2022 "REAL" Fitness Industry Trends

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Last month, Brandon Cullen, MADabolic's Co-Founder and Chief Concept Officer shared his thoguhts on fitness industry trends we'll see in 2022:

Everyone in every industry has had to pivot in unique and unexpected ways over the last two years, and the fitness industry is no exception. As 2022 brings hopes of continued stabilization and growth for the industry, the lessons learned in this sector over the last two years have accelerated the evolution of the fitness industry in irreversible ways. Or maybe not! Even though so much has changed, so much is exactly the same. Big box gyms are still relevant; digital, or “at home,” has its place; and yes, the boutique space is thriving once again. 
 
My predictions on the most significant trends to come to the boutique fitness industry in the new year include strong growth, consumers who are hungry for more structured programming, and a continued trend toward the accountability that only in-person training can provide.
 
Boutique fitness will continue to experience a dramatic bounce-back in 2022. This trend is already in motion and will continue into the new year, collectively positioning the industry for one of its biggest 12-24 months to date. Coinciding with this growth, expect to see a consolidation of concepts. Concepts with robust underlying systems survived the worst of 2020-2021 lockdowns and mandated closures and are thriving today. As we move forward, the strong will continue to grow stronger. 
 
It’s no news to readers that life, as we knew it, has shifted a lot in recent years. And the shift has opened the eyes of fitness consumers to think differently about self-care, rest, and recovery. Expect to see fitness concepts emphasize more balanced programming, longevity, and a structured path to aging athletically. This doesn’t mean the fitness industry will become soft, but it does mean that tropes like “never miss a Monday” will begin to loosen the grip they’ve had over a sector that has long declared more to necessarily mean better. The days of pounding the cardiovascular hamster wheel will take the back seat, and concepts that deliver a sustainable, strength-biased approach will see a surge in 2022, not to mention strong retention into future years, too.
 
While consumers may be more in-tune with their rest and recovery priorities, they still crave the quality and accountability that only in-person training can provide. I believe the digital surge will continue to slow down, as shown in recent months, and in-person training will continue to expand its hold of the fitness market in 2022. While various concepts pivoted to provide virtual options through 2020 and 2021, the natural limitations of virtual training have surfaced, and consumers will be largely enthusiastic about returning to studio classes in 2022. Beyond the camaraderie that develops in an in-person setting, screen-based workouts cannot accommodate the same level of accountability and quality of workout the in-person experience provides. While digital offerings will not go away, the in-person experience will continue to trend upward as we move into the new year.
 
The fitness industry has experienced both significant changes and underlying consistencies in recent years, and 2022 looks promising. Especially to those concepts that offer strength, structure, and accountability to consumers.

--Brandon Cullen
Co-Founder & Chief Concept Officer, MADabolic


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