Fitness Industry Roundup: Research & Trends Overload

Research, research, and, you guessed it, more research to carry your business strategy into the new year. Plus, along with research comes trends.

Let’s end 2021 on a high note! Research and trends play a big role in the fitness industry, so what better time to dial in on these topics than before the start of a new year? I hope these insights will help you understand your prospects, consumers, and members more and strategize for future success.

Happy Holidays to you all and I wish you—the entire fitness industry—a prosperous New Year!

Immune Health Tops Mindbody’s 2022 Wellness Index

In a wellness survey completed by over 16,000 Americans, Mindbody, an IHRSA Partner, released the findings in its annual Wellness Index. The following wellness trends are expected to make the biggest impact in 2022:

  1. Immune health

  2. Mental wellness

  3. Intellectual wellness

  4. Sexual wellness

  5. Facial exercises

  6. Pets and wellness

  7. Music and wellness

As Mindbody noted, “It’s no surprise the global pandemic sparked an increased interest in immune health. One out of three global consumers reported they were more concerned about immune health than before the pandemic started.” Furthermore, 65% of respondents are more attuned to health and wellness because they want to live longer, healthier lives, and 55% report they aim to strengthen their immune system to withstand illness and disease.

Learn more.

National Fitness Day 2021 Inspires Millions to Get Active

On its 10th anniversary, National Fitness Day 2021 shattered all previous records. The theme of this year’s event—“Fitness Unites Us”—is to recognize the power physical activity has in uniting people, particularly in light of the physical and mental health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Coordinated by ukactive in partnership with TRX Training ClubSM, Club Industry highlights that on National Fitness Day 2021:

  • 22.67 million Brits were estimated to be active,

  • 11.35 million children and 11.32 million adults in the UK were estimated to be active, and

  • 4,365 free activities and events took place across the UK, either physically or online.

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Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said, “These figures show the incredible impact of National Fitness Day and the power of our sector to reach millions of new people and really get the nation moving more.” National Fitness Day 2022 will take place on Wednesday, September 21. For more information, contact

Read more.

24 Hour Fitness Tests Consumer Behaviors to Increase Gym Check-ins

StepUp, a workout rewards program created by the University of Pennsylvania’s Behavior Change for Good Initiative (BCFG) in collaboration with 24 Hour Fitness, reveals what motivates gym-goers. According to Club Solutions, the 28-day program tested 53 inexpensive, scalable, science-based strategies across more than 60,000 24 Hour Fitness members to determine which tools most effectively create lasting, healthy habits. Testing included:

  • Sending text message reminders for scheduled workouts,

  • Bonus rewards points for members who returned after missing a scheduled workout,

  • Notifying members that exercise is popular, and more.

Overall, 45% of the strategies tested significantly increased gym check-ins during the program. “Our work demonstrates how consumers can take small steps — making daily plans for fitness, bundling their workouts with a favorite podcast or audiobook, and avoiding streaks of missed workouts — to increase their physical activity,” said Katherine Milkman, lead study author and the James G. Dinan Professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Read the study.

Personalization Matters, But Skip Those Fitness Fads & Gimmicks

Investing in fitness trends can be a bad idea—remember the vibrating belt, ThighMaster, or shake weights? Alloy Personal Training Business Podcast hosts Rick Mayo and Matt Helland discussed gimmicky fitness trends and how longevity plays a role in a recent episode. Mayo begins the conversation by highlighting the need to look through two lenses, one that benefits the consumer and the other that benefits your business. He notes the risk with getting into a concept that’s very on trend is that it will then be off trend or out of style at some point. “If you’re signing a franchise agreement or just opening a business, you’re in it for a while,” Mayo said. “Do you really want to get into a ten-year relationship with a thing or concept that can be easily disrupted or that may go out of style?” After discussing a few bad trends and concepts, Mayo and Helland evaluate the Alloy Personal Training Franchise model and how it ensures the longevity of the product and company.

Watch the video.

Sensory Gym Offers a Community Space for Neurodiverse

Bring on the Spectrum (BOTS) is a 5,600-square-foot nonprofit facility for individuals of all ages and abilities to feel calm and supported, enjoy activities, and build relationships. The idea to open BOTS came to Founder Lisa Audi who is inspired by her daughter, Carabelle, who is neurodiverse, and feels it is her mission to provide a space for individuals to feel safe and do the things they love. “We started to look at the landscape and the impact of COVID on the neurodiverse population and children like my daughter... where there was no place for her to go because nothing was open,” Audi told Times Union. “We thought the game changer was the community space because that’s what is missing.” The facility is divided into a children’s and tweens+ area. The children’s section has sensory swings, a climb and slide, and more, while the other area features sensory swings that hold up to 300 pounds, light fitness equipment, and games.

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Carabelle Audi at Bring on the Spectrum. Source: Lori Van Buren / Times Union

Find out more about BOTS.

Has your health or fitness-related business been featured in the news recently? We want to know! Send a link to any news article or video that highlighted your business to, and we may include it in a future issue of the Fitness Industry Roundup.

Author avatar

Sami Smith

Sami Smith is IHRSA's Senior Manager of Digital Communications, working to shape the organization's image on various digital platforms. On a typical day, she creates content, delivers impactful communications, and executes targeted marketing efforts to keep IHRSA at the forefront of the industry. Outside of the office, you can find her exploring new destinations, indulging in food, or participating in just about any sport.