New trends and users’ behaviors are becoming evident. Recognizing these trends, and adapting your facility to them, will better serve your members and guests, says Keke Lyles, Director of Fitness and Recreation, The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe (Calif.).
For the past year and a half, the entire world was put into a tailspin by the global pandemic. As a result, many people struggled to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and one of the contributing factors was the absence of a place to go. Gyms have been shut down and remain closed, while others remained open with numerous safety and cleaning protocols in place, limiting capacity and offerings.
As these gyms begin to open and get closer to resuming normal operations, new trends and users’ behaviors are becoming evident. Recognizing these trends, and adapting your fitness facility to them, will better serve your members and guests.
The first major shift that many gyms are seeing is the lack of the extended use of cardio equipment. Once a staple for many facilities, extended-use cardio is now shifting primarily to warmups or cool-downs after workouts.
Some in the industry believe this is a byproduct of many people investing in cardio equipment to use at home over the past year. Some also believe that while gyms were closed, many developed routines of doing cardio-type training outdoors and becoming more creative in their workouts, so the need to return to the gym for just cardio was no longer there.
The past year has also created a desire for more interactive and engaging cardio activities, and companies like Peloton have capitalized on this developing market, creating a way to train at home in a very fun and engaging way.
Resistive training is more popular than ever before. In many gyms across the country, the demand for more free weights far outweighs what most clubs can provide.
Part of this demand comes from the fact that most people simply have not had access to this type of equipment for so long that they are craving this type of training. In addition, more and more research in the field has shown that resistive training is one of the top ways to build an “anti-aging” program. These studies reveal that to improve longevity and maintain an active lifestyle, people must participate in resistive training programs.
The number-one performance quality that we lose as we age is the ability to develop power. Naturally, the more we use resistive training to gain or maintain a level of strength, the more we are able to maintain some level of power. This translates not just in everyday life, but specifically for members at clubs who play golf or tennis and will soon see results carry over onto the course or court.
Another area of the industry that is exploding right now is movement training. In the past two years alone, over a billion dollars has been invested in startup companies trying to find a simple solution to capture, analyze and improve movement. The main reason is because billions of dollars are spent each year on musculoskeletal injuries, including broken bones, sprains, strains, nerve damage and spinal disc problems.
More and more research has shown that our quality of movement has a greater influence on these types of injuries than anything else. Depending on the type of lower-back injury, research suggests that improving our movement quality has a much higher success rate than any surgery. This type of information is becoming more commonly understood, and people are investing in themselves to learn how to move better.
Unfortunately, most clubs are not fully prepared to help in this area. To be part of this trend, a club must begin by having open space where people can move freely, coupled with a staff or contractors to coach and teach appropriate movement fundamentals.
These are only three examples of major trends that we are seeing across the fitness industry and that are slowly shaping the way clubs should be providing a fitness and wellness solution for their members. The key for any club is to be flexible in facility design and equipment, so it can easily adapt to the demands of the industry.
It doesn’t take much to create an environment that can consistently provide a state-of-the-art facility with state-of-the-art programs, so members and guests know they are getting the best of the best and can participate in the hottest trends. Knowing this, members will want to be at the club more, and not anywhere else.
Keke Lyles is recognized as a leader in human performance, with experience with professional athletes and Navy Special Warfare operators. He now leads fitness initiatives at The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe.