal or external competitive performance". A study found that 95% of those who began a weight-loss program with their friends completed the program as against 76% of those who started the program alone. Those who started the program with their friends were also more likely to 42% more likely to continue staying in shape.
  • A research study found that individuals tend to adopt "exercise behaviors of those around them". Another study found that the more time overweight individuals spend with their fit friends, the fitter or leaner they get.
EXECUTIVE FUNCTION
  • Executive function is measured based on an individual's ability to "multi-task and to inhibit undesirable responses". It increased the self-efficacy and the chances that an individual will stick to a fitness routine. Goal setting, time management, and having a support base enable executive function.
  • Self-efficacy and executive function go hand in hand. While some individuals naturally have these qualities, they can also be built by understanding factors that lead to success in an exercise program and practicing self-regulatory tools and skills.
ACCOUNTABILITY
  • A study found that accountability is one of the factors that motivate people to stick to an exercise regime. Accountability can be established when individuals work out with friends or a coach. Just posting a workout pic on social media makes it more likely that a person will continue with the exercise regime.
MENTAL MAKEUP
  • According to Jennifer Carter, a sports psychologist at Ohio State University, adherence to exercise is a behavior, and psychology determines behavior. Even when other barriers like packed schedules, fatigue, and physical limitations, are factored in, ultimately "how people think about these barriers" determines how they deal with it. Those who stick to a routine find ways to tackle challenges.
INTRINSIC MOTIVATION
  • Those who are intrinsically motivated, and for whom the workout is an activity of pleasure, have a greater chance of sticking to a fitness regime. While working out simply for the joy is not always realistic, factors like being motivated to have more energy to play with one's kids lead to better adherence than a chiding spouse.

WHY PEOPLE CAN'T STICK TO A FITNESS ROUTINE

WORKOUTS ARE TOO HARD
  • People tend to overestimate their fitness levels while starting off an exercise regime. If someone hadn't worked out for several years and gained weight, they may start off with high-intensity exercises that their body isn't conditioned for, or they may do the same exercise regime they did a decade or two ago even though their bodies have now aged.
  • There is a tendency to force the body to conform to an established exercise routine, such as a routine for quick weight loss where one is required to exercise a certain number of hours on most days of the week. Owing to this, the body gets very little time to recover--the ability for the body to recover slows with age--which increases the risk of injury.
WORKOUT SCHEDULE DOESN'T FIT THE LIFESTYLE
  • When people don't have the time, energy, or conditioning to stick to exercise guidelines, such as an hour a day for weight loss, they tend to skip their workouts instead of exercising for a shorter duration.
WORKOUTS ARE BORING
  • People don't choose workout regimes that suit their personality. They may tend to choose the same exercise routine as their family and friends found success with or rave about and not experiment enough with different routines to find something enjoyable.
INJURY OR PAIN
  • Conditions like arthritis, lower back pain, soreness, headache keep individuals from working out from the fear of aggravating the injury or pain. While is it advised to not exercise through pain, there are times exercise helps with certain conditions. In other instances, individuals can alternate ways to keep moving, but often fail to do so.
INABILITY TO FIND A BALANCED ROUTINE
  • Individuals find it tough to find a workout routine that can balance their energy level, schedule, and body. When individuals are unable to stick to an exercise routine they did the previous week, they often tend to quit exercising altogether.
EXERCISING BECAUSE OF EXTERNAL MOTIVATIONS
  • External factors like a chiding spouse or earning points on a health plan usually only prompt short-term changes. Working out because of external motivations results in individuals building an unhealthy relationship with exercise and their bodies. A Journal of Health Psychology study found that women who are unhappy with their bodies are more likely to avoid exercise.
INABILITY TO SEE SHORT-TERM BENEFITS
  • Exercise brings rewards in the long-term as against other activities like going out with friends or watching TV which brings instant gratification. Those who quit an exercise regime are less likely to see the short-term positive effects of exercise, like how it helps them de-stress.
CONFIDENCE IN EXERCISE ABILITY
  • A Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise review found that confidence in one's ability to exercise is the "highest predictor of how little a person will work out". It is natural for people to be like things they are good at and not stick to things they don't enjoy.


Part
03
of four
Part
03

Workout/Fitness Space in the US - Peloton's Keys to Success

Since its foundation in 2012, investors have put $994 million into Peloton and the company has been valued at $4.15 billion. Peloton's keys to success include a community-based approach, creating five businesses in one, catering to customers where they're comfortable, delivering a different, more enduring experience, and keep innovating.

COMMUNITY-BASED APPROACH

  • Peloton listens to its members by using data to understand their behavior and using social media to learn "what works and what doesn't."
  • The company allows users to share their experiences through virtual classes, its online community, or IRL meetups. Peloton decided to bring the group-class experience into customer's homes, and create 'a virtual community'.
  • Peloton uses customer insights to make its decisions. Because Peloton has prioritized service over just providing a great product, the company did nearly $400 million in sales in 2017, doubling the previous year's number.
  • Users pay a $39 subscription because of its on-demand programming "that creates a communal and interactive experience."
  • Peloton asks its members for feedback to keep improving its product and experience. Peloton surveys its members and analyses information through email and social media.
  • Peloton has over 440,000 followers on Facebook, where users connect, post photos and updates on their workout plans. Among its community members are celebrities like Hugh Jackman, Usain Bolt, and Richard Branson (the founder of Virgin Group).

CREATING 5 BUSINESSES IN ONE

  • The company encompassed hardware, software, content and streaming media, e-commerce, and retail and logistics into one business. This special merger of businesses has created loyalty towards their product.
  • It can be said that Peloton is a media company, as it streams 40 hours of content each day, and it is also an "in-home concierge service", as it ships and installs customers' bikes.
  • Peloton is not simply an exercise program, but rather styles itself as a tech company. According to its co-founder, John Foley, "we see ourselves more akin to an Apple, a Tesla, or a Nest or a GoPro--where it's a consumer product that has a foundation of sexy hardware technology and sexy software technology."
  • The company "could also be compared to Amazon," because of how it controls every aspect of its members' workout, from designing and building the product, picking the instructors, and providing the background music. It also creates its own content and designs and builds the hardware and software of their products.
  • Peloton has the capacity to expand in any direction. For example, in 2018, the company acquired Neurotic Media, a music distributor, and in the same year, it opened a yoga studio in New York City to create yoga content for its users.

CATERING TO CUSTOMERS WHERE THEY'RE COMFORTABLE

  • Because consumers are used to receiving services "in the comfort of their own home", Peloton transforms customers' homes into the best place to work out.
  • Tom Cortese, co-founder of Peloton, thinks that the fitness industry is changing and compares it to Alexa or Netflix, as "subscriptions are on the rise and movie theater attendance is on the decline."
  • Arzon, one of Peloton's most popular instructors, states "So whether you’re getting a high-five from a fellow rider or you’re getting a shout-out on your first run ... there’s an intimacy there that doesn’t exist in most places, certainly not in a space where you’re interacting digitally, and instructors are kind of breaking that fourth wall and in people’s homes."
  • The benefit of taking a "top-notch studio cycling class" on a high-tech stationary bike at home, at any time, combined with great instructors and a supportive community, has created an audience that is willing to pay $1,995 for an exercise bike, not including the $250 delivery fee or the $39 monthly subscription to stream the classes.

DELIVERING A DIFFERENT, MORE ENDURING EXPERIENCE

  • The company wants to make its customers “want to want to work out.” This is one of the reasons it "has a one-year retention rate of 96%", which is rare for the industry, as many people abandon their gym memberships by the first months of the year.
  • People pay more attention to a company that addresses an unmet need. Diet and exercise products fail because they offer a quick fix, but Peloton aims for something bigger.
  • While many brands are paying people to promote their products on social media, Peloton's customers are the ones who are talking about their fitness habits, because the brand is "really is changing their lives."
  • According to Carolyn Tisch Blodgett, Peloton's SVP of Global Marketing, "Peloton members do a better job of selling than Peloton marketing."

KEEP INNOVATING

  • As Peloton is competing with new brands "for attention and customers", it continuously adapts to consumer behavior. For example, because many people are fond of on-demand classes, the company provides a feature that make these type of classes "feel like a live class".
  • Also, the company doesn't focus on what its competitors do, but rather focuses on providing the solutions to its customers needs through innovation.
  • As part of its innovations, Peloton recently released a new product, the Tread. The company did not settle with only a stationary bike, but instead launched another kind of fitness product to keep revolutionizing the industry.
  • Since its foundation in 2012, investors have put $994 million into Peloton and the company has been valued at $4.15 billion, after the 2018 funding round of $550 million.

Research strategy

In order to provide the requested information we looked into sources that provided reliable insights from Peloton's main executives, such as co-founders Tom Cortese and John Foley, as well as SVP of Global Marketing, Carolyn Tisch Blodgett, who delivered information on the secrets or main activities that the company does to grow and make their marketing plans, like basing most of their decisions on their community's feedback.
Part
04
of four
Part
04

Workout/Fitness Space in the US - Older Adult Trends

People 35-50-year-old are fun-loving people. They seek their fitness regime to be both beneficial and entertaining. They represent 33% of overall health club memberships. They are at forefronts of employing technology to aid them in their fitness goals.

Fitness Habits and Attitudes of 35-50-year-old

ATTITUDE TOWARDS FITNESS
  • People 35-50-year-old favor fitness regimes that consist of "doing things", rather than a coarse workout.
  • Balancing their work and family responsibilities provides them with very little time for themselves, which is why they prefer shorter exercise periods.
  • Due to a stable occupation and family, they tend to be long-time members in fitness and health clubs.
  • They like their workout routines to be equal parts entertainment and workout. They lean highly towards the idea of "fun" fitness.
  • While they need effective workout sessions, they don't want workout sessions that are too intense or stressful.
  • Due to their high income and health concerns, they are more likely to try out new fitness technology. They aren't intimidated by it.
HABITS AND BEHAVIORS

RESEARCH STRATEGY

For this research, we started with a general surface-level research. This informed us that there were not many insightful statistical sources around, which informed us about the fitness culture of 35-50-year-old people. We then went ahead and studied the generational structure of the United States' population. We learned that people between the age of 35 to 54 years were generally referred to as "Generation X" or "Gen X". We concluded that since the age group of 35 to 50 years falls under Gen X, we can leverage the fitness culture of the Gen X population to find the required insights.

We then initiated the next step of our research to locate research studies done on the fitness and exercise habits of Gen X people. We searched fitness and physical activity-related websites like International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), Snowsports Industries of America (SIA), Outdoor Foundation (OF), Sports Marketing Surveys USA, and Physical Activity Council (PAC). We found research reports which provided us with useful insights on Gen X fitness culture. We also found a paywalled research report, titled "2019 Sports, Fitness, and Leisure Activities Topline Participation Report." The report was priced at $295,

By analyzing the research studies found and relevant articles uncovered during our research, we have provided a high-level overview of what 35-50-year-old men are doing for fitness, revolving around their routines, activities, and attitudes.
Sources
Sources